Here is a cost of LIVING Buenos Aires; not just surviving. The prices are indicative of my time here, which has been from late 2012 to early 2013. Keep in mind that prices change rapidly in this city. Hence the reason why I thought it would be useful to outline what it costs to live in this fantastic city at this point in time. It’s not as cheap as when Timothy Ferriss was here in 2006, but it’s still good value compared to other major world cities.
As a note, all of the price conversions are using the ‘Blue Rate‘ of currency exchange. When you come to Argentina bring US dollars or Euros in cash. The government keeps an artificially high value to the Peso, and you will be giving away money to the government if you don’t bring hard currency. This tip alone will save you over 30% on your trip to Argentina.
Here’s the main things you’ll be spending your money on . . .
Housing will be a big cost for you while you are in Buenos Aires. I found my nice studio apartment in the heart of Palermo Hollywood for $600USD/month. It’s fully furnished, and in the heart of the number one party and entertainment district in Buenos Aires. This is where you want to be to LIVE Buenos Aires. In order to find a place for short-term rent, the best place is Craigslist. Don’t worry, since it’s targeted to foreigners, the majority of the ads are in English. Expect to pay from $400- $1200, depending on the part of town you want to live in, and the standard of living you hold. Generally speaking, you’ll be able to find a reasonable place in San Telmo for much less than in Palermo.
Here’s a list of neighbourhoods that foreigners should look at from least expensive to most expensive. Each has its own vibe. I’ve now lived in three neighbourhoods: Recoleta, Palermo, and Belgrano. Palermo’s the most fun, Belgrano’s the quietest, and Recoleta is the most beautiful. Villa Crespo is a reasonably priced alternative to Palermo, and right next door.
This one will vary greatly, depending on what you’re looking for. If you eat only in season, locally grown vegetables, with a bit of red meat, you won’t spend much. Anything imported in Argentina is expensive, so be prepared to spend as much or more than your home country for such items. A quick example, I bought three bottles of Argentinean Malbec for a total of 60 pesos (~$8.) One 250ml bottle of dijon mustard was 55 pesos.
The grocery stores are not up to western standards, and you may have problems finding some of your favourite foods. The good news, however, is that restaurants are incredibly well valued. You can go out for a beautiful steak dinner for two, with a bottle of great Argentine wine for about $25.
The city knows how to party. The night clubs open at 1am, but no one shows up until 2. They party till dawn on weekends, and have ‘early’ nights for weekdays called After Office parties. Some of the biggest clubs you’ve ever seen are in Buenos Aires, with sound systems that cost over a million dollars. If the techno dance party isn’t your scene, you can tango the night away. There’s plenty of milongras to fill your dance bill.
So what will partying till dawn in Buenos Aires cost you? A high end night club will set you back about $10 for entry, and $5 for a 355ml beer. The tango milongras are more reasonably priced, and will cost about $5-$10 for entry, and about $6 for a 1 litre beer.
Public transportation in this city is one of the least expensive I have ever seen. A trip on the subway (subte) will cost you all of 30 cents. A trip on the bus is even less, and will cost you about 20 cents. The cabs are inexpensive for westerners too, but are much more expensive than the public transit. A 15 minute cab ride will cost you about $7. The flag drops at ~$1.20, and goes up in 12 cent increments for every 100 metres.
Cost Breakdown of Three Different Standards of Living
Housing in a shared house in San Telmo/Monserrat
Eating at home, buying only local groceries
Attending free events put on by the government, dancing in parks, or at friends homes
Only taking public transport for wherever you are going
Cost of living Buenos Aires on a budget
Your own place in a basic furnished studio or one bedroom in a nice part of town.
Eating at home half the time, and going to nice menu del dia lunches and restaurants the other half
$450 – $600
Going out to clubs and milongras two to three times a week
A mix of public transport and cabs depending on time allowances and time of day
Cost of living Buenos Aires on a mid-range budget:
A beautiful furnished apartment in Palermo, Recoleta, or Puerto Madero
Eating out for every meal, and going to the fanciest restaurants
VIP tables and going out most nights to the top clubs
Taking cabs everywhere
Total cost of LIVING Buenos Aires like a baller
I hope this is helpful. Remember that prices change rapidly, but this is a rough estimation of what to expect in 2013. Add approximately 35%/year after 2013.
If you need more reasons to visit. Make sure to check out my Top 25 Reasons to Love Buenos Aires.
Going to Buenos Aires?
Let Mariela, a Buenos Aires expert make the most of your time there. She will customize the perfect trip for you, or help you get comfortable in your new neighbourhood.