Buenos Aires

Where to Stay, When to Go, Why Pick Buenos Aires - Tips from a Digital Nomad

The sprawling and vibrant capital of Latin America is known the world over for being the birthplace of tango, for its fine wines, national football team, and the wonderful Evita but did you know that Buenos Aires also has a rich Italian influence and in the 1930’s was known as ‘The Paris of South America?

Combining old and new, the sultry South American city of Buenos Aires has a decidedly European flavor encompassing 18th and 19th century French, Spanish, and Italian architecture in a mix of styles from neoclassical to Art Nouveau, and neo-Renaissance. On the wide shady tree-lined streets you’ll find more bookstores and than inhabitants and more weekend theatrical shows than on Broadway or the West End! All this history and culture combined with the passionate and noisy yet friendly Porteños (local residents) gives this city its vibrant energetic feel that’s so loved by foreigners.

Foodies and culture vultures will be in their element here – Start the day with a cafe con leche and a couple of sweet croissants called medialunas then, if it’s a Sunday, make your way to the bustling flea market to peruse the antiques whilst also taking in a tango performance. Since dinner doesn’t usually start until 9pm or 10pm you’ll need something to keep you going in the afternoon – Enjoy a beer or a glass of wine with some pizza or empanadas followed by dulce de leche as you relax in one of the many parks with new friends. At night, go to the theatre before visiting a parilla (steakhouse) to indulge in mounds of melt-in-the-mouth meat. The night isn’t over until you’ve visited a jazz club, danced until dawn in an open-air nightclub or been to Milonga – Tango class.

Visitors who only spend a few nights in the edgy and creative Buenos Aires (often abbreviated to BA) often leave with mixed feelings having not had the time to uncover the city’s rich culture and hidden charms. It takes some time to acclimatize here, you’ll initially feel like a tiny fish taken from a fishbowl and plopped into a huge pond and may feel disappointed in discovering that only a small portion of the city is as picturesque as the postcard images show. The language is different too so even if you have a degree in Spanish you’ll still struggle to be understood and to understand the locals who speak with an Italian undertone and a ton of slang.

This is why Buenos Aires is an ideal city for long-term travelers and expats looking to stay for months at a time – You’ll be able to get a grip of the language and explore far beyond the top touristic areas as you discover charming parks and cafes across all areas of the 48 districts.

 

Where to Stay in Buenos Aires

The cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires is split into 48 districts (known locally as Barrios) and is so vast that even the locals don’t know all the neighborhoods! Each ‘barrio’ has its own unique vibe but one thing is for sure, you’ll find something cool around every other corner!

When looking for accommodation whether it be for a short vacation or a longer adventure consider if you want to stay in a neighborhood that has colorful houses or old colonial houses. If you want to be in the center of city life or if you need a peaceful retreat to go back to. Do you want to fully immerse yourself in Latin American culture or would you actually really like to feel like you’re in Paris, or have the ‘home comforts’ of the USA? It’s all possible if you pick the right place in this hugely diverse city.

[Top Pick] Palermo

Located in the Northeast, this is the largest district in Buenos Aires containing top tourist attractions, epic nightlife, designer stores, international restaurants, green spaces, and a wealth of colorful street art. It’s a fashionable and eclectic district to live in with many European and North American expats living here. Due to its vast size (16km2) it’s split into several sub-districts but there are just 2 areas to focus on unless you’re part of the elite rich and famous crowd. Palermo Soho is hip and happening full of boutiques, cafes, and restaurants – It’s where the creative and chic crowd hang giving it an indie vibe.

Palermo Hollywood is where the young tech crowd congregates, it’s full of digital nomads, start-up companies, and co-working spaces and has dozens of bars and nightclubs.

[Second Pick] San Telmo

One of the older districts in Buenos Aires that still retains a traditional feel with narrow cobblestone streets and old colonial-style architecture housing hostels, boutique hotels, and private apartments. It’s a charming yet vibrant place with a boho vibe, huge street market, antique shops, and indie stores to browse. On weekend nights this area really comes to life with a wealth of restaurants and tango clubs drawing in the crowds making it an exciting, vibrant place to be for work and for fun.

[Third Pick] Puerto Madero

The trendiest place to stay in Buenos Aires with a vibrant international flair, government buildings coexisting with American stores and restaurants. Old derelict warehouses are now trendy modern apartment buildings, the whole riverside district has undergone a facelift in recent times. It’s a popular and pretty area for expats ranging from the young to the old who enjoy not just the restaurants on the old docklands boardwalk but a nature reserve too.

Other Areas:

Recoleta

One of the best-known neighborhoods in Buenos Aires with a unique Parisian vibe due to the architecture. Containing chic cafes, restaurants and boutiques, top hotels, and grand apartments behind stately home facades, this is a place to be seen but it comes with a price tag. Recoleta is located within easy reach of downtown but the benefit of being far enough away to enjoy some peace and quiet.

