European than South American in flavor, Buenos Aires'
heart boasts bustling streets, grand avenues, old-time
cafes and stylish restaurants. The locals are renowned
for their flair and cockiness, even in times of adversity.
It's a city of tragedy and elation; a vibrant, cosmopolitan
Area: 4,326 sq km
Population: 16 million
Time Zone: GMT/UTC -3 (Standard Time)
Telephone Area Code:(054) 011
Although Gran Buenos Aires has swollen to 13 million
people, most tourists stick to the Capital Federal,
which is home to a mere 3 million porteños (locals)
and is divided into 48 barrios (neighborhoods). Once
you get your head around the barrios and sub-neighborhoods
that complicate the city's layout, Buenos Aires becomes
easier to navigate. The Microcentro, or downtown precinct,
provides access to the most interesting barrios and
entertainment areas along the Avenidas of Corrientes,
Córdoba and Santa Fe, and the pedestrian-only
streets of Florida and Lavalle. The Avenida 9 de Julio
is an unmistakable point of reference; its 16 lanes
of traffic run from San Telmo in the south to Retiro
up north, with a sky-piercing white obelisk at its centre.
The dockside barrio of Puerto Madero runs north-south
along the Río de la Plata and is very pedestrian
At the eastern end of Avenida de Mayo, one of Microcentro's
main east-west boulevards, the Plaza de Mayo attracts
a bountiful blend of tourists, students and political
activists and is surrounded by many important buildings,
including the famous Presidential Palace (Casa Rosada).
Buenos Aires is famous for its tango
heritage, and on December 11 each year locals celebrate
Día del Tango, the birthday of Carlos Gardel,
who took tango to the world. Many events take place
around the city to mark the occasion and the singer's
tomb at Chacarita draws Elvis-like worshipping hordes.
For those interested in Argentina's traditional gaucho
(cowboy) heritage, the Campeonato Abierto de Pato in
December is the championship play-off for the pato crown;
it's a bit like watching a game of horseback rugby.
Also in December is the Campeonato Abierto Argentino
de Polo, the slightly more highbrow polo championship