5 reasons to love Buenos Aires

Don't cry for Fiona Fraser - I sent her to Argentina's rich and colourful capital!
Buenos Aires

There’s so much more to Buenos Aires than Eva Perón and bullfighting. It’s one of the most vibrant cities on the planet – and when Air New Zealand starts flying direct from Auckland in December, it’ll be more accessible than ever.

San Telmo Market

Plan your trip to Buenos Aires around a weekend so you can experience the wonders of the San Telmo Market.

Cloistered within one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city, this indoor-outdoor market is 13 blocks of antiques, knick-knacks, jewellery, vintage leather jackets, retro LPs, linens, ceramics, puppets and street performers. It’s a really great time. The best stands are to be found closest to the indoor bazaar. Bring cash, a spare suitcase to ship everything home in and walking shoes.

Offally good

If ever you were tempted by an animal’s innards but were too scared to try them, this is the place to do so because they know how to cook meat. My travel buddies and I ate lunch at La Brigada, also located in San Telmo. It’s an old-school steakhouse born in the 1970s, with career waiters at your service and a chef who will whip up a plate of sweetbreads that melt in your mouth.

Don’t forget to try the bife de chorizo, which is not a spicy sausage, but in fact a slab of meat so tender, it can be sliced with a dessert spoon.


Don’t just watch – get involved! My advice is to avoid the tacky tourist traps around La Boca and spend your money instead at one of the much more worthwhile dinner-and-dance events around the city. My group visited Gala Tango, where we were treated to a tasty meal and wonderful, very sexy dancing. It’s all perfect, apart from an overwhelmingly cheesy but very patriotic finale featuring “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” at high volume.

Thank goodness for the copious alcohol which I think is the Argentine way, although having said that, you can’t buy alcohol for 48 hours prior to a general election here. Voting, if little else, is a sober business.

Wine, food, sexy dancing – what’s not to love about this corner of the world?


It might sound bizarre to say that one of the highlights of Argentina is its neighbour, but a trip to the astoundingly beautiful town of Colonia – population 22,000, accessible via river ferry from the port in Buenos Aires – is a must. Not least for the wine. There are seven wineries in Colonia out of 270 Uruguay-wide, which isn’t bad for a country with a smaller population than New Zealand.

You can hire a golf cart by the hour to get you around the town with its quaint cobbled streets and crumbling buildings, cloaked in bougainvillea, or get a driver to take you further into the lush hills. We spent a few hours with the wonderful Lucia Dicenso – the young female winemaker at Los Cerros de San Juan – where we sampled a fair bit of the locally grown variety, called Tannat. It’s a dark, jammy, berry-flavoured red – delicious with the local hams and cheeses we tried.


From glamorous socialites decked out in diamonds with balls of fluff on leads, to the ubiquitous dog walkers, or paseadores de perros, handling up to 20 spoiled pooches at one time, to sleepy dogs napping in doorways, canines are loved and revered in Buenos Aires.

If you’re a dog lover, donate your leftover pesos to one of the wonderful city collectives that take care of the battalion of friendly local strays. They’re fed, watered and taken for regular vet treatments. Locals believe strays make the best pets.

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