The COST OF LIVING in Buenos Aires

Cost of living in Buenos Aires

Many people have wondered what are the costs to live in Buenos Aires. I have lived here over 15 years and during that time they have changed drastically at least 3 times! Now we are “enjoying” an exchange rate of about 3 pesos to 1 dollar, so if your income is in dollars, you are doing pretty well. But, many ask about health insurance, driving a car, school costs and renting an apartment. These costs can vary depending on the quality you choose, but here is a rough breakdown of what I am paying “these days”, (January, 2007): (current inflation is about 10% a year…but that’s one of the governments “big” lie)

*A word about renting an apartment

Renting here in B.A. requires a co-signer who owns some property and has a good credit background. This step poses an obstacle for the foreigner. What you can do is offer to pay 2 or 3 months rent ahead of time, or give a larger deposit. Some rentals targeted to foreigners already take that into consideration. BEWARE as MANY rentals targeted to foreigners are overpriced! Rental contracts are usually for 2 years, but you can back out with a month or 2 cost. Also, as you look at the listings you will notice some values quoted are in dollars while others in pesos. Rentals in dollars are often targeted to foreigners, so, make sure to compare prices.

*A word about Medical Insurance

There are different forms of medical insurance here. We have what are called (“Pre-Pagas) which are big companies that offer you a wide selection of hospitals and doctors to choose from all over the country. This system is, in my opinion, the best. They also cover you, with restrictions, if you travel back to the U.S. Some of the more popular companies are: OSDE, Medicus, Docthos to name a few. I have OSDE plan number 410 and it allows me to choose from a huge selection of doctors and dentists. I also realize that “upon mentioning my plan”, I am often given “priority” for appointments. My plan covered my lazer eye surgery 100% and it covered the birth of my 3 kids in the Hospital Suiso. The other form of obtaining medical insurance is by subscription with a certain hospital, like the “Hospital Italiano”, “Hospital Aleman”, “Hospital Suizo”, just to name a few. (BE CAREFUL, there is one hospital having big financial problems, send me an email and I’ll tell you which). If your idea is to make your residence the city of Buenos Aires, then you can consider these hospital plans. I would want to investigate “what happens” if you move to the interior of the country OR if you are visiting the U.S.
My OSDE plan is U$200 per month. I talk more about medical insurance in my website:


Rentals (2 bedroom apartment, Barrio Norte) U$500 to 800
Medical Insurance (For a Male, 25 to 40 years old) U$100 to 200
Home Owners Expenses (varies greatly!) U$50 to 90
Cel Phone, (500 minutes use) U$30 to 40
Home Phone (minimum use) U$18
Electricity (1 bedroom Apt.) U$12
Gas U$10
Maid, FULL time U$220
Maid, per visit: 25 to 35 pesos per cleaning
Satelite Cable, basic service U$25
Internet, ADSL U$20
ABL, (city taxes) U$10
Water/Garbage (usually included in HOA’s)
Yearly Tax (“luxury” tax, aprox. 0.5% of assessed value) U$20


Transportation Costs
Public transportation is CHEAP. You have several lines of subways to choose from and many bus lines. You also have a very organized and thorough long distance bus system throughout the country. Taxis from one end of the city to the other are about U$4. Hired cars, “remises” charge about 50 pesos to go to the airport. Driving a car here takes LOTS of practice and experience. I took about 4 months before I dared to get behind the wheel. Argentina is STILL one of the countries with the highest statistics in traffic accidents.
A new Honda Civic is about U$17k
Car Registration, U$900 a year
Gas…takes about U$30 to fill my tank, (Honda Civic)
Insurance, yearly about U$1200
Tolls, (they’re everywhere!)

I didn’t include this as it is a very personal category. Some of you cook a lot, while many eat out. Food is VERY cheap in B.A., especially meat. You can get great lunch deals, complete with beverage and dessert for as little as 4 dollars in some “neighborhood” restaurants. Buying your food in a supermarket is even cheaper.

Any Comments or Questions: just ask!
These are my two cents worth about the cost of living in Buenos Aires . Since 2002 they have risen by 50 percent so everything is more expensive.
What is cheap is meat fruit and basic staples . Transport costs are very low as they are subsidised by government. Taxis are reasonable in price.
Expensive is good quality fish any nuts canned fruits that arent pears of peaches. Asian foods are very expensive as it is considered exotic here. Clothes are medium in price but top quality clothing is similar price to United States.
Electronics and good quality furnishings are more expensive I find than United States . Yes you can buy cheaper furniture but the quality is poor.
Rents are quite high and as a foreigner you will find it very hard to find cheaper rents. A good furnished apartment will set you back around 650 dollars a month in a decent area.
Hello, I have an international insurance coverage from Europe. I would like to know which hospital is THE BEST and which General Practitioner is considered the best here in BA.

Also, an Excellent Dentist as I need to have some periodontal work done.

Thanks for the heads up.



Go back every year to visit your family and see your dienist. I would never advice a dienist who you not trust and/or does not speak your mother-tongue. It might be a good idea to find somebody with good references for emergencies.
I dont hope to bust the bubble of the topic starter but supermarkets are more expensive then in Holland, surely even more so then in the USA. A Good health-care is also more expensive and imported-goods as well.
A 800 peso appartement is not the same as European or American standards. You should more be looking to the 2500 peso range then and the cost of internet, cable, telephone and mobile are also higher.
Going out for a dinner is around 20 pesos and if you go to a fine restaurant around 50 to 100 peso. Going to the movies is about 30 peso per person. Taxi's are around 40 to 50 dollar cent per minute


"pericles" said:
These are my two cents worth about the cost of living in Buenos Aires . Since 2002 they have risen by 50 percent so everything is more expensive.
More like 120%, but if you believe the government it might just be 50%
Buenos Aires is an expensive city in many ways and dont believe the hype from foreign newspapers like New York Times or Travel and Leisure that is is very cheap. Prices in pesos since 2002 have increased at least 150 percent and the biggest cost that people here face is rent which is very dear now. In some areas rents have increased over 200 percent since 2002 .
Regarding food Argentina definetly is not cheap and if i compare prices to my home country in many ways it is dearer. For example asian food fish nuts any fruits bar apples peaches pears or bananas are very expensive. Health foods are dearer than Australia and any good quality cheese is exhorbiant in price.
Yogurt which I love is a absolute rip off here as the size is maybe 100 mls for the price of 300 mls back home. If you are a carnivore Argentina is very cheap but if you are like me who likes some variety in their diet for example eats fish and has muesli with yoghurt and likes some berries in soy milk Argentina is very expensive .
Most foreigners that I know are here because we love the culture and are not here for any economic reasons


The meat sold here does not meet European standards. I have no doubt it's cheaper to produce then in Europe, but it does not have the same standards as well
Yes i have to agree that the quality of meat has dropped off lately significately and porciones in restaurants are much smaller and you are paying more,
The problem with Buenos Aires many things are very dressed up here for example coffees here have only 25 percent of the beans and caffeine content of back home . The tapas here which goes by the name of picada is no match whatsoever with a antipasti . It normally comes with low quality cheeses and hams no vegetables except low grade olives if you call that a vegetable and they have the hide to charge 40 pesos for this in most cafes in Palermo.