Discovering the charm of Buenos Aires on a shoestring budget

Posted on 2 October 2023 By Tsoku Maela

Buenos Aires, Argentina, often draws comparisons to its European counterpart, Paris, with its stunning architecture and cosmopolitan atmosphere. However, unlike Paris, which is often associated with high-end shopping and splurging, Buenos Aires offers budget-friendly travel experiences that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the city’s charm and culture without breaking the bank.

Here’s a list of cost-free activities in Buenos Aires that will help you connect with the city and its people, making your visit both enjoyable and affordable:

Colorful Apartments on Caminito Street. Picture: Getty Images

San Telmo Flea Market

Located in Plaza Dorrego, the San Telmo neighbourhood hosts a lively flea market every Sunday from 10 a.m. to around 5 p.m. Visitors can explore a wide array of items, including home furnishings, books, art pieces, clothing, and jewellery. Street performers and tango dancers add to the market’s vibrant atmosphere, while local street food vendors offer a taste of Argentina’s culinary delights. It can get crowded, so arriving early and keeping an eye on your belongings is advisable.

La Recoleta Cemetery

For those seeking a touch of spookiness and history, La Recoleta Cemetery is a must-visit. With over 6,400 marble mausoleums featuring diverse architectural styles, this cemetery is the final resting place for influential figures, including former presidents and entertainers. One of the most famous graves belongs to Eva Peron, Argentina’s former First Lady. The mysterious story of Rufina Cambaceres, who is also buried here, adds to the intrigue, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur

Escape the bustling city near Puerto Madero at the Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur, a 350-hectare nature reserve. Here, you can immerse yourself in the beauty of nature while still seeing skyscrapers in the distance. Birdwatchers will delight in spotting over 300 bird species, while animal lovers can encounter iguanas and river turtles. Visitors can choose to relax with a picnic, go for a bike ride, or take a leisurely stroll while capturing the park’s beauty with a camera.

Casa Rosada (The Buenos Aires Pink Presidential Palace)

Also known as the Pink Presidential Palace, Casa Rosada is home to the presidential offices and sits on the eastern Plaza de Mayo. It’s an excellent spot for curious travellers to capture the palace’s stunning exterior and witness the changing of the guard. For a more immersive experience, free one-hour guided tours of the Presidential office, Eva Peron’s balcony, the stained-glass gallery, and the Hall of Honor are available on weekends.

Feria De Mataderos

Every Sunday from March to December, the Mataderos neighbourhood hosts a free cultural fair that showcases gauchos, traditional folk music, art, and regional cuisine. This 1800s tradition features gauchos in cowboy outfits performing horseback tricks. Visitors can enjoy traditional music like Zambas and Chacareras and savour regional delicacies, including empanadas, a savoury corn and meat stew while browsing through stalls and immersing themselves in an authentic Argentinian experience.

El Caminito

Named after a famous tango song, El Caminito in La Boca is a vibrant street known for its brightly painted houses. These colourful corrugated sheet shacks, representing the homes of port workers, add to the neighbourhood’s character. Tourists flock here to capture images of Diego Maradona, Carlos Gardel, Eva Peron, and Che Guevara cartoon figures adorning the balconies. While visiting the street is free, there may be a small fee for taking pictures with performers and props.

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