This article includes links to our travel partners at Tripadvisor, where you can read traveller reviews, book tours and plan your visit to Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires, sometimes called the “Paris of South America,” is Argentina’s cultural capital. It is home to two airports: Ministro Pistarini, or “Ezeiza,” and John Newberry, or “Aeroparque,” which are well-connected to the city via public transit and taxi. A layover of more than five hours could give you a glimpse of the Porteño lifestyle and all the beautiful architecture, history and culture Buenos Aires has to offer.
The EZE airport is rated as one of the best airports in South America due to its efficiency, cleanliness and free WiFi. It is currently undergoing renovations/expansion to become even better and more comfortable should you have to spend an extended amount of time there. The development will see the airport’s size almost quadruple, and the project is expected to be completed in 2021. Food is available 24 hours a day, security works around the clock, and there are two VIP clubs to choose from. If you venture outside the airport confines, rest assured that your belongings will be safe with the luggage-check service. For more information on the airport, check out our Buenos Aires Ezeiza Airport Guide.
Aeroparque is the main airport for regional and domestic flights out of Buenos Aires. It is open 24 hours a day, though there are no incoming or outgoing flights from about midnight to six in the morning, making it a nice, quiet place to sleep should you miss a connection. Services and amenities: WiFi is readily available in all parts, a pay-per-visit VIP club, and several dining options from the airport food court. For more information on the airport, check out our Buenos Aires Aeroparque Airport Guide.
Buenos Aires Sightseeing Attractions
Below are a few of the top things to do in Buenos Aires:
Buenos Aires Bus Tour
With shorter layover times, a hop-on hop-off bus tour is a great way to see lots in a short amount of time. Buenos Aires Bus has two options: City Tour and City Tour Azul. The City Tour is longer, with 24 stops, including Congreso Nacional, San Telmo market, Puerto Madero, the planetarium, Recoleta, and the famous Teatro Colón. The shorter “Tour Azul” has just five stops, including Chinatown, the River Plate Athletic Club, Tierra Santa, and Aeroparque Airport itself, making it a perfect option for those with domestic layovers. Both tours offer the opportunity to hop off and check out sites, going from 8:40 AM to 7:00 PM during the Winter season and 9:00 AM to 5:20 PM in the Summer—cost: $260 ARG pesos for adults, and $130 ARG pesos for children.
- Time required: With each stop lasting a few minutes, the total circuit of the City Tour lasts three hours and 15 minutes. The Tour Azul lasts about one hour and is incredibly convenient for those with layovers at Aeroparque.
- EZE- With transportation downtown and back, it takes at least five hours.
- Aeroparque – With transportation, it takes at least four hours.
- How to get there: Take the Line 394 bus from EZE or Aeroparque to a metro station, where you can catch a train to Cathedral station and walk to Diagonal Norte and Florida Street (Stop 0). Catch a certified cab directly to Diagonal Norte and Florida Street (Stop 0) from EZE or Aeroparque.
- Plan Your Visit: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about booking a city tour or read traveller reviews.
Teatro Colón Tour
Built at the beginning of the 20th century and considered one of the best Opera theatres in the world for its sound quality, Teatro Colón should be on every tourist’s itinerary. A constant stream of talent is coming though, ranging from lyrical to classical dance. You can get up close and personal by taking one of their popular guided tours, which will go through the rehearsal rooms and costume, shoe, and scenery workshops before allowing you to imagine a ballet from one of the sought-after box seats.
- Time required:
- EZE – About three hours, including a tour and transportation.
- Aeroparque – About two hours, including a tour and transportation.
- How to get there: Take the Line 394 bus from EZE or Aeroparque to a metro station, where you can catch a train to Tribunales station and walk over to Cerrito 628. Catch a certified cab directly to Cerrito 628 across from Plaza Gral Lavalle.
- Plan Your Visit: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about visiting the Teatro Colón, book a tour or read traveller reviews.
Casa Rosada Tour
Built towards the end of the 19th century, this executive mansion and office of the President of Argentina is considered one of the most emblematic buildings in Buenos Aires. Casa Rosada’s museum, declared a National Historic Monument of Argentina, houses all sorts of objects relating to past presidents. Free tours are given every half hour and are a great way to understand the house’s historical importance. Just outside is Plaza de Mayo, where independence was first declared and excellent for relaxing on a sunny day.
- Time required:
- EZE – With tour and transportation, approximately three hours.
