You'll be able to get around the city easily enough using the metro, your legs and buses, but if you prefer to have a car, pick one up from the Hertz desk at 1138 Paraguay (+54 11 4816 8001; www.hertz.com) or Ezeiza Airport (+54 11 4480 0054).
The main international airport in Buenos Aires is Ezeiza, which is around 30km from the centre of town. The drive should take 40 minutes, but allow up to 90 minutes in rush hour. There are licensed cabs at official stands at the airport or book a radio taxi (+54 11 4931 1200); expect to spend US$25 each way. There's a domestic airport (Aeroparque Jorge Newbery) nearer the city centre.
The central hub for trains is Consitución station; Ferrobaires (www.gba.gov.ar) and TBA (www.tbanet.com.ar) operate services out of here, bound for cities including Miramar and Santa Fe. Buenos Aires also has a five-line metro system, known as the subte (www.metrovias.com.ar).
Country code for Argentina: +54. Buenos Aires: 11.
Tango: A History of an Obsession by Virginia Gift to brush up on your dance knowledge; Evita, First Lady by John Barnes for some insight into the nation's favourite president's wife.
Do go / Don't Go
The city is mild enough all year round, but May-September is generally on the cooler side. The other, warmer months are busier and more expensive. Between January and March, temperatures can get as hot as 40˚C.
The famed Argentine steak (reared by gauchos on estancias) is available in Buenos Aires around the clock. It's all about the parilla or asado - meat cooked on a traditional grill or open fire. As well as mainstream cuts of beef and lamb, you'll be offered delicacies including choripan (chorizo and bread), morcilla (black pudding), chinchulines (pig intestines), sweetbreads and other organs. Other favourites include humitas (cornhusk-wrapped corn with cheese and spices), pasty-inspired empanadas and the delectable dulche de leche (milk caramel). Wash all of these down with some Malbec, one of Argentina's most highly regarded wines, or some Cerveza Quilmes, its favourite beer.
Taxis are visible all over the place, and you'll be able to flag one down with as much ease as if you were in London or New York. Try to have small notes and change for cab rides if you don't want to be met with an angry driver. Be sure to know the cross street for where you're headed - roads and avenues can stretch for miles. It's unlikely your driver will be fluent in English.
10 per cent is the norm, but don't be shy to leave more if you've received exceptional service. If you're paying by card, try to leave your tip in cash if possible.
Argentine peso (A$).
A cheap-looking plastic watch (leave your Rolex at home); a handy phrasebook; left and right feet to ensure success on the dancefloors; carnivorous cravings.
Get your fine-art fix at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes on Avenida del Libertador, a gallery showcasing an impressive permanent collection and some exquisite exhibitions (+54 11 4803 0802; www.mnba.org.ar). Stylish, contemporary Malba on Avenida Figuera Alcorta is Buenos Aires' answer to NY's MOMA - stop off for lunch and cocktails once you've filled up on culture (+54 11 4080 6500; www.malba.org.ar). Fans of urban architecture will enjoy a trip to El Zanjón, a restored 1830s house in the historical part of San Telmo (+54 11 4361 3002; www.elzanjon.com.ar).
This is the birthplace of the tango. The impassioned, head-jerking dance was born in the slums of Buenos Aires in the late 19th century, before the upper classes decided they wanted to strut their sultry stuff too.
For fashion pieces, take your dollars along to Palermo Soho's selection of designer, vintage and bohemian shops. Pick up colourful Argentine blankets and rugs at Arte Etnico Argentino on El Salvador (+54 11 4832 0516; www.arteetnicoargentino.com) - but hold off if you're north-bound for Salta, as you'll be able to get them much cheaper up there. In San Telmo, see the historical roots of the city as you browse the many antique shops; there's an antique street fair on Sundays. For luxury shopping, explore the Patio Bullrich centre, established in 1867 and a modern mall since 1988. Amazing artisan markets line the winding pathways of Plaza Francia.
Head up to the terraces on the rooftop of the Benito Quinquela Martín museum at 1835/43 Pedro de Mendoza in La Boca for cross-city view-capturing opportunities (+54 11 4301 1080).
Wander your way around the labyrinth of mausoleums at the Recoleta Cemetery until you find the final resting place of Eva Perón. Leave the Andrew Lloyd Webber soundtrack at the gates, though.
April/May Stockpile books in every language at the Buenos Aires Book Festival (www.el-libro.org.ar). June Spy the latest happenings in contemporary art at the Feria de Galerías de Arte (www.arteba.com). August Listen out for the melancholy melodies of the Buenos Aires Tango Festival flooding the city streets for the last two weeks of the month (www.festivaldetango.ar). November/December Watch the prestigious players battling it out at the Argentine Open Polo Championships, one of the oldest polo tournaments in the world.