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Buenos Aires through the eyes of a Porteño

Next up in our series of blog posts from the CAT Travel team we have Ariel, a true Porteño (the name used for a person who was born and raised in Buenos Aires) telling us about why his home town is the best place to travel to in Latin America, and sharing some tips on what to do and where to go.

What´s your name and where are you from?

I´m Ariel from Buenos Aires, Argentina.  I´m the Senior Commercial Executive for Argentina and Chile at CAT Travel.

Discussing politics and football

Where are your three favorite places to travel in Latin America and why?

I love travelling to Iguazú, Argentina for the magnificence of Iguazu Falls; Salta, Argentina for the beautiful colonial architecture and local traditions and  Buenos Aires, Argentina because it´s such an eclectic city that always surprises you.

Can you choose one place and tell us more about why it´s such a great place to travel to?

Buenos Aires, my hometown, where you´ll find areas that still have cobblestone streets from the 1800s, skyscrapers, bohemian areas next to traditional neighborhoods and 8.000.000 people coming in and out of the city every day.

I love the history of the city, just walking around the downtown area (Plaza de Mayo, Casa Rosada, the Congress, the Colon Opera House) where so much has happened over the years. The southern areas such as San Telmo and La Boca, and northern areas like Palermo and Recoleta all have their stories too. If you take a trip to Buenos Aires make sure you visit all these areas.

San Telmo, one of Buenos Aires´most historical areas

If I want to get out of the big city I go to Tigre and the Parana Delta for the relaxing pace and to see a little nature, or to an estancia in the pampas outside of Buenos Aires.

What makes a trip to Buenos Aires so special?

There is so much to do! So much culture and history, it really is an ever changing city. The nightlife is great and there is something to suit all tastes – bars, clubs, restaurants, pubs, concerts – there´s always something happening somewhere. San Telmo and Almagro have some great tango and folk music bars and in Palermo there are lots of bars and really great restaurants.

What about the food, any recommendations?

As any big metropolis, Buenos Aires has a wide variety of cuisines, but with our history of Spanish and Italian immigration these influences are particularly strong, so there is a lot of great ice cream and pizza!

One thing is for sure, you can´t leave Argentina without tasting a traditional Argentinean barbeque. There are several places that make great “Asado” (barbeque) and have the best meat quality – one of them is “Parrilla La Cabrera” in the Palermo Soho area.

Cooking up the famous Asado

There are many small restaurants offering simple, but very tasty food such as “Felicidad” in the Cañitas area. If you want some Argentinean comfort food try the “milanesa” (breaded meat), “El Club de la Milanesa” is a small chain of restaurants that can satisfy that need, although every Argentinean you ask will say his mom makes the best milanesas in the world!

What is your favorite thing to do in Buenos Aires?

For me, if you want to really experience Buenos Aires you can´t leave without attending a football match. Personally speaking, I´d say, go to River Plate Stadium and watch 65.000 fans roaring at the tops of their voices as the team runs onto the field.

Ariel´s family at a match

Do you have any other tips to share with us?

Every couple of months there´s a special program called “La Noche de los Museos” (Night of the Museums) where most museums in the city, and some historical buildings, are opened at night for everyone to visit free of charge. Also, during weekends different neighborhoods host street fairs where you can find antiques and artisan crafts. Recoleta on Saturdays and San Telmo on Sundays are some of my favorites.

What is it about travel in Latin America that you find inspiring?

Latin America is a subcontinent of contrasts, where the modern meets the old; the vanguard faces tradition, where people are warm and outgoing. Even though sometimes a destination may not be highly developed for tourism it’s definitely compensated for by the adventure factor!

Where´s next on your Latin America travel list and why?

Machu Picchu, Peru. I want to challenge myself on the Inca Trail while visiting an amazing destination.