Day Trips from Buenos Aires: Get more out of your trip to Argentina is written by Rebecca Hoffman.
How to go on day trips from Buenos Aires
Capital of Argentina Buenos Aires is an exciting city with many experiences and attractions. But did you know that there are also plenty of options for exciting day trips from Buenos Aires?
So let's take a closer look at these exciting destinations and activities within easy reach of Argentina's vibrant capital.
San Antonio de Areco: Discover the Argentine cowboys
San Antonio de Areco is a cozy village in the province of Buenos Aires about an hour and a half drive north of Buenos Aires itself. The city has a relaxed atmosphere that immediately puts you at ease. It's pretty clear that we've left the big city here.
San Antonio de Areco is one of the oldest villages in the Buenos Aires area. The city was founded in 1730, and when you walk around the city, you get the feeling of having traveled back in time. Be sure to visit the city's 200-year-old bodega Viejo Boliche Bessonart and enjoy a glass of wine and some traditional Argentinian pies.
The village of San Antonio de Areco is an icon of Argentine gaucho culture. The gauchos are Argentina's answer to America's cowboys. It is also here that the biggest festival of gaucho culture in Argentina is celebrated; Fiesta de la Tradition.
They raise cattle and horses in the Argentine lowlands of what is now known as La Pampa Province and Buenos Aires Province.
San Antonio de Areco became famous throughout Argentina when the village became the setting for descriptions of life as a gaucho in the book 'Don Segundo Sombra'. The book is written by the Argentine author Ricardo Güiraldes.
Today, San Antonio de Areco houses a museum named after him: Ricardo Güiraldes' Gaucho Museum. At the museum you can learn more about the life of the gauchos and traditional Argentine folklore.
Another way to learn more about the gauchos and rural life in Argentina is to visit one stay – a large farm – in the area around San Antonio de Areco.
Many farms offer day trips and overnight stays where you can enjoy Argentinian grilled meat, roast, traditional cookies called caramel cookies and experience the enchanting Argentine folk dance. You can also come along and ride through the fields, while occasional horse shows are held that you should definitely attend.
You can either organize the excursion yourself or find one of the many organized day trips from Buenos Aires to San Antonio de Areco. If you prefer to organize the trip yourself, it is recommended to hire a local car with driver, which is also called handed.
It can be difficult to get there and back to Buenos Aires on the same day by bus, but it is possible to take a long-distance bus from the Retiro bus station in Buenos Aires to San Antonio de Areco. The trip takes about two hours, and you can check times and prices on the website BusBud.
Of course you can also take one overnight stay in the city.
Winery Gamboa: Taste the local wine
The Gamboa winery is a perfect day trip from Buenos Aires if you love wine - and don't have time to go to Argentina's wine capital, Mendoza.
Bodega Gamboa, as the winery is called in Spanish, is located in the Campana area of Buenos Aires province. It is 65 km from the center of Buenos Aires, but it feels like you have driven out into the middle of nowhere. On either side of the tiny vineyard there is nothing but fields and farms.
The area around Buenos Aires is not normally associated with the obvious place to plant a vineyard. The flat area cannot compare with the steep mountains and deep valleys of Mendoza, San Rafael, Cafayate and other popular wine regions in Argentina.
But it is precisely the challenge of getting the vines to grow here in the flat area that was the starting point for the vineyard. It started as a hobby project, which over time developed into several vineyards and a small restaurant.
The visit to the winery consists of a small tour of the area, where the history of the place and the wine they produce are told. Then there is lunch in the restaurant with accompanying wine.
The production of wine from Bodega Gamboa is still very limited. So you have to be lucky to hit a time when they still have some of their own wine left.
When I visited the place, Gamboa's own wine was sold out. However, the owners of the place have been smart and made an agreement with similar wineries around Argentina. These places supply specially made wine to them, which is served in the small restaurant, when Gamboa's own shelves are empty.
You can book the visit directly at Bodega Gamboa or with an organized tour. If you book the visit yourself, however, you must be aware that you will then have to arrange the transport there yourself. Also, the staff on site speak only limited English.
If you book an organized tour, the tour operators will arrange transportation and an English-speaking guide for you.
However, be aware that it is not possible to get to Gamboa by public transport.
Mataderos Market: Dance folk dance at an authentic Sunday market
Mataderos market, or Mataderos Fair in Spanish, is one of several exciting day trips from Buenos Aires where you can experience a traditional Argentine market.
The Mataderos Market is less well known than the San Telmo Sunday Market, which most people traveling to Buenos Aires will have heard of. But that doesn't make it any less interesting.
At the Mataderos market you can experience traditional Argentine folk dancing, music and lots of small stalls with traditional crafts.
At the market, the Argentine gaucho culture shines through. You can find stalls with leather goods, beautiful ornate knives and of course a sea of different models of Argentine matt-cups.
