Escaping the Buenos Aires Heat

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Escaping the Buenos Aires heatSummer has arrived, and with it an often uncomfortable heat and humidity. At almost any time of the day or night you find yourself coated in a thin layer of grimy city sweat, shirt stuck to your back, parched mouth craving ice water, and tired body searching for a dark air conditioned corner to escape the heat in. Bustling city centers are quite possibly one of the worst places to be in the thick of summer sun, but there are ways to stay cool in Buenos Aires.

While backpacking through Costa Rica I often would duck into ATMs for a quick respite from the tropical heat in their frosty air-conditioned quiet. While ATMs and Banks are also air-conditioned in Argentina, there are more appealing climate controlled areas to relax in for a few hours. Many cafes and restaurants pump their dining rooms full of cold air, so popping into one in the peak heat hours to enjoy an ice cold beer or fresh squeezed orange juice is always pleasurable. Rara, an artsy café in San Telmo (corner of Carlos Calvo and Peru), serves up mellow music, local art, and ice coffee, a true rarity in this country. A great place to spend a few hours and bring your body temperature back down to normal.

Along the line of food and beverage, ice cream, while being delicious year round, is a truly refreshing treat on a sunny summer afternoon. Luckily for us, Argentines are extremely fond of this decadent treat, and thanks to the large number of Italians who immigrated here, quality gelato is available on every other street corner. Helado artesenal, gourmet ice cream, is served up by the kilo in a variety of flavors, mint granizado, dulce de leche con brownie, crema con frutilla. The list of tantalizing tastes goes on, and each new ice cream shop has a few special varieties of its own. Freddos, a chain throughout the city, serves up sweet treats from bite size cones, to cartons big enough for the whole family. For those wishing for a cheaper cold treat, any kiosko will have packaged ice cream bars and popsicles to satisfy your sweet tooth and cool you down.

Escaping the heat in the parks of PalermoIf you don’t want to let the sweltering heat keep you from enjoying the city then stroll over to Recoleta or Palermo and find a shady spot in one of Buenos Aires’ many parks. The Rose Garden in Palermo is a tranquil spot, complete with a small lake where you can rent paddleboats and rowboats. The botanical gardens, near plaza Italia, provide a lot of shade for lounging and enjoying a book, or grassy spots in the sun for tanning. Surrounding parks in this area are a playground for city sports and a great place to play soccer or Frisbee. When the heat is just too much, head down to the stretch of park running along Avenue Libertador near Recoleta, where every ten minutes a fountain in the park shoots jets of water up drenching the revelers and providing a fun place to really cool off and get wet.

Keeping cool in the shade of BAIf you really want to take a swim, and can’t get up to the delta for the day, then Buenos Aires has several pools that you can pay a fee to enjoy for the day. Club de Amigos, in Palermo has swimming pools that are open to the public for seven dollars a day, but it can be overrun with kids from summer camps so call ahead. More for entertainment then serious laps, Punta Carrasco, provides three outdoor pools and a great location for spending the day working on your tan and dipping in the cool water, a days admittance fee also gets you into the exercise room and spa.

If all else fails, dark cold movie theatres are always a welcome shelter from the sky rocketing temps of summer in the city. Cinemark has a chain of quality movie theatres throughout the city showing all the big Western hits. On Lavalle, Electric, shows double features for about 2.50 US, and there are smaller theatres in Recoleta and Barrio Norte that show more international and independent movies. Monday through Wednesday shows are about half the price of weekends. No matter what, a few hours in a movie theatre with a large ice cold soda will help you beat the heat.

The summer months see the city empty out as vacationing Porteños head to Mar del Plata or Colonia and Punta in Uruguay. Though things may be quieter, it is still advisable to avoid the subte during rush hour or downtown city streets, as they are overcrowded and passing buses spewing out black clouds of exhaust make the sweltering heat just a little worse. Even if you aren’t a huge fan of hot weather, Buenos Aires in the summer is manageable. So pack some sunblock, a water bottle and a pair of oversized stylish black shades, and enjoy the summer heat while it lasts.

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