Having noticed that there aren't as many travel tips available for Buenos Aires than say...London, CAPA Alumna Claire Shrader shares her recommendations for those interested in studying abroad in Buenos Aires.
When you go to London, they tell you to eat the fish and chips. When you go to Spain, they tell you to enjoy the paella and book the cheap RyanAir flights around Europe. So, then, what must you eat, do, and explore in Buenos Aires? I’m here with a few of the best.
To eat, drink, and be merry:
1. Café con leche
Cafe con Leche
Buenos Aires has an amazing café culture, and you’ll find people enjoying café con leche, the most delicious coffee concoction you’ve ever had, over merienda (afternoon snack) at around 5:00pm, or at 1:00 in the morning after they’ve dined on pizza and empanadas, or to start off their workday. Whatever the hour, the creamy blend of bold espresso and sweet cream is unlike any latte I’ve had stateside. Argentine café con leche wins the coffee contest. There are many places to enjoy this drink, but I found that my favorite was Alma Café, a gorgeous café located in Retiro Station, just a ten-minute walk from CAPA’s center. While you’re there, enjoy their medialunas (croissants). I dubbed Alma’s medialunas the best in the city!
2. La pizza fugazetta.
Pizzeria El Fortin
Argentine pizza is famous in its own right, and different than any I’ve ever had. Sometimes they put hard boiled eggs on it, sometimes smoked ham, and sometimes, just onions. Yes, you read that right. There is a pizza that consists entirely of onions. If you’re anything like me, that makes your mouth water. The fugazetta pizza was hands down my favorite Argentine pizza. My favorite place to eat it? Well, there are many, but my favorite is a little off the beaten path. El Fortin Pizzeria. About a 45-minute bus ride from el centro, but well worth the ride for the mom and pop, locally owned, artisanal pizza.
1. Villa Crespo
My friend and I at El Mercado de las Pulgas
Palermo is often the number one spot with students, and I’m not saying Palermo isn’t amazing—IT SO IS—but Villa Crespo has a charm all its own. It’s on the border of Palermo (often called Palermo Queens), but hasn’t been overrun by tourists yet, so its cobbled stones streets still maintain some calm, and feel more authentic. There are a lot of great spots to eat or drink, and it’s popular among young artists. I volunteered at a tango class for people with Parkinson’s in Fundación Tango, a really neat café to sit and watch real tango classes, to partake in one, or, like I did, to find a uniquely Argentine place to volunteer. Another cool attraction in Villa Crespo is El Mercado de Las Pulgas, a massive antiques store. I visited with a friend, and could have spent hours roaming the place. Visit Villa Crespo for a taste of the more authentic Buenos Aires.
2. The running paths
A running path in Buenos Aires.
For all the delicious food, you might expect Argentines to be obese. They aren’t, though, and BA is a very active city. Rarely did I walk the streets without seeing multiple dog walkers, runners, and bike riders. My friend Sophie and I took advantage of this trend and started running together, exploring the trails close to us and seeing which we liked best. Ultimately, we decided to run in the neighborhood around MALBA, the art museum, typically taking a bus to MALBA and beginning our run there. It was a popular spot for runners, and gave a wide variety of scenery: the cityscape around MALBA, a small park right next door, as well as a massive dog park and outdoor gym just a couple blocks away. We looped through all three, and usually walked back to our homestays, just 20 minutes away. It was fun to engage in that part of Buenos Aires culture, and we found our endurance was WAY higher there than here…proof that scenery does make a big difference! There are so many great ways to exercise in BA, I really encourage you to take advantage of them.
I could go on and on…Buenos Aires is truly a treasure, and if you look a little deeper than your average trip advisor ratings, you can find some really unique, authentic ways to explore. Your experience will be amazing, whether you choose to run, antique shop, or café hop while in BA!
Claire Shrader was an official CAPA blogger for spring 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Pre-Occupational Therapy major at Mississippi College, she is studied abroad in Buenos Aires, and has continued to share her post-study abroad reflections on the CAPA Blog.
Read more from Claire's journey.