Central and South America Shopping
Discover a shopper's paradise in Buenos Aires, Latin America's most famous shopping city. Discover glitzy malls, small boutiques and out-of-the-way stores offering a wide range of high-quality leather goods, fascinating antiques and unique funky fashions from local designers. Browse Calle Florida, a pedestrian thoroughfare crowded with chain stores and boutique shops; stroll Avenida Alvear in upmarket Recoleta, where you can find exclusive shops such as Armani and Hermes; and don't miss the fabulous shopping malls of Galerias Pacific and Patio Bullrich, both located inside attractive old buildings. Many Buenos Aires shops also offer tax-free shopping: look out for the blue and white logo on the door or ask if you don't see one.
Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm and on Saturday from 9am until midnight (some close for a few hours in the afternoon). Shopping centres are open daily from 10am to 10pm.
Sales tax (IVA) in Argentina is 21 per cent. Fortunately, there's a tax-refund system for purchases of more than ARS70 for goods made in Argentina. Most of these stores display blue-and-white 'tax free' signs.
Getting a tax refund
At the time of purchase, ask for the special Global Refund form. This indicates the value of your purchase and how much you can get back from the Global Refund desk at the airport as you leave Argentina.
Look out for antique crystal chandeliers, silver jewellery, handicrafts and every conceivable made-to-measure leatherwear including quality suede jackets and shoes.
Best time to visit
Any time. Late spring in October and November and autumn from March to May have pleasant weather, with temperatures averaging 24°C. Summer averages 28°C but on occasions can hit 40°C.
Best shopping areas
Here's the best of Buenos Aires' shopping districts.
Recoleta Browse an elegant Parisian-style strip of upscale European boutiques, cafes, antiques stores and art galleries along the Avenida Alvear in the city's most expensive neighbourhood. Pop into the stylish Patio Bullrich, one of the city's most famous malls, and enjoy a snack in the excellent food court. Afterwards, head to Buenos Aires Design, an upscale shopping mall entirely devoted to interior design. And don't miss the handicraft market held in Recoleta's Plaza Francia every weekend, also a great place to watch performing street artists.
El Centro Stroll Avenue Florida for some of the best buys in the city. Discover a range of clothing, jewellery, sporting goods, electronics, leather goods shops and bookstores. Along the way, watch out for street entertainers and tango dancers who perform here day and night. Browse more than 180 shops inside the architecturally striking, multi-level Galerias Pacifico shopping centre, which features stunning frescoes and a magnificent dome. Located at the corner of Florida and Cordoba, the centre presents tango and folk dancing shows every Thursday at 8pm.
Palermo Shops along Avenue Santa Fe offer bookstores, cafes, ice-cream shops and cinemas as well as a wide selection of clothing stores with reasonable prices. Browse hundreds of shops in the shimmering Alto Palermo Shopping Mall, Buenos Aires' biggest shopping centre. Palermo's other neighbourhoods of Palermo Viejo, Palermo Hollywood and Palermo Soho are also home to numerous trendy fashion boutiques found along a network of interconnecting lanes.
San Telmo Discover unique articles inside the numerous antique and arts and crafts shops that line the street. Don't miss the weekend Flea Market, great for people watching and enjoying street performers' shows. Or head to Plaza Dorrego on Saturday or Sunday for one of the world's best antique fairs.
Outdoor markets Combine shopping at one of Buenos Aires' open-air markets (called ferias) with entertainment as you watch tango dancers strut their stuff.
San Telmo Antiques Fair Experience a vibrant and colourful market of more than 270 stalls. Here you can find antique silversmith items, porcelain, crystal and other antique curios. The market is famous for tango performances that can go on into the late evening. Held every Sunday from 10am to 5pm at Plaza Dorrego.
Cabildo Patio Feria Shop for locally made crafts, in particular pottery, stained glass and jewellery. Held on Thursdays and Fridays from 11am to 6pm in the patio behind the Cabildo in the Plaza de Mayo area.
Plaza Serrano Fair Discover clothing racks filled with trendy clothes made by young designers who aren't able to afford their own boutiques. The Fair is also good for arts and crafts, complemented by the sounds of locals singing and playing guitar. Held Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm in Plazaleto Jorge Cortazar, a small plaza located in the heart of Palermo Hollywood.
Recoleta Fair (Feria de Plaza Francia) Browse stalls with every conceivable item on sale while listening to live bands perform, at one of the city's largest fairs. Officially held every Saturday and Sunday in front of Recoleta Cemetery from 10am until sunset.
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