Welcome to Backpacker’s Boutique. Every Sunday, this spot will feature a new travel blogger. Some weeks it will be a really fun interview about packing, fashion, and fitness so you can snoop inside their bags & lives a little bit and other weeks it’ll be a detailed luxury guide to a city the featured blogger/expat knows very well. E-mail me if you’d like to be featured.
A Luxury Guide to Buenos Aires
Tell us a little about Buenos Aires and tell us why you’re an expert on luxury travel there.
Because of Argentina’s volatile economic system, the American dollar (typically) goes extremely far. This means that you can live like a queen on very little. When I lived in Buenos Aires for a year as a study abroad student, I lived it up. I ate at fantastic restaurants that foodies everywhere would die for, went out to the most exclusive bars with my Argentine and expat friends, and enjoyed spa services – nails and waxing alike – at ridiculously low prices.
This is a “bougie on a budget” traveler’s heaven (as long as the exchange rate and inflation are working in your favor when you go).
What makes Buenos Aires a perfect destination for travelers seeking a glamorous trip?
Imagine waking up to medialunas (croissants) and coffee at a quaint, European coffee shop situated in an ivy-covered garden. Spend your day walking around exquisite neoclassical French architecture through the neighborhood of Recoleta. Stop for lunch at a patio in trendy Palermo and spend your dollars at the many luxury high-fashion boutique shops, like Maria Cher. Enjoy the juiciest steak of your life at La Cabrera with a glass of Malbec. Dance the night away at the socialite river-front club Asia de Cuba on Puerto Madero. If that’s not glamorous, I don’t know what is.
Of all of the 5 star, which is the best in your town?
There are many 5-stars in Buenos Aires, as very few cities does luxury like Buenos Aires. But, the most famous for design lovers of the world is the Faena Hotel. Even if you’re not able to stay at this 5-star, head here for a cocktail in the all-white room and wander to admire this work of art.
Are there any fun activities for the adventurous traveler?
Buenos Aires is a big city, so you can find almost anything here. For our travelers who want to see what makes Buenos Aires so special, go to the San Telmo festival on Sunday. It’s full of street art, great food and incredible people watching. Or, head to the famous Recoleta cemetery – the most expensive property in the world, to hang out with some dead rich people.
Where are the best hang outs during the day?
Buenos Aires is definitely a café and park-culture type of city. You can spend the day people-watching and sipping yerba mate in the parks. Or you can take a coffee with a friend at one of the many – MANY- coffee shops in the city. The city is brimming with festivals on the weekends. On Saturdays, the main parks in Recoleta and Palermo are the places to be while the San Telmo Sunday festival (in my humble opinion) is the best in the world.
If you have a big date night, what are the most delicious restaurants in Buenos Aires and what are their best dishes?
There are so many “best restaurants in Buenos Aires” that it’s hard to pick!. Go to La Cabrera and order the lomo. Head to Il Ballo del Mattone and gorge on any of the homemade pastas. Mix it up from the Italian influence and scarf some Mediterranean at the famous Sarkis or sushi at Nikkai. Finally, for a truly authentic, gourmet and unique Argentine experience, go to Café San Juan in San Telmo.
Let’s talk desserts- what place makes the best?
Buenos Aires is a GELATO heaven. Since about 75% of the city’s residents (portenos) are of Italian descent, you can find this Italian specialty on every corner. Volta, Persicco and Freddo are all BsAs staples for gelato. You also cannot leave the city without eating alfajores – sugar cookies with dulce de leche (a caramel-esque sauce) in the middle. You can get them at any bakery!
Tell us all the hot shopping spots; who’s carrying the trendy local designers?
While Alto Palermo, the major mall in Buenos Aires, carries every designer, I’m not much of a mall person. I’d rather wander a small neighborhood and go in and out of boutiques while sitting for a coffee or glass of wine in between. Go to Palermo Soho and shop around at the best – Maria Cher, Jasmin Chebar, Las Pepas. Do not leave Buenos Aires without a colorful leather jacket from Las Pepas and make sure you stop in Plaza Dorrego to have a snack and to pop into the up-and-coming indoor designer markets surrounding the plaza.
Time for a great sunset view… where would you go?
The sunsets over the river front in the Puerto Madero neighborhood are magical. Take a stroll down the boardwalk around sunset and make sure to admire the incredible “Puente de Mujer” or the Woman’s Bridge. There are endless restaurants with outdoor patios for you to relax with a cocktail while watching the sun go down. If you have the time, take a little trip to romantic cobblestoned Colonia, Uruguay for the sunset.
Now the the sun’s gone down, fill us on the best places to go for some evening drinks or a great pre-gaming spot.
Buenos Aires comes alive at night. A normal dinner-time reservation is no earlier than 8:00p (that’s the early bird special) and most twenty-something’s are eating at around 10:00p. An 11:00p reservation is not uncommon. That being said, bars don’t really open up until 12:00p and clubs don’t get going until 2:00p. You can rage until the early hours. There were many mornings at 6:00a where I’d begin to see the sunrise from the bar windows and immediately jump in a cab home to get to bed! One of my favorite places to get started at is Milion in Recoleta. Nested in an old mansion, the cocktails are divine and makes you feel like you’re at a Gatsby-style house party.
If you end the night at a fancy club, which one do you head towards?
There is a true club culture in Buenos Aires. If you like to dance until the wee hours, you have many options. I did love the upscale Asia de Cuba just a little too much and spent my life’s savings on champagne and tequila at this hotspot. Word of advice? Go with an Argentine or don’t open your mouth (if you don’t speak Spanish) when you’re trying to get in. They try to keep this place tailored to upscale locals! If you’re really feeling like a wild night – go to Club 69 at Niceto Club on Thursdays.
Read more: Want more to see and do in Argentina? Journey to Patagonia!
Emily is an expert on slow travel. She believes the best way to experience a new destination is to find local experiences that allow you to really connect with the people and places you’re visiting. She loves a truly great meal, the outdoors and writing for Let’s Roam Wild. She’s leaving in December for a six month trip around Southeast Asia. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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