What to do

Tango in Argentina

A sultry dance of romance and energy, the tango is the very heart of the city...

Historically the origins of this infamous dance are fairly murky. Thought to have started around the late 1800s in the slum areas of Buenos Aires, as the various immigrants from Europe began to arrive into Argentina, the dance was seen as the dance of the working classes...the working man, hungry for some female attention, would go to the cafes and bordellos of Buenos Aires and dance with the prostitutes or waitresses that were serving there.

As a dance, the two partners stay as close to one another as is possible, using a series of hip movements and elaborate kicks to move across the floor. Even today it is seen as a highly erotic and intimate dance and the mood in the air is always electric when it is danced properly.

As the dance become more popular and mainstream, being adopted by the middle and upper classes in Buenos Aires, the dance became known to the wealthy of Europe. It then spent a period abroad, being refined and further publicized. Today the tango is fairly formalized and has become mainstream with singers such as Carlos Gardel, earning world renown.

Today there are very few dance halls left in the capital and, as such, very few places where it is still possible to dance it as it would have been originally. For those that are keen to watch this fantastic piece of drama (practically every dance runs through a range of different emotions and sentiments) then there are many Tango shows that are on offer for tourists. In our view, there is still nothing like going and sitting in a dance hall and watching as the Portenos of the capital practice this fascinating dance, but hotels like the Faena are probably the best places to head to for a little of the authentic feel for how it was originally.

At a glance...Buenos Aires

  • Population: 3 million
  • Location: Eastern Argentina
  • Recommended time: 3 to 5 nights
  • Time to visit: Year round - humid in December and January
  • Go here for: Culture, food & wine, tango. polo
  • Further reading...

  • › Buenos Aires
  • › Culture
  • › Wine and food
  • › What to do in Buenos Aires
  • Our Top Five Culture Hotels in Buenos Aires:

    1. Alvear Palace Hotel, Buenos Aires

      Alvear Palace Hotel

      The Alvear Palace Hotel is one of the truly old world hotels in the capital, and is a Buenos Aires institution, and rightly so. With its high levels of service and marble covered foyer it is still one of the best places in the capital to spend a few nights if you are looking for this lavish feel.... More...

      Our rating:
      5
      User rating:
      4
      Price:
      5
    2. Hotel Clasico

      Hotel Clasico

      In the buzzy Palermo Hollywood district of Buenos Aires, Hotel Clasico is a great option for those wanting a comfortable and well-located base for exploring Buenos Aires. Its modern design and close proximity to a number of good restaurants make it an easy hotel to recommend for anyone looking for... More...

      Our rating:
      4
      User rating:
      4
      Price:
      3
    3. Algodon Mansions - Bedroom

      Algodon Mansion

      Located just 3 blocks from Recoleta Cemetery, the Relais & Chateaux Algodon Mansion oozes class without too much exuberance and so retaining a welcoming and relaxed ambience. There are plenty of in-house facilities to enjoy once all the city sightseeing activities are over. It is hard to fault... More...

      Our rating:
      5
      User rating:
      5
      Price:
      4
    4. The Four Seasons

      The Four Seasons

      Located just down the road from the excellent Park Hyatt, the Four Seasons Hotel, Buenos Aires is a slightly poorer version in our view. Similar in concept to the Hyatt, the hotel made the decision to use the old town house as a venue, rather than for clients, thus negating it as a reason to stay.... More...

      Our rating:
      4
      User rating:
      4
      Price:
      4
    5. Mio Hotel - Entrance

      Mio Hotel

      The Mio is owned by the Catena wine producing family and has something to offer a design sensitive boutique hotel orientated clientele. We think this hotel perhaps lacks substance in places so we are not so sure it is worth the price tag. However, this is purely an aesthetic consideration which we... More...

      Our rating:
      4
      User rating:
      4
      Price:
      4