Let’s cover the monuments we must see at the famous Plaza de Mayo square when sightseeing Buenos Aires. Located in the Barrio Montserrat, Plaza de Mayo has been and is witness to Argentinean history.
The Plaza de Mayo, officially “Plaza 25 de Mayo”, in commemoration of the date of the Revolution that led to the resignation of the Spanish Viceroy and the establishment of the First Junta de Gobierno Patrio. Founded by Juan de Garay back in 1580, this square has definitely witnessed the history of Argentina. A location for mass demonstrations, right across from Argentina’s key government buildings. If you are visiting Buenos Aires, you will want to walk around and check out the following buildings and monuments.
The Casa Rosada – the equivalent to the White House in DC – situated right across from the Plaza de Mayo.
Plaza de Mayo and its Buildings
The Cabildo, located in Bolivar and Av. De Mayo, right in front of the Plaza de Mayo, saw within its walls these historical events that concluded with the emancipation of the Spanish crown and the beginning of the development of a nation. The Revolution of May 1810, took place in this building where the first open town hall was held. Its construction began in 1682, and completed 200 years later. In 1940, the architect Mario Buschiazzo reconstructed the aspect of the colonial Town hall, based on diverse historical documents.
The monument to Manuel Belgrano in Plaza de Mayo
Equestrian statue of General Manuel Belgrano, off Balcarce street across from the Casa Rosada, in Plaza de Mayo.
Cabildo de Buenos Aires.
The Plaza de Mayo, Hipólito Yrigoyen Avenue
The Casa Rosada, the May Pyramid or Pyramid de Mayo, and the dome of the Municipal Palace in the background seen from Hipólito Yrigoyen Avenue
Plaza de Mayo, Balcarce Street
View of the pedestrian area of Balcarce Street, Casa Rosada on the right and the Argentine National Bank in the background
The Argentine National Bank
Home to the Banco Nación, the main bank of Argentina, and the official public and national bank. In this building operated the first Colón Theater or National Opera House between 1857 and 1888. Project by the architect Alejandro Bustillo, built between 1940 and 1955. This is a magnificent construction, an outstanding example of the institutional architecture of the mid-twentieth century in Argentina.
The Plaza de Mayo has been witness to Argentina’s history.
The Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires (of the Holy Trinity)
Incredible building of atypical neoclassical architecture – for a Church – with Greco influences. It sits on the corner of San Martín and Rivadavia streets. The original Catholic Cathedral was built in the XVIII century, the last one dates from the XX century. The portico was made in 1822 by Prospero Catelin and Pierre Benoit, inspired by the Palais Bourbon in Paris. The remains of the Liberator General San Martin lie here with eternal flames.
The Pyramid of 1811 in Plaza de Mayo
Built to commemorate the first anniversary of the May Revolution (la Revolución de Mayo), right at the center of the Plaza de Mayo.
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There are so many places to visit in Argentina and today we will discover Puerto Madero.
Puerto Madero is a neighborhood in Buenos Aires, whose streets pay homage to outstanding women in Argentina’s history, born out of the recovery of 170 hectares of land via a project that soon became an exclusive residential, gastronomic and business hub of the City and definitely, one of the places to visit in Argentina.
Places to Visit in Argentina – Puerto Madero
Puerto Madero and its History
By the end of the 19th century, the authorities decided to provide the city with adequate port facilities. Eduardo Madero’s proposal, which planned the location of the port in the area surrounding Plaza de Mayo, was passed by the Argentine Congress in 1882. The facilities were eventually inaugurated in 1897. And the red brick warehouses, which have become the landmark of this District, were built.
Puerto Madero Red Brick Buildings – Courtesy CVG All rights reserved
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Costanera Avenue, one of the favorite promenades of the city dwellers and a favorite location for many famous steak houses for decades, was opened, together with the Municipal Riverside Resort. But the area was not maintained and had deteriorated and in 1989 the Government decided to rescue the old port area and integrate the city with the Rio de la Plata River. And this is how the neighborhood Puerto Madero was born.
Why is Puerto Madero one of the Places to visit in Argentina?
