Favorite thing: Erected in en 1811, it was the first historical monument of Buenos Aires, and it was declared as a National Historic Monument one year later; it's a small obelisk, to which a figure representing Liberty, made by French sculptor Doubourdieu, was added during its redesign by Argentine architect and painter Prilidiano Pueyrredón in 1856, preserving the original pyramid in its interior.
Alvear Avenue, which starts at Intendente Alvear Square and ends at Carlos Pellegrini Avenue, is one of the most elegant in Buenos Aires, and was included in a project to be declared as an Historic Protection Area by the Municipal governement. It is one of the landmarks of the upscale Recoleta neighborhood.
According to a recent survey by NBC network, Alvear Avenue was chosen as the fifth most elegant and sophisticated avenue in the world, after the Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue in New York, Les Champs Elysées in Paris, and Oxford St, in London for the quality and glamour of its shops and mansions.
At the end of the 19th century, many wealthy families moved to the area and built their homes on this Avenue, mainly in the French Academic Style. Some of this “palaces” are now occupied by public offices, like the Academy of the Arts, the Vatican Embassy and the Brazilian Embassy, world class hotels like the five star hotel Park Hyatt-Palacio Duhau, and many haute-couture mansions, such as Luois Vuitton, Polo Ralph Lauren, Armani, Rochas, Prada, Hermenegildo Zegna, Versace, Cartier, Nina Ricci, among others.
Favorite thing: A gift to the city by Argentine architect Eduardo Catalano in 2002, this eighteen-ton flower sculpture made of steel and aluminum stands 23 meters high. It is located in the Recoleta neighborhood, placed above a reflecting water pool in the middle of a four-acre park called the Plaza de las Naciones Unidas, or United Nations Plaza. Meticulously designed with a special electrical system, the sculpture's petals automatically open every morning at 8a and closes each night at sunset. Please note, it is deal to visit after checking out the Recoleta cemetery or weekend fair, while enjoying a midday picnic or a long stroll around the park
Favorite thing: Opened in 1896, the National Museum of Fine Arts has 32 exhibit halls with state of the art technology for both traditional and multimedia shows. Its permanent collection—the oldest piece dating from the 12th Century—includes European masters such as Goya, Renoir, Van Gogh, Rodin and Bourdelle. Works by Argentine masters date from the 19th and 20th Centuries, including Juan Carlos Castagnino and Benito Quinquela Martín. There is a library open to the public and workshops for art restoration and editing of audio-visuals.
I had not been to Argentina in over 5 years but to my great surprise there is now a $140 arrival fee for US citizen's !!!! I was told by the immigration officer that it's a reciprocal fee that the US government charges Argentinian citizen when arriving in the US. WOW !!!! $140 US dollars ... the fee is payable once and it is valid for the life of your current passport .. good thing I have 6 years left !!!! The fee is payable in pesos, US dollars or credit card.
There is also a $29 departure tax ... so this was one expensive trip to Buenos Aires !!!!
Favorite thing: If your intrested in buy quality wine.... stay away from the places your hotel concierge will send you and jump in a cab and ask the driver to take you to a local supermarket where the selections and prices are better than the wine stores the concierge will send you too.....the supermarkets have wines from your $2 bottles to your $40 and even $100 bottles of wine. Don't buy wine at the airport either, they have marked up the prices knowing you are traveling out of the country.
If you are a member of any of the larger known hotels, i.e., Marriotts, Hiltons, Sheratons, or any of the "Leading Hotels of the World" then you can take advantage of the Executive Level Lounges with many little freebies that would help lower your holiday bill.
The Executive Level Lounge at the Plaza Marriott was a wonderful way to spend some time enjoying the perks. The lounge is open all night and provides unlimited drinks (alcohol included) as well as an array of other treats to get you through the day.
The spread ranges from cheeses and meats, bread, crackers, fruits and veggies, sweets like different types of chocolate cakes, coffee, teas and water.
It's a good way to fill up on a few little munchies before you head out to explore the city. I witnessed many people loading up on water, drinks, bread and fruits. I witnessed many people come in, sit for a few minutes, enough to grab a few drinks of wine as well as hard liquor which is all complimentary at this lounge.
Fondest memory: Ferni and I spent some time here having a few glasses of wine while discussing the day's events. It was nice to just sit there, chat and just not worry about time.
Booked our trip to the football with the Tangol agency.
Included travel to and from the stadium (hotel pickup) and match tickets and Enrique a helpful and friendly guide.
Do trips to other events such as tango dancing, recommended!
Take a look at their website for lots of info.
I can guarantee: you can buy a wine by the glass in every single place you go... Whether your are having a $5 USD dinner or a $150 USD one (and YES, you can have both spectrums in BA, you just need to know where to go...)
Now, that does not mean it will be "a good one" (it will be silly to assume that every place has the same offering!) Prices are usually "cheap" for food and wine, but that again depends on what you are looking for...
If you are really into AMAZING wines by the glass, I would suggest you go to "El Danzon", that offers around 40 wines by the glass, including rare ones, and they are all in the nitrogen machine.
The cheapest way is to go to the "locutorios" (phone booths inside mini markets or simil) they are EVERYWHERE and you'll be able to talk for almost nothing. Not all the places have the same rates, so it's good to ask before you make your call (they have a printed sheet, mandatory by the law)
You'll pay less than a dollar for 10 minutes...
Skype is also a great option to receive calls IF you are in a place with good internet connection (double check, a lot of hotels will have a snail speed conection!)
I am from Argentina and I live in the US and I visit twice a year, so trust me on this one!
This actually surprised me because there was construction going on in every single neighborhood we visited (except in posh Palermo). I understand that the current government is working really hard to make many changes in the city, especially work on projects that had fallen to neglect.
But what I found was that many of the actual sites were barely worked on (my observation) and the only sites we actully saw workers on were at Calle LaValle (near Calle Florida).
If you have made any large purchases (in a reputable location) the sales clerk will fill out the forms necessary for you to claim your VAT.
With the form you will be able to take it to a counter where it is vaildated and stamped then you are directed to go to the VAT window (at another location) to collect your money.
It is quite easy, but you must make sure to have the clerk fill out the forms for you, it makes a difference and you can actually get quite a bit of money if you did a lot of shopping!!
Fondest memory: I was quite excited because we got back $237 AR pesos, more money to spend on the duty free shop! Yay!!
I'm not sure if this applies to every single country, but when leaving Buenos Aires you must pay a departure tax before you are allowed to go through security.
You can pay the tax in either Argentinian pesos or American Dollars. I didn't notice any other currency accepted, but it is quite possible you can probably pay with Euros as well. You are then given your proof of payment and are allowed to make your way through security.
The best part was that the departure tax window was located in front of the VAT window, so if you are also receiving VAT money you don't have to dig into your pockets to pay the departure tax you can pay it with the funds you just recieved at the VAT.
The price of the departure tax was approximately $18 US and you can pay in US or Argentinian pesos.
Favorite thing: It's always great to have lounge access before boarding a flight. The lounge was virtually empty and we had a seat in the corner. I like to arrive early and relax. We checked some e-mails and Liz did some school work. I enjoyed some Quilmes and Liz had some white wine. They had some nice cheese, crackers and fruit to munch.
WWW.LATINIMMERSION.COM- LEARNING SPANISH
WWW.INTERHISPANICA.COM- LEARN SPANISH
WWW.GUIAOLEO.COM.AR - PLACES TO EAT
WWW.BUE.GOV.AR- ARGENTINA GOVERMENT INFO
WWW.MAPABSAS.COM- LIKE YAHOO MAPS AND DIRECTION BUT IN BUENOS AIRES.
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