Tips & Fun Facts:
These may be a little outdated since I lived there between 2009-2010, but I think it’s useful to know that:
- Buenos Aires has a weird shortage of coins. Try to keep change on you because at least when I was there, buses only accepted coins. You would see huge queues of people lining up outside banks in the morning to try and get change.
- ‘Boludo‘ is probably one of the most frequently used words, by everyone. It basically means idiot, but is used affectionately all round, so don’t get offended. ‘Che‘ is the other one, which is their way of saying mate.
- People from the Capital are called porteños. Their accent is also quite peculiar, as they pronounce the ‘ll’ and the ‘y’ as a ‘sh’. So they’ll say for example (phonetically) ‘Sho estoy shendo’ instead of ‘yo estoy yendo’.
- Do not wonder into little alleys at night – there are so many teenage gangs who carry weapons. Many of my friends were held and robbed with a knife pointed at them. Pickpockets are ruthless in this city.
- Buenos Aires was literally founded by the Italians and the Spaniards, hence you may well notice that the Argentines are a mix of both cultures, every single taxi driver I met had a grandmother or grandfather from Italy. However, in my opinion, unfortunately the country has kind of been left with some of the worst of these two cultures: it is very corrupt, people are super loud, the city is chaotic and people drive like LUNATICS. On the plus side: the food is amazing (strong Italian influence) people are open and very friendly, they look very European and they seem to love foreigners.
- Fernet Branca is STRONG. You may hate it at first, but I can almost guarantee that you’ll get used to that stuff and it’s something like 45% alcohol. They usually drink is with Coca-Cola – this may sound weird but even though Fernet is originally Italian, they have made this their National drink.
- Check any notes you are given as change for fakes. There is a massive fake money market going on and you can sometimes lose a lot of money if you are given a fake big bill.
- Much of Buenos Aires mirrors Madrid. You walk around some areas and you could literally be in Madrid – the huge park is like Retiro, including the lake with the little rowing boats. I’d say Buenos is the most Westernised city I saw in Latin America. If one were blindfolded and dropped there, I’m not 100% sure that one would be able to say they’re in South America.
- There are several cool markets: on Sunday in San Thelmo you have a huge market that sells vintage and new things, just like El Rastro in Madrid, but it also has live music and dancing. There is also a cool market in Recoleta and in Palermo on a Saturday and Sunday they empty all the bars in Plaza Serrano and fill them with clothes by young designers.
- Reggateon music is played everywhere, so you may as well just learn some of the words and get into it 🙂
- EVERYTHING in terms of food can be ordered to deliver. Pizza, pasta, steak, McDonalds, ice cream.. literally anything, including alcohol can be ordered to your doorstep. Watch it, as you may end up like me, going home with an extra 8kg (and I’m not talking about the luggage…).
- You’ll eat some of the best steak in your life here. Their typical way of cooking it is with an asado meaning a BBQ, where the meat slowly cooks via the smoke produced.
- You’ll never be able to cross the whole Avenida 9 de Julio without eventually having to sprint. With it’s 14 lanes it’s just too damn massive. I tried.
- Polo is massive out there and people love it. It’s also a fun day out, like going to the races over here.
- They have a pill called RESACA, meaning HANGOVER. It is an absolute lifesaver.