- Aeroparque- With tour and transportation, approximately two hours.
- How to get there: Take the Line 394 bus from EZE or Aeroparque to a metro station, where you can catch a train to the Plaza de Mayo station and walk across the plaza to Casa Rosada. Catch a certified cab directly to Balcare 50 across Plaza de Mayo.
- Plan Your Visit: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about visiting Casa Rosada, book a tour or read traveller reviews.
This cultural landmark in the old part of Buenos Aires is a mix of bright colours and even more colourful personalities. While in the neighbourhood, you can check out a Boca Juniors fútbol match at the famous stadium. If sports aren’t your thing, there are a multitude of Tango locales where you can see a show or try out the dance yourself. Strolling through the bustling streets and soaking up the culture is a pleasure in La Boca; make sure to stop for a bite, with various mouth-watering Parillas on the menu.
- Time required: This depends on what you want to do in La Boca: see a tango show, sit down for a meal, or explore the area.
- EZE – At least four hours to have enough time for a meal and exploring, with transportation to and from.
- Aeroparque – At least three hours to have enough time for a meal and exploring, with transportation to and from.
- How to get there: A taxi to and from La Boca is advisable as the surrounding area can change rapidly. Catch a certified cab straight to the main street in La Boca, La Caminito.
- Plan Your Visit: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about visiting La Boca, book a tour or read traveller reviews.
The modern waterfront neighbourhood of Puerto Madero is a must-see tourist site in Buenos Aires. Nightclubs, chic restaurants and glass skyscrapers line the streets nowadays thanks to a government-led renovation project in the 90s. Don’t miss the “Puente de la Mujer” or Woman’s Bridge, which looks like a woman dancing tango to some. The landmark footbridge, designed by a famous Spanish architect, is the perfect place to view the river, wonderful at sunset.
- Time required: It doesn’t take long to explore this area if you want to take a few pictures and gaze at the river. There are top-notch restaurants, however, that you might want to check out while there.
- EZE – About two and a half hours, with transportation there and back.
- Aeroparque – About an hour and a half, with transportation there and back.
- How to get there: Take the Line 394 bus from EZE or Aeroparque to a metro station, where you can easily catch a train to Plaza de Mayo station. Puerto Madero can easily be reached by walking from Casa Rosada as well. Catch a certified cab to Puerto Madero, or ask to be dropped off at Plaza de Mayo and walk over.
- Plan Your Visit: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about visiting Puerto Madero, book a tour or read traveller reviews.
San Telmo Market
San Telmo is the oldest residential neighbourhood in Buenos Aires, home to several museums, antique shops, and churches. The artisan market happens every Sunday from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM (depending on weather and season). It is a sight to see all on its own; glance into typical Argentinian life and pass an afternoon at ease, picking up a unique souvenir along the way.
- Time required: Depending on whether or not you go to San Telmo on a market day, you will need between an hour and three hours to explore the area and perhaps sit down for a coffee.
- EZE – Three to five hours, including transportation there and back.
- Aeroparque- Two to four hours, including transportation there and back.
- How to get there: Take the Line 394 bus from EZE or Aeroparque to a metro station, where you can catch a train to Cathedral and walk over to the main area of San Telmo. Catch a certified cab directly to Defensa Street in the San Telmo neighbourhood.
- Plan Your Visit: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about visiting the San Telmo Market, book a tour or read traveller reviews.
The Recoleta neighbourhood is classy and elegant. Plaza Francia is surrounded by coffee shops, restaurants, and other tourist sites, including the Del Pilar Church and the famous flower-shaped landmark Floralis Genérica. The Recoleta cemetery is not to be missed while in the neighbourhood; it dates back to 1800 and houses the remains of some of the most essential Argentinians in history. Many go to see the tomb of Eva Perón, who served as first lady of Argentina from 1946 until she died in 1952. She became a national symbol for championing women’s suffrage and speaking out about labour rights, leading up to her announcement of candidacy for vice president in 1951. While at Recoleta cemetery, take your time to gaze upon the multitude of immense, opulent mausoleums adorned with extravagant monuments, giving you an idea of the country’s high society culture.
- Time required: To visit the cemetery, you will need about an hour, but if you also plan to see the Centro Cultural or sit down for a coffee, you will need between two and three hours.
- EZE – Three to five hours, with transportation there and back.
- Aeroparque – Two to four hours, with transportation there and back.
