Living in Buenos Aires
1) MONEY AND IDENTIFICATION
The national currency is the Argentine peso (ARS). You can check the current exchange rate here. You can withdraw pesos from bank ATMs, which are marked with a maroon colored sign that says “Banelco” or with a green sign that says “Link.” It’s recommended to use ATMs during banking hours (10am to 3pm) so that, if there should be an issue with the machine, you can go inside the bank for assistance. Puentes Pista: Between 3 and 4pm bank ATM’s are “offline,” and you will not be able to withdraw money.
Most major businesses allow credit cards, with Visa and MasterCard being the most widely accepted. Also, you should always have smaller bills with you, as small businesses and taxis typically do not take ARS$500 bills. You can usually get change in supermarkets, restaurants, or larger stores.
You do not need to have your passport with you when in Buenos Aires, so you should leave it in a safe place in your home. You can keep your driver’s license, your student ID card (for possible museum and activity discounts), and a photocopy of your passport with you to use in case you need identification. It is also a good idea to memorize your passport number because you will need to know it when signing credit card receipts or completing other documents. Do note that you should remember to take your passport with you when traveling outside of BA on buses or planes.
To call BA phones from abroad, dial the country exit code + 54 11, plus the eight digit BA phone number.
The three main postal carriers in Argentina are Correo Argentino, Andreani, and OCA. You can buy postage and send items wherever you see a sign for Correo Argentino (in blue and yellow), Andreani (in red and blue), or for OCA (in purple and orange), often located within kiosks or other businesses. Postal mail sent from Argentina typically takes about ten days to two weeks to arrive to international destinations. FedEx, UPS, and DHL also have locations throughout the city. Sending valuables through the mail is strongly discouraged. Also keep in mind that packages shipped internationally to Argentina are often held at customs upon arrival and taxed heavily, so we recommend that you not receive international shipments to avoid burdensome costs and logistics. If you would like to receive postal mail letters while in Argentina, you can have them sent to the Puentes office, and we will deliver them to you. Puentes office address:
Care of: Ann Glotzbach Noguer, Puentes Abroad
Rodriguez Peña 1686 17B
Buenos Aires, CABA1021
3) BARRIOS (NEIGHBORHOODS) AND MUST SEE SIGHTS
“Barrios” (Neighborhoods) and Must-See Sights
Capital Federal is spread out over various barrios: Microcentro, San Telmo, La Boca, Puerto Madero, Recoleta, Palermo, Belgrano, Las Cañitas, and others. Click on each button for more information.
Multiple means of public transport allow you to travel around the city: five lines of “subtes” (the abbreviation for “subterráneo,” or subway), more than one hundred lines of “colectivos” (buses), and interurban railways (or trains). The subway and buses are excellent options for daytime travel but are not as frequent or as safe at night. The subway stops around 11pm, and you may find yourself waiting much longer for your bus at night. Luckily at night there are other options, such as taxis and Ubers.
Taxis are also a very common means of transport. Taxis use meters to determine the price and typically offer fixed prices for long distance travel. Taxi drivers don’t expect tips, but it’s common to round up to the nearest peso. Although you can hail a taxi from the street, it is recommended to take a “radio taxi,” which you phone in advance to ensure that the driver will take the most direct route and charge a fair price. You can also recognize radio taxis by the posted company logo on the passenger side doors. Several recommended radio taxi companies are Paris Taxi (4308 0001), Buen Viaje (5252 9999), and Premier (5238 0000).
Finally, Uber started in Buenos Aires in mid-2016, so you can now use the Uber app to request and pay for car transport in and around the city. Puentes Pista: It’s common for Uber drivers to request that you sit up front because many taxi drivers are still against Uber in Buenos Aires.
EcoBici: The city has a free system of bikes that can be used 24/7. The link explains how to register and how to use it. I suggest you download the app “Eco Bici”, once you’ve registered, in order to use the bikes in each station, and the app “BA Como Llego” which shows you how to reach from point A to point B using the different bike lanes located all around the city
Traveling from Buenos Aires
Argentina is a wonderfully diverse and engaging country, with many different options for travel – the Pampas in the center of the country, the flat to rolling plateau of Patagonia in the southern half down to Tierra del Fuego, the subtropical flats of the Gran Chaco in the north, and the rugged Andes mountain range along the western border with Chile.
Due to the country’s large size, planes are an excellent option for long distance travel. Aerolíneas Argentinas and LATAM operate domestic flights, which typically depart from Aeroparque Jorge Newbery Airport (airport code AEP), located to the north of the city beside the Río de la Plata. International flights typically depart from Ezeiza airport (code EZE). Puentes Pista: While there are usually more international flights leaving EZE, if you are lucky enough to find one from AEP, it is a far more convenient option.
Traveling by bus in Argentina is also reliable, very comfortable, and safe. Most long distance buses have toilets and air conditioning and provide meal services. You can search for bus schedules and fares at Plataforma 10 or CentraldePasajes. You can also purchase bus tickets in person at the main bus terminal - the Terminal de Omnibus de Retiro - or at bus company offices throughout the city. Some of the major bus companies include Via Bariloche, Chevallier, Plusmar, and Flecha Bus.
5) DAILY LIFE
Gyms and fitness centers are very common in BA. Prices and amenities vary, so it’s a good idea to explore several options before purchasing a membership. Three very good fitness centers with locations throughout BA are WellClub, Sportclub, and Megatlon. You will likely be required to bring a medical certificate, so it is a good idea to bring one from home.
