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Living in Buenos Aires as an Expat, Digital Nomad, or Retiree

Buenos Aires is becoming an increasingly popular destination for expats and digital nomads. The city offers a low cost of living, a large expat community, great food, a quality healthcare system, and good public transport. Overall, the quality of life is excellent. It’s also a beautiful city with some great architecture and plenty of green spaces. Of course, there are some drawbacks to consider. The economy is bad. It’s also not the most efficient place.

In this guide, I’ll outline everything you need to know about living in Buenos Aires. I’ll cover the cost of living, transportation, finding an apartment, banking, visas, healthcare, safety, and more. I’ll also list the pros and cons of living in Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires was the first place I lived when I became a digital nomad. I chose Buenos Aires due to its affordability and because there is a large expat population. I think it’s one of the best value destinations. In this guide, I’ll share my experience. Hopefully, this guide makes moving to Buenos Aires a little bit smoother and easier.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.

Table of Contents

The author in Buenos Aires
At  Plaza de la República when I first arrived in Buenos Aires

Quick Info

  • Population- 15.5 million
  • Region- Central Eastern Argentina on the western shore of Rio de la Plata
  • Climate- Temperate
  • Geography- Flat
  • Main language- Spanish
  • Currency- Argentine Peso (ARS) Currently $1=850 pesos.
  • Main Religions- Catholicism
  • Time zone- GMT-3
  • Drives on the- Right
  • Electricity- 220V 50Hz
  • International Dialing Code- +54
Florida street, Buenos Aires

Cost of Living in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires offers a low cost of living. An average expat or digital nomad could comfortably in Buenos Aires for $1200-$1500 per month. A couple could live comfortably on $1800-$2500 per month.

This budget includes all living expenses including rent, utilities, groceries, transportation, health insurance, and entertainment. On this budget, you could rent a nice one-bedroom apartment in a safe neighborhood in a central area. You could eat out a few times per week and go out to enjoy the nightlife a few times per month.

If you’re frugal, it’s possible to live in Buenos Aires on a much lower budget. If you were to rent an unfurnished apartment outside of the city center and cook most of your own meals, you could live in Buenos Aires for $800-$1000 per month. Most Argentinians earn less than $700 per month.

If you prefer to live a more luxurious lifestyle, expect to spend closer to $2500-$3000 per month. On this budget, you could live in a nice apartment in a higher-end neighborhood, eat out every day, and go out every weekend.

For those earning in strong foreign currencies like dollars, euros, or pounds, Buenos Aires offers excellent value. The cost of living is high for those earning in pesos.

It’s important to note that the cost of living in Buenos Aires can vary quite a bit because of Argentina’s unstable economy. Inflation can cause prices to change rapidly. For example, when I first arrived in Buenos Aires, a bottle of my favorite wine cost 2000 pesos. Just a few months later, the same bottle cost 2500 pesos. This can impact your budgeting. Hopefully, prices will stabilize and the inflation rate will decrease now that president Milei is getting the country’s spending under control.

Cost of Rent

On average, rent for an unfurnished studio or one-bedroom apartment in a decent neighborhood of Buenos Aires costs between $400 and $600 per month. For this price, you can stay in a nice neighborhood such as Retiro, Recoleta, Santa Teresa, or San Nicolás.

If you’re on a tighter budget you could rent an unfurnished apartment a bit outside of the city center for even less. It’s possible to rent an apartment in a safe area for $250 to $300 per month.

If you’re only staying short term, you can rent a furnished apartment on Airbnb for around $600-$1000 per month. This is a good option if you’re staying for 1-3 months. This is what I did when I first arrived.

Higher-end apartments are also available for those looking for a more luxurious lifestyle. In trendy neighborhoods like Palermo, expect to spend around $1500-$2000 per month, for a luxury apartment.

Most apartments are priced in dollars. This makes it difficult to take advantage of the exchange rate. Rent isn’t that cheap here. Expect to spend another $50-$100 per month on utilities depending on your usage.

Food Costs

An average person will spend between $200 to $300 per month on food.

Grocery shopping in Buenos Aires is affordable. Expect to spend around $150 per month on groceries. A liter of milk might cost around $1, a loaf of fresh bread about $1.50, and a dozen eggs approximately $2.

Eating out in Buenos Aires is pretty affordable. A meal at a mid-range restaurant costs around $5-$8. A classic Argentine steak dinner with a glass of Malbec might cost around $20-$30 per person. For a slice of pizza, a choripán (a chorizo sandwich), or a couple of empanadas, you might spend $2-$4.

Transportation Cost

Public transportation in Buenos Aires is cheap. You might spend $15 to $30 per month on public transportation depending on how often you need to commute.

The city has a great subway system (called the Subte). There is also a big public bus network. A single bus or subway ticket costs around $0.30.

There are also taxis and Ubers available. They are pretty affordable in Buenos Aires. The starting rate for a taxi is around $1, and the rate per kilometer is also around $1. A ride halfway across town might cost $4-$5. An average Uber ride within the city may cost between $2 to $10, depending on the distance and traffic.

Buenos Aires is also a pretty walkable city. Cycling is also an option. You don’t always have to spend money to get around.

Entertainment Cost

Buenos Aires is known for its nightlife, theater, and tango dancing. The cost of going out to bars and clubs varies. On average, expect to pay around $3 to $5 for a beer and around $6 to $10 for a cocktail in a mid-range bar.

Buenos Aires also has plenty of museums, art galleries, and historical and cultural sites to visit. Ticket prices range from $2-$10. There are usually free days each month. The city’s parks, plazas, waterfront areas, and green spaces are free to visit.

Live theater shows and tango performances are popular in Buenos Aires. Tickets to a tango show range from $30 to over $100, depending on the venue and whether dinner is included. Tickets to a ballet or opera performance at Teatro Colón, one of the top opera houses in the world, range from $10 to over $200.

Buenos Aires at Night 4K Virtual Walking Tour

A Note About Inflation in Argentina

It’s important to note that inflation in Argentina is extremely high. At the time of writing, inflation is running at over 100% per year.

Inflation in Argentina is caused by driven by fiscal deficit and debt. Basically, the government overspends and prints money to cover the deficit. This devalues the currency and causes prices to rise.

