Everyday you can enjoy two hours of smiley Gastón Cernadas’s company for nothing. The 27-year-old porteño will take you for a stroll around the centre of Buenos Aires loading you with interesting facts, historical trivia, and amusing anecdotes.
Gastón travelled in Europe for several months earlier this year. He came back inspired by the concept of free tours and decided to offer the same service in Buenos Aires. “I did the free tours in Madrid, Paris and Berlin – I thought it was a great idea and so brought it back to BA with me!”
As a tourist trap city Buenos Aires is renowned for charging special foreigner prices to tourists. However, Gastón, and his business partner and sister, Sol, are clearly not running a dollar grabbing venture. But how do they pay the bills? Gastón explains: “We operate on a tips-only basis. This hopefully means the quality of the tours remains high. We want you to enjoy the tour as much as possible and tip generously!”
The tour aims to be very objective regarding historical events and sheds light on many porteño myths. I learnt 9 de Julio is actually not the world’s widest avenue nor Rivadavia the longest. I was also pleased to hear that torre de los ingleses is in fact not a very bad replica of Big Ben, but just a present from the British.
Apart from shattering a few porteño illusions, the tour provides historical information about Argentine exiled heroes and idolised tyrants, iconic buildings and monuments, and insight into modern society.
The city tour runs daily at 11am and focuses on the areas around Congreso and Plaza de Mayo.
The aristocratic tour, daily at 5pm, takes you around the districts of Retiro and Recoleta and gives a picture of the lives of 19th century wealthy residents of Buenos Aires. It’s packed full of anecdotes about aristocratic figures who modelled their Buenos Aires’ palaces on fine Parisian mansions as well as those who wanted the real thing so uped a left to Paris leaving their fine Buenos Aires dwellings abandoned.
Why is the Casa Rosada pink? Why does the Argentine flag, inaugurated the year of independence, use the Bourbon colours? Why is the monument Pirámide positioned 1 metre to the left of centre in Plaza de Mayo? Why are all the buildings in Avenida del Presidente Roca exactly 33 metres tall?
You know where you can find the answers to all these burning questions!
More information at www.bafreetour.com