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El Ateneo in Buenos Aires – A bookstore to end all bookstores

El Ateneo

Thanks to lukas_y2k for this photo.

The bookstore to end all bookstores, at least in South America, is the majestic and stunning El Ateneo on Avenida Santa Fe in Buenos Aires. Where else can you sit in a theater box and leisurely read a volume of Neruda, or sip a cortado where Carlos Gardel once performed? In a city with a rich literary history and excellent bookstores, this theater cum bookstore is a historical and beautiful building to visit, and a great place to stock up on books and music. [To discover more great bookstores, download ATG’s free Pocket Guide to Buenos Aires’ Brilliant Bookstores.]

Parque Tierra Santa in Buenos Aires


Parque Tierra Santa in Buenos AiresI really don’t know how best to describe Parque Tierra Santa, I mean where else in the world can you see a resurrection every hour? It is an amusement park with an amazingly unique albeit well-known theme, the life and times of Jesus. Yes, this is a theme park dedicated to Christianity’s most famous protagonist, Christ himself. From the moment you arrive, having bought your ticket from a women wearing a modest head scarf and surrounded by plaster donkeys and oxen, you are constantly inwardly asking yourself: “Is this place for real?” The answer my friends, while a bit outrageous and totally surreal, is a resounding yes.

Learning Spanish in Buenos Aires


Universidad de Buenos Aires LogoI am sitting in the classroom that time forgot, trying desperately to correctly conjugate my verbs into the past imperfecto and indefinido. My classmates are a diverse group of visiting Brazilians, Chinese youth whose families have relocated to Buenos Aires, and older men with Argentine girlfriends. The cracking paint, the moldy walls, the broken desks, the dusty…everything; in truth the location leaves something to be desired, although it does have a certain old world deterioration and charm. But that is not why I am here, I am here to once and for all learn Spanish. The intensive Spanish classes at the University of Buenos Aires’ Instituto de Idiomas on 25 de Mayo in the Microcentro, are not glamorous or glossy, but they get the job done.

San Telmo on a Sunday


A mime browses the San Telmo art fair on a Sunday.

Known for its bohemian charm, and slightly run down historic appeal, San Telmo is the neighborhood of Arts and Antiques, Tango and timelessness. San Telmo is quaint and funky on any day of the week, but on Sundays it truly comes to life. Centered around the Antiques Fair in Plaza Dorrego, and stretching down the cobblestone Calle Defensa, a Sunday visit to San Telmo is a highlight for visitors to Buenos Aires.

Escaping the Buenos Aires Heat


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.