Quick Tips Before Deciding on a Semester Away in BA

In The Art of Travel Spring 2017, Buenos Aires, 14. Tips by Vanessa1 Comment

  1. Adjusting to the later clock: I know, I know what you are probably thinking. I live in New York City, its the city that never sleeps, right? Wrong. Like spainards, porteños eat super late, around 10pm to 11pm and on weekends the clubs usually only begin to open up around 1am. So make sure before you go out, take a siesta. It might possibly be the best thing you do for yourself while abroad.
  2. Cash obsessed: Like other Latin American cities, Buenos Aires is a cash centered economy meaning that alot of local restaurants, with the exception of most franchises, will only accept pesos. The same applies for filling up your subway card (called subte), taking taxis, going to the movies and much more. So always have cash on hand. Also, many American banks do not have sister banks in BA, which means evreytime you want to take out cash, you get charged a $5 fee and this can add up over the weeks, especially since the max you can withdraw from ATMs is $90. I started to use Western Union and would tranfser myself tons of cash and pick it up. I found that WU gave me a better exchnage rate than most banks and I saved money on bank fees.
  3. Forget about the postal service: If you are North American than you are probably used to USPS or Fedex, which is reliable and speedy. However, since you are now in Argentina forget your conceptions about on hassle free on time-delivery becuase the postal service in BA is awful. If you need your parents or friends to send you stuff from home, just dont. I had several friends over the course of the year, get sent packages and they would never recieve it. Also, all foreign mail ends up in downtown Buenos Aires so you have to go pick it up, spend hours in line at the post office and pay a fee depending on the contents of the package.
  4. Coffee blues : BA does not have good coffee. Since I have been here I have been able to scout out pretty decent to  damn good coffee spots. My list includes: Coffee Town (try the coconut latte!), Lattente, Full City Coffee House and Cafe Registrado.
  5. Flight agencies within Argentina: Perhaps, one of the most important tips has to do with booking plane tickets. Some airlines (like Andes Líneas Aéreas and Aerolineas Argentinas) have special prices only available  to Argentine residents or citizens. So you can be buying a ticket that has an unbeatable price and its only when you arrive at the airport that they ask for you Argentine ID. While this happens rarely ( it happened to a friend of mine) they can make you pay extra because you got a flight deal only applicable to residents. Of course its not clear on the website because this is Latin America after all but its advisable, when in doubt, to call up the airlines before you purshase the ticket.
  6. Crazy for peanut butter: If you are a fan of PB like me, then you should probably pack one or two jars with you as its hard to find in BA and its kinda expensive.
  7. Cat callers: While its certainly not as bad as Mexico, cat-calling is prevasive in BA.

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  1. Totally feel the pain about the cash obsessed life style in Europe. It’s like going from people using iPads to check you out to only accepting cash (which is annoying, esp if with the large ATM fees abroad too!) The PB advice is a good call! I should’ve mentioned bringing some snacks that you love from home in my post. I have heavily missed Trader Joe’s everything…

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