The airport is shit – Organise transfers beforehand
The flight from Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires was really quick, only 1.5 hours. Try to organise your hotel/hostel transfer beforehand because it took us over 3 hours to get to our hostel. The people at the airport were slow, and most places only accepted cash. We were excited when we saw a Citibank ATM right outside of the arrivals area, but for some reason it kept rejecting our Citibank cards. For all other ATM’s the average fee is 58 pesos.
We stayed at Oblesico Hostel and it was pretty nice, but they tried to overcharge us several times because I had made 2 separate bookings (1 had been paid in advance, but they didn’t have a copy of the payment). We stayed in a dorm with 6 other people and the showers were outside of the room. It was a really good hostel for activities (they had a big board with things you could do on each day) and they always organised parties/events you could sign up to each day.
It was centrally located and they spoke a little bit of English.
The best thing about the food in Argentina is the meat – and the fact you could find a per kilo restaurant at every corner in the city. You could pile up your plate or takeaway container with all different types of meat, fresh salad, veggies, pasta, deep fried stuff, fruit etc. We noticed that most of them were only open for lunch so sometimes we would pack 2 containers each, 1 for lunch and 1 for dinner. We would spend about $4-$7 AUD each for a meal we wouldn’t be able to make in a hostel kitchen (I got slaw, roast beef and noodles!!). It is a very touristy city so be mindful of the restaurant prices, we only chose smaller restaurants that locals were eating at. We would recommend El Litoral (but whatever you do, do not order the pasta).
If you’re travelling to Buenos Aires, you must bring American Dollars. AUSTRALIANS – THIS IS CRUCIAL IF YOU WANT TO BE ABLE TO AFFORD TO EAT.
It was easy to find blue rate, but bring crisp $100 or $50 notes if possible. Ricky exchanged money in the back of a street kiosk newsagent, 1 USD for 14.8 ARS (actual rate around 15.05 I think, most offered 14.7. For 50 and 100. Small bills get 14.2) compared to like 9.6 official (6.8 AUD).
You’ll hear people saying Cambio on the street and it’s perfectly safe to exchange with them (the locals do it and even police officers didn’t seem to care). We tried to live off of $150 USD for the days we were there, it just wasn’t worth exchanging AUD, but if we did exchange AUD, we worked out that the city was more expensive than Perth in terms of shopping, eating out and general activities.
For the daily blue rate: www.lanacion.com.ar/dolar-hoy-t1369
Buenos Aires Activities
Free walking tour
Our Hostel recommended it so we decided to go. It’s not exactly free, you are expected to tip (depending on how much money you have to spare). It was really good and the guide was really helpful but it ended on the other side of the city so the walk back was a bit annoying. We walked through the expensive side of the city and saw all the existing palaces (only 1 is still privately owned). Buenos Aires is a very European inspired city, so walking down the expensive side of the town you got to see massive parks, gigantic buildings, beautiful churches and of course – lots of ladies with plastic surgery.
Our walking tour ended near the cemetery, but it was about 6pm (it closes at 5pm), so we decided to go the next day. The Recoleta Cemetery is legitimately crazy – a must see in Buenos Aires. It is a super creepy mini city but super fascinating. Crazy amounts of details in the Mausoleums and we were told that architects were hired to design them (some were bigger than actual houses). You can do the free walking tour in the morning and supposedly they take you into the Cemetery and they explain whose who and all the interesting facts.
Meeting Our GAdventure Group
Our last full day in Buenos Aires we were meeting up with our tour group (GAdventures) so we checked out of our hostel and went to the hotel meeting point for the tour info. The meeting wasn’t until 7:30pm so we bummed around the hotel for a bit until they told us our rooms were ready.
The weather was pretty shitty so we just went out for lunch at a per kilo place, then stayed in Maccas for about 3-4 hours doing blog stuff etc. We also passed the time by watching Carl Barron in the hotel room (nice hotel but no free gym or free WiFi), then went to the meeting.
We found out almost straight away that half the group were Australians and the other half were from the UK, so it was nice to speak proper English without having to slow down or to choose each word carefully.
We had to be up the next morning at 5am for a plane ride so we didn’t have an official group dinner. Some of us went to La Posada de 1820 for dinner (was shit) and we also exchanged money for 14.8 (50) and 14.5 (20s and 10s).