Making the most of your free time in Buenos Aires
Your private guide will show you the biggest sights, but Buenos Aires is a vast city and there’s plenty to explore in you free time. Here are some of our top suggestions.
Check out some art
With its long and proud history as a cultural capital, it goes without saying that Buenos Aires has some fabulous art galleries and museums. The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is the largest public collection in Latin America. It contains what is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most valuable collection of Argentine art in the world and it also has an excellent selection of works by global masters. Picasso, van Gogh, Gaugin, Modigliani and Pollock are all represented and there’s an entire room dedicated to Goya. Being a public gallery, entrance is free and there are even guided tours (in English) on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 1pm.
If modern art is more your bag, you should definitely check out the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires – or MALBA as it is known locally. The brainchild of Argentine billionaire Eduardo Constantini, MALBA has become one of the cornerstones of cultural life in Buenos Aires since its completion in 2001. It contains one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of contemporary Latin American art and the innovative building it’s housed in is an attraction in itself. It also has a thriving cultural program which stages art and film exhibitions and host literature workshops - check out the website for details of what's on when you're going to be in town.
Get some fresh air
Bearing in mind that it’s such an enormous city, Buenos Aires has a surprising amount of green space. We’ve blogged at length about the ecological wonder that is the Tigre Delta (to the North of the city), but Buenos Aires has another incredible green lung that’s just a stone’s throw from Puerto Madero, the trendiest hood in town. The Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve boasts a wonderful boardwalk, a plethora of no-nonsense ‘carritos’ selling burgers and choripanes (Argentina’s scrummy elevation of the hotdog), and a network of walking trails that takes around an hour to complete.
The reserve, which is closed on Mondays, is also a great place to go for a cycle (renting a bike is easy) and – with a whopping 320 species, including Rufescent Tiger-herons and White-faced Whistling-duck – it’s a birdwatcher’s paradise. If you’re after a little more than a brief respite from the hustle and bustle of the city, the following free tours are can be booked by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Guided tour of the reserve: On weekends and public holidays at 09.30 and 16.30.
- Full moon tours: Once a month on the Friday evening closest to full moon
- Birding tours: On the second Friday of every month at 9am
Catch a spot of opera
Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires’ emblematic opera hall, has been ranked the third best opera house in the world by National Geographic and Luciano Pavarotti himself rated its acoustics among the very best. Built between 1889 and 1908, Teatro Colón is perhaps the grandest memorial to an epoch when Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world and Buenos Aires was widely regarded as the Paris of the South.
In 2010 the Teatro Colón reopened after a painstaking 5-year restoration process, and the grand old dame is once again a sight to behold. Guided tours, which include a fascinating glimpse of the bowels of the building, are available 360 days a year, between 9 and 5pm. While tours are available in English and Spanish, it’s a good idea to book in advance if you require an English tour. Another fantastic way to see the opera house is to attend a concert: the fairly packed calendar includes ballet, orchestral and opera performances.
Credit to Roger Schultz for the cover image of this blog.