Where to stay in the sprawling Argentine capital? Here is a presentation of the best places to sleep in Buenos Aires!
The capital of Argentina and the second largest city on the Latin American continent, the city of Buenos Aires has a population of 3,090,900 inhabitants, while 14.5 million inhabitants live in the metropolitan area. Finding accommodation in Buenos Aires can be complicated and expensive depending your chosen area and the season. The “most European capital” of Latin America is mainly populated by inhabitants originating from Spain and Italy as a result of the immigration waves at the beginning of the 20th century. Not only is the porteño capital the cradle of tango, it is one of the region’s major artistic and cultural hubs.
In other words, you definitely won’t get bored in Buenos Aires. However, you have to carefully choose the neighbourhood where you will stay in the city because the accommodation supply is lower than the demand. As a result, staying in Buenos Aires can be expensive. The city, port of the Rio de la Plata (“river of money”), is divided into 15 comunas (districts) and 48 barrios (neighbourhoods). Thus, you won’t experience the same atmosphere while staying in Recoleta, San Telmo, La Boca, San Cristobal, Caballito, Balvanera or Puerto Madero. Each neighbourhood has its own identity, it’s own feel. Here is a guide to where to stay in Buenos Aires:
Photo credit: Flickr – BDNEGIN
Opening onto Plaza Dorrego, San Telmo is one of the oldest and best preserved neighbourhoods in the city. The first settlers – led by Pedro de Mendoza – settled in Lezama Park in February 1536. Located south of the city centre, San Telmo exudes a very European atmosphere, with many shops, antique dealers, museums – don’t miss the Feria de San Telmo -, markets, including the covered market. With its array of small restaurants, bars, and bistros, grocery stores, folklore events, colourful cobbled streets, colonial buildings, many churches, and street art, the neighbourhood offers a fascinating urban scenery. You won’t resist taking pictures of San Telmo with your camera.
This is the authentic and popular Buenos Aires, where tango first emerged in the poor and ill-famed bars of the years 1890-1905. In fact, the neighbourhood still features many tanguerias, these milonga bars where one dances the tango. But because of its historical dimension, it is also the city’s most touristic area. San Telmo is an excellent place to stay in Buenos Aires.
Photo credit: Flickr – Joseph Brent
Located south-east of the city centre, La Boca is said to take its name from its position at the mouth (“boca”) of a river. La Boca is popular barrio, rich in history and mostly populated by descendants of Italian immigrants. Another very tourist neighbourhood, it is one of the most charming places in Buenos Aires, famous for the caminito (“little walkway”) and the numerous multicoloured houses painted in bright colours (red, blue, green) reminiscent of Cuba. It is nevertheless the city’s poorest district, so it’s best to go out during the day rather than the evening. La Boca has indeed much to offer to its visitors, including numerous cafes, bars, tango shows and local craft shops. A beautiful yet by no means ostentatious neighbourhood where to stay in Buenos Aires.
Photo credit: Flickr – Hernán Piñera
If you are looking for a trendy if not wealthy neighbourhood where you’ll feel safe, then Palermo is the place to book your apartment or youth hostel. Located in the north side of Buenos Aires, it is the city’s most popular and largest middle-class neighbourhood, filled with artsy restaurants, trendy bars, local arts and crafts boutiques, and a wealth of shops. Don’t miss the Planetarium, and the area’s many parks, including the Botanical Garden and the Japanese Garden. One of the greenest and trendiest places of the city, Palermo is a pleasant place to stay in Buenos Aires.
Photo credit: Flickr – “André M.”
East of Palermo, Recoleta is the most chic – even wealthiest – neighbourhood of Buenos Aires. Its main interest: it is a historical and touristic area because of the Cemetery of Recoleta, a cemetery boasting flamboyant gardens, wealthy family vaults, and tombs of former affluent landowners and farmers. Visitors come to Recoleta not to honour the upper class, but because many figures of Argentina’s history have been buried here. If you want to treat yourself with a comfortable hotel room, go on a chic shopping expedition, and walk with your family close to the historical centre, look no further, you’ve found your ideal neighbourhood to stay in Buenos Aires.
Main photo credit : Flickr – Kevin Dooley