We spent Labor Day weekend in Buenos Aires and had a fantastic time! I received so much great advice from the forum I just wanted to give a review of our trip!
We flew non-stop from Dallas on American and it was a really easy, fast flight. We rented an apartment in Palermo Soho through Airbnb.com. It was outstanding and one of our favorite parts of the trip. Ralf and his team were so helpful through the entire process. I can't say enough nice things about them. They organized our airport transfers (round trip) for a fee of $40 each way that we paid to them in USD (we didn't have to worry about exchanging any money). It was really nice to be met by the driver when we arrived because the airport was a bit of a zoo. The lines for customs and immigration were pretty long but I would say it took about 2.5 hours from the time we landed to the apartment. Once we arrived we received a really great tour of the rental property, an informational packet on the area plus some great safety advice (how to avoid pick pockets). We were also able to get some pesos at a great exchange rate which was really nice and made it possible for us to get on our way without worrying about exchanging money.
Sky Loft Apartment in Palermo Soho
2363 Uriarte St.
Buenos Aires, Capital Federal 1425
So after we were settled, we grabbed a cab and headed to San Telmo for our FUUDI's lunch tour. We stopped at four restaurants and walked all through San Telmo. Everything was good, but we were a little dissapointed that there wasn't more "tour" involved. Not a lot of description of the San Telmo area or history of the food. It was more of a walk from restaurant to restaurant. We met some great people on the tour and all of the food was pretty good. It was one of our more expensive meals at $120 USD. After lunch we headed back to the apartment (stopped at a nearby market for provisions) and a late afternoon nap! Our apartment had an incredible balcony with a great view so we spent pretty much every evening having happy hour there! Friday night we did our own pub crawl through Palermo Soho. We stopped at some fun little bars, the main one that stood out to us was Downtown Matias, an Irish bar without Guinness but the service was outstanding the owner was great.
Saturday we adjusted quickly to the Argentinian lifestyle and slept until 1pm! We decided that we had to go see Texas A&M play their season opener so we found a little sports bar near Recoleta called El Alamo and head out. It was a dark bar on a nice street with big screen TVs and probably the best TexMex I have ever had outside of the US. Great service and a really nice afternoon! From there we head back to Palermo Soho to check out a couple of food stores I had read about on PIck Up the Fork blog..Muma's Cupcakes and A'Manger. We picked up snacks for our happy hour and enjoyed the late afternoon atmosphere and shopping. We ended up napping until almost 10pm so decided to skip going out and instead headed to Don Julio's for dinner! We really enjoyed it and would recommend.
Sunday we slept in and then headed over to Recoleta for the Feria. We had a fantastic time. Amazing vendors with great prices. Such a fun atmosphere and families/music everywhere. We got some great deals and paid with USD for most items. We walked all around the area and stopped in the cemetary ( A must see) then stopped to watch a couple Tango. Just a really beautiful afternoon. We walked around Recoleta before heading back to Palermo Soho. We had planned to pub crawl a bit on Sunday night but found that most bars are closed. We were walking around and found a lively little place that turned out to be La Cabrera. We had an incredible dinner and would absolutely go back again! It was also really affordable $80USD.
Monday we decided to have a low key day and just hung out at the apartment, went for an afternoon walk in Palermo Soho and then headed over to Palermo Hollywood for the Argentine Experience. We had such a great time. We made empenadas and sampled some amazing steaks. Learned about mate and Argentinian food culture. It truly felt like a dinner party in someone's home! It was by far the most expensive activity on our trip at $170USD paid in advance but we had a great time. Afterwards we checked out a few bars in Palermo Hollywood.
Tuesday was our last day before our evening flight home. We did the 11am BA City Free Walking Tour and it was fantastic. A great walk (about 3 hours) in the main part of the city. We saw some great sites and learned so much about the history of BA. We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping in Palermo Soho with a quick lunch at Magdelana's Party which we really enjoyed! I would allow for at least three hours before your flight as the airport security and customs was busy and the boarding process a bit slow so it starts earlier than normal.
Top advice from our trip;
1. Bring USD in $50s and $100s and plan to pay exclusively with that. We didn't use our credit card the whole time. We were able to pay in USDs almost everywhere and get at least an 8 to 1 exchange rate or better. We also got pesos at that same rate at enough restaurants that we never had to go exchange money. We found everything to be really affordable except for the food tours we booked in advance.
2. I read the blog Pick up the Fork, not only is it a great blog to read but her advice for restaurants and food shopping were awesome.
3. We felt safe everywhere we went but we also were really low key and didn't carry much money on us and I just had a small purse I wore across my body and in front of me the whole time. We only used radio taxis and we thought they were all good. We never took the subte and pretty much stayed in Palermo Soho at night.
4. We heard great things about the Parilla Tour and several people told us to go to Tigre or Colonia but since our trip was short we decided to just relax a bit instead.
5. If I could change anything I would have done the 5pm Recoleta/Aristocratic BA Free Walking Tour