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Buenos Aires
 

Buenos Aires, Argentina

 
Why take your children to one of Latin America's largest cities? Three reasons might tempt you. First, Buenos Aires is cosmopolitan. It has the face and flavor of Europe - elegant cafés, beautiful architecture and approximately one hundred museums - yet its' heart and soul beats to the Latin rhythm. That is, lively and frenetic. Second, kids reign in Argentina. They are welcome everywhere except nightclubs. Even the most sophisticated restaurants have highchairs. Finally, thanks to the sharp devaluation of Argentina's currency, the peso, what was once one of Latin America's most expensive cities is today one of the continent's best bargains.... Read More

Argentina has emerged from the political and economic collapse of 2001 and tourists have been quick to take advantage. Attracted by an exchange rate of approximately 3 pesos to 1 U.S. dollar, foreigners are flocking to Buenos Aires, Argentina's capital, delighted to spend US$ 5 on a steak dinner.

While demonstrations can still occur, social unrest has abated and the city is considered relatively safe. Porteños, as locals are called, are returning from abroad -- a clear sign that the situation has improved. And streets are packed again. More than five million tourists visited Buenos Aires in 2004, a 38% increase over 2003, according to the city's Secretary of Tourism. Maria Candelaria de la Sota, a journalist from the influential daily newspaper Clarín, witnessed the change:

“Before, a cup of coffee cost US$ 3. People would say: beautiful city, but too expensive. It was sad to see Calle Florida, a popular place for shopping, empty. Today the city is bustling once again. Not only are we are seeing European and American tourists, but many Chinese and Koreans”, she says.

Located on the shore of the Rio de la Plata or the river of silver, Buenos Aires was founded twice by Spanish explorers in 1536 and again in 1580. Yet the city's growth and regional prominence coincided with European migration in the 19th and 20th century and its European heritage is visible throughout.

Set out like a grid with wide avenues and boulevards, Buenos Aires is an easy city to navigate and it is a great place for walking. Spectacular views of prominent landmarks including the Casa Rosada, Cabildo and Obelisco, can be seen from just about anywhere downtown. The city's five Subte lines and numerous Colectivos offer an inexpensive and adventurous alternative to taxis should the little ones tire of strolling.

Families interested in experiencing the city will want to spend a few days exploring. From brightly colored barrios to swanky neighborhoods a trip to Buenos Aires provides children with first hand knowledge of the city's past as well as Argentine tradition. Head to the Plaza de Mayo and Recoleta for history, San Telmo and Abasto for culture, and La Boca for a bit of sociology. When the kids get tired head to Palermo and take time out in one of city's parks, gardens or zoo.

Buenos Aires is in the midst of a cultural boom. Attractions abound from museums to theatre and amusement parks to river cruises. Take a self-guided or guided tour on foot, bike or boat. Or participate in one of the many thematic tours and discover more about Evita, Borges or Gardel.

Don't forget to set aside time for shopping. Families in search of arts and crafts should head to the Feria di San Telmo or Calle Caminito in La Boca. Clothing and leather goods abound and will satisfy nearly every taste and budget. Bargains can be found in the stalls along Calle Florida, the latest trends in the shops in Palermo Viejo. Head to Recoleta if you are looking for haute couture.

In Buenos Aires, you won't have to search far for something to eat. The city offers everything from street vendors to trendy restaurants. Empanadas or meat filled pies can be found at most cafés and are a quick and nutritious alternative to a long meal in a restaurant. Asado or barbecued meat is more than a meal: it is a national tradition. You may want to try it with a glass of tinto or red wine. In need of a snack? Make a quick stop at one of the hundreds of kiosks and treat yourself to alfajores, best when filled with dulce de leche and covered in chocolate. The city also claims to have South America's best ice-creams parlors.

Whether you are in search of a city slightly off the beaten path or a destination with rhythm and soul Buenos Aires offers families an opportunity to experience and explore.
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Rodeo, Buenos Aires

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Avenida 9 Julio, Buenos Aires

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Casa Rosada, Buenos Aires

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Catalinas Norte Towers

Catalinas Norte Towers

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Buenos Aires tours, guides and outfitters
 
Buenos Aires Boats (Professional Guide)
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Pedro de Mendoza 1900

Buenos Aires 1005

Argentina

+54 (11) 4303 1616

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Buenos Aires Boats offers 8 boat trips daily. The shorter 45-minute tours travel along Canal Sur to Rio de la Plata. The longer 1.5 hour river cruises include a trip down Darsena Sur. All trips depart from Pedro de Mendoza 1900, at the base of Caminito Street, in the La Boca district of Buenos Aires.
River Cruises
Vuelta de Rocha

Vuelta de Rocha

Robert Wright courtesy Recoleta Cemetery Blog

Lan & Kramer Bike Tours (Professional Guide)
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Florida 868 piso 14 of H Cap

Buenos Aires 1005

Argentina

+54 (11) 4568 4321

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Lan & Kramer offer 3 half-day guided bike tours of Buenos Aires. Tours, all graded easy, depart daily at 09:30 and 14:00 from Plaza San Martin. Bikes, helmets, child seats, rain gear and water are included. All tours have English and Spanish speaking guides. Children 12 & up ride solo. Kids under 4 ride in a child seat. Children 4-12 ride tandem. Rentals available.
Cycling
Urban Biking (Professional Guide)
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Moliere 2801, Villa Devoto

Buenos Aires 1005

Argentina

+54 (11) 4568 4321

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Urban Biking offers 8 guided bike tours of Buenos Aires as well as 2-day cycling trips on routes less worn. City tours, all graded easy, depart daily from the Monumental Tower (English Tower) in Retiro. Bikes, helmets, beverages and lunch are included. All tours have English and Spanish speaking guides. The minimum age is 12. Rentals available.
Cycling
Puente de la Mujer

Puente de la Mujer

Urban Biking

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