Perhaps no other city in the world is as beguiling as Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital city. Most outsiders only know the country in Hollywood clips, blips, and larger-than-life personas, from Evita (as played by Madonna) to the incredible soccer greats like Diego Maradona and Leonel Messi. And let us not forget the Pope is Argentine.
Buenos Aires is how the New World and Old World blend so harmoniously. Grand dame Art Noveau apartment buildings, dating back centuries with the original crown molding preserved, coexist in the Paris of South America with contemporary, shiny new skyscrapers, and it all works together.
The city is fast-paced and trendsetting in art, design, and style, but, at the same time, the cobbler on the corner and the neighborhood’s beloved tailor are toiling away in the same location where they have been for decades. Argentines themselves are much like what the city shows, too. They have a deep respect and admiration for the past, yet they are always energetically innovating and looking forward.
Buenos Aires’ most famous cultural export is tango, the song and dance filled with passion, sensuality, longing, and nostalgia that does so much to explain the essence and character, culture, and creativity of Buenos Aires. Here, everything is approached, considered, and conducted with passion.
Other destinations in Latin America offer far more affordable retirement options, but nowhere else in this part of the world offers a comparable standard of living. Buenos Aires is a city of neighborhoods, each with its own look, feel, and personality. Foreign residents concentrate especially in Palermo, Belgrano, and Recoleta. Buenos Aires is a city where you could enjoy a rich, full, even luxury-standard retirement lifestyle on a budget of as little as 13,024 Argentine pesos per month.
|Rent||ARS 17,000||Unfurnished, two-bedroom apartment.|
|Gas||ARS 400||For cooking.|
|Transportation||ARS 900||Monthly bus/metro, occasional taxi ride.|
|Electricity||ARS 400||A/C usage.|
|Cable TV||N/A||Bundled with internet.|
|Groceries||ARS 4,600||Basic items for couple.|
|Entertainment||ARS 5,650||Social outing, 400-900 pesos p/person|
Because of its cozy neighborhoods or maybe the incredible people watching, Buenos Aires is very much a walking city. (Get a good stroller if you have children.) Biking is increasingly popular and bike trails are growing in number— you can rent a bike in Palermo.
There was a time when Buenos Aires had a cutting edge transportation system—after all, it was the first South American city to open a subway system, which remains the fastest way to get around town. When the British came, they administered the building of the country’s infrastructure, especially its large railway system (and the national banking system). In fact, trains still travel on the left-hand side of tracks—a last stand of British influence.
Today, however, travel in Argentina might come as a shock. First off, Argentines are the second worst drivers on the road. Every driver has his own set of rules. There is no road rage. It’s accepted that, as they say, “Signs are suggestions. A stop sign is an idea.” Still, cabs are so cheap that some people take a cab both ways to work each day. In addition, the highways are well maintained. And some laws really work well for drivers: If you are forced to wait for more than two minutes before you can pay at a toll, for example, cars begin to beep and the tolls are opened so that traffic doesn’t back up.
Buenos Aires is also known as the Paris of Latin America, and, indeed, with few exceptions, anything available in Paris can also be found in Buenos Aires, at lesser cost and with a Latin edge, including five-star restaurants, nightclubs, comedy clubs, open-air cafes, world-class live theater and ballet, art galleries, museums, English-language bookstores, indoor shopping malls and outdoor antiques markets, European-style parks, plazas, and gardens, plus classic-style architecture of the kind found in but a handful of cities around the world.
If you want to embrace a retirement filled with art and history, culture and interesting company, but you can’t afford Paris, look to Buenos Aires.
It has a tremendous variety and diversity of restaurants, shopping, museums, and parks and does qualify as a walking city—though it’s too big to walk across in one go.
Buenos Aires enjoys four seasons throughout the year. The city has a warm humid temperate climate with hot summers and no dry season. The temperature ranges from 46 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit and is rarely below 39 or above 88.
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