Besides its fantastic steak houses and worldwide renowned restaurants and night life, Puerto Madero has architectural characteristics that differentiate it from other neighborhoods in Buenos Aires.
On the sides of the water surfaces, a series of lower buildings provide equipment and life to the public walk. It offers parks open to the seafront line, parallel to each one of the docks. An architecturally interesting pedestrian bridge spans the harbor called “El Puente de la Mujer” or the Woman’s Bridge.
The Puente de la Mujer bridge
You cannot miss visiting the BUQUE MUSEO FRAGATA SARMIENTO docked at Avenida Alicia Moreau de Justo 980 – Dique 3 – Oeste (tel. 4334-9386) http://www.ara.mil.ar/pag.asp?idItem=112 or attend the ROJO TANGO SHOW at Martha Salotti 445 – Faena Hotel + Universe (tel. 5787-1636) firstname.lastname@example.org/ – http://www.rojotango.com/
You will enjoy walking around Puerto Madero’s wide boardwalk both during the day and in the evening. The area is calm, modern and a haven from the busy Buenos Aires’ streets. There is a large choice of restaurants which makes it an easy choice for meals or a “cafecito”.
We highly recommend making Puerto Madero one of your places to visit in Argentina on your next trip!
Puerto Madero Waterfront Art – Courtesy CVG – All rights reserved
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After the 2001 economic collapse, Argentina went from being one of South America’s most expensive cities to the cheapest almost overnight. Nearly 10 years later, the dollar is still strong against the Argentine peso, making vibrant Buenos Aires (known as the “Paris of South America”) a cosmopolitan city that is just as affordable as it is beautiful. Unlike most Latin American cities, it has a distinctly European flair — not only because of the French-style architecture seen throughout, but in the beauty of its people who, only a few generations ago, were immigrants of mostly Italian and Spanish origins.
It’s a mystery how Argentines maintain their fit physiques considering the gastronomic specialties of the region are beef and wine. There are tons of restaurants to choose from, and a typical steak dinner for two including wine, appetizer, main dish, dessert, and coffee can run for as little as $50, however, the cuts and quality of meat are far likely to exceed that of a New York steakhouse. Most restaurants offer local wines at a fraction of the cost of what they’re sold for outside the country. Dinnertime starts around 10 p.m., but the real nightlife begins after midnight and lasts well into the early hours of the morning. Although people are very fashionable, dress is informal, so you can trade in your suit and tie for a more business-casual wardrobe.
WHY YOU SHOULD LIVE IN BUENOS AIRES IN 2009
Rising reputation for expat living, affordability
In 2008, Travel and Leisure rated Buenos Aires No. 2 on their list of World’s Best Cities. Although the city is a great place to visit, in 2009 it’s an even better place to live. It is home to a vibrant expat community and it’s an excellent place to lay low during the dramatic financial crisis without sacrificing your lifestyle.
Speaking Spanish is not a prerequisite for living in Buenos Aires as many Argentines are fluent in English and are willing to practice their language skills with foreigners. Whether you’re looking to get back up on your feet and reinvent yourself — learn a new language, cultivate some new interests — or simply ride out the financial storm in an environment where the dollar is strong and life is easy, Buenos Aires is the city for you.
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Visitor finds goods to admire, sand to be mired in, turns that cause gasps and views almost too stunning to grasp.
TRAVELING in this province is rough. Even on a guided tour and traveling in comfortable vans and cars, I encountered bumps. I bounced over miles of unpaved road, got stuck in a tour van in treacherous sand, gasped in fear at steep drops and sharp switchbacks, and gave up sleep for days that started before dawn and ended too late for dinner.
Argentina Travel – Salta – Balconies
But every bit of discomfort was worthwhile, because Salta’s scenery is spectacular. The remote, crescent-shaped province in northwestern Argentina has dramatic gorges that stretch for miles, mountains that show off brilliant mineral hues and castle-like rock formations, green fields, cactus-strewn desert and treeless tundra so high that the clouds float far below.
Much of this province is uninhabited. Llamas roam free. Wild burros munch scraggly plants and nose at water seeping through rocks. Condors circle overhead.
