Visiting Buenos Aires in August, thoughts?

Pierre Smith

Mar 12, 2018
Hi all, I have a few questions about whether this plan is even feasible.

We are tentatively planning a trip to Buenos Aires (and area) from July 30 to August 14. We'll be a male/female white couple (~40) from the US, with twin 21 year old girls (asian) - all Americans from the San Francisco Bay Area. We don't want to visit to celebrate the girls' graduation from university, and that's the only time we can all get away, and we don't want to be anywhere hot (like Europe or Asia) during that time. So South America looks good. Only I will speak some Spanish, and not great Spanish at that. The wife and I are pretty seasoned travelers (Cuba, China, etc) but the girls are not very savvy. The plan is to visit BA for a few days (possibly with trips out of town), then to take the boat on a Monday to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay, and do Montevideo and a wine country tour in Uruguay before heading back on Thursday morning.

The big questions:

(1) How much of a problem will the Spanish deficiency be?
(2) What is the safest part of town to stay in an airbnb?
(3) What are some interesting trips out of town? La Plata?
(4) How safe is the Subte at night?
(5) Is it true that Argentines rarely eat vegetables? One of the girls is a vegetarian and all of the women will be very unhappy if they can't eat vegetables for a day or more.
(6) Which BA neighborhoods should be avoided absolutely?
(7) Are the money troubles over? I read that I can now simply use a bank card and don't need to use the black market to get pesos.
(8) Are bedbugs a problem?
(9) Safe areas for the girls to go alone?
(10) Safe areas to walk as a family at night?
(11) Are parks safe? At night?
(12) The weather should be reliably cool in early August, correct?

The small questions:

(1) Your favorite classic BA cafe? Brasserie? Bistro?
(2) Best shops to get ameri and wine? Like classics and also local/artisanal ameri.
(3) Lesser known regional Argentine restaurants?
(4) Can't miss places to visit that most tourists miss?
(5) Are credit cards more common now than during the crisis?
(6) Can we use our phones? Need sim card? Is internet worth a damn (many say not)?
(7) Is it uncomfortable to walk down the street as a woman (leering, whistling, propositions, staring, tongue gestures/gyrating hips/hip thrusts/asking for sex/other getting in your face)? The girls were in Paris last year and a lot of the guys were relentless, like following them for 100m+ begging them for whatever (granted, these were blacks and Arabs, not Latin Americans, but I've heard it can be bad in Latin America too).
(8) What's fun stuff to do? They'd love to take cooking classes, ride horses, eat and drink, and just generally take it all in. Any suggestions??

Thanks so much for any answers to any of these! It's very much appreciated!
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Sorry - we'd be visiting you to celebrate the girls' graduation, not sure how I blitzed through that. Also, I re-read what I wrote and it may sound a little snide, but I'm genuinely asking for your advice. I really want to visit Buenos Aires, but my wife wants to go somewhere more conventional like Montreal, Scotland, or Stockholm, because she's worried about the girls. I'm really hoping to present a great case to get us down there, so I really appreciate any help in that regard. Also appreciate a reality check if that's in order.
BsAs is a civilized western city. I don't mean to be rude, but some of your questions seem ridiculous. Get a guide book, BsAs is a wonderful city with good museums, some great restaurants, easy walking and good cheap transportation. Your girls will have a great time.
Last two weeks in July & the first two in August tend to be the coldest of the year.
Bring cold weather clothes. San Telmo Flea market is always a hoot. Only on Sunday. Weather permitting.
Defensa Street is closed off to traffic for about 20 blocks. The whole street turns into a giant street party.
Watch out for pick pockets. They're a plague. If you're of Asian decent you might visit Chinatown.
BA has a large Asian community, Korean & Japanese included.
The best day trip out of the city would be El Tigre. It's about an hour outside the city. easily accessible by train & bus.
It's the Delta area full of rowing & boating clubs. Have fun!.
BA is a dangerous place like any big city around the world. You might be mugged and killed in any moment in time. Remain home where you might be robbed and killed as well. The city is infested with Chinese crawling everywhere. BA offers more than you ever imagine with beautiful places, open minded people and cultural. good luck..
First, I am completely perplexed by what "ameri" is. Google it, and all I get is a traditional persian family name.

As Nancy said, get a current guidebook.
You are being told, somewhere, a lot of paranoid scare stories.

There is great food, its a world class city, and its safer than downtown Seattle. Or the Tenderloin.
My wife, who is 65, often walks, alone, after midnight, with no qualms.
We take the bus home from clubs at 4 am, and see more single women, alone, than I could imagine being out in any US city.
There are, certainly, a few dangerous neighborhoods, but the vast majority of the city is safer than the Bay Area.

Lots of vegetables.
and your daughter will find many great restaurants and markets to buy vegan and vegetarian food.

your biggest problem with your girls is going to be how many pairs of shoes they buy. extra baggage charges.

there are a lot of threads here you can read about places to go, things to see.

La Plata is probably not worth a day trip unless you have particular interests- for instance, there is a great natural history museum, a Corbusier house, and a pretty decent car museum, and the biggest cathedral in Argentina, but, I think you would have more fun with a day trip to San Antonio de Areco.
PS- never had my pocket picked, or seen a bedbug, in the last ten years.
Big city situational awareness is a good idea, especially on the subway or at major tourist attractions- ie, dont wear a rolex, or keep cash, credit cards, or passports in a backpack or purse. In your pocket. Large cameras are a snatch and grab attractor, just like in Madrid or Rome, but phone cameras are so good these days I dont think most people bother.

You will have fun.
You’ll be here when it’s cold and rainy. Like any foreign city, you just have to be aware of your surroundings and careful. It’s no more dangerous than Rome or Paris. I’ve never seen women hounded by men here. That may be particular to Italy and France and maybe other areas but not here.

I use my American visa card and my American Express card here routinely. I personally do not take the subte at night but I know people who do. I do occasionally take buses at night though. I’ve never had a problem.

For a Sim card you should contact the person on this forum called “Ben.” He is safe and reliable and can meet up with you when you arrive to get you situated. You can PM him and also ask him about other help you may need.

Palermo, Recoleta, Belgrano are all good areas to stay in. I live a little farther than Belgrano in Nunez and I love it. But it is farther from the central train station and maybe some of the things you’d like to see like the big cemetery.

You can probably limp along with minimal Spanish. You can use your phone for Google translate when you have to. If you have iPhones, be careful using them openly in public. They’re still a prime target of muggers.
One small clarification.
The Subte (subway) stops running at 23;00= 11 pm.
That is not "at night" in Buenos Aires.
That is early evening.

Nobody takes the Subte home from a dinner date or the club, because nobody goes home at 11. Many people are still putting on their party clothes at 11.
One of the things about Buenos Aires that makes it interesting is that restaurants will still have an hour wait at midnight, if they are popular, and, often, the band wont go on til 1:30. Most clubs dont start to fill up til 2.

You will be taking taxis "at night".
The subte is for during the day.