Sightseeing and Classes
It would take years for somebody to get to know all the intricacies and treasures of this city! Buenos Aires is
my home town and I know it to perfection. As your teacher and guide, I will be pleased to share this knowledge
with you, so your stay can be as interesting as possible. As I mentioned before, 40% of the classroom
material will be about the places we visit. I know from experience that one learns a language better studying
interesting and meaningful subjects rather than just studying from textbooks in the conventional language setting.
Sightseeing will take place in two different circumstances:
Sightseeing during class:
- During class
- After class (free excursion)
The more the classroom parallels the real world, the better (Communicative Approach) and if the classroom IS the
real world, better still!
This is why 50% of classes I teach are "on the go". They can take place at historic
cafes, museums, learning food vocabulary at a restaurant, etc. (Don't worry, I carefully select quiet places.)
Provided only Spanish is spoken during class, we can go to any place that might interest you.
Sightseeing after class, free excursion:
Every 5 hours of class taken, I offer students a free excursion (excepting incidental costs such as tickets,
meals or transportation) to any of a number of possible destinations (i.e. if a student takes 5 hours of class
in one month I would offer him/her one excursion per month; if a student takes five hours of class per week,
at the end that week I would offer the student a free tour.)
Keep in mind that excursions are a time for you to explore your interests and can always be customized to
reflect different preferences and ideas. Everyone enjoys different activities, so whether you prefer a quiet
cafe or some Puccini at the Teatro Colon or are more interested in a late night at the disco,
every effort to accommodate is made. Students are typically quite diverse in culture, race, religion, profession,
sexual-orientation and age. Everyone is welcome.
Possible Destinations for the free excursion:
- Performances of classical music at the famous Teatro Colon (when in season.)
- Tigre (the Rio de la Plata delta.)
- Lunch or dinner at the most famous "Parrillas" (steak houses.)
- Historic cafes.
- An afternoon or lunch at the Horse Track in Palermo.
- The best museums or historic buildings (some historic buildings are open to the public, guided tours are offered.
For instance, Palacio Barolo).
- The famous Sunday Antiques Fair in the charming neighborhood of San Telmo.
- The best vegetarian restaurants in town (for those of you who are vegetarian.)
- The city's best nightclubs and discos (be prepared, dancing starts at three in the morning.)
- Group tango classes (for instance, at La Viruta.)
- The Milongas (if you are a Tango dancer or just want to see non-professionals dancing.)
- Jewish Tour. We visit the Jewish museum, the oldest synagogue in the country (built in 1862), the Jewish neighborhood "Once".
- The non-touristy Tango shows.
- Villa Ocampo. Victoria Ocampo's mansion is now a museum located in the northern suburbs. Victoria was a writer
and wealthy patron of the arts.
- Gay tour. We go to one of the gay bars and then to a gay club.
- Old discount Movie theaters and Art-House cinemas.
- Casa Foa. This extraordinary architecture exhibit takes place every September.
Note: bare in mind that "sightseeing during class" and "after class" could be combined. For example: when we go
to Tigre, we could pick a nice quiet cafe where you can take your Spanish class, and after class we resume the excursion.
Details about the free excursion:
Examples of Possible Excursions:
- The excursion is free of charge, the only requirements are that students take more than 5 hours
of classes and that they pay their own expenses (transport, tickets, meals, etc.)
- Excursion is either in English, French, Italian or Portuguese (student's choice.)
- I will take care of buying tickets in advance and making all other necessary arrangements. Often this is
important as, for example, certain performances at the Teatro Colon sell out extremely quickly and the process
for obtaining reasonably priced tickets is quite complex.
- Traveling on a low budget. I know offices in Buenos Aires where tickets for cinema and theatre are
sold with a 40% discount; vegetarian restaurants where you can have an excellent complete meal for 10 dollars;
at the Teatro Colon I know from experience which are the best seats (price-quality relationship): you will be able to
see quite well and hear perfectly, for not more than 20 dollars.
We meet at Petit Colon, a historic cafe located a block away from the theatre (meeting at this cafe is part of the
ritual of attending a performance at the Colon.) Performances usually start at 8:30 pm. There might be an opera,
a symphony played by Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra, a Chamber orchestra playing etc. After the performance,
we go to dinner at one of the city's beautiful restaurants only blocks from the theatre and finally to one of
Buenos Aires most sophisticated bars: located in a three-floor, 100 year old mansion with an exquisite outdoor garden.
The Horse Track in Palermo (el Hipodromo de Palermo):
There are many spots at the Hipodromo where you can place yourself to see the horses run by. And it's free or
costs only 25 pesos! You can lean on the horse track fence and see the horses cross the finish line from a distance
of ten meters, so close you can actually feel the vibrations! Or you can have lunch at a sunny terrace overlooking
the track; again you will be just ten meters away from the horse as they race by.
Villa Ocampo (the Ocampo Mansion):
Located in the Northern suburbs of Buenos Aires, Villa Ocampo is today a museum and can be visited. Guided tours
conducted by their staff, are offered.
Victoria Ocampo was a member of one of the wealthiest Argentine families at the end of the twentieth century.
She inherited this mansion built by her grandfather in 1897. One of the most important women in Argentina's
history Victoria has been the number one patron of the arts. She devoted her enormous fortune to fostering the
arts, especially literature, and she was herself a writer. Many famous Latin-American and Argentine writers such
as Jorge Luis Borges owe their fame to her. The list of famous writers, artists, musicians, etc., who have stayed
at this mansion welcomed by Victoria's hospitality is astounding: Graham Green, Igor Stravinsky, Indira Gandhi,
Borges, Vivien Leigh, Garcia Lorca, etc. When they couldn't come to Argentina, Victoria went to them: one of
Victoria's pen pals and friends was Virginia Wolf.
Excursions only packages
Excursions can be purchased separately as an opportunity to see new parts of Buenos Aires or meet fellow
travelers. As always, I am open to student's suggestions and can customize an excursion to the needs of a particular
individual or group. Please see the "fees"
page for more details.