U.S..Citizens - why did you move to Buenos Aires?


Mar 17, 2008
Hi, am new here - on the forum - not in BA... yet (reside in Los Angeles and part time Paris - Travel Photographer). Was wondering how many Americans moved down to Buenos Aires because they had just had it with the states and it's policies - be it the Iraq War, Bush, lack of affordable healthcare (or lack of concern about it's citizens in general), increased violence, or all the other negative things that have grown greatly in the last 7 years. Looking back, was it the right move and would you do it all over again the exact same way? How strong is the dislike towards the USA in Argentina?
Thanks and appreciate any and all responses, Dudester
It is estimated there are 50,000+ Americans living here. I moved here five years ago for several of the reasons you mentioned. I was able to buy an apartment in Recoleta that would be completely out of my price range in a comparable area in the U.S. (i.e., upper East Side, NYC). I probably couldn't afford to buy my apartment today based on the property price increase. In any case, I'm glad I did it then but probably wouldn't do it now. The old days of good prices not to mention skyrocketing inflation would dissuade me, as well as the lack of honesty and customer service/satisfaction in every sense.
Thanks for your response rmartin. I hear this a lot about the attitude shift amongst the native Argentinian's towards Expats. Do you think they are unhappy with the direction the country is going in due to poor internal politics, or, do they see all these foreigners showing up with tons of cash that they don't have raising the cost of almost everything- from Apartments to food? On the crime issue, is there a lot of gun hold ups and gun violence or is it more the pickpocket type ? There seems to be an attitude on this board that the honeymoon between the natives/locals and the expat is over. Is that the case, is it over and slowly sliding down hill??

Thanks, Dudester
I am, like Dudester, currently in the States, but will move to Buenos Aires later this year. This Sunday's edition of the NY Times Travel section featured Buenos Aires on the front page, followed by a long article. Based on what I read here, the research for that article must have been done some years ago. It continually referred to BAires as a cheap destination for American and European travelers, especially artists of one variety or another (a few were interviewed) and at one point brought up the on-going cliche that it (BA) is the next Prague, which was the next Paris, which was the next New York. I haven't looked, but presumably the article can be found on the NY Times web edition. So, is the consensus among this forum's ex-pat readers that the article is full of BS?
I checked. It is on the web edition and here is the link.


It's on the left side, about 3 stories down.
Yes, the Times article on BA is a lot of BS. The article they published last week on bad relations between the US and Argentina was also exaggerated. That Times article really amazed me. A lot of what the writer said was true 2-3 years ago but not now. He said that he rented an apartment for $125 dollars a night - that doesn't strike me as dirt cheap. A two star hotel I used to recommend to budget minded tourists was about 75 pesos for a single room about three years ago - now $260. As for the vibrant cultural scene which the writer attributes to the expat influence - first of all, there was a lively cultural scene before the expat explosion, second the premier cultural institution of this country, the Teatro Colon, has been shut down for renovations with all performances cancelled for the year and possibly longer so I wouldn't consider this the most brilliant moment for culture in Argentina. There were a lot of inaccuracies in the article. Someone was quoted as saying that he opened the FIRST French restaurant in Argentina - absurd. There were quite a few before the expats began arriving. The TIMES has become a careless paper - remember the plagiarism scandal a few years ago.
I'm an American and I just arrived in BA (San Telmo) 2 months ago. It sprung from a conversation about America that I had with some Europeans while hiking in the Himalayas about 4 years ago. We were discussing the elections, and I opined that Americans would never re-elect George Bush after a 4 year example of what he was like. "If they do", I proclaimed, "I will leave the USA and become an expat. I don't want to be part of a society that would knowingly re-elect that kind of person". Well, history is what it is, and 4 years later, I am here. I work remotely over the internet as a software developer, I can live anywhere with fast internet. I chose BA because it seemed like a good combination of culture, livability, and cheap prices. Plus, I speak a little Spanish. I will admit that things are more expensive than I expected. I now find myself thinking that maybe I got here too late, and wondering where the next BA is, and whether I can discover it before everyone else does. Ken
To Sergio. Yes, I thought the NY Times article was a little over the top when I read it Sunday. It just didn't fit with the kind of things I have been reading and hearing from people who live there. Maybe 3 or 4 years ago it might have been more accurate. (Or maybe the writer wrote the piece 3 or 4 years ago and finally got it published?) Also the idea that the "first" French restaurant didn't appear in a city of more than 3 million people (the city, not the surrounding barrios) until this guy showed up a few years ago really stretched credulity. On the other hand, I wonder what you mean by "before the expats began arriving"? Haven't expats been arriving (and leaving) places like BAires for a very long time, centuries? Maybe you meant that native Argentines opened French restaurants before any expat did?

To Ken. Maybe Bush and friends have been responsible for more of an intellectual and cultural brain drain than any other single administration in US History. After they made exactly the same comment about Bush being reelected that you did, I now have friends living in Costa Rica, Mexico, Ireland, South Africa, Germany, and Spain. Sometimes we get the feeling we are the last ones left... and we're leaving at the end of the year; in spite of the fact it appears that there will be a Democratic president and a Democratically dominated congress next year.

If not now BAires, then where? A question often discussed in my circles. Where it's not seems easier, and it's not Costa Rica or Mexico or Czech R. If you are a Euro person, parts of Spain, Sicily are still good. The Dalmatian coast still has bargains and it is gorgeous.

But if you need a city the size of BAires... ???

Our Costa Rica friends are selling out and moving to Montevideo. They are pretty hot about it.

We are going to BAires for work, on a 3-year contract, so we probably don't qualify as expats. Our housing expenses will be paid. In 3 years, we'll leave for some other place. So a lot of the current economic issues don't relate to us. Our good luck. Still, we are very curious about life in BAires.
Dudester-I do not believe there ever was a "honeymoon" period between Argentines and expats and particularly Americans. In years past (say 1900-1950), Argentines viewed the U.S. as global competition. Well reality hit on that and now they view Chileans and Brazilians with disdain because their economies are doing better than here and with less corruption. Argentines are very defensive of their "culture" and the "Argentine Way of :Life". Outsiders are viewed with hostility and jealousy. Now in their defense, there are a large number of Americans here who come here and are arrogant, refuse to learn Spanish and try to force their (our) common sense on local society. This siimply creates confrontation. Nothing in this country will ever change with the current mentality, corupt politicians and greed that you find here. Its a constant battle here not to be cheated either by the kiosko or the taxi driver or the grocery store who mismarks items or rings them up always in their favor.I saw that NY Times article. I do not know why most American publications lie about reality or they send a reporter who spends two nites in the Alvear Palace on assignment and business travel and has no clue to accuracy. Compared to Manhattan...yeah its cheap. But its not Manhattan or anything close. Its simply Buenos Aires, good and bad. Do not try to compare with any other place although at a quick visual glance you good be momentarily fooled.
The New York Times article was grossly inaccurate and clearly written with advertising in mind. Firstly for all of us who live here full time it is not cheap and I beleive that it is as dear as any US city. Good quality products are in many cases dearer and many products that are cheap overseas are expensive here.
I beleive this confusion lies in the superficial life of restaurants and taxis which are relatively cheap compared to most World Capitals.
Try buying furniture,clothes,name brand electronixs, a decent car. By the way Argentina has some of the most expensive second hand cars in the World..
Big Ticket items are expensive here and food in general has increased outrageously of late. For example canned food is more expensive than United States with much smaller portions as well.