Living in Buenos Aires – 2019
For people who are interested in moving to somewhere in South America, you’ve likely considered living in Buenos Aires as a top choice, and there’s good reason for it. Buenos Aires is well up there on my favourite cities to live in Latin America but as with everywhere, you have to figure out if moving to argentina is right for you.
Why i Like Living in Buenos Aires.
When it comes to moving to Argentina, Buenos Aires is a top choice for several reasons. Incredible meat, friendly people and great climate are just a few of the reasons. One of the things i love about this city is that whilst its not as chaotic as living in Rio de Janeiro or Mexico City, it still manages to retain a spontaneous & carefree vibe whilst giving you a sense of freedom that doesn’t seem to be in the air of Western cities such as London. It’s a bustling metropolis with a European appearance but with a heavy dose of Latin Culture splashed in, making it a city no like any other.
Living in Buenos Aires – Where to Base Yourself
Palermo – Being the go-to place for westerners both travelling and living in Buenos Aires, Palermo is a great spot. With lots of parks, hip cafes, bars and night clubs, Palermo is a cracking spot if you’re looking to be in heart of the nightlife and want to be in a place where it’s not too difficult to meet other expats in argentina. On the downside, it’s further than the centre of Buenos Aires than you’d like it to be and expect “gringo” prices.
Recoleta – Similar to Palermo but with a more elegant vibe, Recoleta is a great spot. Whilst not as lively as Palermo, you’ll still be spoiled for options when it comes to restaurants, parks and cafes and are perfectly placed between the central areas of Puerto Madero/Avenida de Mayo and Palermo.
Belgrano – An area often overlooked by foreigners, Belgrano is an upscale neighbourhood on the other side of Palermo, with a slightly more residential and modern vibe than Palermo. Belgrano is a perfect place for those wanting to get away from “touristy” areas and who want to be in a place where things are happening but where you can also unplug from the hustle and bustle.
Avenida de Mayo/Microcentro – Being right in the middle of the action, Microcentro is great for those who embrace chaos and want to be near the main cultural attractions of the city. However, i found that can get a little overbearing after a while, especially due to the constant protests.
Safety and Security
Despite crime getting slightly worse over the last few years, Buenos Aires is a safe city on Latin American standards and it isn’t something that should dissuade you from moving to Argentina. That being said, it’s important to keep your wits about as there are plenty of opportunists around looking for naive gringos to rip off or rob. Avoid the “villas”, do your best to blend into the culture, learn the language and follow the locals’ advice and you shouldn’t have any problems.
Making friends who speak an entirely different language to you may seem like a daunting prospect when moving to Argentina, but it shouldn’t be. Despite having a reputation as being arrogant and snobbish, I found Porteños (residents of Buenos Aires) to be friendly, chatty and curious about foreigners, meaning that if you put the effort in, making friends shouldn’t be a challenge. That be said, don’t expect people to be pining for you just because you’re foreign.
Although it couldn’t be any more obvious, learning Spanish is by far the most important factor when it comes to thriving in Buenos Aires on all levels.
Although Buenos Aires does experience seasonality, it isn’t as far South as people may think (34 degrees South) which would be the equivalent to California on Northern Hemisphere terms meaning that the weather doesn’t get too extreme. Winter’s aren’t freezing, but nighttime temperatures can get below 5 degrees celsius at times and may feel colder due to not being as geared up for the cold as many parts of Europe and North America. Spring and Autumn are a mixture of sunshine and rain with daytime temperatures typically between 18 and 25 degrees, and Summer’s are usually hot, sunny and muggy. There are plenty of sunny days in Buenos Aires, although good weather isn’t guaranteed outside of Summertime.
Cost of Living in Buenos Aires
This is a tricky one to measure, due to the fact that the Argentine Peso is up and down like a yo-yo, and reached its weakest ever value in 2018. This might seem like good news for those of you whose savings are in euros, pounds or dollars, but prices tend to match adjust to the currency fluctuations and inflation, meaning that life in argentina isn’t as cheap as you expect.
That being said, living in Buenos Aires is quite a bit cheaper than the USA or Western Europe but isn’t as cheap as many countries further north such as Colombia and Mexico, and is slightly more than living in brazilian cities such as São Paulo or Belo Horizonte. It is, however, cheaper than living in Santiago, Chile.
Finding Work in Buenos Aires
Argentina had one of the world’s worst performing economies in 2018, which has culminated in the IMF having to bail the country out (again.) As you can expect, landing a job when living in Buenos Aires is no easy task, and will 10 times harder if you don’t speak Spanish. Visas are problematic, although not as much in countries such as Brazil. Working in a hostel or as an English Teacher are good options for those of you finding your feet, but aren’t really the best long term careers prospects if you’re looking to make the best out of life in argentina (in my opinion.)
Nightlife in Buenos Aires is world class, especially if you’re a fan of house music (like me.) During the week it’s quite steady, although you’ll find parties that cater to backpackers, and international students. Weekends are booming. For more information on a guide to Nightlife, take a look at this guide.
Writing this article brings up many feelings of nostalgia for this incredible city, and is definitely somewhere I plan to spend a lot more time in. For those of you looking for a crazy latin experience, then maybe living in Buenos Aires or moving to argentina isn’t the best option for you, but if you’re searching for a place that allows the best of both Latin America and Europe, then Buenos Aires might just be the place for you.
If you still have some doubts or would like to get personal advice on your situation or about life in argentina as an expat, feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org