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Area around Argentine National Congress Building in BA

Northern California
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Area around Argentine National Congress Building in BA

During our two day trip to BA starting Sunday, December 8th, we are staying at a hotel on Avenida Riviadavia very near to the Argentine National Congress Building. We got a great deal on a suite. But now I am beginning to wonder if we got a good deal because the neighborhood is less desirable. Is this a safe and desirable neighborhood? We speak very little espanol. We plan to use the nearby Subte station to see most of the sites in Central BA. Also, what is the best way to get from Ezeiza Airport (we are flying in from Sao Paulo on LAN) to our hotel on Avenida Rivadavia? We prefer to use the Subte or busses if its safe and can accomodate our luggage.

San Clemente...
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1. Re: Area around Argentine National Congress Building in BA

The best way to get from EZE to the center is to take a private taxi at the airport. We like TAXIEZE, which is located just after customs in the arrival hall. They are very professional and have the best rates into the city.

Do not take the Subte or busses with luggage. The less that you have on your person when you ride the Subte then the better and especially during rush hours.

The area around the Congress is safe as long as you continue to be aware of your surroundings. It is a little more rundown then the other popular areas such as Recoleta and Palermo. If you stay on the well lit main avenues at night then you should be fine.

There is some great architecture in this neighborhood. Be sure to visit Café de los Angelitos for an excellent Porteno experience.

Also, for touring the city hop on/off yellow bus(www.bue.gov.ar) and the free walking tours are a great way to see the city.

Buenos Aires...
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2. Re: Area around Argentine National Congress Building in BA

If it is not too late, If it were me ... I would change hotels. You might have gotten a deal on a suite but that might have been due to location..

You, in my opinion ( there is always someone who differs with me on where I would stay and where they would stay) I would want to be right in the middle of everything .. you would not be , in that location.

You would have to take taxis etc to get to sightseeing areas ..

Look into Recoleta and Barrio Norte.

The Subte is good for speedy access but you can't see anything as you travel, taking a taxi or a bus, you can see the city as you go by. Staying in a neighborhood like Recoleta, ( safe and pretty nice and full of sightseeing opportunities) you will be able to walk any time of the day into the evening without worries and visit many of the cities best museums, parks and restaurants.

Taking a bus in BA is not for the cowardly ( that would be me) .. sometimes the bus doesn't actually stop rolling when you get off. Sometimes they slam the doors as you are still getting on or off ... they speed and sadly, their record for safety is abysmal. But the people of the city take them as do expats and visitors.

We had a bad experience upon arrival and I never got on a bus in the 7 years we lived there.

But you might be much braver than I .. ( many people are .. strange but true)

For 2 days, you don't want to sleep , just see as much as you can and it will be only a teeny tiny taste of that amazing city.

I am not sure if you can even take a suitcase on a bus .. use a Remiss at the airport to your hotel.

Edited: 13 September 2013, 20:20
Buenos Aires...
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3. Re: Area around Argentine National Congress Building in BA

Sometimes "swank" , means secure and less risky.

If you speak Spanish fluently, you can stay wherever you like and understand exactly what is going on at all times. You need to have some City Smarts and be aware of what is going on around you, while sightseeing and trying to enjoy your holiday.

Portenoes get their pockets picked and purses snatched... a sad fact of life in BA. So as a visitor, not knowing your way around and possibly not understanding what everyone is saying, you might be better off staying in a tourist heavy area, where there is a bit more security and more people speak English.

You do not lose anything in the experience, it is still Buenos Aires and still fabulous every single minute.

But you can at least, relax more and enjoy yourself.

And be closer to most of the bigger tourist attractions, and not spend precious time sitting in a bus,taxi waiting for the traffic to move. ( Traffic downtown BA is horrible)

Except for a couple, all the neighborhoods in Buenos Aires are residential.

Edited: 14 September 2013, 15:31
Nice, France
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4. Re: Area around Argentine National Congress Building in BA

Nice tip about walking! It works.

