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Greetings, Internet Stranger! Are you ready for a Buenos Aires itinerary that’s very different from the last itinerary in La Boca and San Telmo? Well, come on down to the Costanera Sur by the Puerto Madero Waterfront! Puerto Madero is the neighborhood on the harbor right in between the City Center and Rio del Plato. 

Where La Boca has colorful houses, Puerto Madero has buildings of glass. Where La Boca has a sculpture of Evita, Puerto Madero has a sculpture of a woman lying on the ground looking like she’s been cut into a million pieces. Good news though! You can get a really good, inexpensive lunch in both neighborhoods if you know where to look!

24 Hours: Buenos Aires Itinerary

Where Do I Stay?

When I enjoyed my Buenos Aires itinerary, I stayed in an extremely cheap and clean hotel, but I can’t recommend it because it was so far outside of town. It took an hour for me to get to see anything. That’s why the next time I spend 24 hours in Buenos Aires, I’m going to stay in a more centrally located hotel. I’d pick either the Centro neighborhood downtown or the chicer Recoleta neighborhood.

If you’d like to check out great deals on over 5,000 hotels in Buenos Aires, just click here.

24 Hours: Buenos Aires Itinerary

What to Pack?

You’ll need comfy shoes for all the walking we’re going to do today. If it’s summertime, I love my special pink Birkenstocks. These aren’t your grandpappy’s Birkenstocks anymore. They come in every shade, and I always get compliments on my electric magenta shoes.

Buenos Aires is hot in the summer, so don’t forget the sunscreen, especially if you want to tango in the streets all day. My favorite is the Neutrogena spray bottle because it’s so easy to apply. And as a solo traveler, I can actually use it myself on my own back. I just put it in my purse and re-apply throughout the day.

Finally, if you’re American, you need a universal adapter if you’re going to plug in electronics. Argentinian electrical outlets don’t work with American plugs. I suggest the NEWVANGA travel adapter. It’s usable with any electrical outlet in the world, so you won’t need to keep buying new adapters. I always carry two with me, just in case something happens to one.

Reserva Ecologica Costanera Sur

24 Hours: Buenos Aires Itinerary

Morning: Reserva Ecologica Costanera Sur

This is the perfect place to start our Buenos Aires itinerary. The Reserva Ecologica, a nature reserve, is an amazing place where you can go for a walk and feel like you are really in touch with the wilderness. The incredible part is that though it seems at times like you are lost in the marshy swamps, you are never far from the big city of Buenos Aires. Observe:

Reserva Ecologica Costanera Sur

You could literally spend all day here, but for starters, here are the…

Approximately top 5: the reserva ecologica

Reserva Ecologica Costanera Sur
1) go for a walk

I recommend walking the whole way around the Costanera Sur, which will probably take about three hours if you stop and take breaks. This way you will really get a feel for the whole area. Remember, this is a nature preserve, so keep an eye out for any unusual birds or butterflies.

Reserva Ecologica Costanera Sur
2) meet some locals

This is a popular destination for Portenos (denizens of Buenos Aires), so there’s a good possibility you can make a friend or two here. Just be on the look out for locals riding their bikes because I almost got smacked on a couple of occasions while I was attempting to become ONE with nature.

Reserva Ecologica Costanera Sur
3) enjoy the views of the river

It’s pretty exciting to walk until you reach the waters of the mighty Rio del Plato. You can pretend you are going to make like a pirate and sail your boat straight into the Atlantic Ocean. ARRRR!

Wait, were there pirates in Argentina? There must have been, right? Pirates go everywhere.

Reserva Ecologica Costanera Sur
4) lunch on a choripan from the choripan man

When you’re done exploring the Costanera Sur, it will be time for lunch. Grab a choripan sandwich from any of the choripan stands outside the reserve. There are so many of them, you won’t be able to miss them. Just pick one that looks popular and go!

A choripan, for those who are not chor, is just an extremely tasty sandwich made with grilled chorizo on a bun. Aside from the tastyness of eating freshly grilled and spiced meat, the fun of the choripan is getting to put lots of condiments like chimichurri on top, so make sure that you pick a choripan stand that has a lot of toppings available.

It’s very easy to get your mitts on a greasy choripan. All you have to do is place your order, and they will start to grill your meat. Get a soda and have a seat while your choripan is getting ready. Then you put your toppings on and chow down on the choripan while enjoying the beautiful views of the Reserva Ecologica.

Coleccion de Arte Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat

24 Hours: Buenos Aires Itinerary

Afternoon: Colección de Arte Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat

The intimidatingly named Coleccion de Arte Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat was the private collection of a woman named Agnes Gooch. You don’t believe me? You think the woman was named Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat and that’s where the museum gets her name? Well, probably you are right, Internet Stranger. I don’t always do careful research.

The museum is mostly dedicated to 19th and 20th century Argentinian art, but it also features works by artists like Rodin, Turner,and Miro. If you are not familiar with the wonders of Argentinian art, this museum is a great place to start.

