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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. This metropolitan city offers a low cost of living, a lively atmosphere, and an excellent quality of life. It’s also a beautiful city with some great architecture and plenty of green spaces. 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 the low cost of living and 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 living in 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

Quick Facts About Buenos Aires and Argentina

Located on the eastern coast of South America, along the estuary of the Río de la Plata, Buenos Aires is the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, with a population of over 15 million. It is the capital city of Argentina. Most of the population is of European descent. The city’s residents are known as Porteños.

Buenos Aires is known for its European-style architecture. Wide boulevards and large green spaces make Buenos Aires a beautiful city to live in. Buenos Aires also offers thriving nightlife. Theater, live music, and dance clubs are common throughout the city.

The climate in Buenos Aires is temperate. There are four distinct seasons. Summers are warm and humid, while winters are mild. It rarely snows.

Unfortunately, the economy in Argentina is notoriously unstable. It’s important to be aware of Argentina’s extremely high inflation rate. This can significantly impact living expenses. Particularly if you earn in the local currency.

The city offers an extremely affordable cost of living compared to many European and North American cities. The quality of life here is high.

The author in Buenos Aires
At  Plaza de la República

A Bit of Info About Buenos Aires

  • Population- 15.5 million in Buenos Aires

  • Region- Buenos Aires province, Central Eastern Argentina on the western shore of Rio de la Plata in South America

  • Climate- Temperate

  • Geography- Flat. The city is located in the Pampas region on a plain

  • Main languages spoken- Spanish

  • Currency- Argentine Peso (ARS) Currently $1=791 pesos. Inflation is high so this is likely to change.

  • Main Religions- Catholicism

  • Time zone- GMT-3

  • Drives on the- Right side of the road

  • 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-$2000 per month.

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

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 comfortably for under $1000 per month. Most Argentinians earn less than $700 per month.

If you prefer to live a more luxurious life, you could live in a premium apartment in a higher-end neighborhood and eat out frequently for $2000-$2500 per month.

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

It’s important to note that the cost of living in Buenos Aires is volatile due to Argentina’s unstable economy. Inflation and currency fluctuations can cause a significant shift in prices. 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. I’m sure it costs much more now. This can impact your budgeting.

In the following sections, I’ll outline the cost of rent, food, transportation, and entertainment in Buenos Aires. All prices are listed in U.S. dollars because the exchange rate fluctuates so much.

Cost of Rent in Buenos Aires

On average, the cost of rent for a furnished studio or one-bedroom apartment in a decent neighborhood of Buenos Aires can range between $600 to $800 per month. These are the prices you’ll pay if you rent from Airbnb, for example. This is a great option if you’re planning to stay for 1-3 months. For this price, you can stay in a nice neighborhood such as Retiro, Recoleta, Santa Teresa, or San Nicolás.

If you’re staying longer term, it makes more sense to rent an unfurnished apartment and furnish it yourself. You could find a nice apartment for $400-$600 per month depending on the neighborhood.

If you’re on a tighter budget you could rent an 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.

For those who wish to experience a bit more luxury while living in Buenos Aires, high-end apartments are also available. In trendy neighborhoods like Palermo, the cost of rent for a high-end luxury apartment can range from $1000 to over $2000 per month, depending on the size and specific amenities.

It’s important to note that most apartments are priced in dollars. This makes it difficult to take advantage of the favorable exchange rate when renting an apartment. Rent may not be as cheap as you’d expect.

Food Costs in Buenos Aires

When it comes to budgeting for food in Buenos Aires, an average person might spend between $200 to $300 per month on food.

Eating out in Buenos Aires comes in a wide range of prices, depending on the type of restaurant and its location. For example, a meal at a mid-range restaurant could cost around $7-$10.

A three-course meal at a higher-end restaurant might cost between $20 to $30 per person. A classic Buenos Aires meal is a steak dinner, perhaps paired with a glass of Argentine Malbec. You can enjoy a meal in a good steakhouse for this price.

Street food is available for $2-$4. For example, a slice of pizza, a choripán (a chorizo sandwich), or a couple of empanadas, is an affordable choice for lunch.

Grocery shopping in Buenos Aires is generally reasonable. Local markets and supermarkets offer a variety of fresh produce, meats, and staples. For example, a liter of milk might cost around $1, a loaf of fresh bread about $1.50, and a dozen eggs approximately $2. Expect to spend around $150 per month on groceries.

Transportation Cost in Buenos Aires

Public transportation in Buenos Aires is extremely affordable. An average person might spend approximately $20 to $30 per month on public transportation. Exactly how much you spend will depend on your daily commuting habits and distances.

Buenos Aires is a pretty walkable city. If you live in a centrally located area, you can walk to most places. You might only spend a few dollars on transportation per month.

The city offers a comprehensive network of buses and a subway system (called the Subte) to get around. The cost of a single bus or subway ticket costs around $0.30. Prices outside the city can be slightly higher.

