I am wondering what opinions people have on the best neighborhood for expats in Buenos Aires. My friend Pericles has let me know his opinions and am wondering what the group feels. Any feedback is appreciated.
I think it really depends on what you are looking for as an expat -- if you´d like a neighborhood that has a "barrio" feel you are better off looking beyond San Telmo and Recoleta. However if you want to live in an area where you will find people speaking English on the street and businesses catering to foreigners you are best off sticking to Palermo, Recoleta and San Telmo. I live in Recoleta. Even though it does not have the feel of a neighborhood I like it because of its central location and safety.
Let me just say that I am very content with Villa Devoto/Villa del Parque and although it is a lot further out than the areas most ex-pats gravitate to, it is only 20mts on the LSM into Retiro or about 15mts on the Trencito to Lacroze. I've never heard another English voice in the street - the staff in the local Coto tell me I am the only Brit who comes in to shop there and even the English-sounding 'Wilkinson's Travel' near Devoto Station is owned by a family that have been Argentine for three generations or more but none of this bothers me. In my opinion, living further out has real benefits but I don't recommend crossing Gral Paz and living in Gran Buenos Aires unless you really know what you are doing.
Hey, like he said above, it really depends on what you are looking for. Recoleta is nice, but also very expensive, and its safety is debatable since I know just as many people who have been robbed there as in other more "dangerous" neighborhoods. San Telmo is a fun place with a lot of foreigners, and a more "authentic" experience could be had on the further side of the barrio, closer to La Boca (the anti-Recoleta: a lot safer than you have probably heard). There are a number of other barrios that expats don't normally think about, like Caballito, Saavedra and Belgrano. I like Belgrano because it is quieter like Palermo, a lot cheaper, and you can easily get back into the center of the city. Also, I have heard of a lot of expats moving downtown, but be warned that this area can be very loud (not the kind of loud you want) late at night and early in the morning. Anyways, like i said before it all really depends on your personal taste and style.
I suspect that Pericles is trying to get you into Almagro.
It can be very noisy in terms of traffic, not the place to be if you have trouble sleeping.
That said, I find the streets very safe at night, we regularly walk home from Caballito and Villa Crespo at night. I am talking two or three in the morning here. There is a very local feel about the place and most of the businesses are more than willing to help, without the "screw the extranjero" attitude I have found in other areas.
I spend most of my time in the UK but am always welcomed on my return.
Parts of it are still a bit on the scruffy side, but a lunch time spent in Plaza Almagro is an hour of peace and joy.
Finally beware the barrios snobbery, many places claim to be in barrios that they are not, but the best way to decide is when you have seen a place, walk around the area, pop into a few shops. You will soon make up your mind if you like the place.
I will be back in May drop me a note if you want more info on Almagro.