Hi everyone! I’m back after a little hiatus. College life has caught up to me and I seriously haven’t had the chance to sit down and write anything. Lots has been going on and I’m about to leave for my semester abroad in Italy where I hope to document every aspect of my travels while exploring Europe! To kick off two months before I leave, I want to revisit my summer travels in Argentina, an amazing adventure for my first time in South America.
Argentina is a rich country full of culture and vibrance. I had the opportunity to explore all sides of the country from the tropical paradise of Iguazu Falls on the northern border, to the Patagonian tundra and the spirited metropolis of Buenos Aires. Starting with the city, Buenos Aires is massive with many different neighborhoods that harness different environments and cultures. Like any cosmopolitan city, there’s your trendy quarter (Palermo), the bourgeois strong held (Recoleta), a boho artist dwelling neighborhood (San Telmo), and colorful working class neighborhoods (La Boca). What makes Buenos Aires such a delight to walk around is that each of these unique areas feels like a different city with their own cultures, arts and atmospheres. I relished walking around each area and discovering the little quirks while enriching myself through the Argentinian culture.
A must see and highlight of the city is the Recoleta Cemetery, a world famous cemetery that is unlike any other. The cemetery is quite literally a city for the dead (think of a village of tiny house mausoleums), allowing you to easily get lost with intrigue among the mass of uniquely designed tombs. The park that surrounds the walled cemetery is perfect for people watching and soaking in the Argentinian culture. Street musicians and tango performers are abundant. Sitting outside sipping a latte at an alfresco cafe is an ideal way to watch the vibrant scene of the large park. On the weekends, a large local craft market sets itself up around the cemetery. Browse the local artisan stalls full of unique crafts and get lost once again in the central highlighting park/cemetery of the Recoleta neighborhood.
Palermo Soho and Hollywood reflect their namesakes, being the “trendy” neighborhoods. Younger and colorful, they offer fun steakhouses or parrillas and many nice boutiques for shopping. Don Julio and La Carnicería are two popular and delicious options that were highlighting meals of my trips (both in the Soho neighborhood). The strong dollar and weaker local currency makes shopping a thrill in Argentina (take advantage people!) and some of the best and nicest Argentinian labels are located in Soho. For a break from shopping, stroll into a local cafe and enjoy the slow art of sipping an Argentinian coffee (preferably with a football game in the background).
The La Boca neighborhood is the grittier working-class neighborhood with colorful architecture and street art that reflects the vibrant pride and culture of the people. The vibe along the small streets is definitely touristy, but the buildings are interesting to observe and provide for great instagram opportunities (sorry, photo-opts). Fun and fascinating street art can be found all over Buenos Aires, but the best can be found in the more seedier areas such as La Boca which drawls tourists.
San Telmo claims to be the birthplace of tango and now boast a number of funky markets and gentrified streets. Many of the building were old “palaces” back in the day and it is interesting to tour the courtyards and balconies of the old dwellings since many have become stores, galleries or apartments. Foodies can delight in the San Telmo Mercado, an indoor market full of gourmet street food and antiques. Make a day searching for leather treasures and enjoying freshly baked empanadas.
Outside the metropolis of Buenos Aires lays a vastly diverse landscaped country. Iguazu Falls borders Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay in the tropics and is the widest system of falls in the world. The boat tour is truly a thrill ride that heads straight into the falls. You get the best views from the boat down below, but there is also a whole network of hiking trails up and around the falls that allow you to enjoy the nature and wildlife of the subtropical forest. The falls are unlike anything I have ever seen and really take your breath away.
There are few places in the world where one can ski in August. Argentina is one of them. Venture to Patagonia to explore a winter playground. Bariloche, a town about 15 minutes from the Cerro Cathedrale ski resort, is modeled after Swiss ski towns and is situated right on the edge of a massive lake. The desolate landscape of Patagonia along with the lake country makes the Bariloche area breathtaking and unlike the mountain of the northern hemisphere. The country also allows visitors to take advantage of local produce, showcasing the best steaks and Malbecs for a very reasonable price.
That’s it for the summer travels! Stay tuned for my adventures abroad, traveling across Italy and Europe!