If u re not going to the Pampas to see gauchos or to an estancia (which would be a pity), then u can see the gauchos in Buenos Aires city... (hey, it rhymes!!)
In a very significant corner of Buenos Aires, the Mataderos Market is open on Sundays from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, and offers an exhibition of Handicraft and Argentine Popular Traditions.
The visitor may enjoy a colorful festival of music and dance, and see a number of typical gaucho skills, such as sortija races,
demonstrations of roping and shearing. In addition, there are traditional games for adults and children, including contests and
prizes, like sapo, horseshoes, sack races, palo enjabonado. Regional food is also present - asado, locro, empanadas, tamales, tortas fritas and tortilla al rescoldo.
Try traditional food and get regional crafts and see the national folk dancing at Feria de Mataderos.
All the cultural aspects that every province in Argentina have in common are here:
artisans, crafts, music, food, tradition and customs...
This fair intends to support our heritage and culture, by holding in the capital city, the popular regional artesan markets that are a vital part of the rest of Argentina.
Our neighbouring, or as we call them, "brother" countries that share similar roots also have a place in the celebrations.
Every Sunday from 11 am till the night falls...
Every Sunday, the Fair is different, due to the celebration of a different regional festivity...
Although on the list of ‘top 25 must see places’ of Turismo Buenos Aires, we had a lot of ‘trouble’ coming to this fair. Our hosts of the B&B (in Vicente Lopez) and the driver of the remise had never heard of it !! So we first had to look at the internet for a map.
This fair is held Sunday's from 11.00 a.m. till 8.00 p.m. in front of the National Market of Cattle. It can be divided in different activities. First of all there is the fair with ‘hundred’ booths with handicrafts and art. And most of them had very good pieces, among them silver jewellery, ceramics, leatherwear, mate ‘de plata’ and ‘de zapallo’, cow hooves, cigars, decorations and much much more. And it was almost ridiculous cheap !!
A part of the fair is occupied by food and drink stands. We had never seen such big ‘barbecues’ and the home made empanades were just delicious. And what about a limoncello; we knew this lovely drink from Italy, but tasted it also at the Feria de Mataderos (at 11.15 a.m. !!)
The central square is used for (folk) dancing and music. Here started the feria with the national anthem of Argentina and we were impressed by the passion of the singing people.
In the afternoon - 3.00 p.m. – there were gaucho abilities on another part of the market. It was rather stunning to see how fast these guys were running on their horses.
All together we had a great day and we did see exactly two other (foreign) tourists; almost unbelievable !!
The website of the Feria de Mataderos (http://www.feriademataderos.com.ar) is only in Spanish, but it has a small map.
On the website of Turismo Bs As is more info about the openinghours: from April to December the Feria is open on Sundays (10 am - 8.30 pm). Summer's Schedule (February and March, closed on January): Saturdays from 6 pm to 1 am
This could just as well be placed in the "off the beaten path'" category because this Sunday fair/arts and crafts/entertainment event takes place in Mataderos, a neighborhood on the extreme Western edge of the City. Things get going around 11:00 am. The main atmosphere is of Gaucho culture. There is a stage and every Sunday there are different singing and dance groups- up and coming artists, youth organizations, etc- who perform. There are also demonstrations of horsemenship later on in the afternoon. Besides handicrafts local breads, meats, cheeses, and wine are offered and many stands will offer free samples.
This is not a tourist-oriented affair, most of the people there will be Portenos. Speaking Spanish is definitely a plus but everyone was friendly and most helpful. A highly recommended experience!
The Feria at Mataderos was one of our favorite activities in Buenos Aires.
We caught bus #180 in El Centro, at Lavalle and Parana, and had no trouble getting to the Feria and back. If you are a bit cheap, like us, a 50 cent round trip by bus beats a $40 round trip by cab anytime. We were told to catch it relatively early if we wanted to sit, (it is about a 45 minute trip), and we got on between 10 and 10:30. The bus was not crowded, and neither was the Feria when we arrived just after 11, but hundreds of people had arrived before 1 PM. The bus was much, much, more crowded in the afternoon, so if you plan to take a cab, that would be the time.