This inflation can make the cost of living unpredictable. If you earn in a foreign currency, such as dollars or euros, you are insulated from the inflation. If you earn in pesos, it can be really difficult to budget. The prices of goods and services can change quickly.

For example, when I arrived in Buenos Aires, a bottle of my favorite wine cost 2000 pesos. The same bottle cost nearly 3000 pesos just a few months later. This means the price increased by around 50% in just a few months.

Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires

Visas for Argentina

It is relatively easy to stay in Argentina long term. In this section, I’ll outline some visa options.

Argentina Digital Nomad Visa

Recently, Argentina introduced a digital nomad visa. This is a type of visa that is specifically designed for people who are working remotely for a company or running their own online business while traveling.

This visa allows digital nomads to legally live and work in Argentina for up to 180 days. It is possible to extend the visa for an additional 180 days. In total, you can stay in Argentina for up to 1 year with this visa.

To apply for the Argentina Digital Nomad Visa, you must submit proof of employment ((usually a bank statement or pay stub) and a CV. You need to show that you have sufficient income. You must also show proof of health insurance that provides coverage in Argentina. In addition, you must have a clean criminal record. Of course, you also need to supply your passport and a photo.

You need to fill out an online form and submit the required documents. Next, you must pay an application fee of around $80. You will also have to go to an appointment in person at your nearest Argentine embassy. After the visa is approved and issued, you can legally live and work in Argentina.

You can read about the requirements and application process on the official government website here. For more info, check out this helpful guide from the official Buenos Aires government website.

Making Border Runs to Colonia

A border run (or visa run) is a common method expats and digital nomads use to extend their stay in Buenos Aires. Many nationalities are allowed to stay in Argentina for up to 90 days without arranging a visa in advance. If you leave the country and re-enter, you can reset this and stay for another 90 days.

Argentine law allows a visitor to stay for up to 180 days per calendar year. Doing one visa run is legal. The 180 day rule isn’t strictly enforced. Some expats and digital nomads living in Buenos Aires make border runs every 3 months for years. They live in the country as tourists.

The most convenient border run from Buenos Aires is Colonia, Uruguay. A short ferry ride will get you there. You can spend a couple of hours wandering around Colonia then catch the next ferry back to Buenos Aires. Once you re-enter Argentina, you can stay for another 90 days of stay. You can make this trip in less than a day.

It’s also possible to make border runs to Chile, Paraguay, and Brazil. These journeys take a bit more time. You can make a vacation out of your border runs. For example, if you’re visiting Iguazu Falls, you can take a quick trip across the border to Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.

It’s important to note that making continuous border runs can be risky. If immigration agents notice that you are regularly leaving and then coming back, they could deny you entry. More likely, they will threaten you that they won’t let you in again in the future. Immigration could also crack down on border runs at any time in the future. So far, they haven’t.

Making visa runs will work for those who are planning to stay short term (6-9 months). You can easily get away with 1 or 2 border runs. If you’re planning on living in Buenos Aires for a year or more, you should get a longer-term visa.

Visa Overstays

If you’re planning on staying in Argentina long term, another option is to simply overstay your visa and pay a fine. In Argentina, when you overstay your visa, you are not considered ‘illegal’. Instead, you are considered a “domiciled resident” or an “irregular resident”. You will not be arrested or detained if you are caught.

You will have to pay a fine for overstaying and obtain a permit before you can leave Argentina if you overstay. Currently, the fine is about 12,500 pesos (around $51). In most cases, you won’t be banned from re-entering Argentina as long as you don’t break any other laws. Once you pay the fine, you are given a 10-day period to leave Argentina.

The benefit of overstaying instead of making visa runs is that you won’t have to interact with immigration as frequently. You don’t risk being denied re-entry. You also save time and money. The main drawback is that you can’t get an Argentinian ID number. You can’t open a bank account or use the public healthcare system.

Personally, I don’t recommend you overstay. The laws could change or the fine could increase. It is possible that you could be banned from re-entering, though I have never heard of this. It’s best to do things legally and apply for a digital nomad visa or residency visa. Alternatively, you can make border runs.

For more info on overstays in Argentina, check out the official government website here.

Prórroga (Visa Extention)

It is also possible to extend your stay without doing a border run. When your 90-day tourist visa is about to expire, you can apply for a one-time extension for another 90 days for a total of 180 days. This extension is called a prórroga.

To apply for a visa extension, you need to visit the Dirección Nacional de Migraciones (National Immigration Office) in Retiro within 10 days of the expiration of your tourist visa. Bring your passport with you. The office is located at Av. Antártida Argentina 1355.

The process is pretty straightforward. You don’t need an appointment. You simply wait in line, fill out a form, and pay a fee for the extension. The office is open from 8 am to 2 pm. It’s best to arrive early to avoid long lines. This process could take anywhere from 1-4 hours, depending on how busy the office is.

This extension can only be done once per entry. You also can’t apply for a prórroga if you’ve overstayed your visa. For more information on the Prórroga, check out this guide from the official government website.

Residency Visas in Argentina (Work Visas, Marriage Visas, Retirement Visas, etc.)

Obtaining temporary or permanent residency in Argentina is also possible for expats or retirees who want to stay long-term. There are several ways to get residency. The requirements can vary.

One way to get residency is by finding employment in Argentina. If you get a job with a company based in Argentina, the company can sponsor your temporary work visa. Eventually, this can lead to permanent residency. The work visa is usually valid for one year and can be renewed as long as you remain employed with the company sponsoring you.

Getting married to an Argentine citizen or permanent resident is another path to residency. Once you’re married, you can apply for a temporary residency permit. This is valid for two years. After that, you can apply for permanent residency.

Those who can support themselves financially can apply for a ‘person of independent means’ visa. This is also known as the ‘rentista’ visa. To qualify, you must prove that you have a steady income from abroad. This could be a pension, investments, or rental income. Currently, the official required minimum monthly income is around 30,000 pesos. Most embassies require a higher income of $2000-$2500 per month.

Retirement visas or Pensionado visas are also available for those with retirement income from a pension, investments, or social security. There is an income requirement. These visas are valid for one year. They can be renewed for 2 additional years. After that, you can apply for permanent residency.

All of these visas can be renewed. In most cases, you can apply for permanent residency after 2-3 years. After 5 years, you can apply for citizenship.

