Review of Frommer's Buenos Aires Guide
One of the best books to buy when traveling to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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Frommer’s Buenos Aires
First Edition
by Michael Luongo
Copyright 2005

The Frommer’s guide to Buenos Aires is my favorite Buenos Aires travel guide.  I still use others, like Time Out Buenos Aires and Lonely Planet Best of Buenos Aires Pocket Guide, but I find Frommer’s Buenos Aires to have the most information, the longest listings of attractions and museums, and the most history on the more significant things in Buenos Aires.


1st Edition Frommer's Buenos Aires

Frommer’s Buenos Aires is broken up into 10 different sections: The Best of Buenos Aires; Planning Your Trip to Buenos Aires; Getting to Know Buenos Aires; Where to Stay; Where to Dine; Exploring Buenos Aires; City Strolls; Shopping; Buenos Aires After Dark; and Side Trips from Buenos Aires.  It also includes about a dozen different maps. 

The Best of Buenos Aires

The Best of Buenos Aires is a listing of the authors favorite Tango Shows, Tango Hall (milonga), Architecture Walks, Parks, Bird Watching, Political Experience, Evita Experiences, Museums, Neighborhoods, Outdoor Markets, Shopping, Lookout Points, People-Watching Area, Nightlife, Hotels, and Cafés.  There is a short description of why that particular location was selected and sometimes a comparison so you can decide which is best for you.  For example, there are three Tango Dinner Shows listed under ‘Frommer’s Favorite Buenos Aires Experiences’; El Querandí, Senor Tango, and Esquina Carlos Gardel.  The guide books states that El Querandi is the most authentic, Senor Tango adds Hollywood glamour and Carlos Gardel uses a classical symphony.

Prior to Departing for Buenos Aires

Prior to departing for Buenos Aires I suggest you read the section on “Planning Your Trip to Buenos Aires.” It includes information on passport and visa requirements, the currency, and health and safety.  Another section to read before you arrive in Buenos Aires is “Getting to Know Buenos Aires”.  This chapter gives you an idea of how the city is set up and the best methods of transportation once you’ve arrived.  This section list where all of the tourist information centers are located and which publications are the best to read.  It also gives a brief description of the various neighborhoods (barrios) located in the city center.

The “Where to Stay” chapter of the Frommer’s travel guide list everything from $1,000 USD suites in The Faena Hotel and Universe in Puerto Maderto to $5 USD beds at Hostel Carlos Gardel.  The hotels, hostels and guesthouses are listed according to barrio and a detailed map shows the precise location of each.  There are lengthy descriptions, prices, addresses and phone numbers listed for each place to stay.  The hotels and hostels are also categorized by very expensive (over $300), expensive ($150 to $299), moderate ($50 to 149), and inexpensive (less than $49).  The neighborhoods of Buenos Aires which are included in the hotels and hostel listings are Puerto Madero, Microcentro, Monserrat, San Telmo, Recoleta, Barrio Norte, Congreso, Tribunales, Palermo and Abasto.

Restaurants

The Frommer’s Buenos Aires listing of restaurants, pizzerias and other eateries is the most extensive of all the guide books I have used to research the city.  It is organized in a similar manner as the hotels.  I am disappointed in the number of restaurants located in Palermo, but I couldn’t find more information on eateries in this area from any other travel guide.  I have however, created my own listing of restaurants in the Palermo Area.

History and Highlights

The “Exploring Buenos Aires” section of the book is my favorite.  This chapter is rich in history, with detailed descriptions of many of the city’s attractions.  It gives extra information on things like Evita Peron, The Changing of the Guard, and The Mother’s of Plaza de Mayo.  It also has information on where to find guides, tours or self-guided tours.  After “Exploring Buenos Aires”, Frommer’s guide lays out detailed walking tours through the city.  These are great because you can take the book with you while you enjoy a nice stroll through the city and learn about the architecture and history of the most significant parts of your walk.  The “City Strolls” listed are Historical Calle Florida, Plaza San Martin & Retiro, Plaza Lavelle & the Tribunales Area, Avenida de May to Congreso, and Avenida Alvear.

Shopping

The section of shopping is very useful to all of the shopoholics or antique collectors who come to Buenos Aires.  This section lists all of the outdoor markets, major shopping malls and other shopping highlights.  Use this guide to find the best place to buy leather goods or find traditional crafts.

Nightlife

“Buenos Aires After Dark” is the only section I did not use much on my trip.  Although, it did have some interesting information on Tango Rules for Milongas.  It described how men ask women to dance by first playing eye-games.  It explained that if you wish to dance with new partners at a milonga that you should not enter with a person of the opposite sex, and it advises to never block the view of a woman from the men who may ask her to dance.

Side Trips

One large advantage Frommer’s Buenos Aires travel guide has over other Buenos Aires guide books is its extensive information on side trips from Buenos Aires.  It has six different side trips listed; Mar del Plata, La Plata, Gualeguaychu, Tigre & the Delta, Colonia del Sacrament (Uruguay), and Montevideo (Uruguay).  These side trip entries include details on how to get to the location, a small map, where the visitor center is located, top attractions, where to stay, where to dine and other highlights of the location.  We went to four of these side trips during our Buenos Aires vacation and the Frommer’s Buenos Aires book included all of the information we needed about each of the cities we toured.

Overall Frommer’s Buenos Aires guide book is the best guide to the city.  I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Buenos Aires for a day or a year.

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