Like every big city, Buenos Aires has many popular tourist attractions that can be found in every guide book or website you read about it. Many times as tourists, we go to popular tourists sites that are labeled “must sees” only to come away feeling disappointed and misguided. This post is not to say you shouldn’t visit any of the places listed, but rather to analyze if they really are a “must see” destination like so many websites and guide books say they are.
When people pick up a guide book to Buenos Aires, one of the first images they see is usually the colorful houses that populate the small area of La Boca, know as “Caminito.” Caminito is usually defined as a must see destination while you are in Buenos Aires. But is it really worth making the trip to Caminito?
Nope, unless you want to be bombarded by a million people trying to sell you things, eat at an overpriced restaurant all the while feeling like you are in an amusement park as opposed to a historical neighborhood of Buenos Aires. Due to its growth as a tourist destination, the colorful buildings of Caminito have started to feel less authentic and more like a movie set.
Some people may find Caminito worth going to and if you have the time, sure, check it out. But if you come to Buenos Aires, don’t feel like you can’t miss it. All of my friends who have visited me in Buenos Aires have commented that they really didn’t need to go.
However, if you are an avid photographer, I would suggest a trip to Caminito and its nearby streets, as there are many great photo opportunities.
For me, a trip to a new city is all about walking around and exploring new neighborhoods. I don’t really need to check out any museums unless they are a MUST. But as a person who generally enjoys Art Museums, I found MALBA to be quite boring with a limited collection, not worth its admission of 22 pesos. Please note, this is just one man’s opinion, as many people love MALBA.
The question is, unless you are an Art aficionado or very interested in Latin American art, is MALBA a “must see” like the Art Institute of Chicago or MOMA in New York? Nope.
Have you ever been to Schaumburg, Illinois? It is a northwest suburb of Chicago. It has a TGIF Fridays next to a Hooters. It also has many corporate campuses and shopping centers. Sounds like a lot of other suburbs in the states right? Well then, if you have been to places like that, you won’t be missing anything if you don’t go to Puerto Madero, unless, you have an urgent need to eat some extreme jalepeño poppers at TGIF Fridays or some wings and Hooters…..
Built up over the last 15 years, Puerto Madero has transformed from a rusty dock area to a ‘let’s-turn-the-dock-area-into-an-apartment-tower-luxury-hotel-and-international-corporation-office-precinct’ place. Which is to say it lacks character and looks like any city in the world.
If you are into high scale bars and clubs, checking out Puerto Madero at nighttime could be worth it. But to visit just as a place to check out and walk around, it can be missed.
This place is not as well known as many of the places on this list, but it can be found as a must see recommendation in San Telmo in many guide books and websites.
What is El Zanjón? It is an old house with tunnels from the early settlement of Buenos Aires that has been renovated as a museum. The tunnels provide a glimpse into the city”s architecture layers. At first glance El Zanjón sounds really interesting and was the reason I decided to check it out.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth. What they don’t tell you in the guide books is that this place is used as a banquet hall for companies, organizations, etc and that this key fact influences the tour they give you. The tour comes across as a big advertisement to use the place as your next banquet hall. While learning little about the history of the building, I learned more about the kitchen where the chefs prepare the food for the banquets, how certain parts of the building are used to serve appetizers and wine at the banquets and how a certain room is used as a dance floor complete with modern dj equipment for the banquets.
The main selling point is the tunnels, which makes it sound like you are going to actually explore abandoned tunnels under the ground, as in something you would see on a ghost hunters television program. When in reality, since the tunnels have been renovated with modern lighting and other upgrades, you just feel like you are in any other museum.
We have written two articles already which should help you decide about Colonia. One about why you shouldn’t go to Colonia and one about why you should. These should help you make up your mind if it is worth it or not to make the trip across the river!!
Interested in checking out some places worth visiting? Make sure the check out some Buenos Aires Tours from Landing Pad BA.