There can be a lot of paperwork involved. You will probably need the help of an Argentine immigration attorney to get these visas. There is quite a bit of bureaucracy in Argentina.

Student Visa

Argentina also offers a student visa. This is one of the easier visas to apply for. You will need to find a program that is accepted by the Argentine immigration office. Generally, any university degree will be acceptable. Short courses, like language classes, may not be accepted.

To apply for this visa, you need to be registered as a full-time student. You will need to submit your school registration, passport, and criminal background check to apply. One major benefit of this visa is that it allows you to work in Argentina.

Working Holiday Visa

The Working Holiday Visa is available to citizens from Australia, Denmark, France, Ireland, and New Zealand. The program is only open to people between 18 and 30 years old.

This visa allows you to stay in Argentina for up to 12 months. During that time, you can work to supplement your travel expenses. It’s important to note that you need to apply for this visa while you’re still in your home country.

To apply, you’ll need to submit an application with some support documents including your passport, proof of sufficient funds for your stay, a return ticket, and proof of health insurance.

This visa program operates on a reciprocal basis. The number of visas issued each year may be limited.

Working in Buenos Aires

If you speak fluent Spanish and are willing to work for local wages, you can find a job here. Foreigners can find jobs in IT, hospitality, tourism, and education (particularly English teaching). Most jobs include health insurance.

The drawback is that salaries are low. For example, an English teacher might only earn between $600 and $1,000 per month. It’s enough to live on but money will be tight.

Starting a business in Argentina is difficult. There is a lot of bureaucracy. Policies change frequently. The high inflation also complicates things.

Where to Live: The Best Neighborhoods in Buenos Aires

  • Palermo: This is the most popular choice for expats and digital nomads. Palermo has a lively atmosphere and modern amenities. This neighborhood is filled with trendy bars and restaurants and stylish boutique shops. It’s also near some beautiful parks. It is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city. I lived here for a few months. It was my favorite neighborhood I stayed in.
  • Recoleta: Recoleta is a posh neighborhood Known for its Parisian-style architecture. It’s a great choice for those looking for a more upscale lifestyle. The area has lots of history and culture. This neighborhood is home to the famous Recoleta Cemetery.
  • Belgrano: This neighborhood is ideal for families and individuals looking for a quiet, residential area. It’s also home to Buenos Aires’ Chinatown.
  • San Telmo: If you’re looking for a historical and bohemian vibe, San Telmo is a good choice. This neighborhood is known for its large Sunday market, cobblestone streets, and antique shops. It’s also got some great architecture.
  • Puerto Madero: This is one of the city’s most modern districts. Puerto Madero is a great choice if you’re looking to live in a luxurious high-rise apartment building. The area also has some nice large green spaces along the waterfront. Puerto Madero is also considered one of the safest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires.
  • Retiro: Retiro offers a mix of high-end and budget-friendly options. It is also conveniently located near the city center.
  • San Nicolás (Microcentro or downtown): This is the central business district. It’s perfect for those who want to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city. There are skyscrapers, shopping malls, theaters, restaurants, and lots of nightlife options. This is the first place I stayed in Buenos Aires.
  • Barracas: This is an up-and-coming barrio. It’s a great option if you’re on a tight budget. You do have to be careful if you choose this neighborhood because there are some areas that can be dangerous. This is where I spent most of my time in Buenos Aires. I stayed just south of San Telmo.

There are also some neighborhoods to avoid including La Boca, Once, Constitución, and Congreso. These areas can be dangerous at night.

I’ve also made some Walking videos of many of Buenos Aires neighborhoods. Check out my Argentina videos here on YouTube.

Palermo, Buenos Aires Virtual Walking Tour (4K)
San Telmo, Buenos Aires Virtual Walking Tour (4K)

Finding an Apartment in Buenos Aires

There are several online platforms you can use to search for apartments in Buenos Aires including:

  • ZonaProp
  • Argenprop
  • Solo Dueños
  • MercadoLibre
  • Craigslist

Another good way to look for apartments is to join expat groups on Facebook. People sometimes advertise rentals on there. Someone may be looking for a roommate.

Another option is to walk around your favorite neighborhoods and look for ‘for rent’ signs. Call the number and rent directly from the owner. You’ll have to speak Spanish to do this.

Another option is long-term Airbnb rentals. This is more expensive but much more flexible and convenient. The apartment will be fully furnished and utilities will be included. You won’t have to deal with putting the utilities in your name. If you’re planning to stay less than 3 months, this may be the best option. To save some money, you can reach out to Airbnb hosts and negotiate a long term rate with them directly.

When browsing through apartment listings, you’ll notice that apartments are listed by the number of “ambientes” or rooms, rather than the number of bedrooms. In Buenos Aires, any separated living space, including the living room, is considered an ambiente. For example, a two-ambiente apartment will have a bedroom and a living area. This would be considered a one-bedroom in most of the world.

Consider staying in a few different Airbnbs or hotels to get a feel for which neighborhoods you like best. I stayed in 4 different Airbnbs before I rented an apartment.

Rental Agreements in Argentina

There are two types of rental contracts used in Buenos Aires. There are temporary rental contracts and “Garantia” contracts.

Temporary rental agreements are a good choice for expats and digital nomads because they are more flexible. These agreements usually last for six months. They are often priced in dollars. Some of these temporary rentals may come fully furnished.

“Garantia” contracts are long-term rental agreements that usually last for two years. They are usually priced in Argentine pesos. They include a clause that adjusts for inflation every quarter or every six months.

What makes these contracts different is the “garantia” or guarantee required. This usually needs to be a property owner in Argentina who will co-sign for you. If you can’t pay your rent, this person will be responsible. It can be very difficult for a foreigner to find someone to sign. Locals usually use a family member who owns a home as their garantia.

In addition, a Documento Nacional de Identidad (DNI) is usually required to rent an apartment with a garantia. You can only get a DNI if you’re a resident of Argentina. You don’t need a DNI for a temporary rental.

When it comes to paying rent or deposits for apartments, large payments are usually made by bank transfer. Before you travel to Argentina, it’s a good idea to make sure you can make international transfers from your bank account.

It is also possible for foreigners to buy property in Argentina. If you’re planning on living in Buenos Aires long term, you may be better off buying a home. Real estate can be a good investment but there are a lot of risks.