I first heard about Salta while touring in Argentina’s Mendoza wine country, where I tasted Torrontés, a lovely floral white wine unique to Salta. One sip and I wanted to visit the region to learn more about the wine.
So I came here in April, which is autumn in Argentina. The lowlands were warm, but fierce, frigid winds drove me from a summit.
Except for one overnight trip, I toured by day from my base in the province’s capital city, a two-hour flight north of Buenos Aires.
Salta, founded in 1582 by Hernando de Lerma, governor of Tucumán to the south, is a pleasant city. People lounge at outdoor cafes around a tree-filled central plaza. Nightspots called peñas present shows of boisterous northern music and dance. Women sit in the main square outside the cabildo, a colonial building that was once the seat of government, and sell woolly socks, caps, gloves and shawls. I bought a llama-wool sweater from one.
Argentina Travel – Salta – Balconies in colonial Spanish styles
I also shopped the large public market, which offered a variety of products, including the herbal brew maté; bright, striped cloths from Bolivia; and produce such as corn, a staple used for, among other dishes, the stew locro and humitas, which are fresh corn tamales. Spice stalls sold pimentón (paprika) from Cachi in the Calchaquíes Valley, where the sweet red peppers are sun-dried.
The market was also a place to buy coca leaves, which are reputed to aid digestion and prevent altitude sickness. Every restaurant I visited served soothing, delicate coca-leaf tea. The leaves do yield cocaine, but small amounts aren’t intoxicating.
I stayed at the older, traditional Hotel Salta by the main plaza. A veranda opened off my floor, but I never had time to relax there. What mattered to me was that the breakfast buffet was in full swing by 6 a.m. Most tours start at 7 a.m., and once I had to catch a 6:15 bus, giving me only a few minutes to down a glass of orange juice, swallow a few bites of ham and cheese and grab small, gooey facturas (pastries) and medialunas (crescent rolls).
Travel agencies clustered near the plaza energetically hawk tours, and most offer the same itineraries at the same price. Tour prices generally do not cover meals or overnight accommodations. Understanding Spanish is an advantage, because on my tours, little was translated into English. Many are outdoor adventures. Mine were tame compared with horseback, rafting and trekking excursions.
Cardones – Salta – Argentina Travel
Some agencies handle tours better than others. I had one poor experience — an uninformative guide, a wretched hotel — and another that was exceptional. That trip went up the Cuesta de Obispo (Bishop’s Peak) to Los Cardones National Park, named for the tall, branching cardón cactus that thrives at high altitudes, then on to Cachi, a town where raised walkways enabled colonial women to step from their dwellings to carriages without dirtying their long skirts in the street.
David, the guide, a music professor by profession, kept up a lively conversation about history, music and folklore, fed us alfajores (cookies sandwiched with caramel filling) and drove smoothly and tirelessly for almost 12 hours.
A rocky road trip in Salta Argentina
ANOTHER tour took me to Iruya, a town tucked into a craggy, precipitous gorge about 200 miles from Salta. Because of the many stops we made, the journey there and back took two days. Along with a couple from England and another from Switzerland, I set off for Quebrada de Humahuaca, a 96-mile-long gorge that runs through Jujuy province to a turnoff for Iruya, which is in Salta province.
Leaving the city, we rode through fields of sugarcane and other crops. Wisps of cloud floated through hills in the distance. The driver said this parklike land was the “ugliest” part of the trip. The Swiss couple said it reminded them of Switzerland.
Quebrada de Humahuaca – Jujuy – Argentina Travel
Farther on, the highway passed cornfields shaded by poplars, and cemeteries placed on hills so the dead would be closer to heaven.
This rough land, once part of the Inca empire, breeds hardy people. Here, Spanish settlers mingled with indigenous people, unlike in Argentina’s capital of Buenos Aires, which has a mostly European population.
At one rest stop, I came across a stack of rocks littered with bottles, cigarette packets and other trash. What looked like the refuse of thoughtless tourists was in fact an offering to Pachamama (Mother Earth), a reminder that pagan rites survive in modern-day Salta.
