Buenos Aires was the first stop on our South American adventure. We spent our first THREE months there! The tough part about our time in Buenos Aires was finding inexpensive or free activities. Since it was our first stop, it was important to watch where our money was going. The thing about Buenos Aires is that it felt like every time we stepped out the door that money would fly out of our wallets. A lot of activities geared towards tourists are super pricey and not authentic. I started looking for inexpensive and authentic activities. Here are my favorites!
1. Eating Choripán con Provoleta in Puerto Madero
Choripán is a typical South American sandwich made with grilled chorizo sausage served on a crunch bread roll. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried it with grilled provolone cheese (Provoleta). I like to add chimichurri sauce and fresh jalapenos, but different places have a variety of toppings to choose from. The best places to get choripán is from a food truck. We liked to visit the Puerto Madero neighborhood across from the “Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve”, where one can find dozens of food trucks serving cheap choripán and other local sandwiches. Puerto Madero is an awesome port neighborhood that has been revitalized in recent years and is a fun area to explore.
2. Tango Show
No visit to Buenos Aires is complete without seeing a tango show. Tango was born in Buenos Aires’ working-class port neighborhoods. Today, you can still sit in Plaza Dorrego sipping a latte and watch the tango dancers perform. There are dinner tango shows all over the city and from what I’ve heard, it is a sort of tourist trap. The experience is expensive, the food is not that great, but the tango performances are breathtaking. If you would rather skip the dinner and just see a wonderful show for a reasonable price, check out Centro Cultural Borges for their Bien de Tango Show. It is a fantastic experience that many locals enjoy for just a fraction of the cost of the other shows.
3. Fuerza Bruta
This show cannot be missed! Fuerza Bruta is a mesmerizing live music performance and aerial show that is truly unique. Fuerza Bruta originated in Buenos Aires, is running Off-Broadway in New York, and has been performed all over the world. Besides the incredible immersive experience Fuerza Bruta offers, it’s also easy on the wallet, only costing about $20 USD a ticket. Afterwards, we grabbed drinks at a nearby speakeasy called Florería Atlántico, which looks like a cute little flower shop from the outside. Once in the flower shop, you walk through a hidden door that looks like cooler and into the basement to find a awesome little nautical bar serving good drinks, food, and atmosphere.
4. Recoleta Cemetery
Recoleta Cemetery is one of Buenos Aires most known attractions. Stretching over several city blocks, The Recoleta Cemetery is a well maintained, massive and magnificent burial grounds for Argentina’s former rich, famous and military elite. As we wandered through the labyrinth of mausoleums, we noticed that tombs ranged from simple to lavish. Crafted out of granite, bricks, and stone, many of the mausoleums feature beautiful wrought iron gates, sculptures and stained glass windows. If you are ever visiting Buenos Aires, I highly recommend visiting the Recoleta Cemetery, especially around dusk. It is free to visit the mausoleum and they offer free tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 am in English. For free tours in Spanish, visit on Tuesdays and Fridays at 11 am and 3 pm.
5. Parrilla Asado
Argentineans love their meat, especially steak! They eat it with almost every meal. In Argentina, steaks are mostly cooked Asado style, on a parrilla grill. The meat is top quality and the cooking technique creates such a depth of flavor in the steak that only chimichurri sauce accompanies such a tasty steak. If you are a steak lover, then you will be in steak heaven in Buenos Aires. Best of all, the cost of steaks in Argentina are very inexpensive, even at nice restaurants.
6. La Boco
La Boca is working class barrio (neighborhood) situated at the mouth of the Matanza-Riachuelo River. La Boca is also known for its brightly colored building and street art in the Caminito and their fútbol stadium ‘La Bombonera’. La Boca is worth the visit even though it’s jammed with tourist and the restaurateurs can be a little pushy. Though this neighborhood is a major tourist destination, it’s important to not to stay there too late. It can be dangerous at night.
7. San Telmo Market
Every Sunday on Avenue Defensa the Feria de San Telmo takes place. Feria de San Telmo is an outdoor street fair with hundreds of vendors selling beautiful antiques, unique souvenirs, and art. At the Plaza Dorrego, there are typically tango dancers and other creative street performers including windblown living statues and reggae bands. Throughout the fair there are street food vendors selling tasty treats likes churros, burritos, roasted nuts, dulce de leche filled crepes, grilled sausage sandwiches and empanadas. It’s definitely a fun way to spend your Sunday in Buenos Aires and find some inexpensive gems.
8. Argentine Cooking Class
One of the best experiences I had in Buenos Aires, was taking an Argentine Cooking Class with Norma. We learned how to make and eat traditional food like empanadas, lentil stew and alfajores. We got to drink Mate tea and two Argentinean wines, Malbec and Torrontes. Overall it was a fun afternoon learning about Argentine’s food culture. It might be a little bit more of splurge that the other things on this list, but it’s worth every penny.
9. Opera Show at Teatro Colon
Teatro Colon is one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world. Tickets to the opera range from $15 USD to $500. We only had a partial view of the stage so if I had to do it over again, I probably would have spent the extra money for better seats. If the opera is not your thing, you can still tour the theater during the day.
10. Explore Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is an international and local art museum in the Recoleta neighborhood. We spent the afternoon taking in the renaissance, baroque, impressionism, and naturalism paintings, statues, and artifacts from all over the world including famous works of art from Monet, Van Gogh, Manet, and Rembrandt. A great way to spend a rainy afternoon and best of all it’s free! Also check out the nearby Floralis Genérica statue.
What's your favorite budget friendly travel activity?
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