After a long journey from San Francisco to Argentina, Brandon and I were very excited to have arrived in Buenos Aires on July 31st to begin our travels! The moment we landed, we booked an airbnb in the Palermo district of Buenos Aires where we dropped our bags and immediately crashed for 12 hours. Sleep had never felt so good.
Once we were well rested, it was time to tour the city and enjoy traditional Argentinian meals. Of course, before we could do anything, we needed to exchange USD for pesos. Heeding advice from our friend, Grant, who recently planned to visit Argentina and had learned the ropes while in Chile, we brought with us crisp, sequential $100 bills to exchange for pesos. Because of the capital controls in place in Argentina and the government’s control of the exchange rate, we learned we could find a better rate in the “black market” for pesos in the city. However, first we had to use Brandon’s debit card to get only a small amount pesos from an ATM at the airport so we could catch a cab into the city. The exchange rate at the ATM was a paltry 8 pesos per $1. We quickly learned that Argentina is desperate for USDs as its own currency continues to lose value (nearly) by day, and because the Argentinian government makes it incredibly difficult for the Argentine’s to retrieve USD from their banks. Not to mention, Argentina was in the midst of a default against the US, which literally happened the day we arrived! This meant that in the black market, we were able to achieve a more favorable exchange rate of 12 pesos to 1 USD. In reality, Argentinians consider this so-called “blue rate” the true exchange rate.
With pesos in hand, we first toured around the Palermo District and had lunch near our place. Wow is the food good in Buenos Aires – from vegetarian dishes to steak and chorizo options, you cannot go wrong in this city. After lunch, we walked towards the downtown area of BA and came upon city bikes, which we learned were free for both the locals and for tourists. By simply bringing a copy of our passports to any city bike rental station, we were able to use the bikes for an hour at a time. We took advantage, riding around what is considered their Central Park, taking in the city around us.
That night, we met up with Josh Kazdin’s cousin, Agustin, who is very plugged into the Buenos Aires scene. Agustin brought us to the fun, trendy Las Cañitas area to have drinks at 2am. There he gave us the download on BA living, sharing the traditional nightly schedule to prepare us for the following evening:
This was a typical night in Buenos Aires?? Even my years in NYC just after graduation didn’t yield nights past 4am! My blood sugar levels fell just listening to his proposed schedule for Saturday night, but we followed his expert suggestions, and it turns out that Agustin was spot on. Brandon and I kicked off our night at Don Julio’s Argentinian steakhouse at 11pm, following an awesome recommendation from Todd Evans. Then we meet up with Agustin for a drink at 1am. Finally at 2:30am we found ourselves in front of the first disco-tech, The Rose Bar. The dance floor was empty inside. Augustin explained that most people won’t start showing up until after 3am… and again, he was right. We switched to another disco-tech, Keki, which was going CRAZY at 4am as if the party had just begun! We had a great time thanks to Agustin who showed us the best of the Argentinian nightlife.
On Sunday morning we slept in and recovered from the previous late night. We would’ve slept in later than 11am for sure, but we had to check out of our room since that afternoon we had to catch a plane to Bariloche. We spent the early part of the afternoon at a cafe and having lunch and then we caught a taxi to the airport and caught our plane to Patagonia…