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Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is situated in the east of Argentina beside the Rio de la Plata and surrounded by seemingly never ending flat land known as the Pampas , the vast sprawling conurbation is a true 24-hour city - there is always something going on to occupy the senses.

Visitors flock to Buenos Aires for beaches, delectable shops, great weather, colourful neighbourhoods and arguably the best nightlife in South America.

Buenos Aires is the third largest city in South America and comprises 47 barrios (neighbourhoods) in which nearly three million people live.

This complex, energetic, and seductive port city, which stretches south-to-north along the Rio de la Plata, has been the gateway to Argentina for centuries. Portenos, as the multinational people of Buenos Aires are known, possess an elaborate and rich cultural identity.

One of the world's finest opera houses, the Teatro Colon, flourishes here on the plains alongside the river. Portenos are intensely involved in the life and culture of their city, and they will gladly share the secrets of Buenos Aires if you lend an ear and relate your own stories in return.

Downtown Buenos Aires is as sophisticated as any European city, with its wide avenues, fine colonial architecture and rows of pavement cafes. The city was built by French, Italian and Spanish immigrants and the Porteños (locals) still regard themselves as more European than South American. Those taking a walk through the leafy parks and boulevards could be forgiven for thinking they were in Madrid, Paris or Milan.

Buenos Aires was founded on the shores of the Rio de la Plata in 1570 and was named after the patron saint of sailors for the good wind or buen aire. However the city remained a colonial backwater for 200 years - the Spanish concentrated their attentions on wealthier Peru while Buenos Aires became a thriving centre for smuggling between South America and Europe. Dissatisfaction with Spanish economic and political dominance led to revolution in May 1810 and finally to independence in 1816. History since then has been dogged by military coups and political mismanagement; the result of this is that many of the city's residents live in shantytowns.