Buenos Aires Barrio Guide – Choosing the Right Neighborhood

Accomodation, Barrios, Feature — By

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Whether you are looking for an apartment to rent, a hotel, or for a temporary vacation rental, you will have to decide which neighborhood you´ll want to stay in in Buenos Aires. The Argentines call neighborhoods “barrios” and you will hear that term a lot. The Capital Federal, which is what refers to the city of Buenos Aires (not including the suburbs) is broken down into over 40 neighborhoods, though you will likely only consider living in 16. Of those 16, there are 3 that are the most popular, and where the majority of foreigners will decide to stay. They are Palermo, Recoleta, and San Telmo.


There are probably more foreigners in Palermo than any other part of Capital Federal. This is partly because Palermo is the largest neighborhood, but also because it is a very desirable place to stay. Palermo can be broken down into various sub sections: Palermo Viejo, Palermo Hollywood, Palermo Chico, Palermo Soho, Alto Palermo, and Las Cañitas. Each sub-neighborhood is different, and attractive for a different reason. However, Palermo has a number of features that are common throughout all sections.

Pros: Quieter than most areas (unless you´re in Alto Palermo). Cool, trendy neighborhood full of excellent restaurants, bars, and discos. Lots of trees and parks. Great shopping for clothes. Safe. Most parts are easily accessible by bus and subway.

Cons: Rents are increasing very rapidly, and are now some of the most expensive in Buenos Aires. It is a bit far from the Microcentro, and therefore Puerto Madero and San Telmo. Doesn´t have the same grandeur and architectural beauty found in the center.


A very elegant neighborhood that is close to the Microcentro, this has always been a popular place for tourists.

Pros: great shopping, bars, and restaurants. Safe. A stylish, classy feel to it. It is close to nearly everywhere.

Cons: It is very busy with lots of traffic. Cost of living is very high, partly because of rent, but also because the neighborhood in general is expensive. Not that much green space. Can be harder to get around, because most parts are not near a subway. Sometimes a snobby feel to the area.

Monserrat and San Nicolas – Microcentro

This is also known as the Microcentro, and is full of beautiful old buildings. It is made up primarily of government and office buildings, but certain parts also contain some old, classic apartments and houses. It is the political and economical center of the city, and where most of the demonstrations take place.

Pros: very central, easy access to all areas. Not too expensive. Fairly safe. Nice architecture. You are in the lifeline of the city.

Cons: chaotic, lots of traffic, noise, and pollution. Dirty. Not much greenery.

San Telmo

This is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, and was once home to the upper class. There are still many old buildings, tucked away beside small cobblestone roads. It has a very bohemian feel to it, as it has become somewhat of an art district, and it is also one of the areas with the most tango. It has it´s own feel to it, like a different little town altogether.

Pros: great atmosphere. Very “local” feel to it, considering the amount of tourists. Beautiful buildings. Lots of good bars and restaurants.

Cons: slightly dangerous. Too many tourists. Expensive. Dirty and chaotic.

Puerto Madero

Walking into Puerto Madero makes you feel as though you´ve walked into a different world. Originally a busy, rundown port, Puerto Madero has been renovated into the most chic and expensive area of the city. The old buildings were kept intact, and have now been renovated into a University, restaurants, bars, and apartments. The area also has various discos, and is one of the places “to be” for those with a little bit of money. It is a very peaceful area, and borders a large park and ecological reserve.

Pros: lots of greenery, very pretty area, quiet and relaxing. Right by a nature reserve. Very safe.

Cons: Very expensive, far and not well connected to the rest of the city.


This used to be a vacation spot for Porteños a few hundred years back, but has now become a very commercial, modern neighborhood with a bit of everything. There are plenty of good restaurants, some nice parks, a few discos, and lots of apartments. It is also a large neighborhood that has been broken down into different parts, and certain areas contain some houses of very wealthy people.

Pros: you will find everything you need. Good restaurants, bars, and shopping. Safe. Lots of parks and greenery.

Cons: Expensive. Far from the center.


Two mostly residential neighborhoods, this is where many working class Porteños live.

Pros: cheap. Nice neighborhood feel to it. You get to live with the “real” Argentines. Cheap. Well connected to all parts.

Cons: somewhat dangerous. Poor variety of restaurants, bars, shopping. Very little greenery.

Villa Crespo

Located beside Palermo, this neighborhood is similar to what Palermo used to be like before it became what it is today. Villa Crespo is a nice, quieter residential neighborhood, with lots of trees.

Pros: nice, residential area. Fairly quiet. Good neighborhood feeling. A bit far from the center. Fairly safe. Cheaper than Palermo.

Cons: too quiet. Not many good restaurants or shopping. Not much to offer.


Located beside Palermo, this neighborhood is similar to what Palermo used to be like before it became what it is today. Villa Crespo is a nice, quieter residential neighborhood, with lots of trees.

Pros:Fairly residential, nice neighborhood, cheaper than Palermo and Recoleta.

Cons: too far from the center.  Not a whole lot to offer.

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  1. Casa34 says:

    Palermo and Recoleta are also closer to the center and most of teh Universities. Belgrano is also wanted by students because of University of Belgrano.
    However, being close to the workplace or University is not for me a good enough reason to chose a palce to stay. I would recommend to pick up a place where you can feel safe and all your needs are cover. Thats why also Palermo, Recoleta and also the Center are the most wanted pics.
    We’ve developed a map about the different neighborhoods and also a description of each of them.
    Some places may seem to be really far away but you have to check transportation first because there might be a good connection between the different areas.

  2. TuanIDinan says:

    I used to be curious if you ever thought about changing the page layout of your blog?
    Its very well written; I like what youve got to say.

    But perhaps you could a bit more in the way of content so people could interact with it better.

    Youve got a great deal of text for just having one or two images.
    Maybe you could space it better?

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