Welcome to Argentina. A country where the people are great hosts and make you feel at home.
Despite the ongoing economic volatility and political instability, Argentina remains one of the largest economies in Latin America. The country has slowly rebuilt its economy after the massive bond default and currency devaluation of the early 21st century. Although the country still suffers from high inflation, most economists agree that the situation has at least improved over the last ten years, albeit with significant room for improvement.
Buenos Aires is one of if not the most cosmopolitan cities of the continent. It is renowned for a solid mix of both European culture, particularly Spanish, Italian and German, and Latin American culture.
For Europeans, Buenos Aires is comparable to Paris due to its exceptional architecture and because its quality of life remains one of the best in Latin America, despite the economic difficulties. For these reasons, foreigners typically feel quite at home in Argentina.
Due to the current economic uncertainty in Argentina, property values are constantly in flux. Rental prices are mostly charged in Argentinean pesos and often have semi-annual adjustment clauses.
Buenos Aires housing market is dominated by apartment buildings, the majority with 24-hour security and some with other features such as a pool, gym, etc. On the outskirts of the city it is more common to find condominium complexes, "gated communities" or homes.
In addition to the rental price, the renter must pay a monthly administration fee for maintenance of the communal areas, pay for the security company, etc. This is similar to a condo fee.
The leases are usually for 2 years and expats can often request special exceptions (diplomatic clause) and early termination clauses.
The lease contract terms vary depending on who the guarantor is of the contract (e.g. the tenant vs. his or her company). Typically the expat´s employer will serve as the guarantor. If not, an insurance policy is often required.
When the expat decides they want to rent a property, the landlord will typically require the tenant to pay the first month of rent plus one month for a security deposit. If a realtor is used, a commission equal to one months rent is required to be paid as well.
Real Estate agents are regulated and listed by the Colegio de Corredores de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (CUCICBA).
The large majority of expats moving to Colombia place their children in private schools which are quite common. There are many excellent schools offering a high quality education. A challenge faced by many expatriates is that the competition to get into the top schools is significant, as there are typically many applicants vying for a limited number of available slots.
Education in Argentina is divided into levels: Early Childhood Education, consisting of children between the ages of 3 to 5 years old; General Basic Education, starts when the children are 6 years old and last for 9 years. The last years of education (at least 3) are provided by specialized institutions.
Several schools offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, and most have intensive English programs. Many schools are differentiated according to the international community they serve, for example there is an official American school, an official British school, a German school, and French, Italian and Spanish schools, among others.
As for prices, they vary. There is typically a one-time anual payment called “matrícula” and a monthly payment called “colegiatura”.
The schools typically offer cafeteria, transportation and extracurricular services which are optional and are charged separately.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for granting visas for foreigners. Requirements vary depending on the type of visa.
Visa requirements change frequently, thereby making the process more complicated for most foreigners. The Ministry often requires that most official documents be apostilled in the country of origin so it is recommended that you do that before coming to Argentina.
The 2010 census recorded the presence of a total of 1.8m foreigners residing in the country (4.5%), with the five largest nationalities being Paraguay (550k), Bolivia (345k), Chile (191k), Peru (157k) and Italy (147k).
Links of interest
Buenos Aires is a very vibrant city. Whether at night time or during the day, Bueno Aires offers a multitude of diverse activities for entertainment.
Argentina is known for its excellent cuisine, particularly steak. But there are many international cuisines to choose from, from Armenian to Italian food. In addition, you will find great vineyards.
There is also a lot of different cultural activities to choose from, including theater, concerts, art galleries, sports and museums.
Links of interest
While in Argentina please keep the following information in mind:
The security issues are similar to issues seen in most big cities around the world:
- It is recommended that you find someone that you know or a referral from a trusted source to guide you around the city, at least in the initial months.
- Pick pocketing is something one should be aware of, particularly in tourist areas or in areas with crowds, such as while using public transportation, at large public events and/or at shopping centers
- Store all your documents, cash, jewelry, cell phones and other items of value in a safe place
- If you happen to get into a car accident while in an isolated area, try to make it to a well-lit and busy area. If this is not possible, honk repeatedly until someone comes to help
- Keep handbags and electronics out of sight.
- In terms of managing money, most use credit or debit cards or cash (although it is not recommended to carry around significant amounts at any given time). Checks are not widely used
- If you need to exchange money, it is recommended that you do so in authorized foreign exchange offices or in banks
In case of emergency, please keep with you the following numbers:
Though holidays of many faiths are respected, public holidays usually include most Catholic holidays. Historic holidays include the celebration of the May Revolution (25 May), Independence Day (9 July), National Flag Day (20 June) and the death of José de San Martín (17 August).
January 1st , New Year’s Day
April , Good Friday
April, Easter Monday
May 1st, Labor Day
May 25th , National Day
June 10th, Malvinas Day
June 20th, Flag Day
July 9th , Independence Day
August 18th, Death of General San Martin
October, Columbus Day:
December 8th, Immaculate Conception
December 25th, Christmas Day
Links of interest
Buenos Aires is a large city with many forms of public transportation available to most points within the city (called Capital Federal), to the suburbs (called Gran Buenos Aires) as well as to most areas of the country.
The subway is the most efficient way to travel around the Capital. Buses (called ´ómnibus´, ´micro´ or ´colectivo´) is another common form of transportation, particularly from the Capital to Gran Buenos Aires. The fee is based on the distance traveled.
Trains are also common, particularly if going from the Capital to Gran Buenos Aires.
When using public transportation, always do so in the terminals and places especially designed for it.
If you must take a taxi, call one of the local companies that provide this service or use the local online services.
If you drive your own car, it is recommended not to park on the street. There are parking garages all around the city and it is relatively cheap. In most hotels, restaurants, airports and shopping areas secure parking is available.
In addition, one must be careful as drivers can be reckless and pay little attention to road rules throughout the country.
To further avoid congestion of vehicles, bicycles are highly promoted as a means of transportation and in most cities you will find special bike paths.
Links of interest