There are also taxis and Ubers available. The cost of taking taxis and Uber in Buenos Aires is relatively low compared to many other major cities. The starting rate for a taxi is typically around $1, and the rate per kilometer is approximately $1 as well. 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 time of day.

Entertainment

Buenos Aires is known for its lively nightlife and cultural offerings. The cost of going out to bars and clubs varies depending on the neighborhood. On average, you might expect to pay around $3 to $5 for a beer and around $6 to $10 for a cocktail in a mid-range bar or club.

Buenos Aires is a city filled with rich culture, with numerous museums, art galleries, and historical sites to visit. Ticket prices can range from $2 to $10. There are usually free days each month. The city’s parks, plazas, and green spaces can also be visited for free. There are some nice waterfront areas to walk around. You don’t have to spend money to enjoy yourself.

Live shows and performances are popular in Buenos Aires. The city is known for its tango performances. Tickets to a tango show can range from $30 to over $100, depending on the venue and whether dinner is included. For theatre enthusiasts, the Teatro Colón, one of the top opera houses in the world, offers a range of prices, with tickets for a ballet or opera performance ranging from $10 to over $200 based on the seating.

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 in Argentina is running at an insane 100% per year.

Inflation in Argentina is a complex issue. It is driven by a combination of factors including economic instability, fiscal deficit, and external debt. The government’s tendency to print more money to cover its budget deficits leads to an increase in the supply of Argentine pesos, which subsequently devalues the currency and results in rising prices.

This inflation can lead to unpredictability in the cost of living. Those earning in strong foreign currencies are mostly insulated from these effects due to favorable exchange rates. The situation can still lead to unexpected changes in the prices of goods and services.

For example, when I arrived in Buenos Aires, a bottle of my favorite wine cost 2000 pesos. The same bottle cost nearly 2500 pesos just a few months later. Budgeting is important when living in Argentina, despite the overall low cost of living.

Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires

Visas for Argentina

It is relatively easy to stay in Argentina long term. Plenty of foreigners call Buenos Aires home. A number of visa options are available. In this section, I’ll outline a few options for long-term stays.

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 business online 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 qualify for the Argentina Digital Nomad Visa, you must show that you have sufficient income. That could be from freelance work, remote work, or an online business that is based abroad. You must also show proof of health insurance that provides coverage in Argentina. In addition, you must have a clean criminal record. There may be requirements as well.

To apply for the Argentina Digital Nomad Visa, you need to fill out an online form and submit the required documents, including proof of income (usually a bank statement or pay stub) and insurance. Next, you must also pay an application fee of around $80. 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.

If you want to stay in Argentina for a year, the digital nomad visa is a great option.

Making Border Runs

A border run (or visa run) is a method used by many expats and digital nomads in Buenos Aires to extend their stay beyond the standard tourist visa limit. Many nationalities are allowed to stay in Argentina for up to 90 days without arranging a visa in advance. By leaving and re-entering the country, you can reset this and stay for an additional 90 days.

Argentine law allows a visitor to stay for up to 180 days per calendar year. Doing one visa run is legal. This rule isn’t strictly enforced. Some expats and digital nomads living in Buenos Aires have been making continuous 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. The city sits just across Rio de la Plata. 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 very convenient. The ferry terminal is located near central Buenos Aires.

It’s also possible to make border runs to Chile, Paraguay, and Brazil. These journeys require a bit more travel time, but they can offer an exciting chance to explore a new country. 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 authorities notice a pattern of repeated border runs, they could potentially deny you entry. This is likely if an officer believes that you are living in Argentina permanently without obtaining a long-term visa. Immigration could also crack down on border runs at any time. So far, they haven’t.

Making visa runs will work for those who are planning to stay short term (6-9 months). If you’re planning on living in Buenos Aires for a year or more, it’s a good idea to get a longer-term visa such as the Argentina Digital Nomad Visa.

Visa Overstays

If you’re planning on staying in Argentina long term, another option is to simply overstay your visa. In Argentina, overstaying doesn’t immediately brand you as ‘illegal’. Instead, you are classified as a “domiciled resident” or an “irregular resident”. It’s important to note that this classification does not lead to arrest or detention if you’re caught.

Penalties are imposed for overstaying. If you overstay your visa, you are required to pay a fine and obtain a permit before you can exit the country. The fine is generally affordable. Currently, it’s 12,500 pesos (around $51).

You may also get a stern talking to. You will be told not to overstay again. 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. This period gives you time to make travel arrangements back home or to another country.

While this might seem lenient, overstaying should not be considered a long-term strategy for living in Buenos Aires. 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 really depends on the immigration officer you talk to.

Personally, I don’t recommend you overstay. 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)

Extending your stay in Argentina is also possible with a visa extension. If your 90-day tourist visa is about to expire and you want to stay longer, you can apply for a one-time extension for another 90 days. This extention allows you to stay in Argentina for a total of six months completely legally. 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, Buenos Aires, within 10 days of the expiration of your tourist visa. Remember to bring your passport with you. The office is located at Av. Antártida Argentina 1355.

