Advice: Tourists in Buenos Aires
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very first thing you must consider when taking a long trip is what to
pack. This is especially important on this trip because you will be
traveling around both
The very first problem I encountered was at the airport on the way to
It is winter in
It is really difficult to survive in
the residencia it is very difficult to fix your own food, but for the
most part the cook there is great and usually fixes good meals for both
vegetarians and meat eaters. There are a
couple of refrigerators that you can use in the residencia but I didn’t
ever take advantage of these, I only bought non-perishable food. Buying
groceries is however very convenient. There are several smaller stores
that sell the basics and there are also larger supermarkets that are
called Discos. These are the equivalent of Kroger or Publix in
There are a lot of great restaurants in
One of the things I will miss most about
After departing from
The first thing you need to do is find a map of the city that you can keep with you at all times and you are comfortable with. It will make navigation around the city much easier and also much more enjoyable. You should also invest in a gia “t” book, it has maps of the entire city in it and it lays out the complete bus schedule for you. You can buy it at any magazine stand.
It was effortless to take a taxi. Not to mention that the taxis were, in my opinion, ridiculously inexpensive (even before converting the fair to dollars). We usually didn’t have any trouble hailing a taxi, even on the back roads and except for one or two occasions, the taxi drivers were legitimate, meaning they didn’t jip us out of money and time. I found that it is better to get into the taxi with a map out and know where you are going, so that the driver will be less likely to take you on a long detour. A taxi will take you just about anywhere in the city that you want to go and I never found myself stuck in traffic for long.
The subte was my next preference after taking a cab. The subway system in
I didn’t use the bus system too often, just on the way home from class once in awhile. Taking a bus normally took the most amount of time to get from point a to point b. But it is still very inexpensive, only 80 centavos.
I also have to say that I did a lot of walking around the city. We walked to class from the residencia, and it was an hour walk but it was a good way to see the sites and become more familiar with the city. So anytime walking is feasible I would.
It seemed to me that everyone on the trip spent a different amount of money during there stay in Buenos Aires. It really just depends on how much you eat out, drink and how many souvenirs and gifts you buy. Things are inexpensive since the peso has been kept artificially low, so things are definitely cheaper and sometimes I was completely astonished that I could get a really nice and filling meal for less than 5 US dollars.
I think the easiest way to get money in Argentina is to bring a debit card and just use the ATMs. The ATMs are relatively easy to find, but in certain areas of the city they are kind of scarce, so it is best to go to the ATMs that you are familiar with. Trying to exchange US dollars takes time to do at the Bank due to long lines and other places might not give you the best exchange rate.
one piece of advice that I can give you about spending money, is to
think in pesos, not dollars. You might think you are saving money since
everything is about a third of the price but if you begin to think
about how much something costs in terms of dollars than you are more
likely to buy more of it, and in the end you will not save money at
all. Therefore it is always best to think in terms of pesos.
One thing that I was curious about before I left for Argentina, was how easy it was going to be for me to workout. I usually just run outside and I figured I would be able to do that very easily in the city, but I am a girl and safety after sunset became an issue. Also the pollution in the city also made it difficult for me to run and breathe normally. But a large percentage of us did join a gym. The gyms have everything that we are used to but maybe just not quite as big or as new. We joined for one month and it was only about 20 US dollars.
Laundry was also extremely easy to take care of. There were a plethora of places that you could take your laundry to have it washed, dried and folded. It only cost about 5 centavos per load. This is extremely inexpensive.
Get your Brazilian visa before you leave the US, it is incredibly easy to do. The people that waited until we got to Argentina had some difficulty and they also were only able to get visas for a maximum of 5 weeks, as opposed to the five year visa that I was able to get. So just go ahead and take care of this before you leave the states.
For the girls; there are several places where you can get your nails painted and your hair cut, and it is extremely inexpensive.
It will be relatively easy to know which sites you should visit. And as a group you will visit a lot of them. But some of my favorites were the colon teatre. You should definitely take a tour of the theatre because it is incredibly neat. I won’t list the really touristy sites, you can read about those in a tour guide (which is nice to have when visiting any city and you should consider buying one), but I will list some of the more low key things to do and see.
You should take a walk in the rose gardens that are close to the residencia. You should visit the markets on the weekends (Saturday and Sunday 10 am to around 8). There is one really close by in Plaza Serrano and my other favorite was the market in Recolleta, which is a good walk, but a cheap cab ride away. You should visit florida street, just to see it, but only go once. My favorite activity was the flamenco that we went to go see, it was very intimate and a fabulous meal was included. You should think about going out to Notorious, to listen to various kinds of music. It is a quick cab ride away and you can get dessert of a drink there.
The residencia is your typical dorm style living situation. You may or may not have your own bathroom, I was lucky enough to have my own bathroom, but I was one of the few. You will have roommates, you will either have three or just one depending. They may or may not be with your study abroad group, but in general the residencia is a great place to get to know people from all over the US and South America. One thing that I wish I had were earplugs, I generally never use them, but the noise from the street and from other roommates had a tendency to wake me up. The noise in the resedencia does take a little while to get used to.
You will need to bring your own towel, but you don’t have to bring sheets or a pillow. You should also bring shower shoes and make sure your bathroom supplies are easily portable to and from the bathroom.
I brought my computer to do work, but unfortunately we didn’t have wireless in the building, there were a few computers up stairs in a small lab, but sometimes there was a long wait to use them. It was nice however to have my computer to take down the road and find a café with wifi.
You will have a lot of class in Argentina but do not get discouraged, because it is definitely manageable and it is interesting. Take full advantage of any kind of class on wheels because you will learn a lot with the site-seeing lecture combination.
You only need a notebook and a pencil for class. You might want to bring a highlighter for the readings you will receive but that is about all you will need. You can also buy all of these items once you get to Buenos Aires.
If given a long weekend, don’t hesitate to look into taking a bus outside of the city. I group of us went to
We stayed in a nice hostel and almost all of the hostels in
The Most Important Things
Take the time to get to know the locals that are living in your residencia, talking to the locals is a great way to get to know the culture on a more personal level. Also you might make some lasting friendships.
Try to do some kind of “Buenos Aires activity” everyday, whether it is walking in the Rose Gardens or going out to listen to local music. Class might end anywhere from three to five o’clock so even though it might seem too late in the afternoon to do something you still have time to do some kind of exploring. If you try to do something little everyday you will experience so much more of the city.
Overall while you are in Buenos Aires, you just need to really appreciate the fact that you are lucky enough to be in another country experiencing their culture and so you need to have the mindset that you don’t want to miss anything.