09:00 A cycle tour is a great way to zip around the main sights of Buenos Aires in a day, so long as you don’t mind battling the London-worthy traffic. Stay at Hostel Inn Tango City (hihostels.com) in the bohemian San Telmo district – dorm beds from less than £12pppn – where the staff will recommend an operator.
10:00 There are a few sights that every tour worth its salt (or, in this city, steak) will take you to see. One is the Cementerio de la Recoleta (cnr Junín & Guido), an intriguing collection of statues and crypts, lined along the cemetery’s warren-like ‘streets’. Past presidents and military heroes abound, but there’s one plot you’ve absolutely got to find – the final resting place of much-loved national heroine Eva Peron.
12:00 Another biggie is the Plaza de Mayo (cnr Avs de Mayo and Bolívar Microcentro), the nerve centre of Argentina’s political history. The name commemorates the May Revolution of 1810 that began the country’s process of independence from Spain, and it’s here that Peron, known as Evita, addressed the adoring crowds from her balcony (think Madonna singing Don’t Cry For Me Argentina).
12:15 The balcony that Evita appeared on was attached to the Casa Rosada, or Pink House. This rosy-hued Renaissance building makes essential snapping, and is home to Argentina’s presidential offices. There’s no truth to the rumour that it was decorated so pinkly at the behest of the country’s female president; it was daubed with an ox-blood-and-whitewash mix shortly after first being built in 1862.
13:30 After lunch – which will be spectacular wherever you choose, for this is the land of out-of-this-world steak and red wine for under a tenner – next on the tick-list is the Obelisco (cnr Avs 9 de Julio and Corrientes Congreso), erected in 1936 to mark the 400th anniversary of the first Spanish settlement. It’s an iconic symbol of the modern Buenos Aires, and was once adorned with a giant pink condom in honour of Aids Awareness Day.
15:00 Then make your way to the Puerto Madero area. A display of architectural creativity along the waterfront, perhaps the most famous structure is its bridge, said to resemble a lady leaning backwards mid-Tango.
16:00 Head on back to the hostel for a spot of window-shopping around quirky San Telmo, taking care to keep clear of the dogshit piles that litter the pavements. (It’s everywhere in the city, as are the dog walkers wrestling packs of up to 10 mutts at a time.)
21:00 After preening yourself for a night on the town, you can walk from the hostel to La Cabrera (5099 Palermo Viejo), a steakhouse so good it will bring tears to your eyes. A melt-in-the-mouth slab of cow, with sides of sundried tomatoes and olives, plus a bottle of really good red wine (go for the Malbec), will set you back no more than £15pp.
23:00 Nightclub Pacha (pachabuenosaires.com) is a 10-minute cab ride away, so hit up some local bars before getting in line (it’s social suicide to turn up to a club here before 2am). The city’s original superclub, Pacha’s riverside terrace and international DJs will keep you partying until 9am.
15:00 Catch some shut-eye and then head for La Boca, a European-inspired neighbourhood famed for its brightly coloured houses. There’s great street art too, but keep your wits about you – it’s a less-than-savoury locale.
16:30 In particular, El Caminito is a don’t miss – La Boca’s most famous street has crafts stalls, street artists selling their work, and even the odd pair of Tango dancers.
18:00 Buy a ticket for a match at La Bombonera Stadium (Brandsen), home to local football team, Boca Juniors (disgraced ‘Hand of God’ star Diego Maradona used to play for them). Watching a match here is a thrilling, if slightly unnerving, experience, as passionate fans fill stands well beyond capacity.
Home and away supporters are seated on separate tiers, which means that one set throws buckets of questionable yellow liquid on to those below, who in turn aim and shoot fireworks into the crowds above.
Top tip: don’t go with a tour, as you will be horrifically overcharged. Buying a ticket from the stadium like the locals do shouldn’t cost you much more than £3.
21:00 Check out Boca Tango (bocatango.com.ar) for dinner and a dance show. It not only provides a masterclass in sensual Latin rhythms, but a potted history of the neighbourhood too.
22:00 Say goodbye to the beautiful people at club Jet (Av Costanera Rafael Obligado), which plays mainstream sounds long into the morning. Make like a local and stroll home – sunglasses hiding the night’s sins – through the mid-morning sun.