Healthcare in Argentina

Buenos Aires has both public and private healthcare options. The public healthcare system in Buenos Aires is accessible to everyone, including residents, expats, and even tourists. There are free medical services available at public hospitals and clinics. The quality of care is excellent.

The problem with the public healthcare system is that it is wait times are long because the hospitals are understaffed. The infrastructure is also lacking. Some treatments simply aren’t available. This is due to underfunding.

Most expats choose to go to private hospitals and clinics if they can afford it. The wait times are much shorter and the hospitals are better equipped. If you’re willing to pay, you can get great care. The prices for private healthcare are relatively reasonable.

Health Insurance in Argentina

Even though healthcare costs are low in Argentina, it’s a good idea to have health insurance. Treatment costs can add up quickly when you’re paying out-of-pocket. Particularly if you have a major medical issue.

There are health insurance options for everyone. You don’t have to be a resident. You can even sign up with an expired tourist visa. Most employers even include private health insurance as a benefit.

Health insurance premiums are pretty affordable. On average, a health insurance plan for an average adult will cost $50 to $100 per month. The exact cost depends on the coverage you choose and your age. Many of the health insurance plans provide comprehensive coverage, including prescriptions, preventative care, and even dental.

If you’re just planning on staying in Buenos Aires short term, like 6 months or less, travel insurance is a good option. I have used World Nomads and SafetyWing. Travel insurance can cost anywhere from $30-$100 per month, depending on the level of coverage you get.

Transportation and Getting Around

One of the best things about Buenos Aires is that the city is very easy to get around. Most neighborhoods are walkable. There is also an extensive public transport network. Of course, taxis and rideshare services are also available. You don’t need a car to get around Buenos Aires. Driving is a hassle in the city and cars are expensive due to high import taxes.

Public Transportation

Buenos Aires has an excellent public transport system. There is a large subway system called the Subte. as well as a public bus network. There are lots of metro stations and bus stops. It’s also easy to use. It does get pretty crowded at times, particularly during peak commuter hours.

If you want to use public transportation in Buenos Aires, you need to get a SUBE card. This is a rechargeable card that you can use to pay on buses and the subway. You can load money onto the card at SUBE kiosks, subway stations, sidewalk kiosks, or convenience stores. If you see the SUBE logo, you can load your card there. When you go to take the subway or a city bus, you tap the card on a card reader. The card reader will show you your balance. Rides cost 12.5-21 pesos.

Buenos Aires Subway Ride (4K)

You can buy a SUBE card at most kiosks, convenience stores, and SUBE stations. It can be a bit of a challenge to find a card. They are often sold out. You may have to ask around a bit. I had to ask at around 10 kiosks before I could find a card. Once you get a card, you can keep using the same one and recharging it. The card itself costs just a couple of dollars.

There are also trains that connect the center of the city with the suburbs. If you live in a central area, you won’t have to use the trains.

Taxis and Rideshare in Buenos Aires

Taxis are common in Buenos Aires. You will see a line of black and yellow taxis on the streets. You won’t have to wait long.

The drivers use a meter. When you get in a cab, make sure the driver turns the meter on. Some drivers may try to offer you a flat rate. This will be higher than the meter. Most taxi drivers will use the meter automatically. Some drivers may try to overcharge but you don’t have to worry about scams as much as you do in many other major cities. The taxis are safe. Many taxis only accept cash. Some also accept credit cards these days.

Uber is also available in Buenos Aires. Other rideshare services are also available including Cabify and Didi. These are a little more popular than Uber.


Buenos Aires is a walkable city. It’s flat. There are sidewalks and crosswalks everywhere. Most locals walk when traveling short distances. The streets are busy.

If you’re staying in a centrally located area, you can easily walk to grocery stores, bars, restaurants, convenience stores, etc. You can also walk between neighborhoods.

While staying in Microcentro (the central business district), I would regularly walk to Santa Teresa, Recoleta, and Retiro. I could walk pretty much everywhere I needed to go if I wanted to.

Consitución Railway station, Buenos Aires

Money and Banking

There is a currency black market running in Argentina. This was created when the Argentina government decided to restrict currency exchange. There is an official government exchange rate and a black market rate. The black market rate is known as the ‘blue dollar’ exchange rate. In the past, the blue dollar rate was double the official rate. Since Milei has lifted currency controls, the two rates have gotten closer and closer. Soon, the black market rate will probably go away.

This created a unique advantage for foreigners who earned in dollars or euros. It’s one of the main reasons that Buenos Aires became such a major destination for digital nomads over the past few years. You could bring your dollars to Argentina and basically double your money. The exchange rate isn’t nearly as good as it was. This has made Argentina more expensive than it used to be.

Exchanging Money in Buenos Aires

Argentina is still cash based. You will need to carry some cash. To get the best rate, you can exchange money on the street. Go to Calle Florida in central Buenos Aires. Here, you’ll find lots of black market currency exchanges. Look for guys standing on the street shouting ‘cambio’. Ask a few their rate and go with the best one.

Exchanging money on the black market sounds sketchy but it’s really not. It’s all done out in the open. It’s best to change new hundred dollar bills. You’ll get the best rate this way. You can’t get the blue dollar rate in a regular currency exchange boot.

You can get a decent exchange rate through Western Union. Send yourself some money and go pick it up. They do offer the blue dollar rate. It’s safe and easy.

Some ATMs also offer good rates. ATM fees are high in Buenos Aires. You might pay as much as $11 in fees for each withdrawal. If you have a local bank account, you can use their ATM to withdraw cash without a charge.

Opening a Bank Account in Argentina

To open a bank account in Argentina, you need to be a resident or citizen with a DNI. A foreign citizen can’t open a bank account with a passport. For this reason, many expats choose to keep their bank account from back home and simply send themselves money through Western Union.

If you become a resident of Argentina, you can open a bank account relatively easily. You probably won’t want to store much money in it because it will quickly devalue due to inflation.

Credit Cards

Credit cards are widely accepted in Buenos Aires. When paying with a foreign credit card, you usually get a decent exchange rate. In the past, this wasn’t the case.

Some businesses have two credit card terminals. One for pesos and one for dollars. They will try to charge tourists in dollars. In this case, you won’t be able to take advantage of the favorable exchange rate. Always ask how you’re going to be charged when you pay with a card. Insist on paying in pesos.

