After many years and a very long trip to get here, I have finally returned to Buenos Aires! There is so much to do and see in Buenos Aires and I was overwhelmed at all the things I forgot about all this city has to offer, making me more nervous than usual. Most world travelers will tell you those feelings are temporary as long as you are open and willing to try new things. I decided to give myself a week to ease into the culture and the way of life in Buenos Aires. Thankfully, all of my worries seemed to slowly disappear. Granted as a foreign, we tend to be cautious all the time but here are some ways to make you feel more comfortable your first week in Buenos Aires:
1. Get a Sube card and take a bus or subway: This is a great way to not only practice your Spanish but also allows you to experience public transportation and see different places throughout the city. Its also very cheap so you can save your pesos for something else.
2. Take a free walking tour: We recommend taking the Free Walks BA tours for a few reasons. First, you don't have to pay anything upfront. The guides work for tips so its relative to the type of experience you have. As someone who is an avid free walks participant, you can't go wrong! Second, its a great way to learn about the city's history, get an better look at various areas of the city and get some tips about local hot spots. Lastly, the guide is ready and willing to answer any questions you have about...anything. Use this as an opportunity to learn more about Buenos Aires from someone who can communicate in your native language.
3. Go to a Museum: There are many museums in Buenos Aires so you can choose anything from art, history and science. In addition, museums are also meeting places for many people and groups. You'll find that museums host a lot of events and open houses to give you an opportunity to meet new people and learn more about the culture.
4. Go out on the town until the next morning like the locals: You will soon realize that life operates differently in Buenos Aires than in other places. It is typical to start an evening around midnight and enjoy the nightlife in areas like Palermo or San Telmo until 6AM. Be prepared to join others to a bar, restaurant or club any night during the week.
5. Watch a game with the locals: There's nothing like watching soccer or another sport around die hard fans. The best case scenario is to watch a game live at Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti but the second best is going to a bar or at least somewhere with a television. I was lucky enough to see the semi-final match of the Rugby World Cup 2015 between Australia and Argentina at a local bar. Although Argentina didn't win, it was a unique experience.
6. Go to the supermarket (el supermercado) to practice your Spanish and buy something you wouldn't find in your home country. The goal is to try new things and get “out of your comfort zone.” For example, if you are from an English speaking country you maybe confused to see milk packaged in a bag. Other items to look out for are a variety of interesting meats, gaseosas (sodas), unique vegetables, chips or the traditional Argentinean tea called mate.
7. Have a siesta: In other words take a nap. Trust me, you’ll need it to keep up with the lateness of things while you are in Buenos Aires. Keep in mind that many places of business close midday between 1-4PM throughout the country of Argentina but NOT in Buenos Aires.