Villa Crespo

With its bohemian artistic vibe, this district sits just on the fringes of Palermo and attracts a number of expats and digital nomads who enjoy the multicultural vibe. It has modern art galleries, bars, “closed-door” restaurants, and clothes shops plus, when you need to escape ‘city life’, there are woodland parks a short walk or drive away.

Caballito

A central district that makes moving around the city a breeze with shops, museums, galleries, local amenities, and some of the cities best parks right on the doorstep. The residential area is mostly middle-class, clean and quiet with Pargue Centenario to be enjoyed with its jogging route and lake.

Belgrano

A large relatively peaceful suburb in the North containing both residential and commercial areas with a lot of open green spaces. Housing options range from stately homes to high-rise apartments, this area being home to a lot of German expats with a large Chinese community too. It’s a family-friendly location with plenty of cafes and restaurants as well as tennis courts and football fields plus good schools.

How to Get a Visa to Buenos Aires

Depending on your nationality, duration of stay, and purpose for visiting, you may or may not need to obtain a visa to enter Argentina. In this post, we’ll detail those instances where you may not require a visa and break down the different types of visa available, should you need to apply for one before you leave.

Visa Exemption

If you are a national of one of 88 jurisdictions including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States, and all countries within the European Union, you do not need a visa to enter Argentina for stays of up to 90 days.

Holders of certain diplomatic or service category passports including those from China also do not require a visa, while holders of diplomatic or service category passports from Australia, Canada, Ireland and United States do require a visa.

For all other purposes and durations, you will need to obtain a visa before travelling to Argentina.

Transitory Visas

Tourist Visa – 24(a)

The Argentinian Tourist Visa can be obtained for leisure and recreational visits and permits stays of up to 90 days. When applying for this visa at your local embassy, you must provide the following documentation;

  • Application form FVS (use black ink only and sign on the day of your appointment)
  • Valid passport or travel document (must have a minimum validity of 6 months from the proposed date of entry and two blank pages)
  • 1x Passport photo
  • Return flight dates (receipt is not necessary)
  • Accommodation booking details or the address of family or friends
  • Proof of financial sustenance (3 months bank statements)

Technical Visa – Article 24(h)

The Technical Visa is designed for those entering Argentina to carry out paid or unpaid activities in science, technology, religion, art or sport. Purposes for visiting may also include market research or to work at exhibitions and conferences. The Technical Visa permits stays of up to 30 days.

To apply for the Technical Visa, you will need to provide the following documentation;

  • Application form FVS (use black ink only and sign on the day of your appointment)
  • Valid passport or travel document (must have a minimum validity of 6 months from the proposed date of entry and two blank pages)
  • 1x Passport photo
  • Return flight dates (receipt is not necessary)
  • Accommodation booking details covering the duration of your stay
  • Proof of financial sustenance (3 months bank statements)
  • Invitation letter from the organisation in Argentina requesting the visa which must detail the purpose and length of the trip and include the RENURE number.

Business Visa – Article 24(h)

The Business Visa may be obtained for business meetings and commercial or economic negotiations, and permits stays of up to 90 days. To apply for this visa, you’ll require the following information;

  • Application form FVS (use black ink only and sign on the day of your appointment)
  • Valid passport or travel document (must have a minimum validity of 6 months from the proposed date of entry and two blank pages)
  • 1x Passport photo
  • Return flight dates (receipt is not necessary)
  • Accommodation booking details covering the duration of your stay
  • Proof of financial sustenance (3 months bank statements)
  • Invitation letter from the organisation in Argentina requesting the visa which must detail the purpose and length of the trip and include the RENURE number.

Temporary Visas

Work

The Work Visa is designed for foreigners who have been employed in Argentina for a minimum of one year or who are employed by company outside of Argentina and are being transferred to a post in Argentina. Applications for the Work Visa can be made by either the employee at the Consulate General or by the employer at the Dirección Nacional de Migraciones in Argentina. This process often takes several weeks or months to complete.

Requirements for the Work Visa application;

  • Application form FVS (use black ink only and sign on the day of your appointment)
  • Valid passport or travel document (must have a minimum validity of 6 months from the proposed date of entry and two blank pages)
  • 2x Passport photos
  • Return flight dates (receipt is not necessary)
  • Accommodation booking details covering the duration of your stay
  • Proof of financial sustenance (3 months bank statements)
  • Criminal record check
  • Employment contract signed by the employer and made legal by a Notary Public, Colegio de escribanos and Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Argentina. This must include the RENURE number, and must be signed by the employee on the day of the appointment.
  • Certificate of good conduct (from a country or countries where you have resided for a minimum of one year out of the last three years).
  • Proof of profession e.g. degree certificate

Student

A Student Visa can be obtained when entering Argentina to study at an officially recognised establishment. Student visas can either be short-term or long-term;

Short-term student visas can be granted for formal or non-formal educational course in private or public establishments that last no longer than 12 months.

Long-term student visas can be granted for formal educational courses only and the maximum duration of the visa is not predetermined.

