Moving to Buenos Aires is no simple task. Take it from me, a foreigner who decided to move from a small town in Tennessee, USA to a big city. After living in Buenos Aires for a while and moving a few times, I have a few tips on finding the right apartment for you.
Traveling alone and want to meet new people? One economical option is to share an apartment with other foreigners and travelers. A good resource to use is a website called compartodepto.com. This site allows you to create a short profile about yourself and search for roommates with similar interests. Craigslist Buenos Aires is a good place to look too. Even though the listing is a bit crowded with agents’ postings these days, great offers from owners do pop up here and there.
If you are searching for an apartment in Buenos Aires for yourself, there are plenty of options available. There are two types of apartments: long-term and temporary. Long-term, usually not furnished, often requires you to sign a lease for up to 2 years and requires a guarantor. Temporary and furnished can be renewed on a monthly basis or even weeks depending on the property.
There are a lot of great websites out there to help you find a place. For short-term furnished ones, Airbnb has tons of choices or simply google search and you’ll find many rental websites out there. For much longer term ones, check out the local sites like mercadolibre.com and soloduenos.com. Note: If you go through a real estate agency you often have to pay commission to a realtor. You can bypass these agent fees by renting directly from the owner of the apartment, but I’d only recommend this if you have a good handle on your Spanish and a decent understanding of how things are done in Buenos Aires; especially if you are looking to do a long-term rental and a contract is involved. Some other costs to factor in are a one-time administration fee and a security deposit.
Most preferred barrios (neighborhoods) to live in among visitors in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is a huge city and it has 48 official barrios. If you count the unofficial ones, like Barrio Norte or Las Cañitas, which are usually “sub-divisions” to help distinguish specific areas within a big neighborhood, then we are talking about more than 100 and counting. We have dived more into this topic of the unofficial neighborhoods in Buenos Aires here if you are curious to learn more about the stories behind them. In the meantime, here are the Top 5 choices which foreigners/visitors like to stay at:
(an unofficial barrio that comprises of official San Nicolás and partial Monserrat neighborhoods)
The “downtown” of the city is where you will find the financial center of the country and where all the tall office buildings are concentrated. However, it is also an area with many beautiful architecture and rich history. In fact, the most important historical sites and monuments are found in this area, such as Casa Rosada (Pink House) – the government building where the President of Argentina works, Plaza de Mayo, the Catedral Metropolitana, the Obelisco (Obelisk), along with many historical museums. Microcentro is also home to Av. 9 de Julio, which at 16 lanes, or 22 depends on which section and how you count them, is the widest avenue in the world. This avenue is lined with theaters host to operas, tango shows, and the sorts. One of the most famous theaters in the world is found here, Teatro Colon. At this world-class venue, you can watch famous operas, symphonies and ballets alongside royalty. The neighborhood also includes the famous pedestrian-only Florida street where you can find a good variety of shops and street vendors. Galerías Pacífico is found on Avenida Córdoba at Florida which is an upscale shopping mall.
Palermo is the largest barrio (neighborhood) in Buenos Aires and is also where Vamos Spanish Academy is located. It is one of the more expensive places to live but it is also the most popular choice to stay among tourists and expats alike due to its very vibrant surroundings and colorful nightlife. It contains a zoológico (zoo), planetario (planetarium), hipódromo (horse-track), parques (parks), and many more. There are also a great variety of restaurants, cafes, bars, and tons of stores for shopping. Since the barrio is so big, it is divided into many sub-sections, such as Palermo Viejo and Palermo SoHo, which can be a bit confusing at first but we have the breakdown and explanations of all the ‘official’ and ‘non-official’ sub Palermo neighborhoods in Buenos Aires here for your reference.
Recoleta is one of the most beautiful and also expensive areas in the city. Here you will find buildings influenced by Parisian architecture along with green parks. Pretty much all of the high-end hotels are also situated in this area. It is easily accessible by the subte (subway) “D line” which passes through the neighborhood. Recoleta includes Av. Santa Fe, a main commercial street that has everything you can think of: brand name apparel stores, electronics, bookstores, banks, cafes, and restaurants. The neighborhood includes a couple of shopping malls (Recoleta Mall and Patio Bullrich), movie theater, and Recoleta Cemetery which is one of the main tourist attractions. Also, there are the Centro Cultural de Recoleta and museums including the must-visit Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes which houses famous works by Rembrandt and Manet. Plaza Francia is home to an artisanal fair every weekend where you can find leather goods to hand-made crafts. It is also the area, together with the many plazas and parks around it, where locals love to relax on its vast green space sunbathing or hanging out and sipping mate with friends on the weekends.
This area of once abandoned warehouses and waterway has been converted into modern apartment flats surrounded by residential high-rise buildings. Luxurious hotels, theaters, museums, and cultural centers are found here. Puerto Madero is popular among young professionals and home to fancy restaurants. Expect to pay top-dollar here for anything from restaurants to housing. One downside is the fact that the neighborhood is not well-connected to the city’s network of transportation. No colectivo (bus) nor subte run directly through the neighborhood. The few colectivos that say they go there will only go as far as its ‘border’, which is before the docks. You will find yourself walking a lot or taking a cab. The Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve is found on the outer side and borders the Rio de la Plata. The Reserva Ecológica is over 3.5 km long, so if you want to get your workout on it is a good place to do so.
Belgrano is divided into Belgrano R, Belgrano C, Central Belgrano, and Lower Belgrano. The neighborhood is easily accessible by subte “D” which follows the street of Avenida Cabildo and plenty of colectivos. Two commuter trains also run through there. Avenida Cabildo, a continuation of Av. Santa Fe, is often busy with bustling traffic and is home to movie theaters, grocery stores, and corner cafés. You can also find Universidad de Belgrano, a private liberal-arts university. Belgrano R is mainly a residential and quiet area lined with large trees and stately homes. Belgrano C is home to the famous Barrio China, a small copy of “China Town” lined with chinese restaurants and supermarkets. A great area to find that exotic spices or sauces which you can’t find in any local or big box supermarkets. Since Belgrano is a bit “off” of where all the actions are, you may actually able to find great value rental there and it’s right next to the trendy Palermo.