Yerba Mate in San Telmo

Posted by on December 17, 2010

On Sundays there is a huge and I mean HUGE street market that stretches from the downtown area for block and blocks down a narrow street to the neighborhood of San Telmo.  San Telmo is famous for the street market, tango bars, and people doing tango in the street.    We actually somehow missed everyone doing tango in the street. Every time we came across someone that looked like they might do tango in the street, they were resting, eating, or standing on a box playing guitar.

The street is so narrow and filled with people that claustrophobia overtook us at one point and we had to go down the street to a cafe for a relaxing cup of coffee. Although for me it wasn’t too relaxing.

The vendors I found the most interesting were the ones selling mate cups and the straws called bombillas.  Yerba mate is a type of drink that Argentinians are crazy for. In the grocery stores there are bags and bags of yerba mate lining the shelves.  You can’t easily get it at restaurants or cafes in Buenos Aires, so we hadn’t really seen it being drunk.


Once I knew what to look for I realized every vendor, no matter what they were selling, was also drinking yerba mate.

On the walk home we passed a park where everyone was also drinking yerba mate. If you look at the guy in the background (the one that’s not Jeff) you can see he’s drinking out of a bombilla.

Makes me want to give up coffee and try mate for awhile….maybe.