buenos aires wellness

3 de Febrero is a particularly impressive park featuring a beautiful rose garden. (Photo: Alamy)

Buenos Aires

How to Have a Super-Healthy Vacation in Buenos Aires

Part of the excitement of travel is escaping our normal routine, but changes in habits like overindulging in food, late nights, and a lack of exercise can have a seriously negative effect on our health. Luckily, Buenos Aires is an active city, and although the locals may love their pasta, desserts and wine, they also like to play sports and relax in their downtime.

So, do as the locals do, and balance your overindulgences with a healthy dose of physical exercise and fresh air.

Explore the City on Foot or by Bike

Buenos Aires has a great public transportation system, so there’s no need to rent a car, and the many buses and metro lines in the city will get you wherever you want to go. Get a SUBE refillable travel card and use the city’s “Cómo Llego” app to find the fastest and most direct way to get where you’re going.

If you’d prefer to pedal to your destination, look out for one of the almost 200 Ecobici public bike stations, where bikes are free to rent. Don’t forget to pack some comfortable shoes! The capital has always had a strong pedestrian culture, but in recent years the government has made changes to the main streets to make them safer and more pleasant for walking.

Some streets in the Old Town have even put a limit on the number of cars coming through during the day, and without a doubt, the best way of exploring some of the more vibrant neighborhoods like Palermo, Villa Crespo, and San Telmo is on foot.

Dance Every Day

Seeing a tango show is one of the most popular tourist activities in Buenos Aires. But, instead of going to see other people dance, why not join them?

Milongas (tango dance sessions) are held every night in the city in cultural centers and bars, and are open to tourists as well as locals. They start with a practice session, where beginners learn the steps while the experts fine-tune their art, and the dancing goes on until the small hours. There’s always a fun and friendly atmosphere at these events, and it’s the perfect way to keep fit and have fun at the same time.

There are various different options around the city, including La Marshall’s “queer tango” milonga night, held on Wednesdays at El Beso, along with more traditional milongas such as La Viruta. You’ll find details for all the different milongas on the Hoy Milonga website.

How to Eat Healthy and Well

Until recently, the only things served in Buenos Aires’ restaurants were meat and pasta, but the vegetarian and organic food movement has grown just as much here as it has around the rest of the world.

Start with a delicious smoothie from trendy Be Juice, where the juices are made with fresh fruit and vegetables, right in front of your eyes. If you’re in Palermo at lunchtime, go straight to Casa Munay, a cozy restaurant with creative vegetarian versions of popular dishes, and be sure to try the vegetarian hamburger with barbecue sauce, and the pumpkin cannelloni.

For dinner, don’t miss El Baqueano, which has been named one of the 50 best restaurants in Latin America. The tasting menu showcases seasonal recipes and regional ingredients, and every dish has its own story to tell.

For something more casual, try Cúrcuma in the trendily offbeat neighborhood of Almagro, or Hierbabuena in San Telmo.

Escape to an Oasis

buenos aires wellness
With streams and islands, Tigre is one of the biggest deltas in the world. (Photo: Getty Images)

Although Buenos Aires has a lot of green spaces, sometimes you just need to escape the urban chaos. If you’re in search of total and complete relaxation, take a trip to Tigre.

One of the biggest deltas in the world, this part of the Paraná River is a world away from city life, with streams, islands, and a small community that very much subscribes to the slow pace and relaxed vibe of island life.

You can explore the town itself, but we recommend spending your time on the water. Go for a paddle with El Dorado Kayak, get a local company to take you to some of the more quiet and secluded spots, or try a waterskiing class. You’ll feel refreshed and revitalized, and ready to head back to the hustle and bustle of the big city.

Visit the City’s Parks

Life in Buenos Aires seems to revolve around its extensive networks of parks and squares. At the beginning of the century, the landscaper Carlos Thays, acting as Director of Parks and Walkways, took charge of the city’s green spaces, and thanks to him it’s now full of native plants and trees, large parks, and dozens of grass-covered squares.

In the afternoons, the squares fill with locals drinking mate, a tradition that has become a kind of social event, and even helps to combat stress. San Martín, Francia, and Lezama squares are the prettiest and best located, and among the city’s parks, 3 de Febrero is particularly impressive. It features a beautiful rose garden, a paved path where the locals like to rollerblade (you can rent rollerblades here too), and lakes with rowboats and paddle boats.

If you’re staying in Puerto Madero, one of the city’s more modern and upscale neighborhoods, make sure you take a trip to Micaela Bastidas Park, where the locals run, practice tai chi, and do yoga on the grass after work.

From there you’re also pretty close to the Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve, an area of wild wetlands with 350 hectares of protected land. Walk the reserve’s trails to discover the native flora and fauna and get the best view of Río de la Plata.