To avoid confusion, I almost always use cash. It’s a hassle but it saves money.

Paying Bills

The most common ways to pay bills in Buenos Aires are with Pago Fácil and Rapipago. These payment networks are popular for bill payments and making online purchases because Argentina is a cash based society.

To pay your bills, you’ll take them to a Pago Fácil or Rapipago office. The teller will scan the barcode on the bill. You can make the payment with cash or a card. In Buenos Aires, most people pay their bills in cash. As an expat, paying in cash is best because you’ll get to take advantage of the blue dollar rate.

Many online businesses also offer the option to pay for purchases through Pago Fácil and Rapipago. For example, if you buy something through MercadoLibre, you can usually pay this way. You can also pay for flights this way. This is nice if you prefer to pay in cash. This is also a great backup option if your foreign credit card is declined for some reason.

One thing to note is that lines can sometimes be long at Pago Fácil and Rapipago offices. Particularly at the beginning and end of the month when many people are paying bills.

Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires

Is Buenos Aires Safe?

Yes. Buenos Aires is safe for expats and digital nomads. Particularly for a city of its size and the region it’s in. It’s one of the safest major cities in South America. Even with the poor economy, Buenos Aires has remained surprisingly safe. Having said that, petty crime has increased over the past decade or so. If you talk to locals, they will tell you that it’s a dangerous city.

During the day, you can safely walk around and explore pretty much anywhere. The streets are filled with people. Violent crime is pretty rare. It is a good idea to take some basic precautions to stay safe.

There are some areas that are best to avoid after dark. Robberies and muggings aren’t particularly common in Buenos Aires but they do happen. To stay safe, always stay in well-lit, busy areas when moving around at night. Avoid deserted streets. If you’re in doubt, take a taxi or Uber to your destination to be safe. A couple of areas to avoid wandering around at night include La Boca, outside of Caminito and Constitución. For more info, check out my guide: How to Avoid Getting Robbed While Traveling.

Petty crime such as pickpocketing and petty theft do occur in Buenos Aires. These crimes occur mostly in crowded tourist areas and on public transport. To avoid thieves, keep a close eye on your belongings, avoid displaying valuables in public, and always keep your belongings secure and close to your body. Store your phone, wallet, and cash in a pocket or backpack that zips closed. Wear your backpack on your front while walking through a crowded area. Avoid using your phone while you’re walking around on the street. Sometimes, motorcyclists ride around and grab phones out of people’s hands. This isn’t common but it happens. For more info, check out my guide: How to Avoid Pickpockets.

Scams aren’t particularly common in Buenos Aires but there are a few to be aware of. Taxi drivers sometimes try to overcharge foreigners. This is a common scam all over the world. Always make sure they use the meter or agree on a price in advance. When you try to exchange money, you could be given counterfeits in return. Counterfeit currency is a serious problem in Argentina. For more info, check out my list of common scams.

The Weather

One of the best parts of living in Buenos Aires is the weather. Buenos Aires has a temperate climate, with four distinct seasons.

The summer months run from December to February. Summer can get hot. Temperatures regularly reach the mid to upper 30s or around 95°F. The city can also get pretty humid.

The best seasons are fall and spring. Fall runs from March to May. Spring runs from September to November. During these times of year, temperatures are moderate, with highs in the 20s Celsius or mid-70s Fahrenheit.

Winter runs from June to August. Winter in Buenos Aires i mild. Temperatures rarely drop below freezing. The average lows reach around 8°C or 46°F. It rarely snows.

One unique weather phenomenon in Buenos Aires is the ‘sudestada.’ This is a weather pattern that can cause heavy rains and high winds. It usually happens in the colder months.

What to Pack

You can find pretty much everything you need in Buenos Aires. There are some things you should bring with you. Because import taxes are so high in Argentina, certain items can be very expensive compared to other countries.

This is the case with electronics. It’s a good idea to bring your laptop, smartphone, and cameras from home. Also, if there are specific luxury items that you can’t live without, consider bringing them along as well. This could include specific skincare products, makeup, etc.

When it comes to clothing, you’ll need both warm and cold weather clothing. Buenos Aires has four seasons. You need a versatile wardrobe.

Don’t worry if you forget something. Buenos Aires is a massive city. You’ll be able to find almost everything you need here.

Grocery Shopping

Every neighborhood has a couple of grocery stores. Grocery stores in Buenos Aires tend to be small. They may not carry as wide a variety as you might expect. There are some large supermarkets but they aren’t common. You can find a good selection of dry goods and staples in these stores. For fresh produce, meats, and baked goods, shopping at local markets, farmer’s markets, and specialty shops is the way to go.

Carnicerias (butcher shops) are common in Buenos Aires. These are the best places to buy fresh, high-quality meat. If you want to cook your own Argentine steaks at home, buy your meat from a butcher shop instead of a grocery store. The quality is much higher. Poultry and eggs are readily available at granjas.

For fresh fruits and vegetables, go to a local Verduleria. They sell local and seasonal produce. The produce at many of the grocery stores is pretty sad. There are also farmer’s markets in many neighborhoods where you can shop for fresh produce.

For freshly baked bread, pastries, and other baked goods, visit a local bakery. The bread at most grocery stores is very unexciting. There are some excellent local bakeries all over the city. Every neighborhood has several. For a local experience, try visiting a Casas de Pasta. Here, you can buy fresh, homemade pasta.

There are also Chino supermarkets in every neighborhood. These are small supermarkets that are usually owned by Chinese immigrants. They offer good prices on staples as well as local Argentinian wine.

You can also shop at Ferias Itinerantes or neighborhood weekly markets. These are markets that move around to different neighborhoods each day. This is a government run program designed to make fresh food accessible at affordable prices. You can buy some good produce, eggs, and meat at these markets.

If you’re looking for ingredients that are a bit less common in Argentina, visit Barrio Chino (Chinatown) in Belgrano. This is a great place to buy imported goods and bulk goods such as rice, quinoa, nuts, etc.

For me, the grocery shopping situation is one of the biggest drawbacks of Buenos Aires. Most grocery stores are pretty small. The selection is not great. The quality of the fresh foods is often pretty poor.

