Wander Or Bust: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Wander or Bust is an Elite Daily travel series that follows young women all over the globe to record their journeys as they experience the thrill of the far-flung and unknown.
They'll track their budgets, where they stay, where they eat and drink, and where they took that amazing Instagram that got them ~maximum exposure.~ The internet is full of travel advice, but none from women just like you. Read on for the tips no one else gives you, and when in doubt, get on the plane.
Here's Kaylin Pound's Wander Or Bust guide to Buenos Aires.
My Name: Kaylin Pound
What I Do: Freelance writer & entrepreneur
Where I Live: New York City, USA
Where I Went: Buenos Aires, Argentina
How Long I Stayed: 5 days, 4 nights
My Spending Style: Extravagant. I spend without consequence; I'd rather have a good time than be on a budget.
Where I Got My Recommendations:
I got my recommendations from TripAdvisor, travel blogs, as well as social media.
Exchange Rate At Time Of Travel: $1 USD = $22 ARS
What That Looks Like IRL: $50 USD = $1,135 ARS
Preferred Payment Method: I primarily used cash. While most businesses in Buenos Aires accept credit cards, I found that most of the taxis only accept cash, in either Argentine Pesos or US dollars.
Phone Bill: I signed up for an international plan, so it was only $50 more than usual.
Mode of Transport: Airplane, Business Class
Price: $6,500 (I found that a nonstop business class flight from New York to Buenos Aires tends to cost somewhere between $6,000 to $7,000.)
Extra Costs: The taxis to and from the airport totaled around $70 for New York and about $80 for Buenos Aires — leaving me with an extra $150 in expenses.
Transport Total: $6,650
Accommodation: Faena Hotel, a luxury hotel housed in a converted warehouse.
Location: Our hotel was housed in a converted warehouse, located in the middle of Puerto Madero, a newly revamped barrio on the waterfront that used to be an old port. The neighborhood is a lot more contemporary than other districts, with lots of new high-rise buildings and architecture, plus new shops and restaurants.
Extra Costs: Some of the extra costs included a tip for the bellhop and food/drinks from the mini bar. It’s customary to tip the bellhop a few dollars and most mini bar items cost a couple of bucks. Luckily, accommodations are tax-free for international visitors, so the 21 percent VAT Tax was waived from our bill.
Would I Recommend It To Someone Else:
Definitely! The Faena is an awesome hotel with a really chic, sultry vibe. It was designed by Philippe Starck and has a swanky decor (think: red velvet curtains, crystal chandeliers, swan-engraved chairs, and unicorn heads on the walls). Plus, they also have one of the coolest bathrooms I have ever seen. The hotel also has a few nice restaurants, a pool, a garden patio, a rooftop, a lounge, and a cabaret where you can watch tango performances.
Accommodation Total: $1,215
Breakfast-Lunch Cost: $25/day
Dinner Cost: $35/day
Average Total Cost: $60/day
Tip Situation: People generally leave a 10-15 percent tip at sit-down restaurants.
Argentina is known for steak and malbec, so you’ll find lots of steakhouses sprinkled throughout the city. As far as street food, empanadas and barbecue are really popular. The locals, known as Porteños, are also obsessed with a drink called yerba mate. It’s a loose leaf, tea-like beverage that’s packed with a ton of caffeine. Most people in Buenos Aires tend to eat pretty late, like 10 p.m.
Favorite Restaurant: Decata
I actually found this tiny cafe (which is located in the chic Palermo Hollywood neighborhood) while scrolling through Instagram and it looked so pretty, I was determined to track it down. It’s a gorgeous cafe that’s easily missed, as it’s tucked behind a long alleyway that opens up into a small courtyard.
There’s nothing better than having a really good cup of coffee while sitting in a beautiful, sunny courtyard that’s filled with gorgeous flora and little chirping birds. It was like heaven; I could have stayed there all day.