Buenos Aires...
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5. Re: Area around Argentine National Congress Building in BA

Yes, I agree, that is one of the better ways to feel more secure when walking on those little narrow sidewalks , down in Retiro and around the Congress building .

I treasure my memories of walking with a rather large dog that people had never seen before, I had the scariest looking people come up to me and sweetly ask if they could pet him.

I was never afraid to walk anywhere, people thought he would either attack them or they could kiss him.

7 years in Buenos Aires.. our pockets were never picked. We were never robbed. We were never accosted for any reason. . except for people asking what breed our dog was or could they take his photo <3

Nice, France
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6. Re: Area around Argentine National Congress Building in BA

On occasion, I'd be keeping an eye on some person who seemed suspicious. The next, that person is giving me his seat on the bus or subte or helping to put my bottles of mineral water into a cab or some other very kind thing. One time, my husband wore his ancient, cheapest 'travel' watch after we talked about the necessity for that. We were being pretty serious about doing the safe thing. Within half an hour of walking, a guy sitting on Av. Sta Fe looked up, saw it on his wrist and said, "Nice watch!" genuinely. We couldn't stop laughing about our fear and how easy it is to misjudge people because it's so easy to go by what 'bad' looks like to each person! There's no standard.

Re. the tip about walking against the traffic, it has a limitation. It's impractical when you have a destination that involves taking a diagonal route to it that has several 'short street' changes left and right. One would have to go way out of his way constantly at each corner and also know the direction of each street in the area around there before he starts walking so that he could reassess how long this walk against the traffic will take, this being important if he's on a tight schedule or has to be somewhere on time. And you'd have to give up seeing while walking some building, store, park or restaurant. Most walks economically involve doing more than one thing. All very time-consuming even if you live there when you want to pick up milk or go to the hardware store on the way.

But the tip is very valuable to somebody who finds himself on one street or block that just suddenly feels dicey to him that day. That's when I use it.

Buenos Aires...
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7. Re: Area around Argentine National Congress Building in BA

How beautifully you put it Sockhopper .. "how easy it is to misjudge people because it's so easy to go by what "bad" looks like ..."

No matter where you go, a person should remember this.

I have had my own experiences with this and learned a while back that how a person looks probably has nothing to do with how he behaves .

Buenos Aires...
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8. Re: Area around Argentine National Congress Building in BA

It's not a very good area. Quite unsecure. I don't want to be dramatic but it's the truth.

Northern California
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9. Re: Area around Argentine National Congress Building in BA

Thank you to all for your responses. We decided to re-book at the Sofitel in Retiro.It looks like this area is much nicer and closer to all the sights. As ScarlettO1 aptly put it we don't want to sleep since we only have two days. However, we will still visit the Congreso area during the day and walk along the Avenida de Mayo back to the Casa Rosada to experience this. We also want to go to the Abasto Shopping Centre which I believe is on the Linea B Subte, walk the length of Avenida 9 de Julio, and visit the La Boca and Puerto Madero. Is ths doable?

Buenos Aires...
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10. Re: Area around Argentine National Congress Building in BA

You don't want to visit Boca on foot, taking a tour bus .. the big yellow Open Bus would be perfect for you on your first morning there. You get the see the whole city from the top of a nice bus and you will see a bit of everything, compared to what you will be able to do one foot.

Then you can go back to the neighborhoods that appeal. Boca would not be on my list at all but just for a look, from the bus is both safe and a good sight.

Our first visit to BA, we went to Casa Rosada at lunch time and it was very nice... all the office workers were out on the lawns and on benches having lunch and the soldiers were marching and changing the guard. We left there by taxi and went on to other areas, that was sufficient for us on a visit.

The Palermos, Puerto Madero ( for a short visit ) and Recoleta , San Telmo are where you will get the best places to eat, sightsee and walk safely as well as see the wonderful mix of architecture and life styles.

The Sofitel is lovely. The area is lovely. A short walk and you are on 9 de Julio. Fabulous. You cross 9 de Julio and there is the French Embassy in all its glory.

Have fun .. please tell us about it when you come back !