The Pros & Cons of Living in Argentina

Are you a type-A list maker and considering a move abroad?

If so, I bet you’ve got a few pro/con lists floating around on your phone.

I’m here to add one more list and I hope it helps you decide.

Living in Argentina: Pros and Cons

I’ve lived in Buenos Aires for 11 years now and when it comes to life here I am overflowing with opinions.

There is so much I love!

But of course, there are two sides to every coin.

A lot about life here really frustrates me.

I hope this post helps give you an idea of what life is like here.

Spoiler alert: in the grand scheme of things, the good outweighs the bad. I love living in Argentina.

Read More about Life in Argentina:

This post is more opinion than fact. If you want more logistical help to plan your move to Argentina, read these posts:

A graphic of three images of Argentina with the text Expat Life in Argentina

The Cons of living in Argentina

I’m going to rip off the band-aid and complain first so this post (and my mood) ends on a happier note.

Here is my list of cons to expat life in Argentina.


Things here aren’t very organized and life here can be a struggle for those of us who are Type A.

One example, more than once a doctor has miswritten one number or a date on a prescription and the pharmacy rejected it.

The only solution?

Making another appointment with the doctor and missing half a day of work to travel across town to said appointment (again), all to get a new prescription.

Back home the pharmacy would just call the doctor and that would be that.

Some things have gotten better. For example, government websites have gotten 150% better than when I moved here. Forms and information about visa requirements are much more understandable and organized.

But still, plan on working on your patience if you move here.

Difficult Economy

The economy in Argentina is notoriously volatile.

Inflation averages 30% per year and local salaries don’t always keep up.

Expect to see constant price changes and even have a built-in price adjustment in rental contracts.

The financial situation here swings from years where everything is wildly expensive to years where everything is unbelievably cheap (if you earn dollars).

Research what kind of year it is currently before making your move.

Also, finding a job here “en blanco” (as in, legally with papers) is very difficult for foreigners. Most jobs will be “en negro” or under the table and pay very little.

If you plan on moving to Argentina, I recommend doing so as a digital nomad.

Earning dollars vs. pesos can make or break your lifestyle in Argentina.

The economy may be volatile, but views like this in Patagonia definitely make up for it.

Everything and Everyone is Late

I’m punctual to a fault so this is a personal beef of mine with Argentina.

My chronically late friends actually love this about life here so if you’re often tardy you’ll fit right in!

But if you’re like me, make sure to keep your kindle in your purse for when you inevitably spend an hour waiting for your friends at the bar.

Also, the overall schedule of life is very late. Which for me as a morning person is difficult. If you’re a late riser and a night owl, welcome to paradise.

Import Restrictions

It is very difficult to import things into Argentina.

When Christina Kirchner was president it was impossibly hard with very high taxes, meaning the shelves were rather bare.

Things are better now but not by much.

Products get held up in customs for long periods and the taxes are so high that once they make it to stores they cost double or more than their original price.

Because of this don’t expect a lot of variety in the supermarkets (to put it mildly) or big name brands like Ikea offering cheap home goods. It’s just not here.

Say Goodbye to Care Packages

On a related note to the above-mentioned importation issues, receiving mail is next to impossible here. And when possible, it might cost you a small fortune.

The only exception: I’ve never had any issues receiving letters or small envelopes.

But big care packages or Amazon from abroad? Don’t bother.

Taxes are exorbitant, and they don’t only tax the value of the item but shipping and handling.

USPS and Correos packages will likely get held up in the customs office in Retiro where the joy of an entire day in lines awaits you.

And worse, courier services like FedEx and DHL often get stuck in the customs office at Ezeiza, the international airport an hour or so outside of town.

When I first moved here, I spent an ungodly amount to take a taxi to and from the airport to pick up some winter clothes my mom shipped me.

The amount I spent on the taxi and taxes… I shudder to think of it. I could have bought a new winter wardrobe here.


Argentina is far from just about everything. It is a 10-hour flight to Miami and 12-15 hours to Europe’s major cities.

And once you’re in Argentina, that problem persists.

The distance between local destinations is also vast. Mendoza and Iguazu are over 2 and a half hours by flight, with 3-4 hours to reach Patagonia.

While there is a lot to see in the Buenos Aires province (mainly historic small towns and the Atlantic coastline), the quick weekend getaways you might be used to in Europe aren’t as easy here, and trips back home require savings and effort.

Note: In the past two years, a new budget airline, Flybondi, has established itself here driving flight prices down. As long as they stay in business domestic travel will be reasonable.

Before Flybondi, it cost hundreds of dollars for domestic flights and people took long-distance buses instead, which were far from luxurious.

I love my life in Argentina!

