Written by Kieran

Digital Nomad Argentina

Is Argentina a viable destination for working online as a digital nomad? The short answer is yes! When I first ...

Is Argentina a viable destination for working online as a digital nomad? The short answer is yes!

When I first visited Argentina more than a decade ago it was love at first sight. The Argentine way of life is infectious. The capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires, is a bustling metropolis with every amenity you could ever want as a digital nomad. And yet life just moves a little slower here. 

The inhabitants of Buenos Aires or Porteños as they call themselves do everything a little different to the rest of Latin America. For starters, life here starts a little later in the day and everything from breakfast onwards is pushed back. 

In some Latin American countries it can be difficult to find a restaurant late at night. But in Buenos Aires you shouldn’t be surprised if your intended dinner spot doesn’t open until late. Usually after 8pm. And it’s not uncommon to make plans to meet friends at a bar at midnight. While night clubs are rarely busy before 2am and they don’t shut until the sun comes up. 

Where To Stay In Buenos Aires

My favourite ‘barrios’ (suburbs) are Palermo Hollywood and Palermo Soho. And they can look utterly deserted before midday. Yet from about 2pm, particularly in summer, the streets are alive with the sounds of music pumping from busy cafes, restaurants and bars. 

Against the often cited cliche that Buenos Aires is the ‘Paris of South America’ I find it to be nothing like Paris. Nor do I find each suburb of Buenos Aires to be alike.

Each of Buenos Aires suburbs or ‘barrios’ has its own distinctive feel and character. Centro feels like an outdoor strip mall surrounded by office buildings. While Palermo, particularly Palermo Hollywood and Palermo Soho, are populated by a younger crowd of artists and designers.

Palermo Hollywood and Palermo Soho also have the highest density of unique restaurants and bars. Yet Belgrano isn’t far behind. Belgrano has its own vibrant restaurant and cafe scene along with better malls than Centro. 

No matter where you decide to stay you shouldn’t worry too much about accommodation costs. Just negotiate a cash price. Accommodation is cheap in BA if you’re paying in cash.

So try out a few different suburbs if you’re here for a while. And use what you save on accommodations for dinning out and really getting to know your suburb.

Food In Buenos Aires

For the ‘foodies’ Buenos Aires is a must visit destination. Even for vegans.

Despite ‘asado’ (barbecue) being a form of national tradition and pride, there is a huge selection of cuisines from all over the globe. Buenos Aires is a cultural melting pot. And it’s no surprise that its cuisine mimics its diverse population. 

The wine in Argentina is plentiful and divine. With a good Mendoza Malbec (red wine) and Fernet (a form of Italian bitters) being two must try beverages while visiting Argentina.

Top shelf wines or a bottle of Fernet can be had in Argentina for less than $5. While you can enjoy an amazing dinner out with drinks for less than $20.

During the winter months in Buenos Aires, when you might not necessarily feel like venturing out into the cold, you can have your food of choice delivered to you

If you can crave it in Buenos Aires, you can have it delivered to your door with a mobile app. You can live every digital nomads dream in Argentina.

Mobile Apps And Internet Connectivity In Buenos Aires

From my first visit until my most recent stay, I’ve seen huge progress in internet connectivity and locally developed mobile apps available in Buenos Aires. Today, unlimited 100mb/s to 300mb/s broadband is the standard in every home. And most chain stores have their own branded mobile application

The internet in Buenos Aires is fast, ubiquitous and cheap. The internet connectivity in Buenos Airs is so good that there’s now a mobile app for just about everything. From ordering food and ride-sharing through to booking a haircut or shave, there’s a mobile app to make life easier. 

The internet connectivity and mobile applications add to the attractiveness of Buenos Aires as a destination for digital nomads and expat foreigners.

As a digital nomad you could try and work online from a country with intermittent and slow internet connectivity like Australia. Or you could work in Buenos Aires with its extremely cheap, fast and ubiquitous wifi and 4G cellular.

I’m an Australian and I’d choose Argentina’s internet over Australia’s every time. Just be sure to use a VPN in Argentina.

At home in Australia if I was working late and forgot to order food I’d be limited in my choices. After about 8pm at home in Australia there wouldn’t be much available for delivery except Macdonald’s or a pizza.

But in Buenos Aires I can have a steak, vegetables and papas fritas (fries) delivered to my door with a bottle of good wine or a six pack of beer almost around the clock. And for about half of what an UberEats Macdonald’s delivery costs at home. 

Argentine Peso

I feel sorry for my Porteño friends. Because for them Buenos Aires is expensive. But for a foreigner earning an income in dollars, euros or pound sterling Buenos Aires is extremely cheap. And the rest of Argentina is a fire sale.

Ever since its financial collapse in the early 2000’s Argentina’s currency the Argentinian Peso has been worth less every day. Inflation is so bad that Argentina’s currency literally loses value by the minute.

With inflation sitting somewhere around 50% and commodity prices surging all over the globe, I find it surprising that Argentina still has coins. Because the metal in the coins is probably worth far more than the face value.

Argentine Peso Coins

Argentines have complete distrust of their financial system and Argentina has become a predominantly cash based economy. Argentina has been through multiple financial crisis.

Yet for most Argentinians their distrust of the country’s financial system stems from their own governments seizure of dollar denominated accounts and devaluing of its citizens life savings. Which has happened on at least two occasions in as many decades. 