Just FYI, photography is not allowed in the museum. I suggest getting the audioguide because the collection is not huge, so you’ll have plenty of time to really reflect and think about each work.

Xul Solar
24 hour treasure

This is a Xul Solar painting I photographed in a different museum because we can’t take photographs at the Fortabat. I share it here because Solar is my favorite Argentinian artist and I had never even heard of him before I went to Buenos Aires.

If you would like the Xul Solar Cliffsnotes, his work tends to feature: geometric shapes that probably represent boobs, bright colors, letters and numbers, people with jacked up faces, and mystical symbols. I think you can find all of them in the Xul Solar painting pictured above. Just give it a shot!

puerto madero waterfront

24 Hours in Buenos Aires: Costanera Sur

Late Afternoon: Tea at I Central Market

I hadn’t thought of Argentinians as particularly likely to enjoy tea as a meal, but it makes sense when you think about it. They eat very late in Argentina, and they are quite good at baking, so having a full afternoon tea seems like a natural idea.

I Central Market on the Puerto Madero Waterfront is rather on the expensive side because it has those glorious views of the harbor, but I was satisfied with the price because of how much food I got along with my pot of tea. I received so much that I feel a need to make an itemized list:

  1. Churros dusted lightly with powdered sugar
  2. A muffin filled with dulce de leche
  3. Many toast points
  4. Marmalade
  5. Strawberry Jam (Fun Fact! Strawberry is “frutilla in Argentinian Spanish, though it’s fresa almost anywhere else you go. You pronounce it like this: froo-tee-sha. I’m not making that up.)
  6. A meringue cookie
  7. Queso Blanco, which is not exactly like anything I have ever eaten in the United States, but is fairly similar to cream cheese
24 hour treat

The most special and local thing about this tea were the lashings of Dulce de Leche, which is an amazing caramel like candy paste made from cooking milk. The Argentinians put this on everything from bread to ice cream. I highly approve.

There. I really think that’s enough food for anybody, unless you are that famous four-stomached cow I hear reads my blog.

24 hour tip

The service is pretty slow here. You’ll have to flag someone down if you want to pay. Just say, “La cuenta, por favor”. That always worked for me.

After your filling afternoon tea, you should take a walk by the harbor of Puerto Madero! You will need to work off all that sugar energy. Maybe you will see a view like this:

Puerto Madero Black and White

Actually, you almost definitely won’t see a view like that because Google Photos made it out of one of my photos without asking me, and I don’t know why or how. Just wander around and spy on all the pretty Argentinians having fancy drinks outside.

At this point in the evening, we are going to leave Puerto Madero and walk into the City Center, which is just the next neighborhood over. Make sure it’s still light out when you head over there! All you have to do is walk away from the Reserva Ecologica towards the Plaza de Mayo.

buenos aires itinerary

That obelisk in the center of the Plaza de Mayo celebrates Argentina’s independence from Spain. Think of it as if Spain were the British and Argentina was us. Also, that is the Casa Rosada in the background, where Madonna used to give speeches when she was First Lady of Argentina. Start walking up the Avenida de Mayo and you will reach our destination.

24 Hours: Buenos Aires Itinerary

Evening: Cafe Tortoni

The real reason I asked you to head back in the City Center was so you could take in a tango show. After all, going to Buenos Aires and not seeing the tango is like going to Paris and refusing to take in a mime performance.

Oh wait, that’s just good sense. Mimes are the worst. But anyway, Cafe Tortoni is a gorgeous cafe/tango palace that dates from 1858. It looks exactly like something out of Belle Epoque era France, yet it is blessedly mime-free.

The food isn’t amazing, but you’re not here for the food. You’re here to catch the tango show that happens here every evening at 8 PM. Grab a seat, order something small, and get ready to enjoy the magic of the dance of love. If you’re anything like me, watching the tango will make you resolve to do more yoga when you get home because it’s remarkable how high those ladies can kick their legs.

24 hour tip

There’s always a long line to get into Cafe Tortoni, so head there early if you want to be able to get a seat for the show. Bring a book, I always say! Also, make sure to grab a cab when you are done with the show. The City Center is not a great neighborhood to walk around at night.

Related Reading: Buenos Aires itinerary

Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Buenos Aires? I’m happy to make some suggestions for reading for your 24 hours in Buenos Aires itinerary. I like Lonely Planet’s guide to Buenos Aires, each chapter is divided into neighborhoods, which makes planning easier.

Che Guevara, the very controversial revolutionary, wrote the fascinating memoir Motorcycle Diaries, which is definitely a must-read. Just be careful when discussing Guevara in Argentina. He is not universally beloved there, to say the least.

If you’re more interested in Argentinian food, try a cookbook from Francis Mallman, one of the most famous Argentinian chefs ever. He’s most well known for his grilling techniques. (You can watch his episode on Chef’s Table on Netflix, if you prefer that to reading.)

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours on your Buenos Aires itinerary. If you’re in the mood for cemeteries, try this itinerary out for size. If you have a third 24 hours in Buenos Aires itinerary, you can explore BA’s fantastic street art.

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