San Telmo

Posted by on May 6, 2013

San Telmo

My favourite part of Buenos Aires. Old cobbled streets lined with trees and lamp posts overlooked by Parisian style buildings. This is the old Buenos Aires and has largely maintained its historic charm. Here there are less of the awful concrete soul traps that rise above the old skyline. Some of the streets even have rails from an era when tramvías, or trams trundled along them.

I started my rambles in Plaza Dorrego, ground zero of San Telmo. An enchanting plaza of tables and chairs under large old trees, lined on all sides by cobbled streets, cafes, small hotels and artisan shops. In the background the steeples of a church can be seen over the leafy canopy of trees.



The best time to experience San Telmo is a Sunday late afternoon. Any sunny late afternoon would suffice but on Sundays there is a large market that fills the Plaza and lines calle Defensa all the way north to the Plaza de Mayo where vendors sell everything from fresh juices and roasted sugared almonds, to batteries, clothing, money change, old video cameras, coloured bottles, mates and all manner of bric-a-brac. There are street performers, tango performances and I even saw Captain Jack Sparrow swaggering down the street – it was perfect.

I ambled through the streets, taking my time. I had organized to meet Cony there and we’d stroll together but she had been working all day and had to go to Puerto Madero and couldn’t meet me, so, mate in one had, thermos under my arm, I strolled north in search of nothing in particular but enjoying myself thoroughly all the same.

Sunday Afternoon Street Market


To the south of Plaza Dorrego, between avenidas San Juan and Brasil, the quaint old architecture continues until one finds oneself at Parque Lezama, a large greenspace dotted with trees. While there it’s worth visiting the National Historic Museum to acquaint yourself with some of Argentina’s turbulent and violent history.

Parque Lezama & National Historical Museum


If I were staying in Buenos Aires for some reason, I would put up with a lot to be able to stay in some squashed little second-story apartment overlooking some part of this beautiful suburb, so full of charm or ‘lleno de encanto’.

San Telmo – “lleno de encanto”