Argentinians do have credit cards. And they do use their credit cards. Most often in conjunction with interest free offers to buy goods.

But Argentinians only use credit cards and interest free offers to buy things because they know that inflation will quickly push up the cost of items. Which benefits them by allowing them to pay off an item at less than its current cost or resell it for a profit. 

As a foreigner, having a bank account, credit card or MercadoPago (mobile payment system) is a non-event. And foreign sourced income is best kept in foreign accounts in currencies other than the Argentine Peso.

I’ve been watching the inflation push up prices every day while living in Buenos Aires for the better part of a year now. And I’d never keep a large amount of money in Argentine pesos or in an Argentinian bank account. Instead, I send myself the cash I need via Western Union.

Visitors to Argentina and foreign expats can use Western Union to transfer in cash as they need. And transferring money into Argentina through Western Union nets them the current Dollar Blue rate (i.e. black market rate).

I make bimonthly transfers of funds into Argentina and Western Union gives me an exchange rate that is often 2-2.5 times that of the official exchange rate.

For those who can’t use Western Union, the next best option is to pick up cash in dollars from Uruguay when renewing a visa.

Digital Nomad Visa Argentina

Argentina has an official digital nomad visa. Yet in a year I haven’t heard of a single person applying for it. I don’t know of any digital nomads in Argentina who are here on the digital nomad visa. 

Argentina introduced its official digital nomad visa on the 21st of May 2022. It costs $300 and has an application process that requires a bunch of paperwork. You need to apply for it, pay a fee and then wait for the glacial bureaucracy of Argentina to approve your nomad visa or ask for more paperwork.

In contrast, Argentina’s tourist visas are free. A tourist visa has no paperwork and is granted on arrival for most nationalities.

The tourist visa is 90 days on arrival and can be extended once for an additional 90 days. After spending 6 months on a tourist visa you can go for a weekend in Colonial Uruguay and return with a new Argentine tourist visa.

It just makes no sense to apply for a digital nomad visa for $300. With the tourist visa you get essentially the same thing for free, without the application. 

I’m looking at buying an apartment in Buenos Aires. And when I get closer to purchasing, I’ll then apply for a visa with permanent residency. Argentinian residency is easy to get.

Graffiti in Palermo Hollywood accurately sums up the Argentine Political System

Real Estate In Argentina

Buying an apartment in Buenos Aires would be the only event that would trigger me to get a more permanent visa. And I’m currently investigating the process of buying real estate in Argentina. 

Legislation surrounding the property market in Argentina is some of the best in the world. Argentine legislation provides assurance that a foreigner and local have the same property rights. And you needn’t worry about your property devaluing with the peso, property transactions in Argentina are conducted in USD.

Properties in Buenos Aires hold their value due to the strength of the market and the underlying financial conditions. Argentinians either covert their money into USD and stash it away under a mattress or use it to buy properties, insulating the market from the slow demise of the peso. 

For those who buy properties in Argentina and anybody else who can show sufficient foreign sourced income, permanent residency is easy to get.

The only thing you need to buy a property in Argentina, beyond cash in USD is a local tax ID. And if all else failed and you wanted to buy a property but couldn’t get a better visa class, you could always be the first to apply for Argentina’s digital nomad visa.

For the Argentine tax ID you can just pay a lawyer to get it for you. But for getting USD into Argentina to buy a property you need to be a little more careful. Property transactions are most often in USD cash. So you can’t just wire the money and be done with it.

Getting large sums of money into Argentina can be a headache. But I’ll have a better explanation of how to transfer funds for a property transaction in Argentina once I do it. And I’ll post about the whole process as I go through it.

What I have found so far though is that a lot of the developers for new properties have foreign bank accounts and escrow. Most of the developers I’ve talked to so far have had offshore accounts to receive payments and to bypass the central banks exchange rate.

Final Word | Costs In Argentina As A Digital Nomad

As a foreigner there really are no negatives to the constantly crashing Argentine economy. As it doesn’t affect a foreigner in the same way it does locals.

A six pack of domestic beer may cost 700 pesos today and 800 pesos tomorrow, but in dollar terms it remains the same. Foreigners won’t work in the domestic economy and won’t earn pesos, so inflation isn’t a problem for digital nomads and expats.

The one thing I have noticed with costs in Argentina is that they are often, hugely overstated. If I look online at the many travel blogs talking about costs in Argentina, they’re always saying how expensive the country is or talking about black market rates on Florida Street.

In the first case, those calling Buenos Aires expensive obviously don’t know about the dolar blue. They don’t know that the offical exchange rate is not the real exchange rate.

The second group talking about Florida Street obviously don’t know that Florida Street is full of crooks. And that they can often get better exchange rates via Western Union. Or via underground crypto exchanges. Bypassing the chances of counterfeit notes and other scams.

Like I said at the start, Buenos Aires is very cheap. And the rest of Argentina is a fire sale.

Anyways, that’s my two cents. Stay tuned as there is more to come. Subscribe or bookmark the site and follow along to see what Buenos Aires is really like for digital nomads considering Argentina.

Stay tuned.

Where Can I Get More Information About Buenos Aires?

If you’re interested in Buenos Aires or Argentina in general you should visit our Complete Buenos Aires City Guide.

The Complete Buenos Aires City Guide is updated regularly. And it seeks to answer all of your questions regarding Buenos Aires and Argentina in one place.

You can read the Complete Buenos Aires City Guide for free here.