As an immense airport hub for flight connections, Buenos Aires allows layover travelers to get a taste of the vibrant, tango-crazed metropolis in South America. Aptly nicknamed Paris of the South, Buenos Aires is a Euro-flavored city where stylish residents eat well, party late and warmly embrace newcomers. Buenos Aires shouldnt be a place you expect to simply kill time; the delight of exploring this charming city, even for a few hours, might even surpass that of your pending destination.
What to do
Head immediately to the Cementerio de la Recoleta (Recoleta Cemetery) and have your camera at the ready. The final resting place of Argentinas dead Presidents (and famous poets, celebrities, and the like), the 14-acre plot hosts unbelievably beautiful monuments, mausoleums, and statues honoring their legacies. Considered one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world, this captivating over-ground crypt city is truly a must-visit attraction.
You can easily while away a few hours at Cementerio de la Recoleta, and the same can be said for the sprawled Bosques de Palermo (Palermo Woods), the Central Park of Buenos Aires. Loaded with ornate flower gardens, bird-rich lakes and lawns, its the city prime center for leisure and relaxation. You can paddleboat along the parks man-made lagoon, lay out a blanket on a lawn and people-watch, but dont miss visiting the colorful Paseo El Rosedal (Rose Garden Walk), which has 1,200 different rose varieties laid in impeccable arrangements.
Where to eat and drink
Meat-heavy parrillas (steakhouses) are ubiquitous in Buenos Aires – Don Julio, La Cabrera, and Cabaña Las Lilas being the citys most iconic – but if you want premium seafood in the city, Oviedo is far and away your best bet. The classically-appointed, art-adorned restaurant provides fresh and finessed dishes from under the sea, and features one of the citys most distinguished wine lists.
Any evening plans to eat a nice dinner and enjoy one of the citys hottest bars? Proper dinnertime for portenos (citizens of Buenos Aires) is later than what youre probably accustomed to, so its best to knock two birds with one speakeasy at Floreria Atlantico. The trendy boltholes a bit incongruous to old-money Recoleta it would fit like a glove in the Palermo Soho neighborhood where all the young and hip commingle- and it only adds to Florerias intrigue. Enter the dainty flower shop and descend the staircase which leads you to whats touted as Latin Americas best bar: housemade gin, smart cocktails, scrumptious tapas (and clientele) and bumpin DJ grooves awaits you.
Allot some time, however, to check out the brand-new restaurant Brasero Atlantico, Florerias sister site and next-door neighbor. The intimate, industrial-chic restaurant is more about traditional eats than mod cocktails, with a lengthy menu of Argentine favorites including thick, cheesy provoletas (a must-try for the uninitiated), assorted empanadas, and plenty of juicy, grilled meat cuts to satisfy your appetite.
Where to stay
If youre on an overnight layover, the sophisticated Recoleta neighborhood has perhaps the finest collection of five-star hotels in the city. The elegant Sofitel Arroyo, housed in a neoclassical building that was once the citys tallest skyscraper, feels as Parisian as the Old World-style, tree-lined streets of Arroyo on which its situated. For a more contemporary choice, the CasaSur Bellini in the modern-chic Palermo neighborhood provides spacious, fabulously-styled executive rooms and suites with private balconies and one of the citys largest outdoor pools. Recently opened in 2014, CasaSur Bellini is also one of Buenos Aires best-value luxury hotels for your pesos.