Last stop

The final stop in my 1 month of travel on the continent was the Argentine capital.

It had been my entry-point into South America and for reasons of cost & flight-time it would be last destination before the gruelling 33 hour flight back to Singapore via Dubai.

3rd arrival

Our cramped Sky Airline flight to Buenos Aires was mercifully shorter this time we landed within 2 hours of departing Santiago at EZE airport in the late afternoon.

This was my 3rd arrival at EZE International Airport. In many ways it was probably the best of the airports I’d travelled through in this 1 month. It had been recently renovated and boasted a very solid WiFi network.

We’d transited through Buenos Aires airport quite a few times on this past month of travel though on this visit I intended to explore it properly.

We exchanged the remainder of our foreign currencies at the very slow (but provided the best rates) state bank money exchange which was the only cambio at the arrivals terminal of EZE.

We then took a taxi from one of the official taxi operators at the terminal (you could try your luck hailing one outside and although express kidnappings were rare in Argentina we were not in the mood for trouble.

Chic Hotel

We picked a small hotel within walking distance of the city metro and the natural history museum which housed many Patagonian dinosaur bones.

Buenos Aires was a large sprawling city which covered a large area and as we were spending 2 nights decided on the outer areas being more value-for-money and held the possibility of strolls among the much vaunted barrios of this city.

By the time we checked into our hotel it was close to evening so we decided to take a short stroll and lookup our dining options in the barrio. We settled on a simple café and settled on some meat dishes. We didn’t plan to explore the city by night so decided to retire for the night to rest well in advance of a lot of walking the following day.

City sights

There were a number of sights in the city that we wished to explore:

  • Casa rosada (pink presidential palace)
  • Plaza de Mayo
  • La Recoleta Cemetery
  • Bernardino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum

But I also wanted to walk about the city and take in some of the architecture to contrast it with some of the other cities we’d seen on this trip.

Buenos Aires has been referred to as the Paris of Latin America and much of this is due to the heavy French influence that the city designers took to heart when they tore down the old city of Buenos Aires in the 1920s. And for the most part the old City Centre is very well laid out and organized (and some might say overly-European in flavor).

Unlike an ancient city like Cuzco, Buenos aires (like Santiago) can be regarded as a relatively young European-like city. It is quite pleasant to walk about, though expect the plaza near the casa rosa to be crowded during protests. Though travellers expecting a more indigenous culture might be disappointed though there are pros and cons to this as with anything else. The pros being things you’d take for granted in a modern city: Transportation is quite decent and with the contact-less card I bought in Bariloche we were able to travel about without too much trouble (it charges on single tap-in so 2 of us could use one card).

transport card for metros and buses

That’s not to say Argentina is devoid of problems. Its still recovering from the scars of decades of dictatorship and the more recent economic crises of the 2000s. ATM withdrawal limits had only recently been increased after the new government came to power in 2015. At the monument in front of the Casa Rosada we saw plenty of banners and proclamations from the mothers of lost people, victims of the dictatorship . Though unlike Bolivia the protests were not known be violent.

We encountered a lot of school kids on the day we visited so I’m not sure if there is ever an off-peak period for this part of the city.

The rose palace

One of the most notable landmarks in the city is the presidential palace (Casa Rosada), a rose-pink mansion which has housed Argentine leaders including Juan Perón (husband of the famed Evita Perón). The colour scheme of the mansion was supposedly a compromise between two political factions at the time, one red one white the combination of the two resulted in the current colour scheme.

Plaza de Mayo

Nearby was a statue dedicated to the founder of Buenos Aires, the Spanish explorer Juan de Garay who re-colonized the city in 1581 after it was abandoned some decades prior by the Mendoza expedition.

Spanish Conquistador Juan de Garay

Walking further on we encountered more grand buildings and monuments in the general proximity of this centre.


We then walked down one of the streets into the more trendy parts of the city shopping areas before proceeding onto the cemetery. This area was more residential with large mansions housing private individuals and embassies. A lot of upmarket cafes were located along these quiet narrow streets.

We even passed some metal statues fused with a tree in this trendy neighbourhood park.

Continuing along the street opened up to wider open public spaces festooned with various monuments of both historical and modern art significance.

La Recoleta Cemetery

Now many people wouldn’t consider a cemetery a tourist attraction but this particular cemetery housed many mausoleums of the Argentine elite and it seems like each tomb aimed to outdo its neighbour resulting in magnificent works of art carved from the very finest stone.

Being an active cemetery (with a funeral procession in progress as we arrived) makes this one of the quieter sights you’d visit in the city.

We didn’t find Evita’s tomb, but the tranquil and well kept grounds of this public space allowed us to recharge from the bustle of the city before heading out again to proceed to our last stop: the Natural History Museum.


The next sight on our city tour was the natural history museum. I’ll cover that along with a closing of our visit to the city in my next post.