The process is pretty straightforward. There are no appointments. You simply arrive, wait in line, fill out a form, and pay a fee for the extension. The office operates from 8 am to 2 pm, so 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.

Remember that this extension can only be done once per entry. For more information on the Prórroga, check out this guide from the official government website.

Residency Visas in Argentina

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

One way to get residency is through securing employment in Argentina. If you land a job with a company based in Argentina, the company can sponsor your temporary work visa. Eventually, this can lead to permanent residency.

The company must be able to demonstrate that they couldn’t find a suitable Argentine candidate for the position. The work visa is typically valid for one year and can be renewed as long as you remain employed with the sponsoring company.

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

The third option is for those who can support themselves financially, known as the ‘person of independent means’ visa. This is also known as the ‘rentista’ visa. To qualify, you must provide evidence of steady income from abroad, such as a pension, investments, or rental income. The amount must be sufficient to sustain your living expenses in Argentina. 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. These are 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 3 years. After 5 years, you can apply for citizenship.

There can be a lot of paperwork involved. You may need the help of an Argentine immigration attorney to obtain some of these visas.

Working Holiday Visa

The Working Holiday Visa is available for young individuals from certain countries to experience life in Argentina. The Working Holiday Visa for Argentina is available to citizens from Australia, Denmark, France, Ireland, and New Zealand. The program is open to those between 18 and 30.

This visa allows you to stay in Argentina for up to 12 months. During that time, you can work to supplement your travel funds. It’s important to note that you need to apply for this visa while you’re still in your home country, as it cannot be obtained in Argentina.

The process typically involves submitting an application along with some support documents, which usually include a valid passport, proof of sufficient funds for your stay, a return ticket or sufficient funds to purchase one, and proof of health insurance coverage for your stay.

Keep in mind that 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. There are a diverse range of industries in Buenos Aires including IT, hospitality, tourism, education (particularly English teaching), etc.

Many companies offer generous perks such as a healthcare, sick leave, and vacation time. The drawback is that salaries are low. Pay in Buenos Aires is far lower than in North America and Western Europe. This reflects Argentina’s economic situation and living costs. For example, an English teacher might earn between $600 and $1,000 per month, depending on experience and how many hours they work.

Starting a business in Argentina is difficult. The business environment in Argentina is complicated by regulatory bureaucracy, frequent changes in policy, and high inflation. It is not an easy place to set up shop, particularly for foreigners.

Where to Live: The Best Neighborhoods in Buenos Aires

Most neighborhoods in Buenos Aires are safe for foreigners. Here are a few popular neighborhoods to consider:

  • Palermo: This is the most popular choice among expats and digital nomads for its lively atmosphere and modern amenities. Palermo is filled with trendy restaurants, stylish boutiques, vibrant street art, bars, clubs, and beautiful parks. It’s one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city.

  • Recoleta: Renowned is known for its Parisian-style architecture. It is a posh neighborhood that’s perfect for those seeking a more upscale living experience. It has a rich history and lots of culture. It is also home to the famous Recoleta Cemetery.

  • Belgrano: Belgrano 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. Its cobblestone streets, antique shops, and Sunday markets give the area a unique charm.

  • Puerto Madero: This is one of the city’s newest districts. Puerto Madero offers modern high-rises and large green spaces. There is also a nice waterfront area. It’s known for being one of the safest and most luxurious 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. It’s a convenient place to live.

  • San Nicolás (Microcentro or downtown): This is the central business district. It’s perfect for those who want to stay close to the action. There are skyscrapers, shopping malls, theaters, restaurants, and lots of nightlife options. This is the first place I stayed in Buenos Aires.

  • Barracas: This up-and-coming barrio is known for its street art, vibrant architecture, and diverse population. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a more affordable alternative to the more touristy areas of Buenos Aires.

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

To start your apartment hunt, there are several online platforms that you can use to search for properties. Landlords often list properties on websites like:

  • ZonaProp

  • Argenprop

  • Solo Dueños

  • MercadoLibre.

Another good way to look for apartments is to join expat groups on Facebook or brows listings on Craigslist.

Another option is to walk around your favorite neighborhoods and look for ‘for rent’ signs. Call the number and rent directly from the owner.

Another great option is long-term Airbnb rentals. This is more expensive but much more flexible and convenient. The property will be fully furnished. You won’t have to deal with putting the utilities in your name. If you’re staying less than 6 months, this may be the best option. You can reach out to Airbnb hosts and negotiate a long term stay with them directly. If you’re willing to commit to a couple of months, you can usually negotiate a better price for yourself. Staying in Airbnbs is also a great way to get a feel for which neighborhoods suit you best.

When browsing through apartment listings, you’ll often see apartments 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 may consist of a bedroom and a separate living area. This would be considered a one-bedroom in most of the world.

