Magazine article Newsweek

Travel: Hotter Than the Tango

Magazine article Newsweek

Travel: Hotter Than the Tango

Article excerpt

Byline: Arian Campo-Flores

Tony Taylor can't seem to get enough of Buenos Aires. He just returned from a trip there in January and already has another--his fifth since 2001--planned for March. The artist and songwriter enthusiastically rattles off his favorite haunts, like the sumptuous bar Mi-lion (located at Parana 1048), which Taylor likens to "going into Versailles." Not a bad analogy. Buenos Aires is often called the Paris of South America--a city of grand boulevards, vibrant culture and seductive style that, for Taylor, is "passionately intoxicating."

Best of all, these days it's cheap. After an economic collapse in 2001, the Argentine peso plummeted from parity with the dollar to a 3-to-1 exchange rate. "Essentially, for an American, everything is two thirds off," says Marc Kane, who visited with his wife a little over a year ago. That's an alluring bargain at a time when the dollar's weakness against the euro has made the Continent prohibitively expensive for many travelers. The result: Buenos Aires is hotter than a torrid tango.

In response to the tourist influx, new hotels are cropping up constantly. In Puerto Madero--a refurbished warehouse district near the river that's a magnet for foreigners--there are several modern offerings, including the Hilton Buenos Aires (from $195; hilton.com ) and the Hotel Madero by Sofitel (from $80; sofitel.com ). Many visitors prefer the more traditional, elegant area of Recoleta, home of the city's classiest hotel, the Alvear Palace (from $440; alvearpalace.com ).

Once settled in, you'll want to explore Buenos Aires's barrios, or neighborhoods. In Recoleta, have an espresso at the classic cafe La Biela (Quintana 596), then stroll through the cemetery facing it--a dazzling maze of marble mausoleums. Farther west is Palermo, filled with parks, monuments and museums, including the worthwhile Malba (admission $2. …

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