Buenos Aires, Argentina

Latin America with a European Vibe

Iyna Bort Caruso

Tango, polo and Europe without the euro. That’s how some would describe Buenos Aires.

The Argentine capital is known for its heavy European influences. The majority of porteños as the locals are known have Old World roots. Immigrants who arrived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries hailed mostly from Italy and Spain. The city also has the largest Jewish community in Latin America.

The great immigration wave altered the landscape. Literally. Newly arrived architects or the locals who trained under them created a kind of Gilded Age with remarkable structures in the schools of Beaux Arts and Art Nouveau, along others.

Buenos Aires, however, is not an imitator. It is the birthplace of tango, a polo epicenter and a late-night cultural hub. An abundance of car-free boulevards packed with sidewalk cafes and street performers lends a spirit to the streets.

Buenos Aires is made up of 48 barrios or neighborhoods. Within the city, there are no ownership restrictions for non-residents. The bulk of international buyers come from the U.S. and Europe, arriving with cash in hand. Mortgages here are rare.

The range of residential architecture is vast, from Argentina’s Gilded Age mansions to contemporary skyscraping condominiums with views clear straight through to the neighboring country of Uruguay. In Greater Buenos Aires, buyers can even find traditional estancias, restored ranches that are more than a century old. Increasingly, preservationists are campaigning to have older structures restored rather than razed to maintain the city’s architectural heritage.

Palermo is the largest barrio, with exclusive sections like Palermo Chico. A number of embassies are located here. The tree-lined neighborhood of Recoleta with its showcase of historic French-style architecture is elegant and old-moneyed. Its cemetery is one of the city’s most visited tourist attractions, in large part because it is the final resting place of Argentina’s most famous native daughter, Eva Perón. Meanwhile its most famous native son resides in the Vatican: Pope Francis.