As for payments, large deposits for apartments in Buenos Aires are typically paid via bank transfer. Be prepared to arrange this with your bank. Before you travel to Argentina, it’s a good idea to make sure you have the capability to make international transfers if needed.

Remember, finding the perfect apartment might take time. It’s a good idea to stay in a hotel or Airbnb for at least a couple of weeks when you first arrive so you have plenty of time to get to know the city and search for an apartment.

Rental Agreements in Argentina

Navigating rental agreements in Buenos Aires can be difficult for foreigners. First, you must understand the two types of rental contracts: temporary rental contracts and “Garantia” contracts.

Temporary rental agreements are popular among expats and digital nomads because of their flexibility. These agreements are usually signed for a six-month period and are often priced in dollars. Some of these temporary rentals may come fully furnished. This makes them a great choice for those who have recently moved to Argentina.

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

A distinctive feature of these contracts is the “garantia” or guarantee required. This usually needs to be a property owner in Argentina who will vouch for your ability to pay the rent. They must co-sign the contract. If you can’t pay your rent, this person will be responsible for your debt. This can be a challenge for foreigners without local connections. Locals usually use a family member who owns a home as their garantia.

In addition, a Documento Nacional de Identidad (DNI), the national identity document in Argentina, is usually required to rent an apartment. As a foreigner, this adds another layer of complexity to the process. You can only get a DNI if you’re a resident. Most expats and digital nomads opt for temporary accommodations until they can secure their residency status.

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.

Healthcare in Argentina

Buenos Aires has both public and private healthcare services. The public healthcare system in Buenos Aires is accessible to everyone, including residents, expats, and even tourists. It offers free medical services at its public hospitals and clinics.

While the quality of care is good, the system itself often faces challenges due to underfunding. There are often long wait times. The infrastructure is also lacking. Some treatments simply aren’t available.

The private healthcare sector in Buenos Aires is a popular choice for many expats. Especially those who can afford health insurance. There are some excellent private hospitals and clinics in Buenos Aires. If you’re willing to pay, you can get top-quality care. The prices for private healthcare are relatively reasonable.

Health Insurance in Argentina

As an expat or digital nomad residing in Buenos Aires, acquiring health insurance is a smart choice, particularly if you plan to use private healthcare facilities. Even though costs for healthcare services are generally more reasonable compared to many Western countries, the cost can get pretty high when paid out-of-pocket, especially in the event of a major medical event.

Argentinian health insurance policies are available to everyone, regardless of residency status, making it an accessible option for those new to the city. Many employers even include private health insurance as a benefit.

Argentinian health insurance premiums are generally affordable. For instance, a comprehensive health insurance plan for an average adult could range from $50 to $100 USD or more per month, depending on the coverage level and the individual’s age and health status. Rates can vary quite a bit so it’s a good idea to get quotes from multiple insurers to find the best pricing.

Many of the health insurance plans provide comprehensive coverage, including prescription medications, preventative care, and even dental services. This gives you all-inclusive healthcare solution at a reasonable cost.

Transportation and Getting Around Buenos Aires

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.

Walking

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.

Public Transportation

Buenos Aires has an excellent and cheap public transport system. There is a large subway system as well as a public bus network. Public transport in Buenos Aires is extensive and pretty efficient. 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 for journeys on buses and the subway. You simply load money onto the card at SUBE kiosks, subway stations, sidewalk kiosks, or many convenience stores around the city. If you see the SUBE logo, you can load your card there. You can top up your card with cash.

When you go to take the subway or a city bus, you tap the card on a card reader at the start of your journey. The fare is automatically deducted from the balance on your card. The card reader will show you your balance.

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 SUBE card. They are often out of stock. You may have to ask around a bit. I had to ask at around 10 kiosks and stations 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.

Taxis and Uber in Buenos Aires

Getting around Buenos Aires by taxi or Uber is a popular choice due to its convenience and affordability. The taxis are safe to use.

One of the significant advantages of taking taxis or Uber in Buenos Aires is their abundance. You will often see a line of black and yellow taxis on the streets. You won’t have to wait long. It’s easy to find a taxi. Additionally, the Uber service in Buenos Aires is reliable and widely used. Other rideshare services are also available including Cabify and Didi.

Taxis in Buenos Aires operate on a meter system. The meter starts running as soon as you get in and stops when you reach your destination. Payment can be made in cash. Some taxis also accept credit cards these days. However, it’s recommended to confirm the payment method with the driver before starting the journey.

When you get in a cab, make sure the driver turns on the meter. Some drivers may try to offer you a flat rate. This will be higher than the meter. If the driver refuses to use the meter, find a different cab.

Most taxi drivers in Buenos Aires will use the meter automatically. Some drivers will try to overcharge but you don’t have to worry about scams as much as you do in many other major cities. If you ask, they will use the meter.

