La Plata, Argentina
Argentina Pumas and New Zealand All Blacks Rugby Championship 2014 in La Plata
The second Argentina home game of the Rugby Championship will witness the Pumas and New Zealand All Blacks clash in La Plata in the province of Buenos Aires. The game takes place in Ciudad de La Plata Stadium on Saturday 27th September 2014.
La Plata is a lively city and capital of the province of Buenos Aires. It is also the birthplace of Argentina current President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. La Plata is known as the ‘City of Diagonals’ due to its perfectly planned layout and design and has a strong European influence in its buildings and history. It is situated just 55 KM away from the Capital, Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires is one of the most popular destinations in South America and for good reason. Buenos Aires has something for everyone whether that be its lively arts and music scene, its renowned sports matches and discussions, the breathtaking Tango in the streets or the beautiful architecture and plazas, it is a place not to be missed!
There are direct daily services between Buenos Aires and Australia and New Zealand. Both Quantas, LAN and Aerolineas Argentinas serve these routes. These airlines can sometimes fly to Buenos Aires via Santiago de Chile or São Paulo in Brazil, which only adds a little to your trip time.
Within Argentina Aerolíneas Argentinas and its subsidiary Austral operate flights from Buenos Aires to more Argentine cities than any other airline, including daily services to Puerto Iguazú, Salta, Mendoza, Córdoba, Bariloche, Ushuaia, and El Calafate. LAN also flies to these cities.
Tip: A good idea is to consider is a Visit Argentina Pass which allows overseas visitors to buy reduced-fares for multiple flights within Argentina. These must be purchased in advance in your country of origin and are not available once in Argentina.
Taking the bus around Argentina is an inexpensive way to see the country, and Argentine buses are exceptional, offering comfortable seats for sleeping, and including a food and drinks service.
Tip: The Green Toad Bus Argenina offers bus travel passes around Argentina and neighbouring countries which include the must-do activities.
It is hard to know where to start when describing what to do in Buenos Aires as there is simply so much to see and do! The best thing to do first of all is to get oriented and take a city tour to help identify some of the key highlights. This way you will know where you are located and even chose to visit some again!
Recoleta Cemetery is the oldest Cemetery (1822) in Buenos Aires and has a unique history all of its own. Set in grounds over over 13 acres, the Cemetery has over 6,000 tombs and mausoleums of which 70 now stand as historic monuments. The Cemetery is also home to quite a few cats that roam the grounds and a thought provoking section completely dedicated to the remembrance of the holocaust.
The Cemetery is probably best known as the final resting place of Evita who rests in the Duarte Family vault. Just before the 26 July every year flowers, especially red roses, get placed here to commemorate the anniversary of her death. The vault can be pretty hard to find so make sure you visit as part of a tour (free or Guided) and take advantage of the free map at the entrance. If your Spanish is good then the Caretakers at the grounds can help you locate everything you want to see!
Tip: The city government runs free guided visits to the cemetery in English on Tuesday and Thursday at 11.00 AM. Make sure you allow enough time to explore if you are planning on seeing the Cemetery on your own steam.
San Telmo is the oldest district in Buenos Aires and this can be seen through its cobblestone streets and colonial buildings. It is famous for being the ‘bohemian’ district and has a wealth of cafes, antique shops and even an Antique Fair held in Plaza Dorrego, the main square in San Telmo. San Telmo is an excellent place to watch street artists and dancers who perform the Tango with envious ease.
La Boca is probably most famous for being the home of the Boca Juniors, one of the world’s best known and flamboyant football teams. La Boca is also an interesting place to explore or foot through its pedestrian street, the Caminito, which is lined with the famous colored houses and where the tango is performed on the streets. The area itself has a strong European influence as a lot of the early settlers here were from Italy.
Plaza de Mayo
Plaza de Mayo was constructed in 1580 and has played a key setting in most of Argentina’s turbulent political moments both past and present. From the uprising against Spanish colonial rule on May 25 (where its name comes from) to remaining the traditional site for ceremonies, rallies, and protests. Notable events in the Plazas history and modern day include the gathering of thousands to cheer for Peron and Evita and the white head scarves of the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo (Mothers of May Square) who have marched here every Thursday at 3:30 for more than 20 years. The Mothers demand justice for los desaparecidos, the people who “disappeared” during the military government’s reign from 1976 to 1983.
The Plaza is also home to the Casa Rosada or The Pink House. The Casa Rosada is the base for the President to work and was built in the late 19th century. There is a small sign placed next to the Argentina flag that says if the President is currently ‘in’ or not!
The pink colour dates from the presidency of Domingo Sarmiento, who ordered it painted pink as a symbol of unification between two warring political factions, the federales (whose color was red) and the unitarios (represented by white). Local legend talks of the original paint being made by mixing whitewash with bull’s blood.
A key focus of Casa Rosada is the famous balcony that faces the Plaza. The Presidential balcony has been home to such greats as Evita, Maradona (after a World Cup win) and Madonna.
Museum of Latin American Art
The Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires (MALBA) is an art lover’s dream and a must see culture stop. Its focus point is held in the main gallery where there is a collection of more than 200 Latin American works of art from the 19th and 20th Century. It has temporary world class exhibitions regularly, features sculptures and even an art cinema showing screen classics of restored artworks and silent and local films.
The Teatro Colón (Colón Theater) is ranked among the world’s top five opera theaters based on its excellent acoustics and opulence. Numerous famous names have performed here including Luciano Pavarotti, who said that the Colón has only one flaw: the acoustics are so good that every mistake can be heard. You can see an opera or ballet here if you are lucky enough to secure a ticket. The season runs between April – December. You can also take a Guided tour of the Theatre, run daily.
Puerto Madero was originally built to be a new port to replace Boca but it was soon realised it was too small to perform this function and sat disused for decades. The last 20 years or so have seen Puerto Madero become one of the must be places to live and also to enjoy its plethora of bars, restaurants and clubs. It is also home to numerous walkways to explore the 4 docks that make up Puerto Madero, stroll near the waterfront and even visit Puenta De La Mujer a beautiful, modern pedestrian bridge, which spans the third dock.
A surprise find nearby and accessed via Puerto Madero is Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur a fully protected ecological reserve right on the banks of the Río de la Plata. The reserve is home to a wide variety of plants and animals and was declared a reserve in 1986. There are several trails that wind through the marshy grassland providing an excellent escape from the noise, pollution, and frantic pace of Buenos Aires.
Buenos is the home of the Tango and seeing the Tango performed, whether it is a street performance or at a fancy Tango show, is a must do in Buenos Aires. The origins of the Tango can not be pinned down exactly and there are various theories of its origin from taking its routes from Cuba to being brought over from Europe in the form of European immigrants arriving in Buenos Aires in the 1880’s. In Buenos Aires it was initially danced in brothels by the men. Word of the dance spread to the city and women then became part of the dance as well as the famous sound of the bandoneon, the sad sounding instrument played to accompany the dance.
There are numerous venues to go and watch the Tango being performed, from the quirky performances at Cafe Tortoni, one of Buenos AIre oldest establishments or El Viejo Almacen to the flashier Tango performances at such places as El Querandi or Complejo Tango. Wherever you go to see this amazing dance you will be sure to be amazed by its beauty and passion.
Ciudad de La Plata Stadium or El Unico is one of the most modern stadiums in Latin America (built in 2003) and is a famous convert and sporting venue. It has a capacity for 53,000 spectators seated and standing or 36,000 seated.