There are many “lavanderias” (laundry centers) where you can drop off your clothes to be washed and dried, normally in twenty-four hours or less. LaveRap is a major chain of reliable lavanderias throughout the city.
The city has several shopping circuits, each offering different items: antiques in San Telmo, books on Corrientes Avenue, leather items in Retiro neighborhood, and souvenirs in La Boca. The avant-garde in objects, clothes, and decorative elements is in the Palermo Soho neighborhood. Be sure not to miss the “ferias” (markets) in San Telmo on Sundays and in Recoleta on Saturdays and Sundays. Buenos Aires also offers extended shopping hours, with the main malls staying open until 10 pm. Some top malls are Galería Pacifico off Florida Avenue, Paseo Alcorta in Palermo, Alto Palermo in Palermo, and Patio Bullrich in Recoleta.
Buenos Aires has quite a bit of green within the city. The Costanera Norte is located along Avenida Rafael Obligado. It has recreational complexes that offer tennis, swimming, golf, basketball, soccer, windsurfing, sailing, and others sports. There is also the Bosque de Palermo, which extends east from Palermo to Belgrano, and has tons of jogging and biking trails. Within the park, there are a planetarium, several lakes, the “Rosedal” (rose garden), the Jardín Japonés, and the horse racetrack. There is also a span of green space east of Palermo heading toward Recoleta, near the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, and don’t miss the “Reserva Ecologica” in Puerto Madero.
Disco, Coto, Día and Carrefour are excellent chains of supermarkets. You will also find many very good local supermarkets and grocery stores, as well as fruit and vegetable stands in your neighborhoods. Puentes Pista: The smaller, local supermarkets are not likely to accept credit or debit cards.
Argentina is known for its steak and its Malbec (a type of red wine), but it also hosts a variety of international cuisine, thanks to its immigrant population. In Buenos Aires, breakfast typically consists of “medialunas” (croissants) and coffee. Lunch is around 1pm and includes a sandwich, a “tarta” (similar to quiche), or a salad. Argentines then enjoy a “merienda” (snack or tea) of coffee or mate and pastries in the late afternoon. Dinner is around 9pm, with restaurants becoming crowded near 10pm. At meals, Argentines take their time and linger for quite a while, and the restaurant staff never rush the customer. A restaurant tip is typically around 10%, depending on service. Puentes Pista: Tips typically cannot be added to credit card bills, so carry cash for this purpose.
The city has an endless list of amazing restaurants, so please don’t hesitate to ask Puentes staff for recommendations. You can also visit Guía Oleo – the Argentina version of Zagat – to look up restaurants. Another good site in English that reviews BA restaurants is Pick up the Fork. Also to mention is that restaurant delivery is very common in Buenos Aires, and a great site for delivery is Buenos Aires Delivery.
Argentines are an active bunch, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to both watch and participate in a wide variety of sports.
Running BA: the city offers 4 different free running tour circuits (Centro, Recoleta, Puerto Madero and Palermo).
Urban Running Tours: Tours in Bosques de Palermo, Recoleta, San Telmo, Puerto Madero, Palermo Soho and Belgrano.
Argentina has twenty first division clubs, of which eight are located in Buenos Aires. The local soccer championship is ranked among the five most important events of its kind in the world. You can check schedules and details here, or purchase tickets to watch soccer games here.
Play soccer games with BAFA (Buenos Aires Futbol Amigos). You can sign up directly from their website.
Museo de la Pasión Boquense ('La Bombonera' Boca Juniors Soccer Team). (Brandsen 805, La Boca, 2 blocks away from ‘Caminito’).
River Plate Museum and Stadium Tour (River Plate Soccer Team). (Av. Figueroa Alcorta 7597, Nuñez).
Barrios Futboleros: https://turismo.buenosaires.gob.ar/es/article/barrios-futboleros
Club Ciudad (Av. del Libertador 5683, Núñez). Training is twice or three times a week.
The Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo (Av. del Libertador 4101, Palermo) is Argentina’s main racetrack. Beautiful architecture, and free entrance. Check the schedule of races.
Tennis - Paddle
Complejo El Circulo (Av. Sarmiento 4040, Palermo). You can rent racquets here as well.
Campo de Golf de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (Avenida Tornquist 6397, Palermo).
8) THINGS TO DO
There are over 130 museums in Buenos Aires, both private and public. Some highlights follow:
Puentes Pista: It is always good to check the museum’s website for opening hours before visiting.
- Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (Latin American art)
- Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (national fine arts museum)
- Museo Evita (museum on the life of Evita Perón)
- Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo (decorative arts museum)
- La Ene (contemporary art museum)
- Museo Benito Quinquela Martín (fine arts museum)
- Fundacion Proa
- Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Buenos Aires
- Museo de Arte Moderno
- Usina del Arte
There are many theater offerings in BA, such as the below, and you can also search for tickets on Ticketek (the Argentine version of Ticketmaster) or on Alternativa Teatral.
- Teatro Colon (historic and stunning opera house)
- Centro Cultural Borges (cultural center)
- Centro Cultural Recoleta (cultural center)
- Complejo Teatral de Buenos Aires (theater performances)
- Centro Argentino de Teatro Ciego (theater based on sound and taste)
- Centro Cultural Kirchner (cultural center)
Buenos Aires has a vibrant and eclectic music scene. Don’t miss seeing (and doing!) the tango, as well as checking out other music venues throughout the city.
- La Viruta (tango classes and dance hall): Armenia 1366
- La Catedral (tango classes and dance hall): Sarmiento 4006 and Medrano
- Tango Shows (tango performances)