Argentina's capital Buenos Aires

Choose your own passion in Buenos Aires. See, or better still try your hand at the sensual, sorrowful tango that spills out at all hours from bars, clubs and cafes. Stroll the wide boulevards that are South America’s elegant riposte to Paris. Or join the soccer-obsessed hordes – BA is home to more teams than any other city on earth. A shopaholic’s heaven and a carnivore’s mecca, just trying to do justice one of these passions will leave you dizzy and seeking comfort in the ubiquitous local sweet, Dulce de Leche. But take time to tour the capital’s other side. It is a city of fine parks and statues, of graceful, cobbled streets shaded by tipa trees, of long, lingering lunches where coffee and ice cream is nearly as much a part of the local culture as church. Buenos Aires is simply one of the world’s great cities, and a must for any South America travel to-do list.

Buenos Aires has more milongas (tango dance parties) than nightclubs. Tango may be a tourist draw, but it’s also key to understanding the city’s personality, at turns passionate and boisterous, then soulful and intimate. Even better than catching a show, try your hand (and feet) at it: on any given night every neighbourhood has lessons, often followed by a milonga. First-timers are greeted like old friends, and the uninitiated are soon mastering the basics. Just see if you can last the pace: the portenos think nothing of tangoing until 5am, the dance’s adornments – its taps and flirts, high kicks and caresses – often getting increasingly wild as the night rolls on.

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