Extensive greenery in Palermo provides good areas for recreation, especially on weekends when the ring road around the rose garden is closed to motor vehicles. Recoleta also has grassy parks, but not as extensive. Best of all is the Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur, an ecological paradise just east of Puerto Madero that might just make you forget you’re in a big city.
The city’s bike lanes make cycling in the city a safer proposition. Bike paths run along many roads in Parque 3 de Febrero, or head to the Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur, on the eastern side of Puerto Madero along the coast. This green and tranquil space has some flat dirt paths that are great to bike on. Pick up one of the free city bikes or hire one from a tour company such as Biking Buenos Aires or Urban Biking.
Inspired by watching professional fútbol teams play the game? Well, you can partake yourself – just contact FC Buenos Aires Fútbol Amigos to join fellow travelers and locals for fun on the pitch. There’s a modest charge for the experience, but post-match beers often lie at the end of the fútbol rainbow – and the sporty memories can be priceless.
If you want to get out of town for a few hours and hop on a horse, forget those touristy estancias (ranches) and check out Caballos a la Par. Guided, private rides are given in a provincial park about an hour’s drive from central Buenos Aires, and it’s not just one of those ‘follow-the-horse-in-front’ deals. They'll take you around woodsy lanes and fields, and you’ll have fun learning how to ride and even gallop on the fine horses.
Some upscale hotels have decent-size pools, but they charge hefty prices for nonguests (so hefty you might as well stay there). The fee generally includes gym use, at least. Try the Panamericano Hotel (www.panamericano.us), whose pool has the best view in BA.
A more economical option is to find a health club with an indoor pool; Megatlon (www.megatlon.com) is a popular gym with many branches. For a more casual environment, especially with kids, head to Parque Norte.
A few places in BA offer courts, such as Parque Manuel Belgrano, in Palermo. Bring your own racket from home if you’re serious about getting in touch with the Nalbandian or del Potro inside you.
BA has become a major destination for students of Spanish. Good institutes are opening up all the time and private teachers are a dime a dozen. Cultural centers also offer language classes; the Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas has an especially good range of offerings, from Korean to Russian to Yiddish.
Most private language institutes organize social activities, private classes and (usually) volunteer opportunities. Homestay programs are also available but often cost more than finding a place yourself. Check websites for fees and schedules.
An interesting sports complex for those seeking outdoor activities is Perú Beach. Short soccer fields, a covered roller rink, a freestanding climbing wall and water sports such as kayaking all bring in the crowds. In addition there’s also a grassy lawn and outdoor tables for refreshments – great on a sunny day. It’s more of a social scene than anything else, and families are welcome. Perú Beach is located in Acassuso, a suburb way north of Buenos Aires’ center, just across from the Tren de la Costa’s Barrancas station.