Even though we try to focus on walking each destination, Buenos Aires is so big and rich in history that if you only have a few days to explore the city it would be impossible. In a city that boasts a population around 3 million is best to start off taking a bus tour.
Our favorite is the Highlights of Buenos Aires Tour by Signature Tours, as it shows you the best of the city in just three hours. We visited the eight most attraction filled neighborhoods out of Buenos Aires’ 48 neighborhoods. Our tour guide Nathalie is well versed in the vast history and current events of Argentina.
Highlights of Buenos Aires Video
What we loved the most about this tour is that there are stops in the main places with to get off the bus and snap a few photos. As our tour guide said this tour is to taste all of what Buenos Aires has to offer and then you can select your favorite places to come back and enjoy with more time on your hands and at your own pace.
The tour starts by picking you up at your hotel. Our first stop was the impressive Plaza de Mayo, with the Pink House, the former home of Pope Francisco, and the Metropolitan Cathedral. In the Metropolitan Cathedral you can find the mausoleum of San Martín the liberator of the country.
Nathalia explained all the function and history of the buildings around the plaza and importance of the square in Argentine history, including the story behind The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. Every Thursday women come together and march in silent protest around the plaza monument with their old baby’s diaper around their head in demand for their children who disappear during the dictatorship regime of 1976 to 1983.
Our second stop was the Square of Dorrego, in the historic neighborhood of San Telmo. San Telmo used to be the area where all the rich people of Buenos Aires lived until the yellow fever epidemic of 1871 forced them to abandon their homes and move north.
We took the tour on a Sunday which is perfect as the Square of Dorrego holds an antique and art market every Sunday from 10AM to 5PM. We also visited the Church of San Telmo which is only open to tourists during the weekend.
Our third stop was in the La Boca neighborhood along the famous Caminito. In this neighborhood is one of the main soccer stadiums in the city, the Boca Juniors. Normally the tour takes you close to the stadium but there was a soccer match going on during our tour, closing all the streets around the stadium.
Caminito is a famous colorful open art show, which provides the opportunity for local residents to display their work and the ability for all social classes to enjoy. Nathalia took us on a quick tour around the street and explained us more about the history of this port neighborhood. It is most recognizable for its brightly painted conventillos, built by the immigrants coming into the city as La Boca was the original port.
We saw the next neighborhood of Puerto Madero from the bus, which is built around the second port the city of Buenos Aires. It is along the Rio de La Plata, the border between Uruguay and Argentina.
It sat unused from 1871 to1951 as it was too small for newer and bigger ships. In the beginnings of the 1990’s urbanization began, transforming it to the most expensive neighborhood in the city today. Besides for its modern constructions some of the best gastronome from the city is coming out of the new restaurants lining the water.
Puerto Madero is also the only neighborhood dedicated to important Argentine women from history. All the names of the street have females names, including the main pedestrian bridge bridge. Along the river you can find the Immigration Museum and the Contemporary Art Museum.
We finished our tour with a visit to the Recoleta Cemetery. It might sound odd that a main attraction of Buenos Aires is a cemetery, but when you enter the gates you will understand why it is the third most artistic cemeteries in the world. Next to the cemetery it is the church of Our Lady of the Pillar which now serves as a history museum for the monks.
The tour finishes at the Recoleta Cemetery. Signature Tour provides ride back to your hotel or you can chose to stay and tour on your own for the rest of the day. As we took the tour on a Sunday the surrounding squares were all filled with markets and locals picnicking. Grab a bite to eat and enjoy the rest of the sunny day in beautiful Buenos Aires.