Adobe homes in this area are so isolated that children may have to walk hours to school. Water comes from rivers or wells, and the kitchen stove is an outdoor beehive adobe oven. People eat what they can raise, including goat, lamb and llama. I had goat stew for lunch in the town of Humahuaca, about 150 miles north of Salta, and noticed llama on the menu.
The Humahuaca gorge was the site of many battles after the struggle for independence from Spain broke out in 1810. Salta’s great hero, Gen. Martín Miguel de Güemes, easily outwitted Spanish troops unfamiliar with the challenging terrain. His gaucho guerrillas wore red ponchos with black trim — now the colors of Salta.
Güemes became mayor of the city at 25 years old and was slain at 36. Each year on June 16, gauchos assemble at his statue in Salta for an all-night vigil, followed by a parade the next day, the anniversary of his death.
Soon after Humahuaca, we turned off the highway onto a dirt road so rough it took two hours to traverse the final 35 miles to Iruya. We splashed through running streams and climbed to 13,123 feet to admire extraordinary vistas of mountains. Below, switchbacks cut through red rock to Iruya.
When we stopped, a little girl, accompanied by two shepherd dogs, rushed up to the car to beg for un caramelo (a candy). Children in this remote area rarely get such a treat.
We arrived in Iruya at twilight, which left little time to explore its steep, rock-paved streets. I did find a tiny shop that sold handicrafts, and for $2 I bought a fuzzy brown wool llama made by a woman named Matilde Díaz.
The guide dropped us at a crude hostel that had no comforts — not even things to wash up with. A young English backpacker in my tour group said it was the worst he had seen. But the view from the back veranda was astounding — I could almost touch the mountains.
After a simple meal of humitas, empanadas and coca-leaf tea in the town’s one decent restaurant, the Café del Hostal, I shopped for soap and a towel, and then listened to kids shooting baskets outside my room until after midnight.
Purmamarca road – Argentina Travel
Early the next morning, we were rousted out of bed for a breakfast of dry bread and coffee, then departed for Purmamarca. This town on the old trail to Peru made up for my disappointment in Iruya. It is shoppers’ heaven.
The entire main plaza had been turned into a dazzling marketplace and was loaded with colorful blankets, wall hangings, sweaters, dolls, belts, maté containers, jewelry and bunches of clattering animal claws that musicians use to beat rhythm.
Purmamarca Salt Pans – Argentina Travel
We bought sandwiches and drinks to go and left the town for the salinas grandes, or salt fields. There, we ate our purchases in a restaurant under construction. The tables and benches were fashioned of thick salt slabs, and coarse salt covered the floor. Oddly, though it was hot, the salt furniture was almost as cold as ice.
The sparkling salt fields look like a vast frozen lake, and I couldn’t shake a worry that our heavy van might break through its surface. We did run into trouble — not on the field but on the dirt road that emerged from it. The van became stuck so firmly in deep sand that no amount of pushing could budge it. Luckily, a driver came along and helped get the van moving again.
BUT the delay cost us. The last part of the tour was to parallel the route of the Tren a las Nubes (Train to the Clouds). One of the highest railways in the world, the train traverses switchbacks and a soaring viaduct. We did drive the route but in total darkness — so we missed the scenery that makes it one of Argentina’s top tourist draws.
Never mind. In nine days I had seen enough to realize that the words in a local folk song, “Salta toda linda” — Salta, where everything is lovely — were too modest.
This historic province — despite its hardships — is more than lovely. It’s magnificent.
Belgrano is one of the 48 districts of Buenos Aires. It is full of art and tradition and it would be the equivalent to New York City’s upper west side. Definitely make Belgrano one of the stops on your next Argentina vacations!
It is divided into five unofficial sections: Belgrano C, Belgrano R, Belgrano Bajo, Chinatown and Barrio River. It also has the second most transited cross streets in BA: Cabildo and Juramento. However, what makes Belgrano distinctive is its beauty and tranquility.
But we will let you judge it for yourself.
TripAdvisor travelers voted Buenos Aires a top South American destination