Dollar-Friendly Destinations 2008
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The place: Buenos Aires
It's a poor man's: Barcelona
The financial analysis: It's been nearly ten years since the economy collapsed in Argentina, and while the crisis is over, prices haven't risen to their former high mark. Steak and wine for two, which used to run past $200, can still be had for around $60. Argentines used to pop up to the United States to vacation and shop on the cheap. Now it's our turn.
Price of a beer: $2 for a Quilmes
What to do: There's only one thing sexier than watching a tango performance: doing a little tango yourself. Learn how from Argentina's most famous choreographer and dancer, Carlos Copello. His school, located in the Abasto area, is mostly for professionals but also features a program for first-timers and visitors. Group classes are only $6 an hour—cheaper than the rose you're going to stick in your teeth.
Hotel: It'll set you back a mere $90 a night for a room at the Cocker, in the heart of Buenos Aires's charmingly atmospheric San Telmo district. The Belle Époque–inspired hotel has only five rooms in a building that dates from the late 1800s. It was left for dead until two Brits refurbished it and stuffed it with antique furniture, hardwood floors, Egyptian cotton sheets, double-height ceilings, terraces, and, in one room, a king bed made from the original staircase.
Cheap eats: Café San Juan, a low-key café in San Telmo, is a family affair—a crowded local joint run by chef Leandro Cristóbal and his mom. The menu is a mix of traditional and fusion fare, with highlights like roasted partridge and chicken with honey and sesame. Expect to pay less than $60 for two.
How to get there: American Airlines has nonstop service from JFK, Miami, Chicago, and Dallas, but you can find cheaper flights on Aerolíneas Argentinas, Copa, or Mexicana (though you might have to connect). And since the time difference between the U.S. and Argentina is minimal, you won't waste any precious vacation hours recovering from jet lag. Now that's savings.
Tango Escuela Carlos Copello
Tel: 54 11 4864 6229
Tel: 54 11 436 28451
Café San Juan
Tel: 54 11 4300 1112