Driving in Buenos Aires

You don’t need a car to get around Buenos Aires. Owning a car here is expensive due to the high import taxes. The city also gets pretty congested. Traffic is bad. It’s often faster to take the subway. If you want to own a car, you can. I did not own a car in Buenos Aires. I found the public transport system to be sufficient.

Consitución Railway station, Buenos Aires

Money and Banking

Currently, there is a currency black market running in Argentina. This was created when the Argentina government decided to restrict currency exchange for residents. Now, there is an official government exchange rate and a black market rate. The black market rate is known as the ‘blue dollar’ exchange rate. The blue dollar exchange rate is about double the government-set rate.

This creates a unique advantage for foreigners who earn in dollars or euros. It’s one of the main reasons that Buenos Aires has become such a major destination for digital nomads. You can bring your dollars to Argentina and essentially double your money by exchanging with the blue dollar rate. This will probably change in the near future.

Exchanging Money in Buenos Aires

You can’t get the blue dollar rate in a regular currency exchange boot. You can get close to it at some ATMs these days as well as Western Union. To get the best rate, you must exchange your money on the street through the black market.

The best way to get pesos is to send yourself money through Western Union. They do offer the blue dollar rate. It’s safe and easy.

If you have dollars, you can also go to Calle Florida in central Buenos Aires to exchange money. 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.

ATMs

There are lots of ATMs in Buenos Aires. The problem is that some won’t give you the blue dollar rate. ATM fees are also 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 usually use their ATM to withdraw cash without a charge.

Opening a Bank Account in Argentina

In order to open a bank account in Argentina, you need to be a resident or citizen. A foreign citizen can’t easily 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 and pick up the cash.

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 the extreme inflation.

Credit Cards

Credit cards are widely accepted in Buenos Aires. When paying with a foreign credit card, you usually get a much better exchange rate than the official government rate. In the past, this wasn’t the case. You would always get the official government exchange rate when using a card. This is a recent change. You won’t quite get the blue rate but it will be close. Maybe 10% less.

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 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.

How to Pay Your Bills in Buenos Aires

The most common ways to pay your bills in Buenos Aires are with Pago Fácil and Rapipago. These payment networks are widely used for bill payments and even online purchases in Argentina.

To pay your bills in cash, you’ll take your bill to a Pago Fácil or Rapipago office. At these payment centers, the barcode on the bill is scanned. 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 exchange rate this way.

Pago Fácil and Rapipago centers are not limited to bill payments. Many online businesses also offer the option to pay for purchases through these networks. For example, if you buy something through MercadoLibre, you may be able to pay this way. You can also pay for flights this way.

This feature is nice if you prefer to pay in cash for online transactions. This is also a great backup option if your foreign credit card is rejected for some reason. As an added bonus, you’ll get to use the blue dollar rate.

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

Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires

Is Buenos Aires Safe for Expats?

The answer is yes, Buenos Aires is safe. Despite its size, Buenos Aires is one of the safest major cities in South America. Even with the recent economic difficulties that Argentina has faced, the city still remains surprisingly safe.

During the day, you can safely walk around and explore all of the city’s attractions and neighborhoods. You can pretty much wander around and explore anywhere in the city. The streets are filled with people, creating a sense of safety.

Like any major city worldwide, some areas 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, just 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. For more info, check out my guide: How to Avoid Pickpockets.

There are also a number of scams to be aware of. Taxi drivers often 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 and Climate in Buenos Aires

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

The summer months in Buenos Aires run from December to February. This season can get hot with temperatures often reaching the mid to upper 30s Celsius or around 95°F. The city can also become quite humid.

Fall runs from March to May. Spring runs from September to November. Buenos Aires is beautiful during these seasons. The temperatures are moderate, with highs typically in the 20s Celsius or mid-70s Fahrenheit. This makes these times of year ideal for exploring the city’s outdoor attractions, from parks and gardens to open-air markets and outdoor dining venues.

Winter, from June to August, is mild in Buenos Aires compared to many North American and European cities. Temperatures rarely drop below freezing, with average lows reaching around 8°C or 46°F. The city doesn’t see snowfall. It’s the perfect escape for those wishing to avoid harsh winters.

One unique weather phenomenon in Buenos Aires is the ‘sudestada.’ It’s a weather pattern that can cause heavy rains and high winds in the city, but it’s relatively rare and typically happens in the colder months.

Packing List: What to Bring to Argentina

When moving to Buenos Aires, there are a few essentials you should consider packing to make your life a little easier. Because import taxes in Argentina are high, certain items can be quite expensive compared to other countries. This is the case with electronics. For this reason, it’s recommended to bring your electronic devices such as laptops, smartphones, and cameras from home.

Also, if there are specific luxury items or personal items that you can’t live without, consider bringing them along as they might be harder to find or pricier in Argentina. This could include specific skincare products, makeup, etc.

