Every October to December many devoted followers flock to Buenos Aires for the Argentine Open.
Like birds migrating south for the winter, many polo fans and players also make a similar pilgrimage to South America for the highlight of the world’s polo season, the Triple Crown tournaments, starting at Hurlingham before moving to Tortugas and then climaxing in the Palermo Open final. But just what is so special about the city of Buenos Aires, which to many polo players is a second home, and what should you do and where should you go on your next visit?
Buenos Aires is known for its European style architecture, with many calling it the Paris of South America. It has has a rich cultural life with the highest concentration of theatres in the world, make sure you also sample a tango and dinner show in downtown Buenos Aires and hear some great latino music. Buenos Aires is also famous for its sports, from football, tennis, hockey and golf to our obvious favourite, polo.
One of our favourite areas in Buenos Aires is the Palermo district and especially Las Canitas, which is not only home to the famous Campo Argentino de Polo where the Argentine Open is held but also an area with great restaurants, bars and social life.
One of our favourite haunts is Baez street (only a few streets from the polo ground), a street full of great restaurants, bars and clubs. Buenos Aires means ‘good air’ and this street is always full of great smells of different dishes cooking to whet your appetite, from empanadas and chipa to steak and milanesas.
We would recommend a visit to Novecentro (on Baez and Arevalo) for a more formal setting and to sample their infamous peppered steak. Jackie O restaurant on Baez is a more relaxed setting to enjoy a few beers while watching your steak being cooked over fire pits and traditional Argentine grills or try one of their amazing milanesas (our favourite was the ham and cheese chicken milanesa) and the servings are very generous and will fill that empty stomach in no time – great value for money, good service and delicious food in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. For those with a sweet tooth you must visit the Milka store on the corner of Baez and Chenaut and sample some of the many different types of alfajores (chocolate biscuits with dulce de leche) – a chocoholics dream .
The neighbourhood of Las Canitas also has a great variety of shops, from Casablanca Polo store on Arce to Etiqueta Negra as well as great other individual shops and El Solar shopping mall where you will find La Martina Saddlery, Legacy Polo and other great boutique shops.
Buenos Aires is a great holiday destination not just for polo but also for its art, culture, history and cuisine. It is also a great place to start your journey and discovery of Argentina with many regional and sightseeing tours leaving from Buenos Aires as well as it having a very good domestic airport (Jorge Newberry Aeroparque in Palermo) and regional bus terminals. Coaches are a great reliable and cost-effective way of exploring the country of Argentina with many offering a free meal service inclusive of your ticket. Internal flights within Argentina are usually quite expensive and depending on your destination city there may only be a few flights a day.
So next time you come to Buenos Aires for the Argentine Open, don’t forget to sample some Argentine steak, stock up on your alfajores, yerba mate and alpargatas and also explore some of the rest of the country from the pampas in the North, wine country of the West and the mountains of the South. Argentina is a truly diverse country that has something for everyone to enjoy and to share stories about upon their return.