Chad Agy Presents: Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires, The Best Mandatory Pit Stop in All of Fly Fishing – Chad Agy

An opportunity to explore Buenos Aires is perhaps the most underrated feature of a trip to Argentine Patagonia.  In fact, the realities of the travel agenda almost require a sojourn to the big city.  All international flights arrive at the international airport west of town, Ezeiza.  Even if the traffic is manageable, an angler is still looking at an hour-long commute across town to the Jorge Newberry domestic airport for almost all domestic flights to Patagonia.  Factor in the lines at customs at Ezeiza, and the notorious check-in lines at Jorge Newberry, and the logistics of a direct transfer to Patagonia become impossible to accomplish in one day for most destinations.  An overnight pit stop in Buenos Aires is mandatory for most anglers passing through.  Although this initially seems to be an inconvenience, the traveling angler soon considers this travel quirk a luxury.  I’ve traveled extensively in South America, and Buenos Aires is one of the very best cities or towns that I’ve visited on the continent.  Now, when I travel through the city, I book at least one extra day in town to enjoy all it has to offer.  Whether it’s food, drinks, cultural sites, or of course, fishing, Buenos Aires has much to offer for every traveling angler, and it would be short-sighted to skip these opportunities!  What follows is a beginner’s guide for successfully navigating the city on the way to Patagonia.


Most of the hotels frequented by anglers are a solid 45-60 minute drive from Ezeiza, the international airport.  I’ve been advised to avoid the city cabs, due to a risk of being scammed in one way or another.  From the airport, there are two good choices for transportation.  A ride service called Manuel Tienda Leon is a good option for transportation from the airport into town.  While this service is a bit more expensive than other options, the guarantee of a professional driver and a large, clean car makes this my choice when I arrive at Ezeiza.  You will see the booth for Manuel Tienda Leon on the left immediately after exiting the last phase of customs on the way to the main airport lobby.  The price for a private ride to the nicer areas of town runs between $50-$60 with this service.

Uber is the other good transportation option within the city.  It is cheaper than Manuel Tienda Leon.  It is definitely my go-to choice for quick trips around the city.  The only reason I avoid it at the airport is the reality that many of the vehicles, even in the “Uber XL” category, are quite small.  When traveling with all my baggage, the long ride into town can be a bit uncomfortable when squished between bags piled up in the car.



Most anglers stay in two nice parts of town: Palermo and the Recoleta.  During my four trips to the city I’ve always stayed in Palermo.  Palermo has numerous good hotel options.  Many of the best restaurants and bars in town can be found in Palermo.  The neighborhood features several prominent cultural sites, including the national soccer stadium (El Monumental), a large polo grounds, and a variety of gardens/museums.  The Recoleta strikes me as perhaps the fanciest part of town.  European-style architecture and famous eateries abound in this impressive neighborhood.  A famous cemetery is the centerpiece of the Recoleta, with innumerable mausoleums housing the remains of many deceased Argentine statesmen and celebrities, including the national icon, Eva Peron.  It may sound a bit macabre, but the Recoleta cemetery is one of the most impressive and unique sites within Buenos Aires.

Food and Drink

I’ve taken four trips to Buenos Aires/Patagonia, and I’ve barely scratched the surface of the incredible bar and restaurant scene of the city.  However, here are a few recommendations based on my limited experiences.

  • Don Julio Steakhouse: Quite simply, the best meal I’ve ever had.  Don Julio often features quite highly on lists of the best steakhouses worldwide.  It features traditional Argentine cuisine and wines, and of course, some of the most mouthwatering steak that can be found anywhere.  Reservations must be made months in advance, but the extra effort to secure a spot is well worth it.
  • La Carniceria: Another top steakhouse, located in Palermo.  It may not quite match the service or ambiance of Don Julio, but the food quality is very close.  If you miss out on Don Julio reservations, this is another great option for steak and Argentine fare.
  • La Mar: Delicious seafood and ceviche served in a Peruvian style.  La Mar boasts a spacious outdoor patio, making for a pleasant setting to have a few drinks during a warm Buenos Aires afternoon.
  • Floreria Atlantico: A speakeasy located beneath a flower shop, this funky underground bar is often rated amongst the best bars in the world.  Cocktails contain unusual ingredients like duck bones, popcorn, alkaline river stones, fungus, and soil.  But don’t let this dissuade you; each is a delicious, well-thought-out concoction.  The popularity of this bar requires reservations well in advance.

