Without question, Buenos Aires is one of the cities you just can’t miss in your South America tours. Vibrant, multicultural and exciting, the capital of Argentina is a city with all the things a modern metropolis has to offer, with a special plus: that unique porteño touch, arisen from the European and South American melting pot of cultures you’ll find here.
Indeed, it’s almost impossible to get bored in Buenos Aires. It has an incredibly dynamic atmosphere, and you’ll never have enough time to explore every new European-style building, old book store or tango joint. Just like NY, Buenos Aires never sleeps, and there’s always something new to do here, in one of South America’s major cities. It’s definitely worth (even advisable!) spending an entire vacation in Buenos Aires only, to get the most of this amazing city and enjoy its culture, football, nightlife, architecture, food… the whole porteño pack! But if you only have the chance to make a whirlwind visit to the city, don’t worry: it’s still possible to wrap all BA’s flavor in a one-day tour around Buenos Aires, without even having to travel long distances within the city!
This one day tour around Buenos Aires includes some of the most relevant landmarks in town, as well as some of the best things to do in the city, considering you’d only have a few hours available. This means relatively close locations and easy transportation, so don’t expect to spend more than 20 minutes in a bus or taxi cab. Hope you find it useful!
The Best One Day Tour Around Buenos Aires
La Boca – Caminito – La Bombonera Stadium
We’ll take Buenos Aires downtown district as a starting point for this one-day tour, since it’s the most common area to find accommodation and transport in the city. From there we head to the colorful La Boca district, a must in every visit to Buenos Aires.
One of the most emblematic places in Buenos Aires, La Boca is a harbour district where thousands of European immigrants (specially from Genova, Italy) settled in during the end of 19th century. Thanks to these migrations, La Boca is the place of origin of Buenos Aires’ melting pot, and a lot of porteño cultural expressions were born or raised here, like tango music or Argentinian football.
You can appreciate all of this cultural expressions while walking along Caminito, the most significant street in La Boca, as well as its surroundings. Caminito is swarming with craft shops, tango bars and old colorful buildings made of metal sheets. Among the tourist crowd, you’ll find classical characters from Argentina like Maradona, Pope Francis or Evita (of course, in statues or impersonators). It’s the perfect place to take photos of the most typical side of Buenos Aires.
If you want to take a breath away from the swarming atmosphere of Caminito, there are two outstanding places to visit just a couple of blocks away. La Bombonera Stadium, home of Boca Juniors (one of major football teams in BA), where you can feel all the passion locals devote for football. You can attend to a game or take a tour around Boca Juniors’ stadium and museum. But if you’re a fan of art rather than sports, the Benito Quinquela museum is your perfect choice. Born and raised in La Boca, Benito Quinquela is one of the most popular Argentine painters, who had his loved birthplace as a lifelong inspiration, as you’ll see in every masterpiece the museum presents.
After a visit to La Boca and Caminito, it’s time to head for the next stop in this one day tour around Buenos Aires. If you’re traveling on a shoestring, just ask around about the bus stop for the line No. 20. This bus line will take you to Puerto Madero, the suggested next stop.
Puerto Madero – Women’s Bridge – Ecological Reserve
Puerto Madero is exactly the opposite of La Boca. Top-notch shining skyscrapers, ultramodern buildings and beautiful yachts at anchor in the port: the Puerto Madero district has a luxurious atmosphere that contrasts with the working-class vibe of La Boca. You’ll delight in the tranquil, sunny atmosphere of Puerto Madero, either walking along the stylish piers or just sitting at a table in of the many trendy restaurants you’ll find here.
Puerto Madero is also a superb place to have lunch in this one day tour around Buenos Aires. In case you like quantity as much as quality, a recommended place is Siga La Vaca, an all-you-can-eat grill restaurant with all the delightful meat cuts of the classical argentine asado.
There are two interesting places you can’t miss in your visit to Puerto Madero: the Women’s Bridge (Puente de la Mujer) and the Costanera Norte Ecological Reserve. The Women’s Bridge is a modern footbridge designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, truly a landmark in Buenos Aires due to its stunning design and dimensions. As for the Costanera Norte ecological reserve, it’s a natural sanctuary in the heart of Buenos Aires, with endemic plant and animal species to appreciate along a 30-minute walk (depending on the trail you choose). If you love nature, Puerto Madero ecological reserve is definitely a must!
After visiting Puerto Madero, it’s time to continue with this one day tour around Buenos Aires, with the downtown area as our next destination.
Microcentro – The Obelisk – Mayo Square
Just a few blocks away by foot from Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires’ downtown (Microcentro, in Spanish) is the beating heart of the city. Microcentro is not only the core of economic and business activity in Buenos Aires, but also a major tourist destination with gorgeous neoclassic buildings and lots of interesting places to visit. And the best part is that you can get to all landmarks by foot (or subway, if you prefer)!
The following are some of the essential places to visit in Microcentro:
- Mayo Square: The most important square in Buenos Aires, with a great historical significance due to a great amount of Argentine milestones that happened here. There you’ll also find the Pink House (Casa Rosada), the official residence and workplace of the President of Argentina, with guided tours.
- The Obelisk: One of the most emblematic symbols of Buenos Aires, the Obelisk (or Obelisco) is located in the middle of the widest avenue in the world, the outstanding 9 de Julio Avenue.
- Florida Street: A classic place to buy souvenirs and do a little shopping in Buenos Aires. In Florida street you’ll find all local products visitors love: Argentine leathers, chocolates and the world-renowned “alfajores”, tango music, football shirts, books and much more.
- Corrientes Street: It’s kind of a Broadway Avenue in Buenos Aires, with plenty of shining marquees, musical shows, old bookstores and traditional pizza places. One of the major streets in the city.
To finish this one day tour around Buenos Aires, you can relax having a craft beer in one of the many pubs of San Telmo, another trendy district in downtown area. However, if you have enough time, another good suggestion is visiting the Recoleta district, not far from downtown. There are several bus lines to Recoleta, mainly the line No. 37.
In Recoleta you’ll find several cool places to check out, such as the traditional Recoleta Cemetery, where the remains of the prominent Eva Perón are buried; the National Museum of Fine Arts, with paintings by renowned national and international artists like El Greco, Goya, Van Gogh, Degas or Gauguin; and the amazing Floralis Genérica, a giant flower-shaped sculpture made of metal, whose petals open and close depending on the time of the day.