3 places to watch, hear and dance tango in Buenos Aires

local musician playing tango

The best way to get to know Buenos Aires and its residents, known as portenos, is to dance with them.

Three writers from travel magazine AFAR tell us their favourite places in Buenos Aires to get swept up in the tango – an unmissable experience in Argentina.

Sunday Milonga in Buenos Aires, by Nico Miller

“My favorite thing about Buenos Aires when I lived there was Sunday. Every Sunday, it seemed the whole city would go outside and sit. Every park and outdoor space was completely filled with crowds of people drinking mate. Sometimes there would be an outdoor milonga (like the one in the photo), where strangers and professionals would all dance tango in the park.”

tango dancers in Buenos Aires

Rojo Tango: The Best Tango in the World, by Greg Oates

“I’ve attended quite a few professional tango shows over the years, but I’ve always wondered where you can see the best tango in the world on any given night. Rojo Tango – “a mix of love, passion, madness and glamour” – at the high-fashion Faena Hotel in Buenos Aires might be it.

The room is really small. Maybe 50 people are sandwiched around tiny cafe tables between the 10-piece band and short stage. Grab a seat by the band or right upfront so you’ll feel like you’re almost part of show.

With the accordian player directly behind me, the lights go down and the show begins quietly with one couple. Then two and three. As the music crescendos, four couples are spinning wildly without bumping into each other or flying into the crowd. The intimacy of the space mixed with the frenzy of the dancers is overwhelming.

When one male dancer whipped around his partner and spun her almost violently downward, he caught her inches before she hit the hardwood floor. The crowd exhaled in one collective gasp at the combination of emotional abandon and physical precision.

The world’s best tango partners dance together, and only together, for many years to reach this level. Rojo Tango feels like the purest result of that collaboration, unadorned with the theatrics and hubris surrounding the mass market tango shows elsewhere around town. You have to pay a little more here but it’s worth the splurge. You will never look at two people dancing the same way again.”

recoleta in buenos aires in argentina

The Street Musicians of Buenos Aires, by Matthew Keesecker

“While exploring the city streets of Buenos Aires, you will be delighted to find the occasional ‘pop up’ band along the way. There is no rhyme or reason to finding them, and compared to the usual ‘one man bands’ you see in the states, here you get the whole crew. People don’t just stop for a minute or two, they stay for a while, as these are talented individuals. And as you can see from the less-than-mobile instruments, they have rather elaborate and impressive musical arrangements.”

Read the full article on the AFAR website.

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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