Argentina and Inflation

To the detriment of my Argentine friends, inflation of the Argentine peso has been out of control for quite some time.  While I hope they can get inflation under control,, this feature makes the country a very affordable place to travel for foreigners, particularly those who bring US dollars.  Due to the inflation of the Argentine peso, most Argentines enthusiastically seek out US dollars, which they can save without worrying so much about devaluation compared to their own currency.  This feature has created a “blue rate,” which is an informal currency exchange system.  Most hotels can perform this function.  They will give a better rate of exchange for converting dollars to pesos compared to banks/ATMs.  Bring some US dollars with you on your trip to Argentina, and the already affordable fine cuisine will be even cheaper if you exchange the dollars to pesos at your hotel upon arrival.


This is a fishing blog, so let’s get down to the fishing!  Unexpectedly, Buenos Aires is a great fly fishing destination in its own right.  Two massive rivers, the Rio Paraná and the Rio Uruguay converge just north of the city, to form the massive Rio de la Plata, essentially a massive estuary that flows into the Atlantic next to town.  These waterways hold immense numbers of golden dorado, one of the most desireable freshwater species in the world.  While in Bolivia, I learned that when you have an opportunity to fish for dorado, you fish for dorado.  The Buenos Aires dorado fishery had been on my mind during each visit to Buenos Aires.  Previously, I had been put off by the fairly high price tag attached to a day on the river: $950 per day for two anglers.  But during my recent trip to the city, I decided to pull the trigger on the trip, and man did it pay off!

We used an outfit called Urban Dorado Anglers for this adventure.  We were picked up from our hotel in Palermo at 8 AM, and quickly shuttled over to a small dock just north of town, right on the river.  There, we met our excellent guide, Elias.  He suggested a long approach to the other side of the delta, actually in Uruguay, where he said the fishing was “hot.”  He warned us that the boat ride would take an hour and 35 minutes, and therefore cut into our fishing time somewhat, but he also suggested this approach would pay off big time.  We excitedly agreed, as Elias turned the boat toward Uruguay.  On the way we passed through a curious network of canals as we motored through the marshland.  There was a collection of small houses and vacation cabins built on stilts to prevent water damage from occasional tidal surges.  Some of these interesting abodes were artistically built into the side of shipwrecks, many were dilapidated and seemed on the verge of collapse, while others appeared to be luxurious homes with fancy yachts parked at their adjacent docks.  We got intermittent views of downtown Buenos Aires, reminding us just how close we were to modern civilization, despite simultaneously feeling like Blackbeard may sail around the corner at any moment.

Our boat was nice, with spacious casting platforms and a 150 HP motor.  When we arrived at the Uruguayan side of the river system, Elias deployed a top-end electric motor that we used to sneak up on feeding frenzies of dorado, all while monitoring a fish finder to see if fish were hanging out deeper.  We spent the morning chasing feeding frenzies of dorado, as they crushed schools of the sabalo baitfish.  

It didn’t take long before I was hooked up to a dorado, which turned out to be one of my best fish of the day.  As we brought it boatside, it vomited up a sabalo that looked like it would have been a couple pounds in its own right before it was partially digested.  We spent the day hooking fish after fish, as we followed the feeding frenzies around the river.  The fishing was fairly simple: once in range of a feeding frenzy we used an 8-weight rod with floating line to cast at the disturbance in the water.  We used black andino deceivers all day long, which proved to be an effective fly.  While the water was fairly opaque, making sight-fishing impossible, many of the takes were highly visual due to the floating lines and the fact that we were mostly fishing the top couple feet of the water column.  Urban Dorado Anglers supplied all the gear, from rods/reels, to wire tippet, to flies, and more, which to me helped justify the relatively high price of the day.  As the feeding frenzies died off in the afternoon, we started to fish more toward structure.  We were equally successful with this approach.

As the day came to a close, I realized that I had landed 18 dorado, and lost several others on the way in.  While none were especially large–I don’t think we caught a fish over 10 pounds–the fish were all fat and healthy.  Almost all of the fish put on an insane aerial display after being hooked, and doubled our rods over as they pulled with vigor.  Frankly, going into the day I figured we’d get a few eats and maybe land a couple fish.  Our success blew away any expectation I had going into the day.  With other options for dorado costing thousands of dollars, Urban Dorado Anglers provides a great opportunity to catch this bucket list species.  However, for the neophyte dorado angler, this experience may serve as a gateway drug to bigger adventures, as it has for me.  After my day on the Rio de la Plata, I’m currently making plans to fish much further up on the Rio Paraná, where larger dorado can be sight-fished in a crystal clear tailwater.

Visit Buenos Aires!

Buenos Aires is a world class destination for fans of culture and fishing alike.  If traveling to Argentine Patagonia, don’t treat the mandated pit-stop in the city as an inconvenience.  Rather, investigate all this world-class city has to offer, and if possible, book some extra time in town to soak in these opportunities before heading down to the Patagonian trout fishing paradise!  I’m far from an expert, but feel free to get in touch with me @chadagy on Instagram if you have questions about navigating the city.