Mate is the traditional Argentinian tea-like drink with a very high caffeine content. The taste is often described as green tea with a smoky and perhaps even slightly bitter undertone. The drink is very much associated with gaucho culture.
The Mataderos market is held on Sundays from April to December, but if the weather is bad, you may be unlucky to have it cancelled.
The market takes place in the district of Mataderos on the outskirts of Buenos Aires approximately 17 kilometers from the center. Depending on where you stay in Buenos Aires, it may take some time to get to Mataderos. Therefore, a visit to the market is best for a short day trip.
You can choose to take the bus, a cheap taxi or an Uber to the Mataderos market. By car, it takes 30 minutes from the center of Buenos Aires and 45 minutes from Palermo. By bus, it takes about an hour from both the center and Palermo.
Colonia del Sacramento: Take a day trip from Buenos Aires to Uruguay
Colonia del Sacramento – also known simply as Colonia – is a historic village located in the neighboring country of Argentina Uruguay. Located just across the river that separates Buenos Aires from Uruguay, it is a popular and easy excursion for one of several day trips from Buenos Aires.
The city of Colonia del Sacramento dates back to 1680, when it was founded by the Portuguese. The streets are cobbled, the houses are in the old Spanish style, and around the city they have chosen to park old cars as decoration. The latter is mostly for the tourists' sake and to create the right bohemian feeling - and it's nice.
A popular activity in Colonia is visiting the city's old lighthouse, the Faro de Colonia del Sacramento.
From the top you have a fantastic view of Colonia and the river Río de la Plata. In addition, you can stroll through the historic center of Colonia, go through the old city gate, Puerta de la Ciudadela, or enjoy the view of the water from one of the city's many cafes.
Colonia is just across the Río de la Plata from Buenos Aires and can be easily reached by ferry from the Buenos Aires ferry port close to the Puerto Madero neighborhood. The ferry ride from Buenos Aires to Colonia takes about an hour. You can check the timetable and prices on the ferry company buquebus' Homepage.
In addition to the ferry ride, you must also include time to check in and go through passport control.
As you cross into and out of Argentina, you must go through passport control both ways. It is recommended to get up early and take an early ferry across and a late ferry back to Buenos Aires. That way you can make the most of the day in Colonia.
The Tigre Delta: Explore Buenos Aires' little slice of the Amazon on one of several day trips from Buenos Aires
The Tigre Delta is a large delta area north of Buenos Aires by the city of the same name; Tigers.
The Tigre Delta is the mouth of the Paraná River, which runs all the way through Brazil, Paraguay and finally Argentina. In fact, the Paraná River is the second longest river in South America after the Amazon River.
The Tigre delta can be seen as Buenos Aires' very own little part of it Amazonas. Here there is dense and lush vegetation with all kinds of plants – and yes, also mosquitoes.
The delta's many rivers are perfect for water sports and boat trips. A popular activity for both local Argentines and foreign tourists is to take a boat trip around the area. From the dock at the international boat station, Estación Fluvial Internacional Tigre, you can find various offers for boat trips on the delta's rivers. It's easy and quite cheap.
From the boat station in Tigre you can also get all the way to Uruguay via the delta's rivers. It is the ferry company Buquebus that sails the trip from Tigre to Uruguay.
Getting to and from Buenos Aires is quick and easy. It's an exciting change from the busy city life, making Tigre the perfect day trip from Buenos Aires.
It only takes an hour on the local coastal train to get from Buenos Aires' Retiro train station to Tigre. You must take the local train line Miter with the terminus in Tigre. The local train also stops at the stations Lisandro de la Torre in Palermo and Belgrano C in Belgrano. So remember to check if you are close to one of these stations before you leave, so that the journey will be even shorter.
La Plata: Visit Buenos Aires' little sister on day trips from Buenos Aires
La Plata is the capital of Buenos Aires province, which is the province that surrounds the city of Buenos Aires itself. La Plata is just over 60 km south of there and can be easily reached by regional train from the train station Plaza Constitución in Buenos Aires. Look for the regional train line Roca with terminus in La Plata.
The city of La Plata is the administrative and political center of Buenos Aires province and feels a bit like walking around a miniature version of the Argentine capital.
However, La Plata is particularly known for its impressive Catholic cathedral. La Plata Cathedral is the largest in Argentina, and a visit to the city should without a doubt include a visit to the cathedral. It is possible to climb one of the cathedral's towers. From the top you have a fantastic view over the whole city.
In addition to the cathedral, La Plata also offers the only house built by the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier in South America. The house is part of UNESCO World Heritage List, and is called Casa Curutchet after its former owner, the Argentine doctor Pedro Domingo Curutchet.
The La Plata Museum – in Spanish Museo de La Plata – is a local natural history museum that offers an impressive collection of fossils, mummies and reconstructed dinosaurs. It is spread over two floors and 23 rooms.
The city is quite easy to find around, because the center is built completely symmetrically around small parks and completely straight streets.
And here are the 5 selected day trips from Buenos Aires.
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