When it comes to clothing, you’ll need both warm and cold weather clothing. Buenos Aires experiences all four seasons, so a versatile wardrobe is a must. Pack a range of outfits suitable for both hot, humid summer days, as well as colder winter periods. Of course, you’ll also find a wide variety of shops and markets in Buenos Aires where you can buy clothing to suit any climate or style.

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

Food: Grocery Shopping in Buenos Aires

Every neighborhood in Buenos Aires has grocery stores where you can find many of your favorite foods. Grocery stores in Buenos Aires tend to be on the smaller size. They may not carry as wide a variety as you might expect from a larger supermarket.

You can usually find a good selection of dry goods and staples in these stores. For the freshest produce, meats, and other ingredients, local markets and specialty shops are the way to go.

Carnicerias, local butcher shops, are common in Buenos Aires. These are the best places to buy fresh, high-quality cuts of 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, you’ll want to head to the local Verdulerias. They provide a great selection of local and seasonal produce. The produce at many of the grocery stores is pretty sad. These places offer fresh produce at reasonable prices. 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.

Finally, for a truly Argentine experience, don’t miss out on visiting Casas de Pasta, where you can buy fresh, homemade pasta, perfect for a quick and delicious meal at home.

There are also Chino supermarkets in every neighborhood. These are small supermarkets, usually owned by Chinese immigrants. They offer affordable prices. Most also offer good deals on local Argentinan 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 opinion.

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 in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires has a diverse culinary scene. It’s a great place to go out to eat. There are plenty of steakhouses, pizza joints, empanada shops, and a variety of other international and local cuisines available.

The city is famous for its steak. Dining at a classic Argentine steakhouse, known as a parrilla, is a must. Don Julio is one of the most well-known. They offer premium quality meats and excellent wines. This place is often listed among the world’s best restaurants. Another popular choice is La Cabrera, which is known for its large portions and diverse menu.

Buenos Aires also takes pride in its Italian heritage. There are lots of pizza and pasta restaurants. Güerrin is one of the oldest and most loved pizza restaurants in the city. They are known for their thick, cheesy slices. El Cuartito, another historic pizzeria, serves up delicious crispy thin-crust pizzas.

For quick bites, empanadas are the city’s staple food. El Sanjuanino is a well-known spot. They offer 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.

Prices for eating out in Buenos Aires can vary, but you’ll generally find that it offers excellent value for money. You can expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $20 per person for a meal at a decent restaurant. You can get some empanadas, a choripán, or a slice of pizza for a couple of dollars. Eating out is surprisingly affordable in Buenos Aires. Restaurants here offer a great value.

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 for expats and digital nomads who earn in dollars or euros. This is the case due to Argentina’s financial problems. You can live comfortably here for under $1000-$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 steakhouses, or parrillas. 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 iconic empanadas.

  • Excellent wine- Argentina is known globally for its wines. Living in Buenos Aires gives you the opportunity to try some of the world’s greatest wines. The country is the world’s fifth largest wine producer. Mendoza region’s high-altitude vineyards produce Argentina’s flagship red wine, Malbec. This full-bodied red wine is a must-try for any wine enthusiast. Buenos Aires is full of wine bars and retailers. The best part is that Argentinian wines all affordably priced. You can buy a really great bottle of wine for $10-$20.

  • Argentina is a large country with lots to see- 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. While living in Buenos Aires you can explore Argentina’s diverse landscape. Patagonia, the country’s southernmost region, offers breathtaking glaciers, mountains, and rugged coastline. You can travel north to witness the spectacular Iguazu Falls. Mendoza is a haven for wine lovers Bariloche, located in the Andes mountains, is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with opportunities for hiking and skiing. Salta offers colonial charm, colorful mountains, and a unique cultural experience.

  • There is a huge expat and digital nomad community- People from all over the world come to Buenos Aires to enjoy the Argentine culture and the low cost of living. Currently, Buenos Aires is a digital nomad hotspot. There are hundreds 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 your age or profession, you can make friends with fellow foreigners here.

  • Argentina has an interesting culture to learn about and experience- The seductive dance of Tango is a must-experience. The city also has many art galleries, museums, and theaters. The legacy of legendary footballers Maradona and Messi are celebrated throughout the city. Argentinians are also passionate about food and wine.

  • There are lots of things to do in Buenos Aires- The city offers a wide range of attractions. You can take a leisurely stroll through the colorful Caminito street in La Boca. Explore the modern high-rises of Puerto Madero. Book lovers can visit El Ateneo Grand Splendid, one of the world’s most beautiful bookshops. San Telmo Market is a paradise for antique collectors and food enthusiasts. You can attend a soccer match at La Bombonera or River Plate stadium to experience the passionate Argentine football culture. You can enjoy a traditional tango show or explore the stunning architecture and green spaces of Palermo. 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. Theater is also incredibly popular in Buenos Aires. There are also 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. There is also a large network of public buses. There are also plenty of taxis and Ubers available. 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 incredibly safe. During the day, you can freely wander around and explore. You don’t have to worry about your safety. 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. Most insurance covers hospital visits and prescription drugs. Buenos Aires is also a fairly popular medical tourism destination. There are some excellent doctors 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. I don’t know why tickets are so expensive. I do know that Buenos Aires has a pretty high airport tax.

