At this point in the trip, we got a little travel lazy. We had been going so hard for almost 8 months and we needed a break. We decided to settle down into an apartment in Buenos Aires for a month, since we had heard such great things about the city. Unfortunately, we left with it being one of our second chance cities.
Our budget was set at $82 per day for two people. Just like Spain and Rio, we expected to spend more than our goal average for the trip. Our daily expenses (excluding adventures) ended up at $86 per day, and our total daily average was $107 per day. The expensive visa reciprocity fees and our Spanish classes drove up the total, which was pretty high considered we basically sat in the city for a month. Argentina’s economy is not doing very well at this point, and food and lodging were very expensive.
Exchange rate: 4.63 ARS = $1 USD (August – September 2012)
Below, you can see a breakdown of our 35 days in Argentina by category:
|Visas x 2||$319.31|
|Total Daily Spending||$3,017.12|
(All numbers are only daily spending for two people, items like visas, fees, activities and food can be split in half to get a per person amount. The numbers don’t include airfare or other transportation to get to the country.)
- No savings on lodging for us here. Even though we negotiated our stays at one guesthouse and our Airbnb stay, we still had our second highest daily average for lodging of the trip at $50 per night. We spent a little under a week in a terrible Airbnb apartment, then a week in a cute little guesthouse in Palermo Soho (BA Soho Rooms), which would have been perfect if the Internet wasn’t out for our entire stay! Then we spent 3 weeks in a very nice apartment in Palermo Hollywood, if your interested email us and we will connect you!
- Food averaged about $25 per day. We only ate out a few times and cooked meals at home the rest of the time. This allowed us to save some money, but groceries were still pretty expensive. By eating at home so often, we did miss out on some great food opportunities, because the few times we went out, it was delicious. We did drink plenty of cheap malbec though!
- Transportation included bus from the airport, and taxi to the airport, rides on the subte, a bicycle rental and cab fare to our closed-door restaurant.
- Miscellaneous was a haircut for Josh (#2 on the year!) and toiletries.
- The visa for Argentina isn’t really a visa but a reciprocity fee. Certain governments charge Argentine citizens a lot of money to apply for visas, so as tourists, citizens from those countries (including the US) get charged a large fee upon entrance to the country. It’s a fairly common occurrence in a number of South American countries. I can’t say I blame them but it sure hits hard on the budget traveler.
Our “big adventure” in Buenos Aires was taking two weeks of Spanish classes at Vamos Spanish Academy. The class cost $185 per person per week. We were pretty burnt out trying to understand someone speaking Spanish, especially Argentine Spanish, to us for 4 hours a day, but we loved our teacher and felt like it helped us a lot.
|BUDGET SUMMARY||USD ($)|
|Daily Average (All Included)||$107.37|
Even though it wasn’t our favorite city of the year, we do hope to return one day, and this time during the summer so we can understand what all the fuss is about!
Buenos Aires, Argentina Budget Travel Tips
- Renting an apartment through Airbnb or Roomorama can be just as cheap or cheaper than a private hostel room. Most decent hostels in Buenos Aires are fairly expensive so keep that in mind when searching for accommodation.
- At the time we were there, there was a serious black market for US currency. Every single person we met and talked to for longer than 5 minutes asked us if we wanted to change USD for pesos. The official exchange rate was ARS4.63 and most people would offer ARS5.5 or 6 per dollar. We never exchanged money with anyone, but heard that if you offered to pay cash in dollars at stores you could get a discount.
- You can get an amazing steak for half price at La Cabrera’s happy hour.