The food was amazing, although you had to wait in a long line to get your shot at the tamales and empanadas. The variety of interesting things for sale was equally amazing, as were the prices. Lots of live entertainment and people dancing in the street. The Gaucho contests started about 3 PM and were also exciting.
Probably the only problem was the lack of bathrooms. There were two porta-potties near the Corrales Museum, (right in the middle and easy to find) but my wife wished later that we had brought something for hand washing.
Yes, the surrounding neighborhood looks poor, and I am sure the usual precautions with your wallets and purses should apply, but this is actually a very safe activity. I would have been quite comfortable taking my children or grandchildren. You will be spending the day surrounded by entertaining sights, the smell of great food cooking, and thousands of happy Argentines. I would consider the Feria to be a "must see".
For an alternative tour of the Buenos Aires gastronomic scene, travel to the far West of the city and the weekend fair that takes place in the barrio of Mataderos. Every weekend crowds of people flock to the Feria de Mataderos for an all-Argentine extravaganza that includes dancing, gaucho shows, live music and a market selling local arts and crafts. In the centre of the main square couples of all ages dance the chacareras, circling each other like wild birds in courtship, white handkerchiefs held high above their heads and arms stretched out to the sky. To the side of this plaza gauchos take turns in riding at full hilt down sand-covered streets, spearing tiny darts through a coin-sized hole – something akin to threading a needle on a rollercoaster. Of course, no party of this kind would be complete without a variety of mouthwatering local cuisine and the Feria de Mataderos offers its hungry revelers hand-made emapanadas (small vegetarian and meat-based turnover pies), tamales and humitas (beef and maize-filled corn husks), washed down with red wine and the local favorite, Quilmes beer. By the end of the day the party evolves to carnival proportions as live bands blast out the infectious rhythms of musica tropical and dancing fills the streets until dusk.
Eating your way around Buenos Aires will always be a pleasure, but it is an even greater pleasure to dig a little deeper below the surface and uncover the wealth of history, ritual and tradition that form the basis of this rich and varied dining experience. While the city continues to change and grow, food remains at the heart of the Porteno way of life and, for the visitor, knowledge of Argentine culinary customs can provide a shortcut to understanding some of the complexities and peculiarities of this diverse and special culture.
I had been trying to get to Mataderos since we first visited Buenos Aires. I finally made it in this trip and I am soooo going back. It also helps to read a bit about this place before visiting it in order to understand why this place is especial.
The place is pure fun. You can eat, drink, shop and dance all in one safe and pleasant place. Granted, we had great weather. But we also got to see other parts of Buenos Aires and other kinds of people.
We had tamales, and coffee for breakfast. Then we walked around the stalls and bought several handcrafts at reasonable prices. Afterwards, we had lunch in one of the several parrillas casually installed in the sidewalks (I have to say that I could live forever in Choripanes and empanadas!). After so much eating we just had to shake our bones so we got in the dancing classes with the gauchos that patiently guided us through the different rhythms.
When I arrived home and unpacked my stuff I discovered my Nacimiento was missing a piece. Therefore, CHECK in the spot that you have everything you PAID for.
It is well worth the 18 pesos to take a taxi from the center of town out to this fair on Sunday (only day it occurs). Make sure you have a chorizo right off the grill - best meal I had my whole trip! There are performances by gaucho-style singers and dancers that are a lot earthier than their downtown counterparts. The flea market stalls have some beautiful artesenal goods -- great leather, woolens and silver.
The feria de Mataderos is amazing and gives tourists a much better idea of Argentina than Recolta. If you liked San Telmo, you´ll LOVE Mataderos. If you are unformfortable goin in a bus (the 80 goes there) you can take a cab. Make sure to eat the foood they are selling...its thebest in BA.