If I want to buy fresh and high-quality ingredients, I have to shop at specialty shops. Having to visit multiple stores to get what I need is also a hassle. I would prefer to buy everything at one shop. Of course, this is just my preference.

Some people love strolling through their neighborhood, shopping at mom-and-pop shops, and interacting with local vendors. It can make you feel like a member of a community. Particularly if you become a regular at the shops near where you live.

Another thing I have noticed is that most grocery stores in Buenos Aires are understaffed. They may only have one register open, even during the busiest time of the day. I have waited in line for almost half an hour just to pay for my groceries. It gets pretty annoying. I have learned to only shop at off-peak hours.

Eating Out at Restaurants

Buenos Aires is a great place to go out to eat. There are loads of great steakhouses, pizza joints, empanada shops, burger joints, cafes, and fast food restaurants. There are also some great restaurants serving international cuisine.

Of course, the city is famous for its steakhouses (known as parillas). Don Julio is one of the most well-known steakhouses in the city. It is often considered to be one of the world’s best restaurants. Another popular choice is La Cabrera. This place is famous for its large portions.

Buenos Aires is home to many people of Italian descent. They take pride in their heritage. There are lots of pizza and pasta restaurants around the city. Güerrin is one of the oldest and most popular pizza restaurants in the city. They are known for their thick slices with lots of cheese. El Cuartito is another historic pizzeria. They specialize in crispy thin-crust pizzas.

For a quick snack, empanadas are popular. El Sanjuanino is a well-known spot. They offer a wide range of fillings, from classic beef to spinach and cheese. You can also find choripán (sausage sandwich) served up at street stands all over the city.

Plaza de la República, Buenos Aires

Pros of Living in Buenos Aires

  • Low cost of living- Buenos Aires is one of the cheapest large cities in the world. You can live here comfortably here for $1200 per month. You could get by on less if you’re frugal. Many digital nomads come here to take advantage of the low cost of living. The value you get for your money is incredible. This is only the case if you’re earning in a foreign currency. If you’re earning in pesos, Buenos Aires will feel expensive.
  • Excellent food- Argentina is known for having the best beef in the world. Argentinian beef is usually served at asados (barbecues) and parillas (steakhouses). They do phenomenal steaks, sausages, and organ meats. They also have their own style of pizza. It’s delicious. Also, be sure to try out the empanadas.
  • Excellent wine- Argentina is famous for its wines. Particularly the Malbec variety. Living in Buenos Aires gives you the opportunity to enjoy some of the world’s best wines. The country is the world’s fifth largest wine producer. Most of the wine is produced in the Mendoza region. Buenos Aires is full of wine bars and retail shops. The best part is that Argentinian wines are surprisingly affordable. You can buy a great bottle of wine for $10-$20.
  • Argentina is a large country with lots to see and do- Argentina is a great place to travel around. The country has a population of 43 million. It’s four times the size of Texas. There is a lot to see and do. While living in Buenos Aires you can easily travel to experience Argentina’s beautiful landscapes. Patagonia has incredible glaciers, mountains, and rugged coastlines to explore. You can travel north to see the spectacular Iguazu Falls. Mendoza is a must visit for wine lovers. Bariloche is a top destination for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hiking and skiing. Salta offers an incredible colonial town, mountains, and unique culture.
  • There is a huge expat and digital nomad community- Currently, Buenos Aires is a digital nomad hotspot. It’s also a popular spot for expats and people studying abroad. There are thousands of foreigners living the expat life in the city. It’s easy to get involved in the community and make friends with like-minded people. There are plenty of meetup groups that you can join. There is also a large community of retirees living in Buenos Aires. No matter where you’re from, you can make friends with fellow foreigners here.
  • Argentina has an interesting culture to learn about and experience- The city also has many art galleries, museums, and theaters. Tango dancing is a famous part of Argentine culture. Football culture is also huge. Attending a game is an incredible experience. Argentinians are also passionate about food and wine.
  • There are lots of things to do in Buenos Aires- It’s a big city with something for everyone. You can take a stroll through colorful Caminito street in La Boca. Take a walk along the waterfront in Puerto Madero. Explore San Telmo Market and shop for antiques or enjoy some local food. You can attend a soccer match at La Bombonera or River Plate stadium to experience the Argentine football culture. You can enjoy a traditional tango show. You can visit museums, art galleries, and theaters. There are parks and green spaces all throughout the city. This is a massive city. There is always something going on.
  • Buenos Aires has great nightlife- If you enjoy going out, Buenos Aires is a great city. There are hundreds of bars, clubs, and restaurants to enjoy. You’ll find wine bars, dance clubs, neighborhood bars, and everything in between. The theater is also popular in Buenos Aires. There are also plenty of live music venues. There is something for everyone. Buenos Aires is one of the best places in Latin America for a night out.
  • Buenos Aires has great public transportation- The public transportation system is extensive and affordable. Tickets cost less than $0.30. The subway has multiple lines that run all over the city. You’re never far from a station. Trains run frequently. It’s very easy to get wherever you need to go without a car.
  • Buenos Aires is a safe city- For a city of its size, Buenos Aires is relatively safe. During the day, you can freely wander around and explore. You don’t have to worry too much about violent crime. There is rule of law here. At night, you do have to be a bit more cautious but you can still walk around busy areas. You do have to keep an eye out for pickpockets and petty thieves. I feel safe walking around.
  • Buenos Aires has a great climate- There are four distinct seasons to enjoy. It doesn’t get too cold in the winter. You don’t have to deal with snow. You can go out with just a sweatshirt or light jacket most days. During the summer it can get hot and humid but it’s nothing too extreme. The humidity doesn’t last too long. The weather is very mild. It rains sometimes but not too much. It’s a really pleasant climate. This is one of my favorite things about the city. It’s rarely too hot or too cold.
  • The green spaces- One of my favorite things about Buenos Aires is the parks. There are green spaces everywhere. It’s so nice being able to walk through a park among the trees and get some fresh air. There are parks all over the city. Some of the best parks include Los Bosques De Palermo, El Jardín Japonés (the Japanese Garden), Jardín Botánico (the Botanical Garden), Buenos Aires Eco Park, and Parque Lezama. There are parks in every neighborhood.
  • You can get good quality healthcare and insurance at affordable prices- There are private hospitals and insurance companies in Argentina that offer excellent quality and value. Medical care is far cheaper than in the U.S. Buenos Aires is also a fairly popular medical tourism destination. There are some excellent doctors working here.

