Tips for planning vacations in Buenos Aires with little kids from a local mom in the know.
In this feature: Great Places to Go, Getting Around Buenos Aires with Kids, Dining with Kids, Practical Tips for Visitors with Kids, Parenting Culture
- Meet the mom: Alejandra Vicco
- Owner of Bebeba Baby Equipment Renal (at time of writing)
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
I am a porteña, born and raised. The term porteña refers to the port because my city, Buenos Aires, sits on one of the margins of the broadest river in the world: Rio de la Plata.
Except for a 10 year stint in New York City where I went to college and worked, I have lived here all my life. I have four children: Olivia (17), Marco (4) and the twins Jeronimo and Facundo (2). Together with my sister Costanza, I run a baby equipment rental company called BebeBa (bebe for baby in Spanish, ba for Buenos Aires). We rent strollers, cribs, and car seats to visitors traveling to Buenos Aires with young children.
Historic carousels (calesitas): I think Buenos Aires is a great city to visit with children. For visitors with young children, I especially recommend to check out the various city parks with their calesitas or carrousels. Some of them have been declared patrimonio historico de la ciudad meaning they have historic value to the culture of the city. Here’s a link that will tell you about the history and location of the calesitas in Buenos Aires: www.lascalesitas.com.ar
Puerto Madero district: Another nice place in Buenos Aires to take the kids for a walk is Puerto Madero. It is a recently developed neighborhood (smooth sidewalks great for strollers!) with beautiful public parks and fancy cafes.
Natural Reserve: Also very close to the Costanera Sur Reserva Natural (www.buenosaires.gov.ar/areas/med_ambiente/reserva/), a beautiful natural reserve in the middle of the city to admire the Rio de la Plata a few inches away.
San Isidro beside the river: I love my city and together with my family take every chance we get to explore it. We live in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, in a place called San Isidro, about 25 miles north of downtown Buenos Aires. Our home is only two blocks away from the river and one of my children’s favorite outings is to spot ships, kayaks and wind surfers in the river.
Ferry ride to Colonia, Uruguay: On a clear day, you can see all the way to the other border to Uruguay where there’s a beautiful town called Colonia. In fact, many visitors to Buenos Aires take a ferry aross the river for the day, or overnight, to visit Colonia. It is specially recommended to take children because it is a small town, you can even walk from the ferry port to the main tourist area with its cobbled streets and well-preserved 18th century architecture.
Boat rides on the Delta: Another fun trip close to nature is in the Delta del Tigre, the confluence a number of small rivers where you can find weekend homes, hotels, restaurants and the possibility to take short boat trips in the famous lancha colectiva, a public transportation for the people living in the islands. You can purchase a ticket in the estacion fluvial and ride on the boats to visit the splendid Delta. www.aldelta.com.ar/interislenia/fgra0301.htm
Car seat laws: Car seat legislation in Argentina indicates that children must travel in the back seat in a car seat until they are 4 years old. Booster seats are not required, though children older than 4 must wear the car’s seatbelt.
Public transportation in Buenos Aires has bad reputation amongst porteñas. However, I recommend using buses, subway and train in Buenos Aires as an inexpensive way to move around as long as you don’t travel at rush hours because then you will discover where Buenos Aires public transportation’s bad reputation comes from. Here’s a link that will help you get around Buenos Aires by public transportation: www.viaja-facil.com.
Rental cars: I don’t recommend renting a car unless you want to get out of the city. The traffic in Buenos Aires can get pretty horrible and finding a parking spot exasperating. Taxis are a good option, though not very cheap. However, you will still be sitting in traffic but without the hassle of driving or parking!
It is very common to see whole families in restaurants until very (very!) late hours. If you are planning an early dinner, say 7.30pm, stick to the coffee shops where you can get scrumptious tostados (grilled ham and cheese in very thin bread), cakes, cookies and cafe con leche; restaurants start serving at 8 pm.
There are very good coffee shops where parents can have coffee and grab a bite while children play around. Also, these places carry a special children’s menu. Here’s the info:
Cafe Cante Pri
(corner Julian Alvarez)
Tel: 4862 7561
Nappies (diapers) and baby supplies can easily be found at supermarkets and drugstores around the city. One very well known market is Farmacity.
Code word for diapers? Very easy–Pampers! Huggies!
TIP: For gear needs, see baby gear rentals in South America.
Additional tips and advice for parents planning travel to Buenos Aires with babies, toddlers and young kids
Weather in Buenos Aires in quite mild. It never gets so bad you can’t be outdoors, which makes it a great destination to visit with active children.
Parenting changes in recent years: When I was growing up most moms worked at home, taking care of the family and the house. Nowadays it is different, women have added professional responsibilities outside the home. However, duties seem to be better balanced between men and women. I see an improvement from my mom’s generation in the sense that men are involved with their children and their needs and are more willing to cooperate in home duties. Nevertheless, women still do most of the work and are responsible for managing the household while at the same time have jobs outside the home.
Maternity leave in Argentina: Maternity leaves are for three months and the mother may choose whether she wants to work till the end of her pregnancy or take some time before the baby is born and the rest after the birth. I think that, given the choice, most moms want to stay with their offspring, at least for a while. How long this while lasts is a personal and financial decision, but for the moms I meet amongst my colleges, friends and family women try to stay with their newborn babies as much as they can.
Breastfeeding in Argentina: I am happy to report that Argentines view breastfeeding as natural. Nursing moms travelling to Argentina can rest assured that they can feed their babies whenever and wherever they want and nobody will ask them to leave or cover themselves.
Family culture in Buenos Aires: One thing I love about raising my children here is the value people give to family and friends. We like to get together as families big and small; with friends and their children to watch them play and run while we catch up. Despite the hectic pace of life (the worst thing about life here) we lead in a city as big and vibrant as Buenos Aires we still find time to slow down and connect with those we love.