By Kevin Adamo - Buenos Aires Resident
Retiring in Buenos Aires means living in the Argentinian province that never sleeps!
Enjoying the best years of your life in Buenos Aires can be a fantastic experience. A lot of people don't know where this city is located exactly. As a local, I used to listen to people asking about the location of my city. When that happens, I always say the same “The Maradona’s country”. Diego Maradona was an Argentine professional football player and viewed as one of the greatest players in the history of football (aka soccer). If I mention Diego Maradona, most people will know what I am talking about — Argentina.
Buenos Aires is a province in Argentina. If you visit the province as a tourist, I highly recommend you book an apartment in the Capital Federal district. Buenos Aires is known as “The city that never sleeps” since you have so many options to enjoy the nightlife, clubs, restaurants, pubs, football games, stadiums, museums...the list never ends. If you want this kind of life when you retire, you should consider living here.
Pros and Cons of Retiring in Buenos Aires
There are so many reasons why retiring in Buenos Aires makes sense but as with any city around the world, there are some negative aspects as well. Below you'll find the top positives and negatives for retiring in Buenos Aires.
- Pro: Low Cost of Living
The cost of living is low, especially for expats that have their retirement funds in another currency. This will make a big difference to help you buy whatever you want.
- Pro: Tasty Regional Food
Argentina is considered one of those countries that has a lot of wonderful, local delicious food. Depending on the area that you live in, you’re going to find a lot of different kinds of food.
- Pro: Cheap & Fast Public Transportation
Public transportation is always the cheapest and fastest option to go from point A to point B.
- Con: Protests in the City Center
This country has been living in crisis since 2001. Many protests take place in the city center every day and sometimes it can bring trouble.
- Con: Safety
Many people consider Buenos Aires to be unsafe. This situation depends on the neighborhood you live in. If you retire here, you’re going to stay alert of your surroundings.
- Con: Fluctuating Economy
All prices change monthly because of the inflation that this country is suffering. However, if you’re getting a retirement in another currency, this will be less of a problem since currencies tend to rise at the same time that the prices do.
What is the Best Neighborhood to Live in Buenos Aires?
The city is made up of a number of distinct barrios or neighborhoods. "Which neighborhood is best?" depends on what you're looking for in retirement. Some of them are quiet and others are filled with the sounds of the city and people walking along the streets.
The most popular ones for expats are:
- Palermo - If you're looking for action and want to have the city's best bars and restaurants at your doorstep, this is the place to be.
- Belgrano - This is a residential neighborhood located on the north side of the city with great restaurants and parks.
- Recoleta - This upscale neighborhood is known as the Paris of the south due to its French architecture. It's streets are tree-lined and filled with upscale boutiques and restaurants.
- Puerto Madero - This is a great choice if you love nature. It's located along the river and is a choice location for people to walk, bike and jog.
What is the Culture Like in Buenos Aires?
As the Argentinian constitution says: “Everyone who wants to live here will have the same rights that the locals have." As a result, many people choose Buenos Aires as their retirement destination.
Living here also means that you’re going to hear different languages in many of the neighborhoods. Locals are very friendly with expats and try to make them feel like a local.
What Languages are Spoken in Buenos Aires?
Spanish is the most common language spoken. English is not widely spoken by locals but you're more likely to find people who can speak English in the bigger neighborhoods with more expats.
If you're thinking about retiring in Buenos Aires, learning Spanish will make your life much easier. From dealing with the representative at the electric company to checking out at the grocery store...a bit of Spanish will go a long way.
In 2002, Buenos Aires was the first Latin American City to allow gay civil unions and in 2010, a law passed that allowed same sex marriage.
What is the Weather Like in Buenos Aires?
Humid is the word that best describes the weather in Buenos Aires. That means that you will feel the highest and lowest temperatures with intensity. Note that summer takes place from December to March and winter from July to September.
The low temperatures in the winter range from 2°C to 13°C (36°F to 55°F), and the high temperatures in the summer range from about 25°C to 35°C (77°F to 95°F).
How Safe is Buenos Aires?
Buenos Aires has many areas that are considered safe and other areas that are unsafe. In downtown, it is usually considered safe during the day...but during the night, it’s better to avoid visiting this part of the city. Many neighborhoods that I previously mentioned are considered safe, including: Palermo, Belgrano, Puerto Madero, and Recoleta. Other parts of Buenos Aires like Mataderos, Villa Luro, Liniers, Once, and Flores are not very safe and precaution is needed just to take a walk.
How to Get Around Buenos Aires?
This is a question that every local in Buenos Aires likes to answer. To answer this, I will divide Buenos Aires into two areas to explain the different transportation options available for each area.
Capital Federal, the main business center, is the most connected with a range of options, including: subway, bus, free bikes, train, and taxis. You can go from point A to point B without hesitation, fast, and cheap. In Capital Federal, you have a lot of tourist-related sites and a lot of transportation options to get there.
On the other hand, we have the area of Gran Buenos Aires. There you have only buses and trains. This area has a few neighborhoods like Tigre, Cañuelas, Lobos, San Isidro, and Vicente Lopez where you will find some reasons to spend a weekend. For example, in Lobos and Tigre you can book an apartment/house for the weekend and have an amazing lunch/dinner at the river. I highly recommend that if you visit these areas, please take plenty of safety precautions since these areas can turn a little dangerous.
No city in Latin America has more football (soccer) stadiums than Buenos Aires. If you enjoy the game, it's easy to get caught up in the intense passion the people of Buenos Aires have for the game.
Popular Activities in Buenos Aires
You’re going to have a lot of fun in Buenos Aires. The city is full of different activities for children, adolescents, and families. In summer, the government encourages people to enjoy all days off with activities in green spaces. In other seasons, they post all activities to do in the city on social media and their website.
Here we go with some of them:
Skip the Touristy Restaurants and Eat Where the Locals Eat
You need to know something about Argentina. On Sundays, families and friends get together and eat asado. The asado is the most popular dish in Argentina, but apart from that, you have more dishes to try. Let’s talk about milanesa, empanadas, dulce de leche, and alfajores. If you want to live in Buenos Aires and eat as locals do, you need to try all those wonderful dishes.
Here are my recommendations for the restaurants and stores you should visit:
Retiring in Buenos Aires Cost of Living Chart
1 Bdr Apartment in City
$350 per month
1 Bdr Apartment Outside City
$250 per month
Average Utilities: 1 Bdr Apt
$51 per month
Inexpensive Meal for One
3-Course Meal for Two, Mid-Range
Retiring in Buenos Aires Bottom Line
If you are considering retiring in Buenos Aires, there is no doubt that the city has a lot of wonderful things going for it. I usually hang out with expats who are living here and they love the city. They also love how friendly people are with them, the food, the nightlife, and the history of the streets.
However, there is another thing to consider in your choice — safety. The expats who choose this city are always complaining about this. As a local, I sometimes feel unsafe when I walk in the streets. For that reason, I highly recommend taking safety into account by choosing a nice neighborhood like Puerto Madero.
If you're looking for an affordable place south of the border a bit closer to the US, why not check out Mérida!
Retiring in Buenos Aires Quick Facts
Warm, humid and wet summers with cold and windy winters. Average temps are from 47°F and 83°F
Flight time to U.S.
12-15 hours by plane to Chicago 15 hours 17 hours to London
Yes - subway, bus, free bikes, train, and taxis in the city center