  • 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.

  • The economy- Argentina has endured economic struggles 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.

  • 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.

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: Learning Spanish in Buenos Aires

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

To live comfortably in Buenos Aires, you must learn some basic Spanish. This will not only help with day-to-day interactions but will also provide a richer cultural experience. While there are fellow expats and digital nomads who speak English, having Spanish skills will open up a broader scope of opportunities for interactions. You can make friends with locals if you speak Spanish.

Argentine Spanish, particularly in Buenos Aires, has a distinct accent and vocabulary compared to other Spanish-speaking countries. Referred to as Rioplatense Spanish, it is characterized by the use of “vos” instead of “tú”, and the pronunciation of “ll” and “y” sounds 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 that cater to 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. Also, language learning apps like Duolingo, Babbel, and Rosetta Stone can be a convenient tools to pick up Spanish at your own pace.

Meeting People in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires has a large expat community. It’s one of the reasons that the city has become such an attractive hub for remote workers.

Getting involved in the expat community is pretty easy. Many expats and digital nomads meet through online platforms, such as Meetup.com, Facebook groups, and Internations. There are a number of Buenos Aires groups that organize social events and professional networking meetups around the city.

These are excellent resources to get started, ask questions, and create friendships. Many meetups are held in bars. If you attend one of these events, you’ll meet plenty of like-minded people. You’ll also meet plenty of English speakers.

Co-working spaces in Buenos Aires also serve as hubs for the digital nomad community. Places like WeWork, La Maquinita, and AreaTres host regular networking events and workshops and offer communal areas where you can interact with other digital nomads.

Living in Buenos Aires also provides an opportunity to meet and interact with locals. People from Buenos Aires are generally open to making new friends.

To build your local social circle, consider participating in language exchange meetups or groups. Websites like Tandem, ConversationExchange, and Meetup often host language exchange events. You can practice your Spanish, help someone else practice their English, and make local friends at the same time.

You can also use Couchsurfing. People regularly host local meetups, events, and activities. These provide a great environment to mingle with locals and travelers.

Joining a class or a club based on your interests is also a great way to meet locals. For example, you could take a Tango dancing class, cooking class, or yoga class. This will give you the opportunity to connect with locals who share your interests.

Finally, making use of local online forums, such as Buenos Aires Reddit or various Facebook groups, can also provide valuable insights, advice, and opportunities to interact with locals.

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

Dating in Buenos Aires

If you’re looking to date, there are plenty of ways to meet people, from social events to online dating apps.

Argentinian dating culture is known to be pretty straightforward. The locals are usually direct and open when expressing their interest. Late-night dinners followed by dancing is a typical dating scenario. People in Buenos Aires are not known for their punctuality. Don’t be surprised if your date is a bit late.

Online dating is popular in Buenos Aires. It’s a great way for expats and digital nomads to meet new people. Tinder is widely used and offers a large pool of potential matches. Badoo is also popular in Argentina.

It’s important to note that while Buenos Aires is a friendly city, it’s always important to stay safe. Always keep an eye on your drink.

Skyscrapers in Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires

Education in Argentina: International Schools

For those moving with children, education is an important consideration. Buenos Aires offers a wide range of schooling options from public and private schools to international institutions.

Public schools in Buenos Aires provide free education and are a good choice for those who wish to immerse their children in local culture and the Spanish language. For expats who prefer an English-speaking curriculum, private and international schools are the better choice.

Universities in Buenos Aires are also well regarded. Particularly in Latin America. Institutions like the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) consistently rank among the top in Latin America. For students seeking study abroad opportunities, Buenos Aires offers a diverse range of programs in disciplines.

For those looking to improve their Spanish language skills, Buenos Aires has a variety of language schools offering intensive courses and immersive experiences. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced speaker, there’s a Spanish school suited to your level. You can also hire a private tutor at a reasonable price.

Getting to Buenos Aires

Traveling to Argentina can be a long and expensive journey. Argentina is pretty remote, geographically. It’s located all the way at the Southern end of South America. It’s far from everything. This makes it a hassle to get there.

Flights to Buenos Aires can be pricey and long, especially for those traveling from North America, Europe, Oceania, or Asia. Direct flights from New York or Los Angeles typically take about 11 hours, while those from London span about 14 hours. A one-way ticket there may cost over $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. This makes the trip even longer.

Buenos Aires is served by Ministro Pistarini International Airport, often referred to as Ezeiza Airport. This is the main international airport in Argentina. It is located about 32 kilometers (20 miles) to the southwest of downtown Buenos Aires. 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 as a digital nomad or expat destination. Taking a trip home is expensive.