Cons of Living in Buenos Aires

  • The people- Argentinian people can come off as egotistical. They tend to think that they’re better than everyone else. This can get a little annoying. The people can be hard to take at times. Of course, this isn’t the case with everyone. There are plenty of friendly and welcoming people.
  • The language barrier- English is not widely spoken in Buenos Aires. The only other English speakers you’re likely to meet are other expats and digital nomads. You’ll have to put in the effort to learn some Spanish to live comfortably in Buenos Aires. Even if you already speak decent Spanish, you may still struggle with the accent. Buenos Aires has a distinct accent that can be difficult to understand if you’re not used to hearing it.
  • It’s expensive to travel to Argentina- Tickets to Argentina are expensive. You’ll likely spend $1500 plus every time you want to go home and visit friends and family.
  • Argentina is far from the rest of the world- Argentina is located at the end of the world. It’s far from North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. To fly there, you’re probably going to have to have some layovers. It’s about a 9-10 hour flight from the U.S. to Buenos Aires. If you’re flying from Europe or Asia, you’ll likely have a layover in the U.S. You might spend 12-24 hours or more in transit just to get there, depending on where you’re from. It’s relatively convenient for Americans. For everyone else, it’s not.
  • The economy- Argentina has struggled economically for decades. It seems like every decade there’s a new crisis. Interestingly, Argentina is the only country that has regressed from a developed country into a developing country. A hundred years ago, Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world. Now it’s not. For whatever reason, the government cannot stop overspending. This has led to extreme inflation. This creates instability, which affects everyone. You will see poverty in Buenos Aires. Many people are struggling. They are stressed out. It can be unpleasant to be in this type of environment. Living in a bad economy is challenging, even if you earn decent money. It’s depressing seeing people struggle. Hopefully, the new president can change this. So far, things are looking good.
  • The food- Argentina has some great food but the diet is not very diverse. The food can be bland. Sometimes it’s oversalted. Spicy foods aren’t common. It’s also not a particularly healthy diet. It’s not very balanced. The main course is usually some type of meat. You won’t be eating many vegetables. This would be a very difficult place to be a vegetarian. To diversify your diet, you may want to cook for yourself. There are also restaurants serving up foreign food. Italian restaurants are common.
  • Finding a job can be difficult- The job market is pretty bad in Argentina. It can be difficult to find a job if you’re a foreigner. Pay is low if you’re earning in pesos.
  • Services can be unreliable- Internet service, communications services, and electricity can go out at times. Outages are not too frequent but they can be annoying.
  • Safety can be an issue- Buenos Aires is a safe city for its size. It’s also safer than most other Latin American capitals. Crime still exists here. Muggings and robberies happen. If you’re concerned with safety, this may not be the best destination.
  • Some things aren’t so cheap- In general, Buenos Aires is a cheap place to live but not everything is cheap. Imported goods are expensive. Cars are expensive. Rent can be expensive. There are cheaper digital nomad and expat destinations around the world.
  • Lots of bureaucracy- There is lots of red tape to deal with when applying for visas, opening bank accounts, etc.

For more general info, check out my guide to the pros and cons of digital nomad life.

Plaza de la República and the obelisk, Buenos Aires

The Language Barrier

English is not as commonly spoken in Buenos Aires as you might expect. In fact, it is rare to meet an English speaker. If you don’t speak Spanish, you will face a language barrier.

To live comfortably in Buenos Aires, you need to learn at least basic Spanish. This will make day-to-day interactions easier. It will also allow you to experience more of the culture. Having Spanish skills will open up more opportunities and will allow you to make friends with locals.

Argentine Spanish has a distinct accent and vocabulary. Particularly the Spanish spoken in Buenos Aires. It is referred to as Rioplatense Spanish. This dialect is different because it uses the word “vos” instead of “tú”. The pronunciation of “ll” and “y” also sound different. They are usually pronounced as “sh” or “zh”. This might be a bit challenging initially.

There are several ways to learn Spanish in Buenos Aires. Spanish language schools such as Vamos Spanish Academy and El Pasaje Spanish School offer classes for different proficiency levels. Alternatively, you could hire a private tutor. There are also language exchange meetups. These can be a fun way to practice your Spanish while helping others learn English. You can also use language learning apps like Duolingo, Babbel, and Rosetta Stone.

Meeting People in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires has a large expat community. It’s It’s become extremely popular among digital nomads. Getting involved in the expat community is pretty easy. Many expats and digital nomads meet through, Facebook groups, and Internations. There are a number of Buenos Aires groups that organize social events around the city.

These are great resources when you first arrive. You can learn about the city, ask questions, and make friends. Many meetups are held in bars. If you attend an event, you’ll meet plenty of like-minded people. You’ll also meet plenty of English speakers.

Co-working spaces are also great places to meet digital nomads. Places like WeWork, La Maquinita, and AreaTres host networking events and workshops. They also offer communal areas where you can meet other digital nomads.

Of course, you can also make friends with locals. People from Buenos Aires are open to making friends with foreigners. To meet locals, you could participate in a language exchange meetup. You can find these events on websites like Tandem, ConversationExchange, and You can also use Couchsurfing. People regularly host local meetups, events, and activities. Taking a class or joining a club is also a great way to meet locals. For example, you could take a Tango dancing class, cooking class, or yoga class. You could also use online forums like Buenos Aires Reddit or join local Facebook groups. Online dating is also a good way to meet people.

For more ideas, check out my guide: How to Meet People While Traveling.

Skyscrapers in Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires


If you’re moving with children, education is an important consideration. There are a range of schooling options including public and private schools and international schools.

Public schools in Buenos Aires offer free education. They are a good choice for those who want to immerse their children in local culture and the Spanish language. The public school system in Buenos Aires is decent. If you prefer an English-speaking curriculum, private and international schools are the better choice.

Buenos Aires also has some great universities that are well-known throughout Latin America. For example, the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) consistently ranks as one of the top schools in Latin America. If you are a student looking for study abroad opportunities, Buenos Aires is a good choice.

If you’re looking to improve your Spanish language skills, Buenos Aires has lots of language schools to choose from for every level from beginner to advanced. It’s also affordable to hire a private tutor.

