Local Bloggers and Influencers Are The Secret for Insider Scoop

A wasted afternoon at a tourist-trap attraction?

Yup, been there; it has happened before.

A clear memory of this was in 2009 on a trip South America; getting stuck in the tourist trap that is La Boca in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Known as the birthplace of the tango, La Boca, a one-time shipyard has a famous walkway, El Caminito, where tango dancers perform and artists exhibit their work on this colorful street.

The true grittiness of the neighborhood is lost and now it is essentially a tourist trap, full of people touting for business. It is filled with over priced tourist trinkets and t-shirt heaven; faux tango eatery and photo hustlers are in abundance. The only genuine thing left is Boca fútbol stadium 4 blocks north, with a soccer museum charging $12USD entrance. A wasted afternoon indeed.

I wish we would have been warned that this place was the equivalent to San Francisco's Fisherman's Warf or Khao San Road in Bangkok. If only we would have known a blogger... or local for the inside scoop!

Every major city has bloggers obsessed with what's new and great in their backyard, particularly in regard to restaurants. Using Google Blog Search to find bloggers in whatever city you are visiting is a great place to start. You can also use Instagram by searching in the search or through geo tags.

Bloggers and influencers are a phenomenal resource but do not just read what they are writing: Contact them for personal recommendations. The more specific your request — and the more you flatter them for their insight and wit — the more likely you will be to pique their interest and get a response.  

Being from San Francisco, there is no denying that it is a foodie's mecca of must-try places. One might ask: "What's your favorite vegetarian-friendly restaurant within walking distance of the Hotel Vitale on Mission Street? We are looking for a place with a romantic vibe, ideally because it is our anniversary. We'd be so grateful for your help because you obviously know what's going on in San Francisco!" Bloggers love to provide tips and recommendations on their city!

Have I tried this? Yes!  

I've had plenty of people ask me as well via Instagram, and I've shared some of my insights as well.

While in Hoi An, Vietnam, I got in touch with via Twitter with Jodi from Legal Nomads, connected me with two bloggers that were currently in Hoi An--James from Nomadic Notes and Leif, a freelance travel writer and Lonely Planet author.

Gregg and I got the opportunity to have a Cao Lau dinner and share travel stories with James and Leif, followed by a fruit shake along the river. We also did research online as to what online travel bloggers recommend. Many recommended Ms. Chien's Pho Cao Lau Hu Tieu in the Central Market. The steaming bowls of pho were amazing!

By browsing Instagram, you can also get ideas in where to venture next. So, if you are unsure of where to head to, ask local bloggers!

Cover Image Credit: @amybuglione, Instagram; First published June 25, 2013; Updated August 14, 2017.

Insiders Guide to Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after Greater São Paulo.  We think it's time to stop calling Buenos Aires the "Paris of South America." As anyone who's been here will tell you, this city has a spirit all its own.

Spend a day visiting the city's many fine museums and the amazing Recoleta cemetery, then hit the modern Puerto Madero neighborhood at night to take your pick of the city's coolest restaurants and clubs. Get ready to explore the vibrant unknown, this time by the way of Buenos Aires.


Insiders Guide to Buenos Aires

Eat Well

Cabaña Las Lilas: If you are looking for some of the best steak in South America, Cabaña Las Lilas is a Buenos Aires institute in Puerto Madero. A bit on the pricer side for Buenos Aires standards, but well worth it. The service is excellent and the portions are large. Anyone who visits Buenos Aires will tell you to come here. Do and you'll know why!  What to try: The morcilla (blood sausage) was delicious and the mollejas (sweetbreads), which were thinly sliced and then sauteed until crispy at the edges were delightful. For a main course, the Medallon de Lomo was tender, flavorful and cooked to perfection. To finish up, they bring you shots of Limonello and Grapa, which hit the spot. Cabaña Las Lilas, Alicia Moreau de Justo 516 (Puerto Madero), Buenos Aires C1107AAL, Argentina; www.laslilas.com

Juana M:Tired of meat? Located on the edge of the Recoleta neighborhood, Juana M has the best salad bar in the city that comes with anything that you order. We loved it here so much that we ate here twice on our trip. This was one of our favorite spots. Everything comes a la cart so if you want any sides other than what comes with the salad bar make to order it too. Prices are very reasonable. Juana M, Carlos Pellegrini 1535 - Retiro, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Olsen: Probably one of the most beautiful restaurants in Buenos Aires. Olsen's has a really pleasant terrace, and even in the cooler evenings it is nice to seat there as there are outdoor heaters. You are easily transported to a place different than Buenos Aires, or South America for that matter. Olsen is known for their vodkas and their drinks. We didn't know anything about Scandinave food and we loved it. If you like seafood, this place is worth checking out. Ask for the crab spring rolls for starters and the white salmon for a main course...it is worth it! Olsen, Gorriti 5870, Buenos Aires 1414, Argentina

Live Well

Floralis Generica: This giant metal mechanical flower is a short walk from the Recoleta cemetery and worth a visit. The size is quite impressive and is situated in s nice park with plenty of places to relax. There is no entry fee.

Casa Rosada: The government’s executive branch is housed in this building, a strange mix of various architectural styles, perhaps best known for the balcony from which Evita rallied the working class crowds.

Plaza de Mayo: The political center of the country, this famous plaza is the location of the well-known balcony of the Casa Rosada from which Eva Peron addressed adoring crowds of workers.

Calle Museo Caminito: Colorful and traditional, this walkway in the La Boca area is dominated by tango dancers and artisans.

Cementerio de la Recoleta (Recoleta Cemetery): The Recoleta Cemetery was opened for ordinary people in 1822 but as Recoleta’s reputation improved, so did that of the cemetery. Now many presidents and historic figures important to Buenos Aires history are buried there like the beloved Eva "Evita" Peron

El Ateneo Grand Splendid: Situated in an old theater, El Ateneo is one of the most popular bookstores in Buenos Aires.

Overrated and worth avoiding...

La Boca O.K. well it is worth checking out but keep in mind that this place is a tourist trap. It's like visiting San Francisco and going to Fisherman's Warf or New York City and going to Time Square. Be careful of pick-pocketers...  Other Tourist Trapsworth skipping... Calle Florida, San Telmo, Cafes at Calle Caminito