This summer I spent at an externship in Buenos Aires through Southwestern Law School. The program is six weeks long and is a total immersion into Argentine law and culture. I am a runner and I knew that I would be exploring the city on foot for the most part so here are some tips to make your stay more enjoyable. First, live in Palermo Botanico or Puerto Madero. If you are the type who likes to start running from your door those are the neighborhoods you should focus on.
Palermo Botanico is a neighborhood close to the Botanical Garden. For runners this is an ideal spot to start because you are close to “Bosques de Palermo” which is great for running both during the day and at night. They offer comfortable trails or designated paths you have to share with bikes and rollerbladers (yes those are still popular here). The sections are divided so you do not have to worry about being hit by a car, but look out for the bikes. Also, it is not uncommon to see crossfire, bootcamp, soccer or rollerblading classes going on anytime from 8pm – 10pm. At night you can run these paths comfortably (I forgot my headlamp) because they are closed to car traffic and people are out at 10 pm at night without batting an eye.
Puerto Madero is expensive area of Buenos Aires. If you are lucky enough to stay there take advantage of the Ecological Reserve. The Reserve is probably their largest trail system. They have several loops (with maps/guides at trailheads) where any creative runner can take advantage of.
If you are staying longer than a month…I suggest looking up running groups in Buenos Aires. BA Cultural’s website has a list of free running groups departing from different parts of the city so you can at least be guaranteed one or two group runs a week. These are a great way to meet locals and get the scoop on whats going on in their neighborhoods. There are also running clubs, Club de Corredores, that you can sign up to train with during your stay. The fee is usually 300-350 pesos, depending on exchange rate you are looking at $25-$35 US dollars. They offer aid stations during their runs and coaching. Most of them also offer a free intro class to see if you would like to join.
Buenos Aires has many lovely neighborhoods and anyone from a large metropolitan city in the US will quickly realize its actually quite small. Buenos Aires, the city proper not Gran Buenos Aires (the province of Buenos Aires…sorry its gets confusing) is small partly because of its public transportation system. I have caught a bus as early as 3 am without any worry. Also the city of Buenos Aires has gone above and beyond with applications to make your stay easier and more efficient.
Do yourself a favor and download: BA Cultural, BA Como Llego, and BA WIFI, PedidosYa.
BA Cultural: will let you know of all the free or almost free cultural events going on all over the city. Yes, you may think the city would skimp on these but many of top notch. An example for me was a public concert at the Planetarium in honor of Gustavo Cerati, member of the band Soda Estereo. I also have gone to several music festivals, open museums and “classes” offered again for FREE.
BA Como Llego: this is your Buenos Aires Bible. It is google maps for the city specifically, but it includes the bus, train, and walking routes to get anywhere. Also, it works in offline mode so you can figure out where you are going without killing your data plan.
BA WIFI: the city offers free open WIFI hotspots all around. Some of them are in random places like public parks, subway stations, etc. Although I personally do not run with a phone many runners do so this app can help you plan a route where you are always close to WIFI in case you need help.
PedidosYa: Runners like to eat at specific times. In Buenos Aires, everything takes a little bit longer and things always start a little later than scheduled. Do not be surprised if the restaurant you wanted to try opens at 9 pm (dinner is usually a 10pm thing here…Desayno (Breakfast), Almuerzo (Lunch), Merienda(light snack/dinner), Cena(Dinner). This can be good and bad, but for a runner we need food and we get ravenous and mean when its not available. Luckily delivery in Buenos Aires is super cheap and does not require anything other than the order, your address and the amount of cash you are going to pay with; no credit cards, no pre-payment. I order food for a specific time range with the app and when I get back from my run its ready and I stay nice.