- How to get there: No metro stations are close to the cemetery. Therefore, a taxi is recommended, especially if you are on a tight timeline. Catch a certified cab directly to either the Recoleta cemetery or the Centro Cultural Recoleta.
- Plan Your Visit: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about visiting Recoleta, book a tour or read traveller reviews.
El Congreso is an important political place for Argentinians; many protests begin or end here. In the plaza, you can soak in the culture while looking at the impressive monuments and sculptures. People-watching and seeing authentic Buenos Aires life passing by on the busy Avenida Corrientes is a delight. If time allows, the Congress Palace should be explored more thoroughly with a tour; it is an architectural highlight built in the early 1900s with an interesting history.
- Time required: Depending on whether you plan to take a tour or wander around the surrounding area/ neighbourhood, you will need between one and three hours.
- EZE – Two to four hours with transportation.
- Aeroparque – One and a half to three hours with transportation.
- How to get there: Take the Line 394 bus from EZE or Aeroparque to a metro station, where you can catch a train to Congreso station. Catch a certified cab directly to Plaza de los Congresos.
- Plan Your Visit: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about visiting El Congreso, book a tour or read traveller reviews.
Palermo is always a popular neighbourhood to explore, from Palermo Soho, named after Soho New York, to Palermo Hollywood, where most film, television and radio studios are. Palermo is the best place for restaurants, clubs and shopping in Buenos Aires. Plaza Serrano and the Botanic Garden are not to be missed while there. The Plaza boasts various restaurants and pubs, along with local artisans showcasing their crafts if you arrive on the weekend. C is a national monument and houses more than 5,000 different plant species.
- Time required: Considering there is much to see in the Palermo neighbourhood(s), give yourself a good few hours.
- EZE – Three to four hours with transportation.
- Aeroparque – Two to three hours with transportation.
- How to get there: Take the Line 394 bus from EZE or Aeroparque to a metro station, where you can catch a train to Plaza Italia, beside the Botanical Gardens. Catch a certified cab directly to either the Botanical Gardens or Plaza Serrano.
- Plan Your Visit: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about visiting Palermo, book a tour or read traveller reviews.
There are three options to get you from either airport to downtown:
Taxi – The most direct and perhaps best option; cabs are not overly expensive in Buenos Aires and will get you where you need to go safely and easily. Negotiate a price with the driver before getting into the taxi and watch the metre, just in case. You shouldn’t have problems with the certified taxis at the airport, but for getting around Buenos Aires once you are downtown.
Public Transit – Bus line 394 serves both Aeroparque and EZE; it arrives at several metro stations and is a good option for those who have more time or would like to explore the Buenos Aires transit system a bit. Purchasing train tickets at the stations to get around BA for a day is straightforward.
Shuttle bus – The private airport shuttle bus has a few designated routes: Aeroparque to EZE, Aeroparque to Terminal Madero, EZE to Terminal Madero, etc., but is mainly a way to get visitors from one travel hub to another instead of from the airport to downtown.
Before You Go: Layover Tips
Now that you are motivated and excited about your mini layover vacation, check a few final logistical concerns off your list before you fully commit.
- Do you need to organize a visa to leave the airport? Requirements change frequently and for each nationality, so be sure to seek out current details on the availability, cost, and procedures of obtaining a transit visa.
- Reciprocity Fee – Several countries are required to pay a “reciprocity fee” before entering Argentina. This must be paid online and presented to immigration before officially “entering” the country, which may be an issue for those with an unexpected layover in Buenos Aires.
- When is your next flight’s check-in time? Double-check with your airline exactly when you need to be at the airport – and plan your layover accordingly.
- What are security wait times like at the airport? Airport Security EZE is quite a busy international airport; lines at security and immigration can sometimes be pretty long. Give yourself enough time to get back into Departures.
- Safety – Buenos Aires has a reputation for being a bit dangerous in certain parts, but if you exercise caution and visit the more well-known areas of the cities, you should be fine. Money belts can help store passports, cash, and credit cards. Argentina has two exchange rates: the official and the “Blue market.” Look into the official rate before you leave the airport to understand prices better when you set off downtown for the day. If you want to exchange on the Blue Market, head to Florida Street.
- What’s happening with your luggage? When you check in to your first flight, confirm whether your luggage is checked through or needs to be picked up between your connecting flights.
Other Useful Resources
Finally, here are a few handy resources to help you plan your layover even more thoroughly: