23 Photos of the Shops & Market in Colourful San Telmo

This old guy was the most charming performer at the San Telmo Market - and he stood all day in the hot sun.

This old guy was the most charming performer at the San Telmo Market – and he stood all day in the hot sun.

Street scene of the San Telmo market with the well-known Dorrego Café in the background.

Street scene of the San Telmo market with the well-known Dorrego Café in the background.

The San Telmo market on Sundays is high up on the must-do-list for visitors to Buenos Aires – and rightly so! If you enjoy people watching, photography, and discovering some interesting or sometimes bizarre merchandise, then take your time and stroll around. Although, it’s probably not the right spot to find a unique gift to bring home for your relatives or friends. Some might even argue that there aren’t any typical Argentinean souvenirs.

A very mixed and colourful crowd at the Sunday market in San Telmo, Argentina

A very mixed and colourful crowd at the Sunday market in San Telmo, Argentina

Short History of San Telmo

San Telmo is one of the oldest suburbs of Buenos Aires. Initially it housed mostly dockworkers from the nearby port, and the brickmakers for the growing city. The current Parish of San Pedro González Telmo is actually dedicated to the patron saint of seafarers. In the early days it was simply called San Pedro, a Jesuit stronghold, that was separated from the main city by a deep ravine.

Later, as Buenos Aires grew, San Telmo became part of the city and received services like gas, lighting, sewage, and running water fairly early. This in turn attracted some wealthier people to the western part of the suburb. To this day you will find, often side-by-side, small humble worker’s houses and beautiful multi-storey buildings. They have elaborate plaster mouldings and double-width doors, with shiny brass fittings, which indicate this former wealth.

But in 1871 it was hit by a yellow fever epidemic which caused over ten thousand deaths, resulting in the decline of the suburb. Many of its citizens wanted to escape the plague and so moved away. Their empty houses attracted the newly arriving waves of immigrants, who made San Telmo their home. It became a ‘barrio’ of very diverse cultures. The multicultural and bohemian atmosphere in turn attracted many local artists.

Buenos Aires City Tours in a stretched Citroen Deux Chevaux. Wouldn't that be a fun thing to do?

Buenos Aires City Tours in a stretched Citroen Deux Chevaux. Wouldn’t that be a fun thing to do?

San Telmo Today

To this day San Telmo remains a vibrant and colourful community. You find beautiful, sometimes quirky, coffee houses and restaurants, and countless antique shops, selling everything from kitsch, curiosities, to high-priced collectors items. In between you also encounter small fashion shops and alternative craftspeople.


San Telmo market: a stall selling all sort of GAUCHO paraphernalia. The stall holder wears a traditional Gaucho outfit.

San Telmo market: a stall selling all sort of GAUCHO paraphernalia. The stall holder wears a traditional Gaucho outfit. Very typical for Argentina, Uruguay, and southern Brazil.

Every Sunday there is a large market and most shops open their doors for the thousands of browsers who come and visit. Between stalls selling knick-knacks, clothes, souvenirs, handcrafted mate cups, leather goods, small artisan pieces, you can watch live performers and tango dancers. San Telmo is actually famous for its tango.


Live performance at San Telmo market: Toni Montaña, whose music somehow resembles Cat Empire's from Australia...

Live performance at San Telmo market: Toni Montaña, whose music somehow resembles Cat Empire’s from Australia…

The market, with its vibrant atmosphere, probably attracts as many tourists as local people. Hence you should guard your belongings as pickpockets always favour large crowds. But it’s fun to wander along, peek into the unique shops, discover some interesting new or typical regional products among the many stalls which only on first impression look like anywhere else in the world.

When at the San Telmo Sunday market look out for some Tango performances!

When at the San Telmo Sunday market look out for some Tango performances!


When you’re tired or hungry you can sit down in one of the many street-side cafes or restaurants, to enjoy a drink and a meal. And don’t forget to watch one of the tango performances for which Buenos Aires is so famous for.

Have you visited Buenos Aires?
Did you go to the market in San Telmo? Or did you explore the suburb on another day?
Please tell us in the ‘comments’ below!
We’d like to know your impressions.

Juergen

webmaster, main photographer & driver, second cook and only husband at dare2go.com. Freelance web designer with nearly 20 years of experience at webbeetle.com.au

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36 Responses

  1. It’s really colourful! great photos! #weekend wanderlust

  2. I have not been to Buenos Aires, but would love to! It’s great the market offers work from local artisans and it looks like there are so many wonderful products available. Thanks for sharing about this market!

