Where you choose to stay in Buenos Aires can greatly affect your visit. Having an advantageous base location will help make getting around more convenient plus who doesn’t want proximity to public transportation, things to do and see, restaurants and bars…it can be crucial. Let’s have a look at the neighborhoods, hotel suggestions and some random tips.
Which neighborhoods to stay in
San Telmo: This is for those Buenos Aires romantics who want a taste of the city’s old school porteño charm. Cobblestone streets, crumbling early 1900’s mansions, lots of restaurants and cafés, an antique market with a lively street fair on Sundays. It is close to Centro (many of the main sites), Puerto Madero (great for fine dining and strolling around the port), but 20-30 minutes from Palermo and Recoleta. Sometimes at night it can get a bit sketchy on the outskirts of the barrio. This is what many consider to be the “real” Buenos Aires. It is where tango still breathes deep into the night.
More info on San Telmo
Palermo: Buenos Aires’ trendiest neighborhood and the heart of nightlife action. By day Palermo is filled with designer shops, chic cafés, and spacious parks. By night bars overflow with the latest cocktails and craft beers, queues for electronica clubs stretch out and many of the best restaurants in Buenos Aires fire up their grills. Palermo is huge and divided into subsections including Palermo Soho, Palermo Hollywood, Palermo Chico, Alto Palermo, and Palermo Botánico. Word to the wise: many real estate agencies are now capitalizing and renaming other barrios as Palermo ___ (ie “Palermo Queens” which is really Villa Crespo or “Palermo Brooklyn” which is really… I’m not even sure what that neighborhood should be called). Target Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood to stay close to the action and have plenty of public transport options including the convenient D subway line.
More info on Palermo
Recoleta: Beautiful high ceiling old French buildings, tree-lined streets, bustling cafés, and where lots of the old money Porteños reside. It is one of the wealthiest areas in the city, home to the country’s most elite cemetery (Eva Peron and may of the founding fathers are buried there) and high end shopping. By taxi this is one of the most advantageous points in the city being centered to what most travelers desire in Buenos Aires. Close to both Palermo and Centro, public transportation is a bit limited to buses and the one H line subte (subway) stop at Las Heras and Pueyrredon.
More info on Recoleta
Centro: The business and finance epicenter of Argentina. Very busy during the day filled with office workers and the hustle of a big city. Many of the city’s most famous landmarks are here; Obelisco, Casa Rosada, Plaza de Mayo, Teatro Colón, ect. By night centro turns a bit more desolate with limited restaurants and bars. Good proximity to Recoleta, Puerto Madero and San Telmo. Ideal for those that are staying just a couple of nights to see the main sites and taxi around a bit to different neighborhoods.
More info on Centro
Puerto Madero: Described as a bit sterile comparatively to the other Buenos Aires neighborhoods, Puerto Madero is designed as the more international business area of the city. Fine dining restaurants overlooking the port, high end apartments in residential skyscrapers and the safest area of the city (the Coast Guard are stationed and patrol the area quite seriously). Options for public transport are at a minimum so plan to take taxis in and out. Fantastic for long strolls by the port and basking in the sun at any of the many outdoor patios.
More info on Puerto Madero
So now that you have chosen the neighborhood, next up is finding the right place to stay.
If you’re staying less than a week, and you prefer some front desk help and other amenities Buenos Aires offers all classes of hotels. From luxury to budget, boutique to bountiful, these are some of the best hotels in Buenos Aires.
The Big 5 Star Hotels: Alvear Place Hotel, Faena Hotel, Park Hyatt Palacio Duhua, Sofitel Hotel, Four Seasons
The Boutique Hotels: Fierro Hotel, Algodon Mansion, Home Hotel, Legado Mitico, Jardin Escondido, Mine, 1828 Smart Hotel (All cost about $100 USD and up). For pictures and descriptions of Buenos Aires Boutique Hotels.
Hostels: In Buenos Aires on a budget? A hostel is your best option to find rooms that range between $15-50 USD per night. The pros? Meet an endless stream of new travelers from around world. The cons? Lack of privacy and some of the rowdier hostels can be quite noisy.
Our Buenos Aires hostel picks: Limehouse, Chillhouse Hostel, Estoril Hostel, Circus, America del Sur Hostel and Tango Backpackers.
Your best bargain accommodation for long term stays is renting a fully furnished temporary apartment. Temporary apartments really are great and they will afford you all the comforts of home while visiting Buenos Aires – plus, the price for a week is often times less than one night in a 5 star hotel.
Prices on temporary apartments differ according to location, size and luxury, but for a modest yet cozy one-bedroom apartment you should expect to pay roughly $500 USD per week (June 2016). If you want to rent on the monthly basis, a good monthly rate for similar accommodations should cost you around $1,200 USD per month.
AirBNB has gained a lot of ground over the past few years, but many old school Argentinians prefer to use local agencies. Many of the hidden gems may be listed on their sites only. For higher end apartments check out Oasis Collections.
Be prepared: If using a local rental agency you will need to pay both a deposit equal to your rental price to confirm the reservation AND the entire week’s or month’s rent in cash or in advance. This is quite common so choose your rental agency wisely. Deposits for short-term stay apartments are returned to you, in cash, before your departure (so long as you didn’t trash the place!).
Updated June 2016