The Pros of living in Argentina

Ok, shake it off. I’m done complaining (but it was definitely cathartics), let’s get into the good!

Here are my favorite things about my Argentina life.

Relationships are Everything

Relationships are the center of life in Argentina.

Friendships are lifelong. Families get together every single week for a shared meal that lasts for hours.

Even typically debaucherous New Year’s Eve is a family-focused holiday!

And when you have plans with someone in Argentina, you truly have their attention.

Lunch at a friend’s house means they’ve likely blocked out the entire afternoon for the event.

There’s no glancing at their phones to rush off to their next meeting.

You’re not just a tiny fraction of their day, an obligation to meet, you are their day.

This focus on friends and family is one of the main draws to raising a family in Argentina for me. It’s unbeatable.

Rich Culture

If you’re looking for culture, you will find it in spades in Buenos Aires.

Attend the ballet or an orchestra at The Teatro Colon Opera House or experience theater in complete darkness at the Teatro Ciego.

Every Monday night the Konex Cultural Center fills to the brim with people from all walks of life packed in shoulder to shoulder to see the Bomba de Tiempo drum troop.

Milongas are open every night of the week into the wee hours of the morning for passionate tango dancers looking to hone their craft.

For the bibliophiles, Buenos Aires is home to the most bookstores per capita than any other city in the world. Related, there is a yearly bookfair that draws thousands of attendees.

So naturally, Porteños are well-read and cultured. And nothing is off the table when it comes to dinner conversation. Friends and family heatedly debate politics and religion then laugh it off over dessert. No harm done.

If you move to Argentina to experience the rich culture you will never be bored.

Messi, Maradona, Yerba Mate, Steak, Wine, Folkloric music, the beautiful street art in Buenos Aires, weekend street fairs, and the street performers that come with them…the list is neverending.

Argentina is gorgeous and diverse, this is Tierra del Fuego National Park in Ushuaia, the literal end of the world!

Argentina is Stunningly Beautiful

Argentina is gorgeous and incredibly diverse. You’ll never run out of places to explore here.

After 11 years of living in Argentina, I still feel like I’ve only scratched the surface.

There are jungle and waterfalls in the northeast, canyons and rainbow mountains in the northwest, multiple world-class wine regions, and all that Patagonia has to offer from the Andes to the Atlantic Ocean.

If you love nature, you will LOVE Argentina.

The Climate

The weather and overall climate in Argentina are fairly mild.

Sure, you’ll have hot, muggy summers in Buenos Aires and extremely cold winters in the deep south of Patagonia but overall it’s pleasant.

And bonus: there are no natural disasters to contend with. You won’t have to worry about hurricanes, monsoons, or tornados in Argentina!

The Food (& Drink) Scene

Foodie expats should train their sights on Buenos Aires.

Eat your weight in sirloin at the best steakhouses in Buenos Aires, taste decadently cheesy pizza on Avenida Corrientes, and eat gnocchi on the 29th of every month.

Argentina is overflowing with gastronomic tradition.

New food markets are opening all over the city. My favorite is Patio de los Lecheros in Caballito, a previously neglected train station turned foodie destination.

Events like Masticar let you try the best of the best from local restaurants’ food trucks while attending lectures by the country’s best chefs.

Closed-door restaurants (puertas cerradas) are another Buenos Aires must-try experience.

In an effort to open new businesses in a notoriously difficult economy, many chefs operate restaurants out of their own homes.

And let’s not forget the drinks. The coffee scene is also burgeoning and competing with the city’s love of wine and artisanal beer.


Healthcare is quite possibly one of the most important things to consider when looking for a new country to call home.

The excellent (and affordable) healthcare in Argentina is one of the main reasons I love living here.

I pay less than $100 US for my monthly premium and it covers just about everything.

I’ve done it all from root canals and dental work to a week-long hospital stay for pneumonia to having a baby here. I can personally attest that the care you receive here is top-notch.

It’s unbelievably freeing not to worry about a medical emergency wiping out my family’s savings and a major pro to living in Argentina.

Note: Public healthcare is free for all but is drastically underfunded. If you have the resources (and if you’re an expat you should), leave the public system for those who truly need it and contract a private plan.

Pros & Cons to Argentina Expat Life

These were my personal list of living in Argentina pros and cons.

There are things to love and hate about everywhere and each person’s lists will be different.

I hope my perspective helps!

If you’ve been here before, do you agree? Let me know what you love or dislike about life here!

