This guide will succinctly teach tourists how to go to a Buenos Aires football match. In our opinion, it’s the safest, easiest and cheapest way. Alongside this, we will briefly discuss La Boca in relation to football in Buenos Aires.
Before our trip to Patagonia to do the W Trek, we started our South America adventure in Buenos Aires. Moreover, seeing a football match in Buenos Aires should be on your South America bucket list. This is whether or not you are a football fan or even a sports fan at all. Football is religion here. Seeing the spectacle of a match in person is just as much a quintessential cultural experience as any other in Argentina.
Buenos Aires Football | Tourist Guide
Buenos Aires is home to ‘the big five.’ This refers to the main five football clubs in the area. These include the two biggest clubs Boca Juniors and River Plate, and also Independiente, Racing Club and San Lorenzo. Not only are these football clubs obviously well supported in Buenos Aires, but throughout the whole of Argentina. During our time in Argentina, we regularly saw the locals don Boca Juniors and River Plate apparel. This was true even at the southernmost point of Argentina in Ushuaia!
Visit La Boca
La Boca: Particularly, Boca Juniors is essentially a brand in Argentina. Other than seeing a match, we would highly recommend going to the colourful neighbourhood of La Boca. It’s easy enough to get there from downtown by jumping on a local bus. However, you will need a SUBE card to be able to use this service. We initially bought our SUBE cards at Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza International Airport for $100ARS ($1.55USD). This allowed us to catch the bus from there to the city centre.
Due to the economic crisis in Argentina, bus prices can fluctuate. In February 2020, a single trip in Buenos Aires was around $21ARS ($0.30USD). Although not exactly breaking the bank, perhaps budget for single bus trips in Buenos Aires to be around 25ARS ($0.35USD), for the time being anyway.
Any day of the week, the multicoloured buildings and streets make for a fascinating setting. However, visiting specifically on the day of a match, created an additional atmosphere of excited and passionate fans. They were boisterous when walking the streets, and filling the restaurants and bars. We really enjoyed that genuine local vibrancy. To get to La Boca, it’s easy to catch a local bus from the city centre.
Where to Buy a Football Jersey?
This is also a great area to pick up some cheap merchandise. Although Boca Juniors apparel is mostly sold here, the vendors sell products of all ‘the big five’ clubs. What you buy and thereby what club you support, will all depend on what football match you are able to secure tickets for! There are more official memorabilia stores than others, but we were happy to go to a discount store.
Here, we picked up a Racing Club jersey for $500ARS ($8USD) as this is the club we would be seeing in action! It also would be a nice souvenir. To be honest though, we don’t usually buy too many souvenirs. This is because, if anything, we prefer memories, experiences and photographs of our travels, rather than physical things. Plus, our travel bags are usually too full of hiking or camping gear anyway!
How do You Get a Ticket for a Football Match in Buenos Aires?
Basically it is VERY difficult to get tickets to see a football match in Buenos Aires without organising through a third party. They already have the legal connections to secure tickets. It is particularly difficult to see Boca Juniors as there are no public ticket sales and no entry allowed to anyone without a Boca Juniors membership card. Even the waiting time to become a club member is a massive 7 years! Unfortunately, securing tickets to see any of the other big clubs also proves similarly difficult.
Generally speaking, we do not usually book through third party companies. But in this instance it is absolutely necessary and unavoidable. The most reputable company we came across was LandingPadBA. Not only do they do all the hard work in securing a ticket for you, but they will send you a thorough email with all the relevant safety advice and tips. For instance, they may recommend taking a form of ID, but not to take anything unnecessary. We always travel with a travel wallet to keep money, bank cards and other documents easily organised when we don’t need it on us for day trips or activities.
It’s as easy as rocking up to the agreed upon meeting place and enjoying yourself. The starting prices as of March 2020, to see one of ‘the big five’ clubs are as follows:
- Boca Juniors $165USD
- River Plate $145USD
- Independiente $115USD
- Racing Club $120USD
- San Lorenzo $125USD
Our Experience with LandingPadBA
LandingPadBA: We contacted this company 3 months in advance. They registered our interest to see a Boca Juniors match in Buenos Aires for late January 2020. Because it would be the first match post Christmas break, they had difficulty with securing as many tickets as usual as vendors were still on holiday!
STORY TIME: Essentially, they sent us an email a week before the match. Unfortunately, we missed the email as were travelling from the UK to South America at that time. So by the time we had read the email, and tried to pay for tickets online, they had sold out. The good news was, that with so many clubs in Buenos Aires, there was a guarantee that at least another one or two clubs would be playing a home match the same weekend. They offered us tickets for a San Lorenzo and Racing Club match. But with my heart set on seeing Boca Juniors play and with tickets for the lesser known teams being quite expensive, we thought we might as well see what our other options were.
Airbnb Experiences in Buenos Aires
That’s when we stumbled upon Airbnb experiences. We discovered that there were quite a few locals who could offer the same service at a much cheaper price. We had used Airbnb successfully for accommodation many times previously, but never for an experience! To get started, we contacted a few hosts including Mariano Repetto. He was quick to respond, offering tickets to see Racing Club play Atletico Tucuman in 5 days time. The price was $48USD/person. Sold!
