Thanks to the people on the forums that helped me with questions...
A friend and I just returned from Buenos Aires on Monday. We stayed for 9 days. We also toured Montevideo, El Tigre and Santa Susana Ranch.
Firstly, I would like to say that we were completely safe. Nothing negative happened to us. We saw nothing alarming in terms of pickpocketing or muggings. Because of the forums, I was alarmed and quite guarded while in BsAs, but everything was fine. We are from New York City and are used to being in a big city. We did not wear any flashy jewelry or carry around big cameras. We stayed in Recoleta. We walked around late at night and felt safe. We did notice a police presence in general. More than people have reported. We spent an entire afternoon in La Boca on a weekday and had no issues. We stayed near El Caminito. Many people were genuinely friendly and that was refreshing for a big city. We were totally safe, so if you want to go to BsAs, be aware but not deterred.
We stayed at CE Design Hotel on Marcelo T de Alvear. The staff is very friendly. The hotel is boutique and unique. It is good for a mid priced range. We were a block away from Avenida Santa Fe which was great to shop and walk along. We walked almost everywhere. We loved how each neighborhood was so unique. We only took taxis to La Boca and San Telmo.
We used www.bsas4u.com to book a day tour to Montevideo, Uruguay, an estancia, and El Tigre as well as transfers. The company was very friendly, well priced and reliable. They easily secure Buquebus tickets for us. Those boats get crowded!
We loved the food. We were in "meat comas" almost everyday. We loved the empanadas, especially at the Evita Museum cafe. Food is really inexpensive, 3 course and wine never cost us more than $35 total for 2 people. We loved the helado, especially at Volta.
The museums were great. Loved Evita, MALBA is fun. Bellas Artes is free to enter! Recoleta Cemetery is super unique. We were lucky to attach ourselves to a tour to find the Duarte masoleum, it is a challenge to locate on your own.
The markets are wonderful, we enjoyed San Telmo but LOVED the weekend fair at Plaza Francia. Great artists sell handmade one of a kind items at incredible prices. Plus it's a chance to enjoy some pan relleno! We had many pesos, but most merchants did accept USD at a ratio of 1:4.
The shopping is amazing if you love leather. I especially loved Prune for bags and Sybil Vane for shoes. The Argentine goods are wonderful!
The Farmacity stores that are everywhere are wonderful. They have some things we don't have here, plus you can buy antibiotics and certain other medicines without a prescription. I came down to BsAs with a respiratory infection and was able to get the medicine I needed for under $10 US and I recovered quickly.
The one thing that was hard to see was the homelessness. We saw many people living in parks. A small tent city set up on 9 de Julio. Women with very small babies begging. On the side of Bella Artes museum there are several families with children living there on cardboard and old mattresses. These people kept to themselves, but it was heartbreaking to see groups of people (especially young children) living in these conditions (not to say that NYC does not have homelessness), but this definitely tugs on your heartstrings.
Overall, BsAs is an enchanting city. We were so happy to experience the summer in February. We loved the city and hope to return and see more of the country in the future...
P.S. Ezeiza airport is madness. We arrived 3.5 hours in advance and only had 30 minutes to spare before boarding our flight. In the future I would get there 4 hours in advance...