So how does Buenos Aires measure up as a destination for Location Independent Professionals?
I’m not quite sure why we decided to go to Buenos Aires – it’s a fair way down South, quite a flight from Panama (and expensive too) but I’d always wanted to go so we decided that we’d try it. Based on our original list of criteria below, here is how it measured up…
) Had a lower cost of living
2) Is English-speaking, or at least we could get by in English
3) Is a bit more ‘exotic’ and different from the usual expat places
4) Has good internet & telecoms structure
5) Is politically stable & safe
6) Has a decent infrastructure that wouldn’t require us to ‘rough it’
1) Cost of Living: The cost of living in Buenos Aires is very low. It’s the 3rd cheapest city on the planet according to the Mercer 2006 survey. Taxis & transport are very cheap. Food in supermarkets is very reasonable and meals out are great quality for much less than you’d pay in the UK or North America. Furnished accommodation is plentiful which means it keeps prices quite reasonable.
2) Language: Generally, English is more widely spoken in bars, restaurants & of course the tourist places in Buenos Aires. If you’re struggling, you can generally ask if they speak English and if they don’t, they’ll usually find someone who does. The Spanish however is quite different from the kind we learned in Panama so we struggled a bit. It’s more Castilian Spanish than Latin American Spanish so if you’ve learned that kind, you’ll be fine. They even call is “Castellano” rather than “Espanol” there, so “No hablo Espanol” becomes “No hablo Castellano” (pronounced “Casteshano”).
3) Exotic Factor: Buenos Aires is pretty much a first world city (aside from the dog poo on the streets). It does however retain a certain sense of mystique with its strong tango culture & the historical political unrest of the past. It’s definitely a thriving, modern metropois and if you love cities, you will certainly love Buenos Aires.
4) Internet Connectivity: High speed internet access is excellent here – faster than Panama & the UK and very reliable. Our apartment came with free local calls which we hardly used. Skype worked fine there.
5) Political Stability: Despite the historical political unrest of Argentina, it is now relatively stable & safe. There are always reports of demonstrations & protests in different areas around the city but as long as you avoid them, you’ll be fine.
6) Infrastructure: The infrastructure in Buenos Aires is pretty much first world. There are areas of the city which are in a bit of a state of disrepair – the pavements are torn up, the buildings are worn out & dilapidated. However, as a location independent professional there is absolutely no need to ‘rough it’ whatsoever. You can get pretty much anything delivered in this city – including McDonalds and there are plenty of bars, restaurants, shops, hotels and ‘first world’ conveniences at your disposal.
Buenos Aires is a fantastic destination for location independent Digital Nomads who speak Spanish & like living in big cities. It’s a massive city with different barrios (neighbourhoods) which all have distinctive characteristics & vibes so it’s well worth taking the time to explore them and find which one you like best.
The Portenos (BA locals) are exceptionally friendly people and although we struggled with our Spanish whilst there, we met lots of people who were always curious to chat & find out who we were, what we did and where we were from.