Similar to what a third party company like LandingPadBA offered, Mariano Whatsapp’d thorough instructions. He explained things we would need, where to meet, how we would get there, what was involved with getting into the stadium and just general assurance.
True to his word, Mariano delivered on a fantastic evening. He and his father were on time when meeting us. They both drove a total of 7 of us safely to and from the match and got us into the stadium with no trouble. Mariano was a nice man, spoke basic English and had a passion for the game!
His Airbnb experience is titled “Live the passion of soccer”, or you can Whatsapp him on +5491124584383.
Go to a football match in Buenos Aires: Donning my newly purchased Racing Club jersey and sitting with the local supporters behind the goals, in a netted and gated off section of the stadium, was an amazing experience. It lived up to all expectations. The supporters were passionate and loud, but polite and friendly. We had a great time watching Racing Club draw 1-1 and can now tick one more item off the bucket list; a football match in South America.
Buenos Aires Football | Tourist Guide Recap
Watching a football match in Argentina is a quintessential cultural experience. Even if you don’t like football, this sport is important to the people of Buenos Aires. This is certainly apparent in seeing the passionate fans in action at a game. Safety is often a concern for tourists going to a football match in Argentina. Organised tours are usually the best way to see a match to ensure safety but availability and affordability may be an issue.
Seeing a football match in Buenos Aires through AirBnb experiences was an unforgettable experience. It was easy to organise, cheap and reliable. It’s a great experience to have in this football crazy city.
Getting to & from Buenos Aires
Flights: You’ll likely need to get a flight to Buenos Aires. We flew there from London. Using Skyscanner.com, we found a decent flight with Norwegian Airlines. With checked in baggage, it came to £344/person ($438USD). Admittedly, using Jack’s Flight Club we have found the occasional cheaper flight.
If you’re flying from the UK or USA, we’re sure that you can find deal flights to South America. Subscribe to Jack’s Flight Club to monitor these. If you have free membership, you’ll receive 1 email per week which includes lots of deals. However, we highly recommend paying for premium membership. You’ll get 4 times as many deals emailed to you. Plus, it’s only ($43USD) and we guarantee that by booking merely 1 flight deal, that you’ll more than earn back the price of membership. For instance, a London to Paphos flight we booked using Jack’s Flight Club, was around ($49USD) cheaper than the usual fare. So we made our money back, and then some, with that single purchase! For Australians, we recommend using I Want That Flight for a similar flight alert service. Better yet, this flight alert system is for free! So absolutely nothing to lose by signing up to their alerts and newsletter.
Airbnb: Of course, you’ll need a place to stay in Buenos Aires! We used Airbnb to book a place in downtown Buenos Aires for great value. For 3 nights, we paid $48USD for 3 nights for 2 people. We booked an entire flat called Cordoba VIP. Check it out with the link we have provided.
Admittedly without A/C, it did get pretty hot in there. But there is at least a fan. Also, there is an old school lift that did the trick in getting us up to the apartment. The host’s communication was good before we arrived. It allowed us to organise the handover of the keys in a fairly straightforward manner.
- SUBE Card: $100ARS ($1.55USD) (+ $100ARS [$1.55USD] credit)
- Accommodation: $3,450ARS ($48USD) for 3 nights for 2 people.
- Football Match through Airbnb Experiences: $3,450ARS/person ($48USD).
- Football Jersey: $500ARS ($8USD)
= $4,900ARS/person ($68USD) for 1 day in Buenos Aires going to a football match, not including flights or costs getting to Buenos Aires.
Five Travel Essentials for a Football Match in Buenos Aires
We were told to only take what was absolutely necessary. For us, that was basically just our phone, wallet and ID. Depending on the weather, you may just need to take a few more things.
- An ID card
- Travel/money pouch – safely store your ID card.
- Ray-Ban Polarised Clubmaster Square Sunglasses – if your match is in the afternoon, you may have the sun in your eyes.
- The North Face Venture 2 waterproof/windproof jacket – only in the cooler months.
- Football supporter jersey
- Food: Because you’re expected to take as little as possible to the match, make sure you fill up before you go. Otherwise, outside of most stadiums, there will be a bunch of Argentinian BBQs (parilla) set up. Of course, it’s delicious!
- Water: Buenos Aires during summer is understandably very hot. Again, for attending a football match, you’ll be asked to take only the absolute essentials. Plus, in general with sporting events, you cannot take opened water bottles past security into the stadium. So to ensure you don’t get dehydrated, just take in a water bottle that you don’t mind throwing in the bin before entering. No, we wouldn’t otherwise support the use of plastic!
- Safety: follow all the instructions of your guide/host and you will be just fine!
- Explore Buenos Aires: Whilst you’re in Bueons Aires, make sure to explore the town. For more information, check out Why Not Walk and their three day Buenos Aires guide.
Have you been to a football match in Buenos Aires as a tourist? How did you find it? How did you organise getting to one? Let us know in the comments.
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