Travel Around the Region

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

Buenos Aires is also a great base for exploring South America. Bordering countries like Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay are within easy reach. 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’re drawn to Patagonia, be prepared to take a 3-hour flight or a 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 common and relatively comfortable. There are also a number of budget airlines operating in Argentina including Flybondi and Jetsmart Argentina. Ryanair is also coming to Argentina. These airlines offer domestic flights to major destinations throughout the entire 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 an excellent place for expats, digital nomads, and retirees to live. The cost of living is low. This affordability extends across housing, transportation, and general day-to-day living expenses. Currently, Buenos Aires is one of the best value cities on the planet.

Furthermore, Buenos Aires offers a high quality of life. The city is home to lots of parks and green spaces, cultural institutions, and entertainment venues. The city also offers a great food scene. Argentine beef and wine are the highlights. The public transportation network is efficient, cheap, and extensive. It’s an easy place to live. The quality of life is very good.

On the flip side, it’s important to consider Argentina’s economic instability. The country is currently experiencing a period of extreme inflation and currency devaluation. This could affect the cost of living and safety in the city. There are also some inconveniences of Buenos Aires. The city doesn’t run quite 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 attended a few digital nomad meetups. There are a lot of foreigners living in Buenos Aires. It’s easy to meet like-minded people here. I found the locals to be a bit hit-and-miss. Some were friendly. Others were less friendly.

FAQ About Living in Buenos Aires

Can a US Citizen Live in Argentina?

The short answer is yes, Americans can live in Argentina. However, the specific requirements depend on the duration and purpose of your stay.

As a U.S. citizen, you can visit Argentina without a visa for up to 90 days. You can extend this to 180 days by visiting the immigration office as outlined above or by making a border run.

If you fall in love with Buenos Aires and decide you want to stay longer, you will need to obtain a visa.

For digital nomads, there’s the digital nomad visa. The rentista visa is available for those who have money coming in from abroad. The investor visa could be a fit if you plan to start or invest in an Argentine business or buy a property in Argentina. If you’re planning to work in Argentina, you will need a work visa. If you’re retiring, the pensioner visa could be a suitable choice.

Can You Live on $1000 a Month in Argentina?

Yes, it is possible to live in Buenos Aires on $1000 per month. In order to maintain this budget, you will have to live a modest lifestyle and budget carefully.

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

  1. Rent: For a small, studio or one-bedroom apartment in a less touristy neighborhood, you can expect to pay around $350-$400 per month.

  2. Utilities (electricity, internet, water, gas): These could cost around $50-$100 depending on usage.

  3. Groceries: Shopping at local markets and cooking at home can help keep this cost relatively low. Expect to spend around $150-$200 a month.

  4. Public transportation: If you only take public transportation (buses and subways) expect to spend around $20 per month on transport.

  5. Health Insurance: A basic local health insurance plan costs around $50.

  6. Entertainment (eating out, activities): $100 per month will allow for some sightseeing and modest entertainment.

  7. Miscellaneous (cell phone plan, personal care items, new clothes): Approximately $50-$100 will cover basic necessities.

This comes to a total of around $750-$1100 per month. It’s important to note that you will have to live a fairly simple lifestyle with minimal luxuries on this budget but it is possible.

For a bit more comfortable lifestyle, you’re probably looking at spending around $1200-$1500. It is possible to live on less than $1000. Millions of locals do it.

What is the quality of life in Buenos Aires?

Buenos Aires is consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in Latin America. There are a number of reasons for this. The city’s extensive public transportation system makes getting around easy and efficient. It’s also easy to get around on foot.

Another great thing about Buenos Aires its green spaces. From Parque Tres de Febrero, with its lake, rose gardens, and a planetarium, to the Reserva Ecológica, an urban nature reserve perfect for cycling and walking, Buenos Aires offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities and relaxation.

Buenos Aires is also a food lover’s paradise. The city is known for its steak houses, pizza joints, and empanada shops, and cafés. Many neighborhoods, such as Palermo, are full of trendy restaurants offering everything from Argentine to international cuisine.

The healthcare system is also pretty good. There are public and private hospitals that offer excellent care. Healthcare costs are affordable.

The weather is also a major draw. It’s pretty mild year round. There are a few hot months. It never gets really cold.

The quality of life here is great.

Final Thoughts About Living in Buenos Aires

Living in Buenos Aires as an expat or digital nomad offers an incredible mix of culture, affordability, and adventure. This beautiful city offers a high quality of life, with excellent food, bustling markets, affordable healthcare, and a thriving expat and digital nomad community. Navigating the city is easy, thanks to its public transportation system.

Of course, there are some drawbacks. Learning the local Spanish dialect can be difficult. The poor economy can cause some difficulties. Inflation here is definitely something you need 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 compelling choice for any expat or digital nomad looking for an exciting and affordable place to live. 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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