This is based solely on what I have done in the city, and so I‘m not going to list out every barrio there, as that would defeat the purpose of this.
Of the barrios I have been in, I will talk about Palermo, Recoleta, Retiro, Puerto Madero, San Nicholàs, San Telmo and La Boca.
The biggest barrio of central Buenos Aires, and probably the most upmarket, it is split into plenty of sub-barrios, including Palermo Hollywood, Palermo Queens, Palermo Viejo (old), Palermo Alto and Palermo Soho. Palermo Hollywood was named for its radio and TV stations located in the area, but is also a great district for bars, clubs and restaurants. Palermo Queens, otherwise known as Villa Crespo, isn‘t actually in Palermo, but just outside, I suppose like Queens is to Manhattan in New York, and I believe is an up and coming area in the city. While Hollywood and Soho contain most of the happening places in Palermo, Viejo is quieter, and has more of a Spanish feel. Palermo Alto is in the northeastern area, bordering on Recoleta, and contains a huge shopping mall that I believe is the biggest in the city. Last but not least, Soho is, similar to Hollywood, a trendy, hipster area, containing well dressed, possibly up-themselves people, nice cafes, clothing stores and yoga-yogurt bars. OK screw that they are up-themselves.
I actually stayed most of my first week in the city in various hostels in Palermo, and despite it being the party central, the hostels were more focused on chilling out, so I didn‘t really meet anyone or go out when I was there. I enjoyed being there though, and had this Bife de Chorizo (steak) at one of the restaurants.
Having been back to Palermo Alto, which contains the great MALBA (museo Americano Latino de Buenos Aires) and other attractions, I‘ve rekindled a bit of day time love for Palermo.
Law School in Palermo Alto.
Pretty much the most affluent and arguably best looking area of the city. Parts look incredibly European (so maybe it truly represents the European feeling Buenos Aires), and its main tourist attraction, the Cemetery, is pretty incredible. A huge walled area, it is free to enter and walk around in, and surprisingly isn‘t packed with people most of the time. This means you can achieve complete peace away from the hustle and bustle of a big city like BA, and also enjoy looking at graves! It may seem weird but is actually quite nice, as many of the mausoleums are beautifully designed in Gothic styles. Sometimes a former famous face peers out at you, sometimes it’s an Angel or Greek adonis of some kind, either way it’s very tempting to peer through the glass and see the coffin’s lying inside.
There is as well the grave of Eva Peron, former actress and heroic first lady of Argentina (Madonna made a movie about her), who still is revered in these parts.
It was in Recoleta that I also saw the incredible Fuerza Bruta show, but I‘ll get to that at a later date.
Hmm, I don‘t quite know why I included this area in this, as there’s nothing to do here. Effectively it is where the bus station is, and you get a taxi to here and from here whenever you need to get a bus to somewhere in Argentina. Maybe because it’s next to…
I kind of feel like this place is like the Isle of Dogs in London, where Canary Wharf is. This is where the big high rise offices and apartments are, and juts out into the Rio de La Plata (River Plate- body of water outside BA and between Argentina and Uruguay).
There‘s also an area between the city on the mainland and the island which contains some nice restaurants and old ships to look at.
One of the central barrios of BA (I mean really central, where governmental stuff goes on), it contains some of the bigger avenidas in the city, and therefore is a decently big shopping and eating area, as well as where most of the big hostels are at, shared with Montserrat, the barrio right next to it. One of the streets inside it is Calle Florida, Florida Street, where money changing takes place. A walk down here will take about 25 minutes, and within that time you‘ll hear at least 100 ‘cambio’s, from people offering to change you dollars to the weak Argentinian peso. I have actually done this a couple of times, but it feels kind of dirty and shady, and I prefer using an online system, Azimo, where you just pick up money you send here from a bank. It does kind of get annoying getting shouted at multiple times by the same person, despite the fact you clearly don’t want to change money, but fortunately there’s not much pulling me to Florida Street.
This barrio feels like it should be really expensive to live in, but I‘ve heard its not. It has a kind of understated Palermo feel, which is nice, and has a really big art museum and huge market on Sundays, as well as loads of cafes and little book stores. So there’s enough to do. Don’t think I have a picture of this on Facebook yet (as this is where I draw my pictures for this) but I’ll be heading there on Sunday for the market, so I’ll get some then.
Well I certainly had an experience here. Recommended by a friend, I decided to take my camera and just walk around. I was immediately struck by the roughness of the area. High council estates and run down shops populate much of La Boca, and judging by the dirty looks I was getting from people, I quickly realized I may have made a mistake coming here. At one point I saw a guy riding his bike with a handgun stuck in the back of his shorts, and by the time I was stopped by a police man telling me to get out, I had got the point. I managed to get into Caminito (little walk), a touristy street where you can eat and watch a tango show, and from there made my way to the Bombadera, the stadium of Boca Juniors, one of the two favourite teams in BA (including River Plate). Everywhere in the east of the city, especially in La Boca, are murals and graffiti depicting people‘s love for Boca, and I hope to catch a match the next time I’m in the city, as while many of the fans are undoubtedly criminals, their reputation for passion for their team precedes them.
The two passions in La Boca: Tango and Football.
Well I hope that was an interesting look at some of the main barrios of Buenos Aires. I don‘t think that I have a favorite, as each has their merits and drawbacks. Saying that, I’d say living in Palermo, maybe in Alto, or maybe in San Telmo, wouldn’t be such a bad life.