Recoleta vs San Telmo


Feb 4, 2007
Hi, I am planning on coming down to BA for the duration of 3 months in the 2nd half of 2007. The purpose of my stay is to learn some Spanish (enlisted already in an intensive course located downtown) and to experience the city and the country (in a moderate fashion). I have been searching for appartments on What I have noticed is that a fully furnished studio with all the standard amenities (including high speed Internet) comes between USD 600-700 / month in Recoleta, while the very same can be rented in San Telmo for about USD 450 - 550. I even found a place for USD 435 - very basic but it is equipped with all the essentials + high speed Internet. I am not planning to spend too much time in-house and I am not insisting on comfort. I'd much rather spend my money on out-door activities and gaining some experience. Can anyone please explain to me what is the trade-off between Recoleta and San Telmo? Thank you in advance.
Hi There is no such thing as high speed internet in Argentina. No way a connection with a download speed of 10 Mb/s and a upload speed of 512 Kb/s counts as a high speed internet connection. As for recoleta vs san telmo I'd say recoleta but you should think outside the box if you really ask me, Buenos Aires doesn't just have 5-8 neighborhoods.
It all depends on what you want. San Telmo has become popular with tourists and expats who like its less developed and "bohemian" characteristics; others prefer Recoleta for its "European" ambience and more modern infrastructure. Safety may also be a factor. Some people feel safer in Recoleta. Wherever you rent, be careful about noise unless you have an extremely high level of tolerance. The quietest apartments are in the back but make sure that you are not on top of another building without a view or sun.
Recoleta is an upscale luxury neighborhood. Every tourist who comes here knows that he is supposed to live in Recoleta, because that's where foreigners stay. During winter time when temperature drops to 6C (what is called "antarctic cold" here), you can see old argentine ladies wearing furs on the streets. All of them. Because they have only a few days to show off. Living in Recoleta is a social status issue. It is way overpriced and as I said generally populated by older type wealthy local crowd and foreigners.
San Telmo is a historic neighborhood that only relatively recently got popular. It is full of restaurants and antique markets. A bit sketchy with a few squattered houses, but touristy areas are reasonably safe. To my opinion the word "bohemian" with respect to local neighborhoods is reserved for Palermo Soho/Hollywood. San Telmo has more like a college town fun spirit.
Thank you all for your comments and advice. Much appreciated! It sounds to me now like a choice between Palermo and San Telmo, rather than Recoleta. Best regards, lynxsharpeye
I would qualify what Igor said by commenting that Recoleta is a traditional type of upscale neighborhood, very similar to Paris in parts. At the same time parts of Palermo have become fashionable - though in a more hip way. Also "overpriced". Renters might want to take into consideration proximity to the center of the city. I know people who stayed in Palermo for a month last year. They enjoyed it but have decided to rent in Recoleta this year because they felt they were too far from things (micro center, theatres, many tourist attractions etc.). San Telmo is on the upswing, as Igor said. I'm not convinced, however, that it's too safe by night but that's my opinion - the site administrators don't quite agree!
Ive lived in san telmo for over 4 years. Originally, i liked the central location and the historic feel to it. since then, month by month, its increased tremendously in popularity. i can walk you around, saying, that used to be this, that used to be that, thats new, this just opened 3 weeks ago. lots of changes. its within walking distance to puerto madero and the nature reserve which i go to often.
One caveat about san telmo is it has many busses. every parrallel street is bus after bus. i cant make it out the door without a bus going by, and not to the corner without maybe 3 others going by. why is this a problem?? well, youll see when you get here. the public busses roar like airplanes (i was shaken up at 530 am this morning, it sounded like an airplane taking off with something wrong with its engine). down at street level, its ear piercing. streets are choked with black clouds larger than the bus itself. i cant even explain how that much can come out and so fast. The argentines just push the baby carriage through the massive cloud like its not even there.
The city (and ever city in argentina ive visited) lets them get away with it, no control at all. the busses roar, and spray clouds of thick smoke. I dont think a lifetime is enough time to get used to living like that.
Another caveat, is that its very dirty. dog poop is worse than other areas (cleaning up after your dog is very uncommon, many dogs even roam loose) and garbage is thrown everywhere, youll see people just swaggering down the street tossing away, then spitting.
But then again, you will find this in every part of argentina. Theres no part of the city, not even a park, that isnt littered. After you visit enough parks in argentina, youll actually think plastic bags DO grow on trees. I was at the san telmo park today, parque lezama, over 100 ferral cats. Very common in argentina. the botantical gardens in upscale palermo must have over 500, closer to 1000 of the ferral fleabags.
To sum up: San telmo, trendy but dirty and bus noise all day long with pollution youve never even thought possible. Recoleta, well theres a big cemetery, more expensive and no subway close by, and less dirty (but still dirty). Several busses from ST also pass through recolleta. One difference is they dont pass every street there so you can get away from it. Yet, if you walk on Ave. las heras, your eyes will water from the fumes.
Hi, JG. Thank you for your submission. I am wondering whether the dirt/litter/polution issue in Argentina is a matter of detoriated moral standards - a consequence of the economic collapse in 2001, or whether this is just a standard Argentinian behaviour. Anybody has an oppinion on that point? Thank you for your insights.
The dirt/ litter issue is NOT a consequence of the economic collapse but a part of the local culture. Yes, I'd say it is a standard Argentine behavior. It has always been the same and won't change any time soon. The worst part is that some Argentines seem to be proud of it. There are some examples on this very website, if you know what I mean... People talking about chaos and throwing garbage as if they were virtues... Many locals think Americans and Northern Europeans are uptight and boring because they respect the law, keep everything in order and don't spoil/vandalize public spaces. Go figure...
yes, many cities are dirty, in places. Washington has a few neighborhoods that are dirty, one is the Latino area where trash is thrown everywhere.
the difference here is argentinians seem to relish throwing trash and driving cars that spew clouds of smoke (i also consider that dirty). I havent been anywhere in argentina that was clean. San martin de los andes had a creek flowing through the small town chock full of every assortment of trash. a deserted beach, near mar de las pampas, had enough washed-up garbage on the beach to lead one to believe a nearby municipality was actually just tossing it in the ocean.
ive been to a lot of cities, argentina is one of the dirtiest ive seen with the exception of India or Guatelmala, etc. Rivers are putrid, etc. theres a new park in puerto madero, one of my favorites. its now super littered, people come and say, oh its beautiful then toss trash, leave picnics, drink a big bottle and just leave it. graffiti all over this new park. what a pity and its an upscale area.
whether you put a value judgement on it or not, they arent clean. argentina isnt clean.