Buenos Aires is the capital and the largest city of Argentina and also one of the largest cities in Latin America. Buenos Aires is a multicultural city that always welcomed immigrants from all over the world. The city is a top tourist destination and is known for its protected Spanish European style architecture and rich cultural life. Buenos Aires has a lot to offer to its visitors. One of them is shopping. Everybody can find something to buy that fits their preferences in Buenos Aires. Let’s discover the shopping life of Buenos Aires.
1-First Things First: Black Market- Blue Rate
You may have heard this sentence from people who have traveled to Argentina “Take as much cash as you can if you will travel to Argentina because there is a huge difference between official rate and black market rate, called Blue Rate.” It was very true at least until the end of 2015. Argentina had hard economic times and had strict restrictions on buying and selling USD. Even tourists can’t withdraw USD or Euro from ATMs. But new President Mauricio Macri removed the restrictions, now it is easier to buy and sell USD in the country. There is still difference between official rate and Blue Rate which is about %5, whereas it used to be more than 40%. So if you will make a lot of shopping, spending cash is still a good option. Be careful about exchange dealers on Calle Florida and always check your banknote if it is torn or not.
2- The Most Popular Shopping Street- Calle Florida
Calle Florida is one of the tourist attractions in Buenos Aires. This elegant shopping street is closed to traffic and has many different shops especially many leather shops. The shops mostly close around 7 pm so it is better to go there for shopping. Alongside the street you will see many street performers, tango dancer and singer and foreign exchange traders.
Another symbol of Argentina is its Malbec wine that has an inky dark color and robust tanning. The homeland of Malbec is the Valley of Loire, France. Nowadays the production of Malbec in France is very low and the new homeland of Malbec is Argentina. If you are a wine lover, you can reach to Mendoza, the wine region of Argentina with a 2 hours and 15 minutes flight. You should at least spend 2 days in there. Even if you are not able to go Mendoza, you can visit many wine bars, wineries and wine shops in Buenos Aires and enjoy the Argentinian wine. The price of wine is relatively cheap.
4-Antiques of San Telmo
San Telmo is one of the oldest and historical neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. It is worth seeing this cute neighborhood with its cobblestone roads and old colonial style buildings. Here is a heaven for vintage and antique lovers. The Sunday market on Calle Defensa is a good opportunity to feel the lively atmosphere of San Telmo. Even if you can’t come here on Sunday, do not worry. There are many antique shops on Calle Defensa and in Mercado de San Telmo. Here are some best known antique shops of San Telmo; Silvia Petroccia, Guevara Art Gallery, and Gil Antigüedades.
5-Tango Shoes and Music
The tango represents frustration, disobedience, love and melancholia of the European migrant worker class. Many people come here to learn this dance and music. You can see many Tango performers on the streets. every day there is a milonga or Tango party in the city. Even if you don’t dance, you should buy a Tango shoe which is very elegant and chic. My favorite shop is Comme Il Faut. You can see from its website how beautiful shoes they produce. A Tango album is a good memoir or present from Argentina. When you return your home and listen to your Tango album, it will take you back to Buenos Aires.
6- Street Markets
If you like shopping and want to stroll down the streets of Buenos Aires, you should visit the street markets of the city. Here are four popular markets of the city:
- San Telmo Market- Feira de San Telmo: It is held on Calle Defensa’ every Sunday between 10 am to 5 pm. You will see Tango performers, live music, local foods, leather products, souvenirs, jewelries and antique objects.
- Serrano Market- Feria de Plaza Serrano: Every Saturday and Sunday it is held around Plaza Serrano between 12:00 to 19:00. You can find some interesting design products and objects.
- Mataderos Market – Feira de Mataderos: Every Sunday it is held in Mataderos which is a little bit outside the neighborhood, between 11:00 to 18:00. You will experience Gaucho culture and see many objects related Gauchos. If there is rain the market won’t open.
- Artisan Market-Feira de Artesanos de Plaza Francia: Every Saturday and Sunday it is held in Plaza Fracia which is just next to the famous cemetery Recolate, between 11:00-20:00. You can see street artists, musicians and handcraft products.