Tova and Carlos stairs pic

Main: (617) 840-9044

Carlos Moreno has limited availability for PRIVATE LESSONS in the Seattle area.


Global and community websites as well as teacher, festival, and live music recommendations


last updated 4/12/08

Tova Moreno's recommendations for learning, dancing, dining and shopping in tango mecca.

You'll first want to pick up a copy of the weekly publication El Tangauta (BA Tango is similar and will work also, but it isn't as nice looking or as well liked) to find out where/when to dance, what teachers are in town, when their classes are held, and shoe store info. El Tangauta can be found at many tango venues and shoe stores, but in the event that you arrive in Buenos Aires directionless and are not needing shoes (but do go shoe shopping right away if you want shoes so that you'll have time to accomodate any special orders if needed), go to any of the tango schools mentioned below. They usually have copies of el Tangauta, and you can take classes or get a class schedule while you're there.

Read absorbing excerpts from Carrie Whipple and Lara Triback's Buenos Aires journals on Carrie's site. I mean it! Read them! Note that Lara's first few days there were more typical than Carrie's. Everyone we know absolutely loves Buenos Aires, but most find it hard to break into the milonga scene at first.

And here's a great new site for BA info - everything from budget planning to phone calling tips to daily lessons:


To get to and from the airport, you may want to call a remise. Dante's your man. He's dependable, he speaks English, and he dances tango.

Taxis are the easiest way to get around and aren't very expensive. Many people have told me to be careful and only take the Radio Taxis with the lights on the top of them. Believe them if you choose.
If you want to be a little more frugal, or learn the local ways then you'll take buses (80 centavos) or the subway (70 centavos). The Subte is good if it happens to go the way you want to go. Unlike our Boston subway which looks like a game of tic-tac-toe with tracks crossing each other, the Buenos Aires subway looks more like fingers on a hand, where the routes originate in the same area and spread out from there without crossing. You may find the buses more useful, but they're also more difficult to figure out, partly because Buenos Aires has so many one way streets. Unless you get lucky enough to be told which bus to take (and don't trust that you'll be able to figure out how to take the bus back to where you came from), you'll need to buy a little book called the Guia "T" from one of the kiosks on the street and learn the routes yourself. You'll have to get someone in the city to show you how to use it because it's a bit too complicated for me to detail here.
But even if you don't plan to ride the bus that much, if you want to be the kind of tourist that knows when a taxi is taking the long way around, you should get a Guia "T" because it's maps are very good.


I've stayed in San Telmo, Congreso, Once, and Palermo. I like Palermo best. In general it's a more expensive than the other places I've stayed, but since I'm often found shopping and eating in Palermo, and some of my favorite milongas are there, it makes the most sense for me.
If someone told me, "Sorry, Palermo's not an option. Choose somewhere else.", I'd probably opt for San Telmo, although the constant taxiing would probably drive me slightly batty. San Telmo is just as far from the center of town as Palermo is but in the opposite direction. But San Telmo has charm. It's beautiful and kind of run down.
If you don't care so much about charm, and being centrally located is more important to you, then choose Once (also can be called Abasto), Balvanera, Monserrat, or Congreso. You'll find that different maps call these areas different things. Good luck.
If you want to stay in the area that feels most like the urban US (why would you, though?) and you don't mind paying for it, you'll probably want to stay in Recoleta.

TEACHERS for Group and/or Private lessons

Some schools to check out are La Escuela Argentina de Tango, the DNI school, and Tango Brujo. They all offer multiple classes a day for all levels of dancers. At Tango Brujo and DNI you'll also find tango shoes and clothing for sale, and DNI also offers yoga classes.

For more teacher recommendations, check out Andres Amarilla's recommendations.

We also highly recommend classes with teachers who are not on Andres' list, notably: Mariano 'Chicho' Frumboli, Julio Balmaceda and Corina de la Rosa, Ezequiel Farfaro and Eugenia Parilla, Claudia Codega and Esteban Moreno, Geraldine and Ezequiel Paludi, and Melina Brufman and Claudio Gonzalez.

MILONGAS AND PRACTICAS - Where and when to go

There are lots of milongas to choose from every night, my favorites are:

The practicas vary in their times, but most get going around 10 or 11pm and end around 1am. Friday's Tangocool is notable because it goes until 3am. And watch out for El Motivo on Monday - it ENDS at midnight. (I was always forgetting and getting there between 11 and 12:30!)

Oh, and you should know that the word 'practica' means two different things in Buenos Aires. If it's called a practica but it's total time is two hours or less, then it's really structured like a class, so you should plan to get there on time. If it goes longer than two hours, then it's really like a casual milonga, so arrive whenever you want, and don't practice too obviously if you're using it as worktime instead of dancetime.

Most of the milongas don't really pick up until around 11pm and they go until 4 or 5 am, but if you arrive between 11pm and 2pm you don't always get a seat. The best thing to do is to call earlier in the day to make a reservation. But whether or not you have a reservation (unless you arrive after 3am when a lot of tables have freed up) at least allow the host to seat you. In Buenos Aires people generally feel a sense of ownership to the chair they've been 'assigned' for the evening and will only share it with you if they really like you.
(Truthfully, I don't really enjoy dancing in many of the milongas until after 2am anyway, because they're just too packed. So I'll often either go to a practica and then a very late dinner or ice cream before heading to the milonga. Or I'll take a nap until 1 or 2am, and only arrive at the milonga once it's a little less crowded.)