The requirements for this application are as follows;

  • Application form FVS (use black ink only and sign on the day of your appointment)
  • Valid passport or travel document (must have a minimum validity of 6 months from the proposed date of entry and two blank pages)
  • 2x Passport photos
  • Proof of financial sustenance for the entire duration of studies
  • Certificate of good conduct (from a country or countries where you have resided for a minimum of one year out of the last three years).
  • Confirmation from an officially recognised establishment that the entry permit has been processed at the Dirección Nacional de Migraciones.
  • Permission of study from both parents is required if the student is underage (legal representative in Argentina is also required).

Permanent Visas

Permanent Residence

The Permanent Residence Visa can be obtained by those who are resident in the jurisdiction, and are parent, spouse or child of an Argentine national. To apply for this visa, you will need to produce the following evidence;

  • Application form FVS (use black ink only and sign on the day of your appointment)
  • Valid passport or travel document (must have a minimum validity of 6 months from the proposed date of entry and two blank pages)
  • 2x Passport photos
  • Criminal record check (this needs to be signed at the consul
  • ID of the Argentine national and their proof of address
  • Proof of financial sustenance for the entire duration of studies
  • Certificate of good conduct (from a country or countries where you have resided for a minimum of one year out of the last three years).
  • Confirmation from an officially recognised establishment that the entry permit has been processed at the Dirección Nacional de Migraciones.
  • Permission of study from both parents is required if the student is underage (legal representative in Argentina is also required).
  • Evidence of payment of Tasa de Migraciones (only applicable if the process started at the Consulate).
  • Proof of your relationship to the Argentine national e.g. birth certificate, marriage certificate etc.

Note: The consul may request additional information at your appointment for any of the visas mentioned on this page. For additional information on all Argentine visas, contact your local Argentine embassy to get the most up-to-date information before booking any flights.

Extending Your Argentine Visa in Buenos Aries

If you are travelling on a Tourist Visa, you have the option to extend this for a further 90 days (180 days total) at the Dirección Nacional de Migraciones in Buenos Aries. You will need to take your passport with at least 6 months validity and pay a small renewal fee.

Dirección Nacional de Migraciones Buenos Aries: Av. Antártida Argentina 1355, City of Buenos Aires.

Overstaying Your Argentine Visa

Overstaying your Argentine visa means you’ll have to pay a fine at the airport before being allowed to leave the country. Although overstay rules in Argentina are fairly laid back, repeat-offending will catch the attention of the immigration officer, so it is a good idea to stay organised and plan ahead to avoid any unnecessary consequences.

Best Time of Year to Visit Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires has a subtropical climate with flipped seasons (Summer in BA being Winter in the Northern Hemisphere). Expect hot and humid Summers and relatively mild Winters without frost or snow. Visitors flock to the city all through the year but the busiest time for tourists is the Summer season despite most of the locals having packed up and escaped to the cooler beach resorts.

The best time to visit Buenos Aires is in early Spring (September-November) or late Autumn (June) when the tourists have either yet to arrive or have already left and you can delight in the colors of the city – The Jacaranda trees blooming in Spring and the leaves changing color through Autumn.

Spring: September-November.

The city is beautiful during Spring with warm but rainy weather making the city bloom, the roses as well as the Jacaranda trees (which bloom a stunning violet color in October and November) a sight to be seen for those who appreciate nature. Spring is the season for hiking, polo, and festivals with the Vinos y Bodegas wineries event taking place in September and an October beer festival to rival Germany’s Oktoberfest!

Summer: December-February:

Hot and humid, usually unbearably so during the daytime, Summer is the high-season with January the hottest month of the year and the busiest in terms of hotel bookings. If you’re visiting to celebrate Christmas and New Year you might want to think again – Despite the population mostly being Catholic, festive decorations and New Year’s rituals are lacking and you’ll find the city relatively free of locals who will have flocked to the beach resorts. Some restaurants will be shut through the holidays and museums will only be operating on limited hours, many closed entirely from the 1st-15th January.

Autumn: March-June

The locals return to the city and normality resumes as the Summer festivities come to an end and the temperature becomes bearable once again as the trees change color to signal the arrival of Autumn. In March you can enjoy the South American Music Conference and the National Festival of the Calf also takes place. By June the influx of visitors has died down and tourism is at its lowest which leaves the beautiful tree-lined streets for the locals to enjoy.

Winter: July-August

These are the coldest months of the year though temperatures never reach freezing point and snow has only been seen once by the older generation. Expect cool and crisp evenings and some overcast and rainy days but otherwise, you’ll find the temperatures fine for exploring the city. Despite being the off-season, a lot of families visit during this time due to the North American and European school holidays. In August you can enjoy the Buenos Aires Tango festival as well as Fashion Week.

 

 

Author

Tal Gur is a world traveler and personal development enthusiast. An adventurer at heart, after trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, Tal spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey continues as a location-independent blogger, lifestyle entrepreneur, and coach. Tal’s published two books: One Year to Freedom, a 1-Year Roadmap to Living Life on Your Own Terms; and, his most recent book and bestseller, The Art of Fully Living – 1 Man, 10 Years, 100 Life Goals Around the World.

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