23 September 2012

Visiting Buenos Aires

Everyday for the year we've been planning our move to Buenos Aires, I've told every single person I know, "Come on down to Buenos Aires! It's so beautiful and fun and awesome and we'll totally put you up and we'll have a great time!". And this is all true! However, one real hurdle to visiting somewhere as far flung as Argentina is that it's not cheap to get there. Here are some things to consider if you are looking to make the trip:


Air travel is pricey and the flight from the States to Argentina is no exception. From Philadelphia, you'll likely fly three hours to Miami for a layover then another ten hours to Buenos Aires (or ten to Sao Paolo and three to Buenos Aires, something like that. Thirteen hours total). The price of the flight hovers around $1000 round trip per person. This, I realize, is totally insane. However! There are deals to be had and if you're serious about making the trip down, keep an eye out and do your research. Many people have had luck with Aeromexico and their US-South America specials. I'm talking $400 round trip tickets from Houston to BA. Of course, you'd have to get to Houston. But this would still be a really awesome deal.


You must have a valid passport to get into Argentina. A US passport costs $135 for first time, adult applicants and $110 for renewals and are valid for ten years. Processing times are 4-6 weeks which means it could take up to two months for it to be delivered to your door. For expedited service, you'll pay an additional $60 and a $12.72 delivery fee and can have your passport in 2-3 weeks. So if you don't already have a passport, apply with plenty of time.

Entry Fees

This is some dumb thing the government made up to make money. Citizens of the US, Canada, and Australia must pay an entry fee when visiting Argentina (Argentines pay it when they visit those countries as well). For US citizens, the fee is $160. This fee gets recorded on your passport and is good for reentry for ten years. To speed up this process, the fee must be paid online in advance and the receipt presented to customs officials at Ezeiza Airport upon arrival in BA. Dave has thoroughly explained the process here. Some people have avoided this fee by flying into Montevideo, Uruguay, taking a 3 hour bus ride to Colonia del Sacramento, (across the Rio de la Plata from Buenos Aires) and then a 1 hour ferry trip into Buenos Aires. Prices and convenience of this method may vary and I haven't looked into it, so if this of interest to you, you'll have to do the research!

The Good News!

If you can save up and swing these costs, Buenos Aires can be fairly inexpensive to visit. Just like any big city, there is plenty to do and see and eat that will set you back way too far. But there are also big time ways of doing it on the cheap and easy. For example:
Lunch and dinner out can cost around $10-15 USD per person and this includes bread, LOTS OF MEAT, a glass of wine, and coffee and cookies for dessert.
Domestic beers are usually $2 at any bar.
The buses and subway system are government subsidized and fairly extensive, so a ride anywhere in the city costs only 40 cents!
Also, museums often have discounted rates around $5 on particular days of the week if you're into that.
Let's put it this way...a bottle of decent Argentine Malbec wine can be bought at any corner store for $5! You could definitely get by in this town on not a lot of cheddah!

Check back here because I'm sure there will be updates once we get there. I will be keeping tabs on prices and deals and let you know! Keep in touch if you have any questions about how we worked it out.

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