Enduring romance, eternal renaissance
Queen of the Plate, Paris of the South, Tangopolis: the nicknames reveal why Buenos Aires doesn’t disappoint. A beguiling conflation of European historic outpost and contemporary Latin American sprawl, BA – as expats call it – was once the capital of one of the world’s wealthiest nations. Its French and Italianate buildings, graceful plazas and cultural life are the envy of most Old World cities. Thirteen million people live in Greater BA, its suburbs fanning out into the surrounding pampas.
But sights, nightlife, gastronomy and the arts are concentrated in a few central neighbourhoods. Palermo has jacaranda-perfumed parks, trendy bars and independent boutiques. Recoleta houses old money, grand hotels and a grandiose necropolis. Puerto Madero is slickly urban, but has a nature reserve. San Telmo is old Buenos Aires, ideal for a steak dinner and a tango show. Artsy Avenida Corrientes ‘never sleeps’. But, actually, all of Buenos Aires is insomniacal – it’s so busy reimagining itself, as are its residents, the porteños. For romance, reinvention and raw hedonism, few places come close.