Location: Honduras 6100, 1425 CABA, Argentina
Food Total: $50
Once the sun goes down, Buenos Aires really comes to life. The Porteños are night owls (probably because of all the maté they drink) who love to party and dance, so there are lots of bars and clubs suited for every type of person. Plus, the city also has a lot of cool speakeasies and tons of milongas, or tango dance clubs, where you can tear up the dance floor. The locals like to kick things off pretty late here and rage on until sunrise. So, if you want to party like they do, the key is to pace yourself. Going out in BA is a marathon, not a sprint.
What People Wear Out:
People in Buenos Aires dress nice and always look polished. They typically wear chic, fashionable outfits when going out. Since a lot of the sidewalks are uneven, I found that it’s better swap out the stilettos for block heels or wedges so you don’t twist an ankle.
Average Cost Of A Pint: $3.50
Extra Cost To Know About: Transportation — the taxis are pretty inexpensive though, and cost between $5 and $10 a trip.
Last Call: Bars: 4 a.m.; Clubs: 7 a.m. Most people start heading out to the bars around 11 p.m. and most clubs don’t even open until 2 a.m. Once the party gets going, it rages all night.
Average Total Cost Of A Night Out: $40
Cheapest Bar I'd Actually Go Back To: The Temple Bar in Palermo Soho
It’s a cute bar with a pretty outdoor patio, good music, decent prices, and lots of happy hour specials.
Going Out Total: $40
What I Spent A Lot On That Was Totally Worth It:
I did an excursion to Bariloche and stayed at the Llao Llao hotel for a few days. It’s a few hours by plane from Buenos Aires, but it’s a great way to get a small glimpse of Argentina’s Patagonia. This stunning region has lots of crystal blue glacier lakes surrounded by beautiful mountains, so it’s a great place for hiking and outdoor activities. Plus, Bariloche also has really good chocolate and beer.
What I Spent A Lot On That Was Totally Not Worth It:
I can’t really think of anything off hand. I really enjoyed everything I did during my trip.
What I Spent Little Or No Money On That Was Awesome:
I went to Caminito in La Boca one morning. This cobblestone alley is a street museum that’s lined with bright, colorful shanty houses. The vibrant colors make it a great spot to take pictures. Around Caminito, you’ll also find tango dancers performing in the streets, lots of restaurants, and a street market that has everything from food and souvenirs to local artwork.
Favorite Thing I Did, Regardless Of Cost:
I think one of my favorite things was wandering around Recoleta cemetery. This massive cemetery contains thousands of elaborated carved statues and tombs that serve as the final resting place for many notable Argentines, including the infamous Eva Peron. However, unlike most graveyards, this one isn’t creepy. It almost feels like a small city of crypts that’s mysterious, fascinating, and magical in a way. Just make sure you grab a map at the entrance, it’s easy to get lost in here.
Hidden Gem I Found:
The Evita Museum has a beautiful terrace where you can sit down and have a glass of wine or a bite to eat.
The rose garden is another gem that doubles as a great place to take photos.
The Photo I Took That Got The Most Attention:
Excursions/Extras Total: $1,000
General Shopping: $0
Souvenirs: I’m not a big fan of knick-knacks so I don’t usually buy souvenirs when I travel. But my boyfriend has a sweet tooth and Bariloche is known for having really good chocolate, so I brought back a box for him.
Souvenirs/Shopping Total: $30
Best Buenos Aires Hack:
If you don’t know Spanish, it’s not a bad idea to pick up one of those little guide books with basic phrases or download a translation app. A lot of people in Buenos Aires don’t speak English.
Advice For Anyone Traveling Alone:
If you're by yourself, I probably wouldn’t visit La Boca after 6 p.m. It’s fine to go during the day, and it’s a really cool place that you should definitely check out. But that said, it can be a bit sketchy at night.
Total Trip Cost: $9,025
Worth It? Of course! It was a truly magical experience that I’ll always remember.