How to Live Like a Rock Star (or Tango Star) in Buenos Aires

In Buenos Aires you'll find nearly the lowest cost of living in the world (beat out only by Harare, Zimbabwe and Asuncion, Paraguay).[1] That means that you can live like a rock star with a salary that you would barely get by on in comparable cities like New York, London, Paris, etc. So, should you take the jump and move to Argentina? You're probably best off taking at least a 1-3-month "mini-retirement" first, in order to test the waters and determine whether the Buenos Aires high life is meant for you.


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    Familiarize yourself with Argentina. Argentina is the New Zealand of the western hemisphere. From tropical rain forests in the north to world-class skiing in Patagonia, it has it all. Check out rare tropical birds or watch penguins get eaten by killer whales — it’s your choice. The capital city of Buenos Aires (BsAs), sometimes referred to as "The Paris of the South", was created by immigrants from Spain, Italy, and Germany, so you get the best food, architecture, and culture from all three.
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    Getting there. Airfare will run over $1200 USD round trip if you're coming from the US, so ensure that you’re staying for a while. Remember that summer in BsAs is from December-January, and consequently it will be very hot during those months. November or March-April are gorgeous, and summer time in the Northern Hemisphere is perfect for skiing in Bariloche or Las Leñas. Aerolíneas Argentinas often offers good prices, and you can sometimes get deals by flying into Rio or Sao Paulo, Brazil and then to BsAs on Gol or TAM. Check airfares immediately after 1am on Saturday nights (Sunday mornings), when many airlines lower prices based on “flight load” (ratio of sold-to-empty seats).
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    Living there. Be careful — people will attempt to overcharge you. This will happen in any country with weak currency. You might find that it’s not worth the headache to deal with most Argentines and attempt to save a few hundred dollars, even if you speak fluent Argentine Spanish. If you keep running into dishonest or unreliable landlords, you might want to deal exclusively with non-Argentines. Use Craigslist or ba4u apartments[2]. You’ll pay 3x more than an Argentine. A decent room in a good location can be found for $300 USD (~239 Euros), a great single bedroom apartment can be found for $700-800 USD (~537-613 Euros), but here’s one tip: if you can get a friend to come with you (or if you have a family), a two or three-bedroom apartment can be had for $1,200-1,300 (920-996 Euros), and it will be 10x more luxurious than the one-bedroom. Some great areas to live are, in descending order of preference: Recoleta (near Plaza Francia), Palermo, Barrio Norte, and San Telmo. Puerto Madero is the most expensive area and people fight for it, but there isn't much to do there unless it's a weekend evening.
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    Living it up. Spend an evening walking around one of the best hotels in BsAs, such as The Four Seasons, Sheraton, or Hotel Alvear, and make friends with one of the managers on call. They get VIP tables at all of the top clubs — Asia de Cuba, Opera Bay, Mint, Amerika, etc. — and can get you on the lists, so invite them for drinks and ask them for suggestions of where to meet. If not, just visit the clubs around 10pm on a Thursday or Friday and ask to meet the director of special events, or the manager (”gerente”). Tell him you’d like to bring some friends to the club and ask how to get on the list. Keep his card in your wallet to flash at bouncers. Worst case scenario, just spend $50 USD (or ~40 Euros) with a few friends and you can get a 6-person VIP table with unlimited champagne for the night.
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    Wining and dining. Some favorites are Gran Bar Danzon[3] and La Bistecca[4], but don't underestimate the hole-in-the-wall parrillada (Argentine BBQ) restaurants. Just wander down Lavalle off of Avenida Florida and take your pick: the (very inexpensive!) beef sandwiches (use plenty of chimichurri[5]) will blow your mind.
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    Tango. Tango is a huge part of Argentine culture. Social tango is completely improvised (much like breakdancing). Chest to chest, strangers will embrace and get to know each other more in three minutes than 10 dates would accomplish. Every night of the week, tango rules, usually getting started around 1am. Here are some favorite milongas (tango dance halls):#*“New wave” (nueva onda) tango and 20-30-something crowd: “La Viruta” at Armenia and Cordoba, inside the Armenian Cultural Center. 1am+ on Wed, Sat, and Sunday are the best times to go.
    • Traditional and older crowd: “Sunderland” or “La Baldosa” — find “El Tangauta”[6] magazine in any tango shop, or at La Viruta, for addresses and all the tango info you can handle.
    • If it is your first time in BsAs, have an Argentine friend call the tango teachers and ask for pricing for an unnamed “friend,” not mentioning that you’re a foreigner. Otherwise, you will be drastically overcharged. You should be able to get excellent private lessons for 50 pesos/hour. Good group lessons can be found at the Carlos Coppelo school in front of Shopping Abasto.
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    Making a living. It doesn't take much to live like a star in BsAs, but it does take a lot to steadily make what would in other cities in the world. Don't assume that you can just go down there and find a job. You'll need to secure a job in BsAs first, then move; or establish income that can be generated remotely (with an Internet connection). You may also be able to live off of retirement income, as well. If you plan on staying in BsAs permanently, get your finances in order so you can maintain your luxurious lifestyle.


  • Don't forget to investigate things like health care, immigration, and education (if you have kids).
  • The sense of humor in Argentina is similar to that of Britain and New Zealand, and some people might take offense if not prepared for it. They love to give each other a hard time, but it’s all in fun. “Boludo, que haces?!” for example.
  • The Spanish spoken in Argentina is probably different than the Spanish you've been taught. It's spoken with an Italian flair, and there are some distinct differences in vocabulary and pronunciation.[7] Tango classes are a great way to learn the local Spanish because the teachers tend to speak more slowly.


  • Don't forget that Argentina essentially declared bankruptcy within the past 10 years, and has its drastic ups and downs. You can live like royalty, but make sure you have an emergency stash tucked away somewhere safe in case the economy takes a turn for the worse, especially if you intend to stay in Argentina permanently.
  • Cars in BsAs don't yield to pedestrians, and buses (colectivos) consistently run red lights.[8]

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