If last year’s record heat wave is any indication of what’s to come, we’re in for a hot one. If this is your first summer in Buenos Aires, be prepared for black outs, sweaty subte rides and rising temperaments. But it isn’t all bad news… Summer is one of the best times of the year in the city with the infectious buzz of outdoor events, concerts and vacation!
Do what the locals do
This may seem obvious or silly, but look around at what porteños are doing and copy them. (Advice for travel in general.) For example, walk on the shady side of the street, eat when the locals eat, close the persianas during the day, and exercise after sunset – the Palermo parks turn into a veritable exercise highway of bikers/runners/skaters after dark. There’s no need to be a trailblazer in the blazing heat.
Eat away the heat
Thanks to the Italians that flooded into the port with their gelato recipes, this city does not want for tasty helado. So eat a lot of it, and often. Heladerías like Freddo, Volta and Persicco are on every other street corner so you won’t have to search long to get your fix, and they are open late into the night to accommodate porteños’ late dining hours. Grab a friend and share a cuarto de kilo. Popular summer flavors include the classics like dulce de leche, but also fruit sorbets – passion fruit (maracuyá), strawberry (frutilla) and lemon (limón). If the options are too overwhelming, try my personal favorite, limón y chocolate amargo. *Bonus local points for taking advantage of discounts and 2-for-1 specials.
For those on a liquid diet, put away the Malbec and Bonarda for the summer, and familiarize yourself with the wonders of Torrontés, Argentina’s star white wine. The best ones generally hail from Salta, in the north of the country, where high altitudes and lots of sun give the grapes a refreshing complexity. A nice chilled glass or two at a local wine bar will be sure to do the trick. Some local favorites include Pain et Vin (Gorriti 5132, Palermo Soho), La Cava Jufré (Jufre 201, Villa Crespo), Bar du Marché (Nicaragua 5946, Palermo Hollywood) and Gran Bar Danzon (Libertad 1161, Recoleta).
Head for water
Although Buenos Aires is on the coast, the city unfortunately doesn’t use its waterfront for much recreation, with few exceptions. If you need some H2O, one option is a stroll or skate through Puerto Madero, stopping along the way to admire the yachts and rowers, or grab a bite at one of the many offerings along the dikes. The high-rises and price tags may feel more like Miami, so if that’s not your scene, grab a bike, some mate and have a picnic in the Ecologic Reserve. A large plot of pure mother nature, a rarity in any metropolis, it’s free and full of shade. Although it’s BYOB (bring your own bondiola), if you forgot, you can always grab some cheap eats at one of the carritos along the Costanera Sur.
If you’re looking for a more chlorinated option, maybe you’re lucky enough to live in a building with a pileta, or have a friend who will take pity and invite you over on a hot day to theirs. If not, take advantage of the blue rate and purchase a day pass at the Faena Hotel (Martha Salotti 445, Puerto Madero) to use their pool. For the more budget conscious, head to one of the city’s public pools at Parque Manuel Belgrano (Palermo) or Parque Presidente Sarmiento (Saavedra) to enjoy the pools for a modest entrance fee. Another popular swimming option is Parque Norte, which claims to be the largest pool complex in South America, spread over 30 acres. It may not be a glam option, but it will assure you some fun, 7 days a week, from 9 AM to 8 PM.
Throw in the towel, literally
Six years ago the city had the great idea to create an urban beach, the first of its kind in Latin America, where families and friends alike can enjoy some sun, sand and plenty of activities, all free of charge. Buenos Aires Playa is open from January 10 until March 4, Tuesdays to Sundays, 10 AM to 8 PM, with two main beaches and 10 solariums dotted around the city. Check the website for the yellow umbrellas nearest you.
If you can’t stand the city’s humidity any longer and feel the need to hop on the Buquebus to Punta del Este, keep in mind that Uruguay is a pricier destination than Argentina. For those who would like to spread their foreign currency a bit further, Argentina also has a variety of beach options, from the resort city of Mar del Plata to the coastal town of Pinamar to the more rustic Mar de las Pampas. Try to go early though or you’ll run into the rest of Buenos Aires at the beach – most people take their vacation in January after the holidays.
For the extremely heat stricken, book a flight to Patagonia and go glacier watching. There’s no shame in quitting when natural wonders are involved.
As seen in Playground Buenos Aires, edition No. 5, Dec 2014 – Jan 2015.