As the second largest country in South America, Argentina is home to a plethora of natural wonders, vibrant cities and diverse landscapes – from majestic mountain ranges and waterfalls to otherworldly deserts and wetlands.
Argentina’s cities are as diverse as its landscapes, which can make finding a place to call home quite tricky. So to help expats narrow down their options, here are a few top picks for those moving to Argentina.
Argentina’s wine capital, Mendoza is famous for its rich, red wines, namely Malbec. Home to various stretches of vineyards and luscious greenery, Mendoza is a truly serene place to settle. Josephine, founder of La Doritaand an Argentine-American comments on Mendoza’s attractive, laidback nature: “if one is seeking a slower way of life, they can hone in on the northern part of the country. In particular, Mendoza offers expansive views of the Andes”.
Even though Mendoza is known for its relaxed pace of life, the city truly comes alive once night falls. Aristides, one of Mendoza’s most popular strips, is known for its incredible nightlife scene – from bars and Irish pubs to restaurants and clubs. Whether you want to spend the evening dining al fresco or dancing the night away in a lively bar, Aristides is the place to be.
As well as offering a thriving nightlife, a relaxed living pace, and simply stunning views, those thinking of moving to Mendoza will enjoy a low cost of living – especially when compared to Buenos Aires, where the overall cost of livingcan be up to 45% higher.
When it comes to job opportunities in Mendoza, the region’s main industries are agriculture, industry, mining, tourism and of course, viniculture. While it can be difficult for foreigners to find a high paying job here, many expats choose to become self-employed and take a more entrepreneurial path. That could be assisting tourists with travel, offering guided trips, or teaching English as a foreign language.
San Carlos de Bariloche
“In the magnificent Southern Patagonia sits the city of San Carlos de Bariloche, known for its crystal clear lakes, skiing, chocolates, Patagonian lambs and expansive views” says Josephine. Surrounded by Lago Nahuel Huapi, a large glacial lake surrounded by the Andes, the city, more commonly known as ‘Bariloche’, is framed by scenery that is as striking as it is breathtaking.
The Centro Cívico, Bariloche’s Swiss-styled city centre is packed with chocolatiers, unique boutiques and souvenir shops. Anyone who has visited Switzerland will quickly recognize the striking similarities, such as the log and stone buildings which house the city’s quaint chocolate shops and beautiful boutiques.
While the city centre is relatively small, it boasts plenty of restaurants, cafes and incredible architecture, including the majestic San Carlos de Bariloche Cathedral which looms on the water's edge.
The cost of livingin Bariloche is very similar to the kind of prices you’d find in Buenos Aires, however, groceries in particular are more expensive. Even so, it is far more affordable to live in Bariloche than other South American cities such as Sao Pauloin Brazil and Montevideoin Uruguay.
When it comes to job hunting, there is ample opportunity in the tourist industry and in the education sector as a foreign language teacher. Real estate in particular is known to generate a generous income because of the city’s tourist-oriented nature, so if you’re an investor, this may be the right avenue to take.
As Argentina’s thriving capital, Buenos Aires simply breathes life. For Josephine, “if someone is looking to experience the heartbeat of Argentina, Buenos Aires offers everything that you can find in New York, Chicago, and even Paris. It is a boat ride away from Uruguay and close to beaches, amazing restaurants, expansive parks. While it is a bustling city, Argentines still somehow manage to embrace a slower, more healthy way of living”.
In Buenos Aires and other major cities such as Mendoza, hospitals are well-equipped and the medical staff are very well trained. As for the country’s smaller towns and cities however, the quality of healthcare varies greatly, and while 50% of Argentina’s population use the public healthcare system, many opt to use the country’s private sector.
Thankfully, Buenos Aires is home to plenty of high-quality private hospitals and medical facilities, which often expect cash upfront for health services. A visit to a doctor, for example, can cost anything from $17 to $50(for a specialist) – which is why you may want to consider taking out a global health insurancepolicy to cover you when confronted with upfront costs.
Addy Torian, Senior Associate of A.wordsmith, and an American who lived in Argentina for 10 months had this to say about the beautiful city:“Buenos Aires is a melting pot of cultures and people from all over the world. While living there, I quickly caught on to Argentine Spanish, but also still used English quite a bit”. So if you’re only just getting used to the language, you should get along just fine as there are many English-speaking expats who also reside in the area.
Addy continues to say that, “Buenos Aires is a great place to live for those who want to experience the culture, while meeting interesting people and tasting amazing food. The city welcomes expats with open arms. Excellent transportation, lax immigration laws, markets everywhere.”
As the country’s cosmopolitan capital and largest city, there are many different districts to choose from. Palermo, Recoleta and San Telmo in particular are great neighborhoods for expats. Palermo is considered to be the liveliest neighborhood of the city and is well known for its lively nightlife. According to Addy, Palermo’s residents are “mostly young people, and the district is full of art, trendy restaurants and cafes. It’s a great place to stay if you want to go out and meet people from all over the world”.
Recoleta on the other hand, is a quieter, family-oriented neighborhood – great for students also. Lastly, San Telmo is “a historic, cobble-stoned neighborhood full of history, tango dancers and antique stores. A more boho vibe, but San Telmo has great steak restaurants and tucked-away bars. It’s quaint, historic and home to a mile-long Sunday market. What’s not to love?” Addy says.
As such a vast and diverse country, “Argentina is built on a mix of cultures that welcomes expats with open arms” says Josephine. Whether you wish to settle in the country’s beautiful wine region of Mendoza, the Swiss-style city of Bariloche, or the buzzing capital of Buenos Aires, Argentina is ripe with options and opportunities for expats.
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