So you want to move to Buenos Aires but you hardly know anything about the city? That was my situation last August when I moved from California to Argentina. Buenos Aires is a pretty amazing city but it is huge and it took me a long time to learn my way around. Fortunately there are a lot of useful resources on the internet that helped me figure things out, and maybe they can be of some use to other people considering life in Buenos Aires.
Prior to Arrival
You might want to find a place to live before you arrive in Buenos Aires. I recommend starting at a youth hostel or a temporary place because it is impossible to know if you will like apartments or neighborhoods until you see them in real life. I used Rentarlo but there are a lot of other websites for finding apartments:
The first step upon arrival is getting from the airport to the city. It can take 30 minutes without traffic or more than an hour with traffic. One of the the cheapest taxis to and from the international airport is:
They have a stand inside the terminal and the price should be around 40-50 dollars US depending on where in the city you are going. If you are traveling with two or more people the price of the taxi may be almost as cheap as the bus.
For a person traveling alone the cheapest way to the city is by public bus, but unless you speak Spanish and you are really patient, forget about it. I tried to figure it out but never was successful. A much faster and easier way is the Manuel Tienda Leon bus. It isn’t very expensive and it is fast and clean:
If you don’t know Spanish you should learn. It makes life in Argentina much more enjoyable because not many people there speak English. I took a class at the University of Buenos Aires and really enjoyed it. The main reason why I chose the UBA class was because it was two hours a day, four days a week. Most of the other classes are four or eight hours a day which was a bit too much for me. The also teach seven or eight other languages if you already know Spanish and want to learn something else:
Getting Around the City
The best way to get around the city is by Subte (subway), bus or foot. Taxis are also quite cheap, especially if you are traveling with a group. The bus system seems chaotic at first, but my life changed after someone showed me this interactive map that helps you find busses to get around the city:
To travel outside of Buenos Aires, Plataforma 10 is one of the best ways to find bus tickets. I never figured out how to buy the tickets online but you can use the website to find out what’s available and then buy them at one of the many Platforma 10 stores or kioskos (there is one in the Abasto shopping center).
If you want to travel a long distance, it may be cheaper to fly with LAN Airlines than it is to take a bus.
I took a few classes at the Carlos Copello dance school next to Abasto:
La Catedral (www.timeout.com/buenos-aires/buenos-aires/venue/1%3A8278/la-catedral) and La Viruta (lavirutatango.com) are two good places to go to dance. They start the night with an hour or so of lessons and then open the floor for dancing.
Read the News
If your Spanish isn’t that great yet but you want to read local news, the Buenos Aires Herald has news in English (but you should still take classes so that you can read it in Spanish):
Eat Food (that isn’t pizza or cow)
If you get tired of eating so much meat, or if you’re a vegetarian (gasp), there are a couple of really good restaurants:
Lotos – Av. Córdoba 1577
This one is a vegetarian restaurant that also sells hard to find things like peanut butter and coconut milk.
Los Sabios – Av. Corrientes 3733
This was my favorite restaurant in Buenos Aires. For the equivalent of 5 or 6 U$D you get a huge variety of delicious all you can eat vegetarian food. They have some different foods on different days so it never gets boring. They have ice cream hidden in the back of the second room that I missed the first few times.
Bio – Humboldt 2199, in Palermo
The prices are normal for US prices but way too expensive for Buenos Aires. The food is good but the portions are small. The service wasn’t so great when I went there and I never went back again.
There is another restaurant on Corrientes near Ayucucho, but I forget the exact name and address. It’s similar to Los Sabios but with less variety and a higher price.
Update: Here a few more links from me and my friends:
http://baexpats.org/ – a forum of expats living in Buenos Aires
http://www.plataforma10.com/ (traveling with long distance busses)
http://mapa2.buenosaires.gob.ar/ (best interactive buenos aires bus/metro page)
http://www.ciudadculturalkonex.org (nice parties, especially mondays – BOMBA!)
http://www.aerolineas.com.ar (check for cheap flights)
http://www.lan.com (cheap flights, last minutes!!)
http://www.despegar.com.ar/ (cheap flight searching engine)
http://www.cfr.org/region/south-america/ri243 (good think tank especially abt South America -> helpful for your studies)
http://www.sateliteferroviario.com.ar/horarios/ (long-distance trains; much cheaper than buses but have to book well in advance)
http://www.xcolectivo.com.ar/ (good overview of transportation system in Argentina)
http://www.buenosaires.gov.ar/index.php (BsAs municipality website, general info+ongoing events)
http://www.batravelguide.com/search/label/Upcoming%20Events (a blog about BsAs; she sometimes posts really good tips, especially about upcoming events)
http://argentinastravel.com/downloads/bookstore-guide.pdf (a great list of bookstores in BsAs, especially for books in English)
tips for hitchhiking:
http://hitchwiki.org/en/Argentina (a bit outdated, but still some useful info)
http://www.autostopargentina.com.ar/ (links also to Chilean site)