Getting to Buenos Aires

Traveling to Argentina can be expensive. It’s also a long trip from most of the world. Argentina is located all the way at the Southern end of South America. It’s far from everything. This makes it a hassle to get there.

Direct flights from New York or Los Angeles to Buenos Aires take around 11 hours. Flights from London take about 14 hours. A one-way ticket there may cost $1000-$1500 depending on where you’re starting. If you’re flying from Europe or Asia, you’ll likely have a layover somewhere in North America.

Buenos Aires’ main airport is Ministro Pistarini International Airport (Ezeiza Airport). It is located about 32 kilometers (20 miles) to the southwest of downtown. You can travel from the Airport to the city by bus or taxi. The ride takes around 45 minutes, depending on traffic.

Several major international airlines offer flights to Buenos Aires including American Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa, Iberia, KLM, and Aerolineas Argentinas.

For me, this is one of the biggest drawbacks of Argentina. Taking a trip home is expensive.

Travel Around the Region

Argentina is a great destination for travelers and outdoor adventurers. You can go hiking in Patagonia, visit the wine country in Mendoza, take a day trip to the beach in Mar del Plata, or view the spectacular Iguazu Falls. Argentina has mountains, deserts, jungles, beaches, and more. It’s an incredibly geographically diverse country.

Buenos Aires is also a great base for exploring South America. It’s easy to travel to Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, and Paraguay. A great day trip is to take a ferry across the Rio de la Plata to visit Uruguay. Uruguay is also an excellent expat destination to consider.

Argentina is a large country. Destinations are spread out. If you want to go to Patagonia, you’ll have to take a 3-hour flight or spend a couple of days on a bus. Iguazu Falls is a 14-hour bus ride away or a couple of hours by plane. Due to the distances, it’s hard to take day trips.

Iguazu Falls, Argentina side
Iguazu Falls was worth the long bus ride

Long-distance buses in Argentina are affordable and relatively comfortable. It’s how most locals travel. There are also a few budget airlines operating in Argentina including Flybondi and Jetsmart Argentina. Ryanair is also coming to Argentina soon. These airlines offer domestic flights to major destinations throughout the country and to neighboring countries.

Buenos Aires also has a domestic airport called Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP). This airport is located in the city. It offers international flights to nearby South American cities as well as domestic flights around Argentina. It’s more convenient than flying out of Ezeiza.

Ushuaia, Argentina
Ushuaia was one of my favorite places I visited in Argentina

Is Buenos Aires a Good Place to Live?

Yes. Buenos Aires can be a great choice for expats, digital nomads, and retirees. The cost of living is low. I personally belive Buenos Aires is one of the best value cities on earth. It’s got all of the amenities of a first-world city for third world prices. Visas are also pretty easy to arrange.

Buenos Aires offers a high quality of life. The city is full of parks and green spaces, cultural institutions, and entertainment venues. There is a great great food scene. Argentine beef and wine are phenomenal. The public transportation network is efficient and cheap. It’s an easy place to live.

You will want to consider Argentina’s economic instability. The country is currently experiencing extreme inflation. This affects both the cost of living and safety in the city. There are also some inconveniences that you’ll have to deal with. Buenos Aires doesn’t run as efficiently as many North American or Western European cities.

My Experience Living in Buenos Aires as a Digital Nomad

Buenos Aires was the first destination I visited as a digital nomad. I initially chose Buenos Aires because I found a great deal on a flight. I flew one way from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires for $350. The low cost of living in Buenos Aires also drew me to the city. I learned that I could exchange my dollars for pesos on the street and basically double my money. I figured I could get by on around $1000 per month.

When I arrived, I stayed in an Airbnb on Avenida Corrientes downtown for the first two weeks. After that, I moved to a cheaper Airbnb in the neighborhood of Barracas. I negotiated a deal with the host for a discounted rate for a long-term stay. I really enjoyed the apartment. It was just a studio but it was very modern and comfortable. The location was also decent. it was a short walk from Lezama Park, San Telmo, and a metro station. There was also a large grocery store located nearby. Everything I needed was close by.

During my stay, I worked online and explored the city. Buenos Aires is a great place to just walk around. There are wide boulevards and plenty of green spaces. The architecture is great. It’s a beautiful city. I also really enjoyed the food and wine. I ate my fair share of steaks.

When I first arrived, I attended a few digital nomad meetups. There are a lot of foreigners living in Buenos Aires. It’s easy to meet people here. I found the locals to be a bit hit-and-miss. Some were friendly. Others were less friendly.

Living on $1000 Per Month in Argentina

It is possible to live in Buenos Aires on $1000 per month. To maintain this budget, you will have to give up some comforts and budget carefully.

Here’s a basic budget breakdown for living in Buenos Aires on $1000 per month:

  1. Rent: For a small, studio or one-bedroom apartment outside the city center, expect to pay around $300-$400 per month.
  2. Utilities (electricity, internet, water, gas): These will cost around $50-$100 depending on your usage.
  3. Food: If you shop at local markets and cook most of your own meals, expect to spend around $150-$200 a month on food. You can afford to eat out once or twice per week.
  4. Transportation: If you only take public transportation, expect to spend around $20 per month getting around.
  5. Health Insurance: A basic local health insurance plan costs around $50.
  6. Entertainment: $100 per month will allow for some sightseeing.
  7. Miscellaneous (cell phone plan, toiletries, laundry, new clothes):$50-$100 will cover basic necessities.

This comes to a total of around $750-$1100 per month. You will have to live a simple lifestyle to get by on this budget but it is possible. For a bit more comfortable lifestyle, you’re probably looking at spending around $1200-$1500.

Final Thoughts

Buenos Aires is a beautiful city that offers a high quality of life, excellent food, and affordable healthcare. There is a large expat and digital nomad community. Getting around the city is easy, thanks to its public transportation system.

There are some drawbacks to consider before you move. Learning Spanish can be difficult. The poor economy and inflation here are definitely something to consider. Pay is low if you’re earning in the local currency. The locals are generally friendly but they can be hit or miss.

Buenos Aires is a solid choice for someone looking for an affordable place to live in Latin America. This is one of the most popular digital nomad destinations for good reason.

Do you live in Buenos Aires? Share your experience in the comments below.

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