Buenos Aires is one of my favourite cities in the world. I lived there for 7mths and even ended up buying an apartment there (not recommended unless you want to enter a world of stress!!).
Buenos Aires may not be the most obvious place to get off the beaten track, but there are actually plenty of opportunities if you want to escape the city and venture into the countryside or simply get away from the other tourists.
Whether you want to escape into a wild delta, walk through a vast nature reserve, or discover some of the less-visited parts of the city, there is plenty to keep you busy.
The town of Tigre is just outside of Buenos Aires, and it will take you about an hour to reach by train from Retiro Station. The town itself is home to an excellent market, but if you want to get off the beaten track, you will find it the perfect place to begin your exploration of the Parana River Delta.
Venturing into this wild and remote region will make you feel a thousand miles away from the bustle of the city. You can go on an hour-long boat trip of the waterways to get a feel for the area, or you can choose a smaller tour provider who will take you much deeper into the delta. Some people live here, while others have holiday homes.
The banks are lined with tiny wooden houses, and as you chug past in your boat, you will see people relaxing and fishing from their gardens. There are a number of regions in the delta, and you will find campsites and hostels to stay at if you want to stay for a weekend. But you do not want to go too far into the delta – it could be dangerous if you venture too far away from civilisation.
The Ecological Reserve
Much closer to the city – right next to Puerto Madero – you can venture into the Reserva Ecológica (Ecological Reserve). This is one of the best opportunities you will have to escape the hustle and bustle of the city without having to actually leave it.
The reserve consists of a large expanse of land that was reclaimed using rubble produced from construction works. There are numerous pathways you can explore, but a lot of the area is off limits – and impossible to get through anyway because it is overgrown.
Head all the way out to the banks of the river to enjoy a picnic and a ‘mate’, from where you can watch the boats crossing the Río de la Plata. You can walk or cycle on the paths, and overall it’s a great way to enjoy some fresh air as well as some peace and quiet.
It only takes you a few minutes to get right outside of the city, from where you can look back upon the skyscrapers and enjoy the view without the noise of traffic ruining it for you.
The Mataderos Market is a popular attraction in the city that is held in the Mataderos neighbourhood every Sunday afternoon. It is not exactly off the beaten track, and it attracts a number of tourists, but it is not as well known as the San Telmo market and is well worth visiting.
You can travel out to the market by taking a local bus, and the journey takes about an hour from the city centre. The market is a celebration of the gaucho lifestyle, and you will find regional food, grilled steaks, wine, music, folk dancing, souvenirs and horses, making it a great place to spend an afternoon.
Apart from the Reserva Ecológica, this large expanse of green parkland is the best place to find some peace and quiet in natural surroundings. The Bosques de Palermo is a large area of multiple parks joined together, and it is the perfect place to go exploring on a quiet afternoon. You will also find a couple of lakes to sit beside and relax.
It gets a bit more busy at the weekend as everyone else has the same idea, so try and visit during the week for a peaceful stroll.
Join a Walking Tour
Joining a walking tour is one of the best ways to see more of the ‘real’ Buenos Aires. Local residents will take you to places other tourists never venture, and it is an ideal way to get off the beaten path without leaving the city.
Join a graffiti tour, for example, and see some impressive works of art in some of the very un-touristy barrios of the city. The guides will provide information about the street art as well as historic facts of interest to give you a better idea about the city.
There are even tours led by historians and architects, such as those provided by Eternautas tours. On one of these, you will hear about the history of the city and the buildings from a genuine expert while discovering some less-visited areas.
Visit an Estancia
Visiting an authentic estancia is an absolute must when you stay in Buenos Aires. Estancias are located outside of the city, and they are essentially farms that have been converted to receive guests. Some of them still have gauchos looking after the cattle, whereas others focus more on providing a peaceful escape.
There are all kinds of estancia, from budget to luxury. For a genuine experience and to get right off the beaten track, head to one of the more rustic retreats. Here you will be able to take in the gaucho lifestyle on the grassy plains, enjoy the peace and quiet, eat the best asado you’ll find anywhere and even go horse riding and fishing.
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Get Out and About in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is a large city and it can sometimes feel like there is no escape. But there are plenty of opportunities to get further off the beaten track during your time here. Whether you want to spend a weekend living like a gaucho or exploring the hidden waterways of Tigre, there are plenty of opportunities to escape. And if you’ve got a spirit of adventure, there is no reason why you can’t discover them all for yourself.
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