Buenos Aires

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ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

Buenos Aires Money-Saving Tips

Flock to the Fairs

Watch real gauchos competing in action and take in a Sunday folklore show at the Feria de Mataderos, a market where the locals go for food and crafts. The Feria de Plaza Dorrego in San Telmo is held every Sunday and features street tango performances.

Live Like a Local

For a homier experience than hotels or hostels, rent an apartment. This agency offers short-term furnished apartment rentals all over town. www.bytargentina.com

Reset your Body Clock

Porteños don’t eat dinner until what might be considered bedtime for many. Stave off hunger with a merienda (late afternoon/teatime snack) and enjoy a short nap before hitting the town to dine at 10pm.

ATMs and Cash

Some neighborhood bank machines limit withdrawals to 300 pesos; downtown ATMs have higher limits. It can be tricky to break a 100-peso note on the street so get change for big bills whenever you have the chance.

Transportation

Cabs are abundant and cheap; call for a radio taxi whenever possible. The subway is efficient but stops running at 10pm. Buses, which only accept coins, provide a scenic way to get around the city. Pick up a Guia T guide at one of the many kioskos to navigate routes.

Café Etiquette

Linger as long as you like; the waitstaff won’t bring a bill until the customer asks for the check. As is also the case with restaurants and bars, a 10-percent tip is customary. If you want a cigarette with your coffee, choose an outdoor table. Buenos Aires went smoke-free in October 2006.

Language

Basic English is spoken at most tourist sites, but a Spanish phrasebook will ease getting around. Consider a dictionary for food items. Argentine Spanish has an almost Italian accent (“ll" and ‘y’ take a “zh” sound) and the dialect differs slightly from Spanish spoken in other countries (“vos” replaces “tu”).

Museos Gratis

The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes features an impressive array of European and South American fine art, free of charge (www.mnba.org.ar). Half price on Wednesdays and free for students, the Museum of Latin American Art (www.malba.org.ar) contains the masterpieces of artists such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Tango for Less

Club de Tango lists upcoming Tango performances (www.clubdetango.com.ar/AGENDA/milonga.htm) across the city. There are several free listings and some of the ones that do come at a price (most ranging from just $2 to $10 per person) include a free drink. You can also witness a free performance of the city’s original dance at the Buenos Aires Tango Festival, held in August (www.mundialdetango.gob.ar)

Free Evening Concerts

The School of Law at the University of Buenos Aires holds free classical music concerts in the late afternoons and evenings, so check the schedule (www.derecho.uba.ar/extension/conciertos.php) and enjoy a soothing evening of orchestra.

For the Green Thumbed

The Carlos Thays Botanical Garden offers free entry to its 18 acres of more than 5,500 exotic and local flora. Different sections represent vegetation from Asia, Africa, Oceania, Europe, and the Americas, and the garden boasts of their Chinese "tree of gold," supposedly the only one of its kind.

Do It Yourself Tours

Go at your own pace and check out the official tourism board's page for the best self-guided tours (www.bue.gob.ar/?mo=portal&ac=componentes&ncMenu=23) Buenos Aires has to offer. You won't have to travel in a pack and you can even download audio or printed guides of the locations listed on the site.

Free Guided Tours

Explore the city via Buenos Aires Free Tour (Mon.–Sat.; www.bafreetour.com), which offers 2- to 2.5-hour guided walking tours showcasing downtown and historic residential areas.

Don't Cry for Me Argentina

View the tomb of national heroine Evita Perone for free at Recoleta Cemetery.

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