Try, if possible, to dance with people that make eye contact with you from far away (it's called cabeceo) instead of coming up and asking you directly. Usually the people that ask you directly don't dance as well as those that 'cabeceo' you.
(I almost never accepted a dance if it was verbally requested, unless I already knew that the asker is a good dancer. In my opinion, it's much better to risk turning down a good dance than to accept a dance that I might regret. It may be sad, but it's true that people are judging whether they want to dance with you based on who you dance with and how good you look dancing, so if you dance with someone below your level for an entire tanda then better dancers may not ask you. It's all a big game, so you'd better learn to love it and get good at it. It does take skill just to play the "invitation to dance" game well.)
Cabeceo is much easier to do if you have a good seat, so as I said before it's a good idea to make a reservation, and to get to know the milonga's host. If you're in the back of a packed room and can't see the dance floor well, you may only get verbal invitations. (If I ever ended up in a bad place in the room, or even just to get a better sense of who was there, I'd make sure to roam a bit and make sure I was seen and that people knew where I could be found.
Honestly, I was almost never at milongas at times when I needed a reservation, but if you go to the milongas at peak times then you'll be glad you called ahead.)

At the more formal milongas you'll want to be discreet about changing into your dance shoes in the milonga. You may instead want to change your shoes in the cab or in the bathroom. Just look around and see what others are doing. At the informal milongas it really doesn't matter, so many people change into their shoes at their table.


Traditional Argentine fare is pretty much grilled meat, pasta, empanadas, and more grilled meat. I like meat, but I don't like eating the same thing day after day. So...

Ethnic food in Palermo Hollywood
Palermo is where you'll find most of the good non-Argentine ethnic food. All of these restaurants are fabulous even just to BE in. Argentines have an amazing sense of style. These are all kind of expensive, though, and you might need a reservation.

Argentine fare in San Telmo
In San Telmo you'll find a couple of delicious parilla restaurants for all you meat-loving people. But, do beware of ordering unidentified cuts of meat, unless you enjoy steamed intestines. :) Lomo and chorizo are always safe and tasty.

Vegetarians, good luck in the Carne Capitol!

Other restaurant recommendations in Buenos Aires


For a high concentration of the most fashion-forward clothes in Argentina, go to Palermo and walk around. Palermo Viejo is comparable to Soho in NYC - only the shops in Palermo are more affordable. Not cheap, though. More like a good sale in the US. There are great boutiques scattered all around Palermo, but their highest concentration is near the intersections of Honduras and El Salvador, Malabia and Armenia. Once you get into one good store ask for a shopping map so you can find all the others. Don't try to go on Sunday, since many of the stores are closed. Here are the addresses for couple of good shops to get you started:

There are a lot of good shops along the Avenidas Santa Fe and Cordoba, major streets that run parallel to each other. There's also good shopping in the malls such as Alto Palermo (near the Bulnes Subte) and Gallerias Pacificos (La Escuela Argentina de Tango is in this same mall).

If you go to the Rodriguez Pena location of La Escuela Argentina de Tango you'll notice that there are fun shops all along there, such as Unmo, at 1024 Rod. Pena.

And one other store I love for women's clothes is Maria Vasquez, with locations in some major malls: Alto Palermo (tel. 5777-7209), Unicenter (4836-1629), Paseo Alcorta (4807-4644).


Most of the companies that sell "tango clothes" use cheap, synthetic fibers that are not nice to embrace and exhibit designs that are at least several years behind current fashions - and on top of all that are priced exorbinantly for their quality. (Look first for clothes at all your favorite 'regular' stores.) But in the tango clothes world, here are a few good sources:


Since the arrival of Comme il Faut (see below) women's tango shoes ROCK!!! Until Comme il Faut came on the scene a few years ago, tango foot-fashion had been stuck somewhere in the mid-1980s (when tango started to become popular again). Imitators of Comme il Faut's success are popping up all the time now, and still many of the old favorites manage to stay successful with their out-of-date but nostalgic styles.
Men's tango shoes are just starting to catch up to fashion...




Disappointingly, no one has yet come out with shoes for men that are actually fashionable today. I look forward to the company that does...but until then wear the best pointy-toed tango shoes you can find or buy some fun sneakers. Since you can't choose for fashion, you might as well choose for quality. Fattomano (at Guatamala 4464) is one great option, particularly if you want to design the shoes yourself.
The rest of the shoe stores (listed above) sell pretty much the same styles, colors and fabrics for men - regardless of which store you're in! So, once you find a fit you like (by road testing them), stick with that company.



Whether you've been dancing Argentine tango for 6 months or 6 years, these suggestions about how to behave at a milonga (tango social dance) will educate, entertain and inspire:

Please read and take to heart these playful (and yet serious) mini-articles by Mitra Martin, and this article by Ney Melo. Pleeeeease.

Tine Herreman of the Yale Tango Club also has a lot of information on this subject, which (despite appearances to be just for Yalies) is applicable to most tango communties in the US.

And for more information about the flow of 'traffic' on the dance floor, look here.