10 Things To Know Before Visiting Buenos Aires Aregentina


10 Things To Know Before Visiting Buenos Aires

Visiting Buenos Aires has always been a mysterious and dynamic experience and like any big city, the more you know before you go, the better that experience can be.

Generally, those who visit Buenos Aires are glad they did. It is one of the most unique cities in the world and truly offers something for everyone.

However before you travel to another country, it is wise to glean information from those who have recently visited or even better, from people living there.

Here are 10 things to know before visiting Buenos Aires Argentina.

1. The Culture. They speak Spanish in Buenos Aires and the accent takes some getting used to. If you don’t speak Spanish, you can still get by but you may encounter some difficulties with taxis, shopping, and menus. Most people related to tourism speak English. The people are mostly friendly and very conservative keeping old traditions alive. Argentines are hard working people and work a 9-hour day without a nap. Families are the core of the culture and every Sunday is dedicated to spending time with loved ones. Everyone is good looking, even the dogs.

2. Is it safe? Visiting Buenos Aires is safe compared to most cities of 13 million people. The most common crime is petty theft including purse snatching and pick pocketing. You will always want to be cautious of this. But the murder rate is incredibly low, the kidnappings of the past have subsided, and there are plenty of police on the main streets to keep an eye on things.

3. What is the environment like in the city? Buenos Aires is an extremely urban environment and the noise and activity is constant. The weather is mild all year round with a few weeks in February that swelter, and a few weeks in August that get chilly. Pollution does exist on weekdays and can cause breathing troubles and the throat to itch. The streets are narrow and walking can sometimes be precarious. The architecture is a treasure trove spanning the last century.

4. What is the political situation? At the moment, politics in Argentina are stable with President Kirchner at the helm for the last 3 years and leaning toward the left. Argentines are very vocal about how they feel and there are peaceful protests around the government buildings several times a week. Throughout the last 70 years, there have been dictators and democracy and a strong rally for socialism. Despite a strong distaste for President Bush, in general the people of the port are open minded to foreigners visiting Buenos Aires and enjoy meeting them.

5. How is the economy doing? The economy in Buenos Aires is thriving with small businesses, global companies, huge fashion districts, endless restaurants, and a growth in tourism. The University Of Buenos Aires is excellent and keeps the work place progressive. After the devaluation in 2001, the country had some difficult years, but now unemployment and homeless statistics are low and dropping. Foreign investment is booming and creating jobs in almost every sector.

6. Where should I stay? Choices for accommodations when visiting Buenos Aires are staggering and each neighborhood will offer a different experience. You should rent an apartment if you are planning on staying a week or more. You should try to find lodging in a central part of the city keeping transportation costs low. Recoleta is surely the best neighborhood and very central. The Microcenter is the center of the city and most hotels and hostels are located here. Wherever you stay, make sure you are a few floors up from the street noise. It can be a serious annoyance for tourists and locals alike.

7. What should I pack? When planning on visiting Buenos Aires, all you really need is your passport, something to help you sleep on the plane, and a camera with extra batteries. Everything else is available here at bargain prices. Laptops are accepted but cyber cafes are everywhere. Anything that can’t fit in 2 suitcases may be taxed heavily at the airport. Make sure to leave plenty of room in your luggage for souvenirs. And don’t forget to bring a pair of comfortable shoes.

8. What about money? Bring cash and exchange it at the airport. ATM’s are plentiful but have a $300 USD limit. To exchange money in the city, go to the financial district and look for signs that say “cambio” and bring your passport and an address of where you are staying. Currently $1 USD is worth about 3 pesos, which is good news for the tourist. Very few places accept credit cards. Only restaurants, grocery stores, and banks will break a 100peso bill. So always carry change with you. Always!

9. Transportation. Getting around for a tourist visiting Buenos aires will consist of 3 methods. Subways are cheap, safe, and only crowded at rush hour. (9am and 7pm). Taxis are also inexpensive but you may be taken on the scenic route if you speak English. Always have the necessary address written down so you can hand it to the driver. And finally, walking is the best way to see the city so make sure you carry a map. For locals, the bus system is the best transportation because there are so many. If you are brave, remember when you get on a bus, always tell the driver “ochenta”.

10. What happens after I get off the plane? When you arrive at the Buenos Aires International Airport (Ezeiza), you will first go through immigration. Before you get in line, make sure you have filled out the visa they give you on the airplane. Hand the visa and passport to the official for stamping. After that, go to baggage claim and collect your things. When you enter the terminal, go around to the right, all the way to the back to where a blue sign says “Banco”. Stand in this line to exchange your money for the best rate in the airport. Next, go to the center of the terminal where an indoor white taxi stand is. Tell them “Capital Federal” and have an address where you are staying. The cost is about 54 pesos and you will be escorted to a white taxi that will safely take you to your lodgings.

And enjoy visiting Buenos Aires Argentina.

This article was written by Izic Wick who lives in Buenos Aires and writes as a travel consultant as well as offering private tours of Buenos Aires.


5 Responses to “10 Things To Know Before Visiting Buenos Aires Aregentina”

  1. 1 karilily November 11, 2006 at 6:33 am

    Thanks for the awesome advice! I look forward to my trip!

  2. 2 karilily November 11, 2006 at 6:34 am

    Thanks for the advice! I look forward to my upcoming travels to BA!!

  3. 3 Brigadeiro November 26, 2008 at 7:34 am

    Is there an ATM in the airport?

  1. 1 Buenos Aires Culture « Buenos Aires Argentina Travel Guide Trackback on September 27, 2006 at 7:59 pm
  2. 2 Argentina Culture « Buenos Aires Argentina Travel Guide Trackback on October 16, 2006 at 11:14 pm
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About the author of this blog.

Tom Wick is an American expat living in Buenos Aires. An expert travel consultant and tour guide offering free travel inforamtion and private guided tours of Buenos Aires.

Contact Me

Please write to me about any Buenos Aires Argentina travel information or about living in Buenos Aires as an expat. tangohistorytours@gmail.com

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