Welcome to BA City Guide where we are truly excited to be able to once again share the beauty and wonders of Buenos Aires and Argentina with visitors as Argentina reopens its borders to foreigners!
On this page you will learn about us, our experiences, our passion for travel and sharing culture, and our tours. First, though as Argentina is in the process of reopening its borders and we believe in safety first: we highly recommend that you read our page on “Health and Safety (C19)“. Also, whether you are touring with us or not, our “Essential BA Information” page has a lot of important information that will make your trip easier and much more economical!
Who we are
My name is Richard Shpuntoff. I moved to Buenos Aires in 2002 from New York City where I was born and raised, and have been touring visitors around Buenos Aires and Argentina since 2011. I have given easily over 700 tours over the past decade to visitors from the U.S., Great Britain, South Africa, Israel, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Colombia, Brazil and Italy.
Some more details about my life experience here. Along with being a tour guide, I am a translator, scriptwriter and documentary filmmaker. I have translated an enormous range of work including academic papers on Latin American childhood, gender issues, and tango lyrics, as well as films. I have subtitled some 200 films, and am currently the translator for the Mar de Plata International Film Festival. My wife is Argentine, originally from the province of Entre Rios, and our two daughters were both born and raised here. Yes, they take great pleasure in making fun of my accent in Spanish. I earned my undergraduate degree at Columbia College where I majored in Urban Studies.
Though I give the large majority of tours myself, I do work with a network of really wonderful guides from the U.S., England, and France, as well as a few super knowledgeable local people who specialize in a number of topics.
We offer individualized tours that cover every part of the city and beyond, and we can give tours that range from one hour to a full day, customized to your interests. The tours include the major sites, but they are also about experiencing daily life: dropping into cafés, wine bars, having lunch in a typical bodegón, riding public transportation, and checking out old bookstores, artisan shops, artist studios … you name it.
Following is a brief list of possibilities (neighborhoods), but think of this as an a la carte menu with a chef who has a city full of ingredients!
INTRO TOUR – A three and a half hour introduction to Buenos Aires and Argentina in which we start at the famous Plaza de Mayo where Argentina formed its first government, followed by a stroll along the Avenida de Mayo where Buenos Aires earned the name “the Paris of South America“. Then a walk into the old city including, of course, a visit to one of the historical cafés. Along with discussing history and culture, the tour will also orient visitors on practical matters for exploring the city on their own! AND WE ARE CURRENTLY OFFERING A PROMO RATE FOR THIS TOUR, DETAILS IN OUR PRICING LINK.
SAN TELMO (Old City) – Famous for its Sunday antiques market and artist studios, the neighborhood of San Telmo and the adjacent Montserrat are the oldest parts of the city. Exploring this neighborhood gives a feel for what the sprawling metropolis of Buenos Aires was like in the colonial period and its early years in a new independent nation when it was called La Gran Aldea (The Big Village). The tour includes visits to a 19th century house, meandering through the old market (El Viejo Mercado) built in 1897, and the oldest church in Buenos Aires.
LA BOCA (the old port area) – With its colorful houses and great iron transporter bridge gives a glimpse into the period of the great immigrations to Argentina at the turn of the last century. We walk along Caminito with its artisan stalls and watch mini-tango shows for the price of a tip! Plus, we can swing by the Bombonera, the soccer stadium of Boca Jrs. where the late, great Maradona thrilled fans with larger than life personality and incomparable skills, and pop our heads into the oldest volunteer fire station in Argentina!
THE PLAZA DE MAYO AND CITY CENTER – This tour focuses on the founding of Argentina as a nation and the building of Buenos Aires as the “Paris of South America” in the early 1900s when the nation had one of the strongest economies in the world. As we walk around the plaza we go up to the Casa Rosada (the Pink House) which is the presidential palace, and can visit the Cathedral where Pope Francis served as Archbishop of Buenos Aires for 15 years, and the Cabildo, a historic museum where the first independent government of Argentina was founded in 1810. After that a stroll up Avenida de Mayo toward the national Congress and a side visit to the Obelisk.
RECOLETA AND THE CEMETERY – The old money neighborhood of Recoleta and its neighboring Retiro represent the great wealth of Argentina. We stroll along Avenues lined with mansions that were once the homes of the aristocracy of the nation and are now embassies, hotels and museums. The highlight of this tour is the Recoleta Cemetery, world famous as the final resting place of Evita Perón, but really a fascinating glimpse into the culture of power of Argentina: the cemetery is dense with mausoleums of presidents, founding fathers, scientists and doctors, literary figures and more than a few stories about Argentine attitudes towards death and a chance for immortality.
JEWISH BUENOS AIRES – Buenos Aires is the most Jewish city in Latin America and Argentina ranks number six in nations in terms of Jewish population. This takes an in-depth and personal look at the migrations of Jews to Argentina at various points in history and the development and integration of Jewish culture in Argentina. I should mention that I am Jewish and my wife’s maternal great grandparents emigrated to Argentina from Romania in the 1880s, part of the population referred to as “Jewish gauchos”.
PHOTOGRAPHY – Personalized tours for visitors interested in dedicating time to photographing daily life in Buenos Aires with a guide who can take you off the beaten track while keeping you and your equipment safe. Along with being a tour guide, I am a documentary photographer and filmmaker and have been teaching photography to teens and adults since the early 90s. If you are a beginner or intermediate level photographer I am happy to help with pointers, and if you are a professional I can serve as your assistant. Also, I have access to a black-and-white darkroom should you want to photograph with film and develop here!
BORGES – Hands down the most famous literary figure to come out of Argentina, and one of the most famous in all of Latin America. This tour covers the streets he walked and wrote about with insight into his personal history and his fictions. If you have never read Borges, here are links to English versions of two of his most famous stories that take place in Buenos Aires: El Sur and El Aleph.
PALERMO, PUERTO MADERO and OTHER NEIGHBORHOODS – So, as not to make this page much longer the point is we can tailor-make tours to perfectly fit your interests. If you do not see it on this page, just ask!
SEND US AN EMAIL AT BACityGuide@gmail.com
FOR RATES AND PAYMENT INFO CLICK THIS LINK.