    • Juergen says:

      Whenever we visit a city we try to go to local markets. They are the easiest opportunity to get close to locals and we love markets’ atmosphere.

  3. Amazing photos. Have not been to Buenos Aires but want to for the spontaneous music and dancing, and the food.

    • Juergen says:

      Then please go and visit – you won’t regret it! So many beautiful things to see, Buenos Aires is certainly a worldly city!

  4. Corinne says:

    Oh I love a market, and I need to get to Argentina. Your photos are so colorful and full of life. How fun!

    • Juergen says:

      Thank you, Corinne! Buenos Aires is not the only place worth a visit in Argentina. With Peso just floated (so it went down in value by over 40%) now is probably a good time to go – before inflation wipes out all benefits of the better exchange rate!

      • Corinne says:

        Juergen, And boy do I want to. Actually I think it is number one my husband’s list. Alas, it will have to wait a couple years. I’m sure it will just get better and better!

        Thanks for linking up with #wkend travelinspiration. Hope to see you again next week!

  5. Karen says:

    Very nice photos. I’m happy to have found your blog as driving in South America is something I’m interested in for the future. #wkendtravelinspiration

    • Juergen says:

      Thank you for your compliment. Our recommendation: just do it! We recently spent some time at AndeanRoads.com and were impressed how professionally they handle their camper rentals; maybe this could be an option for you (the owners speak fluent English).

  6. Amélie says:

    So vibrant and colourful! I love the street musicians!

  7. Carol Colborn says:

    Never been to Buenos Aires nor any other part of South American! I have to find the time and go to San Telmo. I would love to explore the city in those cars and to dance the tango any place!!!

    • Yasha says:

      Buenos Aires is very much more like a European city than a typical South American city – but it still has the Latin American flavour. I would recommend it to anyone who has visited the great cities of Europe – come and compare.

  8. Sarah Ebner says:

    We haven’t been, but it’s funny, we have friends who live in San Telmo, and they are always saying we should come and visit! Your post has encouraged me….

  9. Hugo says:

    Never been to Buenos Aires but would love to go. Markets are always great places for photography and people watching. And, colourful indeed!

    • Yasha says:

      Then my advice to you is to go! Buenos Aires has so much more to offer than just the San Telmo area and its markets.

  10. LeAnna says:

    Sounds like a perfect place to me! I love people watching, sitting at the coffee shops and antique browsing (rarely buy souvenirs while traveling). Looks like Buenos Aires (particularly San Telmo!) just got added to my list! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Kathrin says:

    I’ve never been to Buenos Aires or Argentina in general but I’m sure I would love it. If I go there, I’ll make sure to visit the San Telmo market. I love to browse through all the little stalls and could spend hours there!

  12. Oh this is somewhere I would love to visit, to drink up that amazing atmosphere. It looks the most vibrant place.

  13. Megan says:

    Looks like a beautiful place to explore. Love the architecture. Hope to get down there one of these days. Thanks for sharing.

  14. What a great ride thru the San Telmo markets! It makes me think of the great time I had when I visited (and the great food I ate). I have the filete I bough there hanged in my living room.

    • Juergen says:

      Yeah, maybe I didn’t stress the food aspect enough. We are pescarians hence meat loving Argentina is not the prefect destination for us. But in San Telmo we found some really good alternative restaurant and cafe choices.

  15. Mar says:

    Colorful and authentic, what a treat. Those Citroen Deux Chevaux. were the same ones my grandpa had when we were kids, so much fun and so many memories

  16. San Telmo market sounds fun. I was just in Jaffe in Israel and had fun exploring the 100-year old market there – so now they’re on my horizon. I’ve never been to Buenos Aires though – I’ve been travelling for years but still have a lot of the world left to explore.

    • Yasha says:

      Markets are really a great way to sample the culture of a place, I think. Buenos Aires is a wonderful city and San Telmo is really worth a visit, or 2, or maybe even 3…
      What would we do if we ran out of world to explore – it’s great that there is always more to see!

  17. Maria says:

    Lovely photos! I’d love to sit and watch the tango dancing, that sounds delightful.

    • Yasha says:

      Tango dancing is fun to watch – but you have to walk around a bit to discover where they are… And there is so much to see when you do!

  18. Marcia says:

    I’ve not been to Argentina, one of these days. San Telmo looks like another place to add to my list.
    Thanks for sharing!

  19. Rhonda Albom says:

    Thank you for the history and amazing photos. It is so vibrant.

  20. Those cars are just great! I wish to be in such a place right now, here we have middle of the winter :(

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