Argentina’s capital is quite a big place, so anyone wishing to travel Argentina and take a Buenos Aires Bike Tour will have to consider alternate forms of transportation than his or her own two feet.
There are several options — a bus tour through the city, for instance — but opting for a bicycle tour is the best option by a country mile. No other way offers as comprehensive and interactive an opportunity to see the city’s various neighborhoods and attractions. Add to this high quality guides and decent cycle paths, and prepare to have a most memorable tour in Buenos Aires.
There are several different Buenos Aires Bike Tours available — through the parks and ritzy neighborhoods of Palermo and Belgrano, for instance — however the best option for anyone with a limited amount of time and the desire to see the most important parts of town should opt for the southern tour of San Telmo, La Boca, Puerto Madero and Centro. Here there are two possible routes, one beginning in the cobbled maze of San Telmo and the other in the Plaza San Martin. Both are excellent and essentially trace the same route, although the tour beginning in San Martin is a bit longer and includes a few more stops.
The excellent guides bring Buenos Aires (and through it, Argentina) to life. Using monuments and buildings, they trace the city’s history from its two separate foundings, colonial history, wars of independence through the often tumultuous 19th and 20th Centuries all the way to today in the modern developments at Puerto Madero. By sprinkling their explanations with some of their own opinions and anecdotes, the guides prove to be much more entertaining than the automated spiels on the busses. Anyone curious about a particular aspect of this alluring city and its people will receive an informed answer: from why the ‘Pink House’ is pink to the history of the Islas Malvinas (Falkland Islands) conflict. The guides point out the meaning and background of the many Buenos Aires landmarks, connect the barrios together and point out many things the guide books miss out, such as the white scarf symbols on the pavement of the Plaza de Mayo. An unexpected highlight is seeing some very normal corners of Buenos Aires, such as the leafy streets of La Boca and the football matches played in the parks.
Although getting around Buenos Aires by foot wakens one to the dangers of the city’s traffic, the reality is different on a bicycle. Drivers are very aware, the guides take no risks, and in point of fact the city has many marked cycle paths that make negotiating the busier streets simple. It is understandably required to wear a helmet, and stay to the right as much as possible. The guides are very cautious, and point out where they are going long before it is time to go there. To try avoiding as much traffic as possible, take the bike tour on a Sunday, though Saturday isn’t all that worse. Going on a Saturday also means avoiding having to negotiate the San Telmo market, which is part of the route.
This ‘city’ tour in Buenos Aires isn’t all city, and certainly a main highlight is the section through Puerto Madero’s Ecological Reserve. This man-made, green space on the banks of the Rio Plata is a welcome breath of fresh air from the high octane environment of the city. The view of the sea-like river mouth (the widest in the world) is, however, breath taking. It is worth noticing that, given the walking distance, a visitor would almost certainly miss it during their stay if they didn’t go on the bike tour.
The almost three hour tour stops only briefly, except for a 15 minute break in La Boca to enjoy walking around the Caminito. In the tour beginning in San Telmo this stop is fairly early, but it marks the half-way point for the one from Plaza San Martin. Though some distance, the pace of the tour is relaxed, the route is almost entirely flat, and there are frequent opportunities to pause for whatever reason. Visitors should treat it as an introductory tour, though, and save their serious shopping and eating for later.
A tour in Buenos Aires is usually blessed with fair weather, although in the summer the town can be quite hot and the winter equally cold. Nevertheless, given proper clothing, the bottle of water offered with the tour, and some adventurous spirit, this way of getting to know Buenos Aires is unbeaten in any weather. So saddle up, and enjoy a two wheeled journey through one of South America’s most dynamic cities.