Buenos
Aires
The third largest city in South America and the ninth largest in the world, Buenos Aires is the most European of all Latin American cities. With its wide boulevards, elegant parks, majestic buildings and extraordinarily varied culture and nightlife, the city has often been referred to as the Paris of the South: Buenos Aires is indeed unique, with Spanish roots, surprising echoes of London and Milan, and a sprawling skyline, where modern steel-and-glass skyscrapers and modern shopping complexes stand proud alongside sumptuous mansions surrounded by leafy parks and century-old colonial buildings in charming cobbled streets. The Porteños ('people of the port'), as the residents of Buenos Aires are called, seem more European too - but this is hardly surprising considering that most are descended from European, predominately Italian, immigrants who settled here in the 19th century. With them came a culture and a cuisine that still flavours the city and can be enjoyed in countless art galleries, theatres and museums, as well as fine restaurants. But the city has also spawned its own art forms, notably the tango, for which Buenos Aires is famous throughout the world. Nowadays, thousands of tango-lovers across the globe are coming to town to hone their tango skills with the best instructors in the world, and immerse in a real tango atmosphere. Porteños are very proud of their culture, and like to boast that their city hosts over three hundred theaters, more than a hundred art galleries, and at least seventy museums, including the wonderful Museum of Fine Arts and the brand-new Buenos Aires Latin American Arts Museum (MALBA), which started a new cultural era. The city is divided into neighbourhoods, which locals call barrios, each with its distinctive features and ambience, ranging from the colourful, working-class La Boca to the trendy and showy Palermo; from the up-and-coming historical district of San Telmo to the aristocratic Recoleta. Outside Buenos Aires, visitors will be quick to learn why this country has historically ciphered its economical prosperity on cattle-raising, as they relax in one of the Pampa's immense estancias, and get acquainted with one of the country's more typical characters -the gaucho.