Visiting Buenos Aires: Lively Vibe and Tango Too

It may be known as the Paris of South America, but in many respects, Buenos Aires has more going for it than its European counterpart. The peso--at three to the dollar--makes everything from steaks to suits a bargain for most visitors, and the city's lively Latin vibe easily beats the smug attitude of Parisians. Oh, and they tango there, too. Here is an idiosyncratic guide for what to do and where to go: Stroll through the cobbled streets of San Telmo and admire the colonial architecture. The neighborhood was once famous for street battles between the British and Spanish; today, locals fight tourists for bargain antiques. Eat meat. Argentina produces some of the world's finest beef, and the country's citizens reportedly eat 130 pounds of the stuff a year. No need to gorge yourself to that extent, but a fine cut of chorizo for about $20 at Cabana las Lilas will bring out the bull in you. Be sure to sample some of the finest (and cheapest) wines in the world, which hail from Mendoza, at the foot of the Andes. Walk off the experience along the river in Buenos Aires' revamped Puerto Madero district. And vegetarians, fear not; the Italian influence in Argentina has been strong enough to produce some excellent pasta. (Filo, in the center of town, is an exceptionally trendy place to grab a slice of pizza and people watch.) Dance the night away on the tango floor. If you're feeling adventurous, head to La Catedral, a dark and steamy dance hall where locals and tourists entwine in the passionate dance. And if you're the type who just likes to watch, head to La Esquina Carlos Gardel, named after the legendary tango singer who died in a plane crash in 1935. It's a bit pricey at $60 for dinner and a show, but the dramatic dancers are worth it.