26 thoughts on “The Pros & Cons of Living in Argentina”

  1. Great, complete and beautiful blog! Happy that I’ve found it 🙂 Greets from an Argentinian living in Berlin.

  2. I am from Ohio, USA and was an exchange student in 2000-2001 in Balcarce, BsAs. I officially moved here in 2011 to Capital. I married my Argetine husband in 2012 and we have a now 4-year old son. We currently live in Pilar, BsAs.
    I relate to so many of your comments!
    Health care… When I was JUST a GIRLFRIEND to my now husband, I received OSDE 310 only because we noterized a piece of paper saying I was living with him! I didn’t even have my DNI! In the States I opted not to have health insurance because the preium was way too high, had a high deductible, a high co-pay, and basically only covered a BandAid. Since living here I have had routine gynocological visits, teeth cleanings and some fillings, my gall bladder removed, a hip replacement and rehabilitation therapy, a salpingostomy, fertility treatments which include In-Vitro, my son was born in Los Arcos, an ectopic pregnancy and had the fallopian tube removed, and ALL of these above mentioned things NEVER cost me more than the monthly plan premium! IMPOSSIBLE in the States!! And, it’s so reassurring to know that if we are ever in a crisis and are without insurance, there ARE FREE hospitals that will not charge us if we have to use their services. It’s sometimes overwhelming to listen to my family back home talking about how they have to choose to pay for necessary medication even WITH insurance. I’m very grateful to Argentina’s health system.

  3. Ohhh health care, I can’t even begin to think about how many thousands of dollars I’d have spent in the US on what I’ve gotten for just my monthly premium here! Like you: fertility treatments, birth (also in Los Arcos!!), a 5 night Los Arcos hospital stay for pneumonia, an endoscopy for gastro issues, regular check-ups and dental (a root canal and a crown and fillings)…the only thing I had to pay extra for was the crown itself!

  4. I have been to Buenos Aires several times, and stayed three months every time, short term but was able to have my opinion and I love it there. Being a retiree, I would relocate there but, I am very attached to my son who won’t go there so that makes it hard for me to relocate, since I know I would miss him. My favorite are the people and food to be honest. As far as dental I have done much dental work there and I am amazed in their great dentist and cost compared to the States. When I tell friends here what I paid for a root canal there they don’t believe me. Buenos Aires beside Malaga Spain are always in my mind and as soon as a heal from a back surgery both will be seeing me again.

  5. I’m so glad you’ve loved spending so much time here!!
    I’ve also had a great experience with a root canal here, more Americans should really consider traveling for expensive but basic medical treatments!

  6. I was so please to read your comments. I will be visiting Argentina for a month, probably coming November, What is you opinion on the cost of living. I am coming from Canada. Can we hire you once in Argentina

  7. Hi Greg, I really couldn’t weigh in not knowing you personally, the job, your cost/style of living, but you can always give it a try and see if you like it! Good luck!

  8. I am Impressed by your vast knowledge of My Country Argentina.
    to be honest some things you seem to know better than me .
    congrats on this wonderful website you have started..
    It seems very honest and full of good information
    One of the cons of Argentina in my opinion is the lack of information on what to do and where to go .
    I didn’t see mention to much of the Safety and Security information about Buenos Aires
    hope it has improved since in Moved to the USA 15 years ago to Texas .
    I always do measure security relative to the size of the cities so overall I would consider Buenos Aires safe.

    congrats again

  9. Hi Pedro! Thanks for your kind words.
    I think Buenos Aires is a relatively safe city with the same problems you’ll find in any city like petty crime (motochorros, phone thieves, etc) but I’ve never felt any danger here in 12 years <3

  10. I’m sure it’s a great place to live, I don’t really know the city well (I’ve only been once) but the coast is a great place for a family.

  11. Hi there,

    I’m noticing small farms/wineries (25-50 acres) available for sale around the wine country in Mendoza for sale between $50,000 and $250,000, which seems very reasonable to me. Do you know anything about Mendoza as far as safety, etc.? Income isn’t be an issue, as the property is really more for somewhere for my boys to go in case the US decides to go to war with Russia. I’d like to have somewhere for them to go and perhaps look at citizenship down the road. I’m really tired of being dragged from one war to the next ever time we get a new President.

    Thanks for your help!

  12. Hi John, Mendoza is relatively safe as far as I know. In the city I would think you’d need to practice the same precautions you would in any big city. As far as having a large property like a farm, we have family in San Rafael with a farm and they keep large dogs on the property (the local Dogo breed is a particularly good guard dog) and they tend to deter any break ins. If you have a home in the country anywhere in Argentina it’s good to have it occupied rather than sitting empty, as there have been stories of it being occupied and if the “ocupas” have children it can be very very hard to dislocate them. Just a couple things to keep in mind

  13. Hello, I lived in Mendoza, Argentina for eight years. It is a nice city, it is low-key compared to Buenos Aires. It is ideal if you enjoy Mountains and the outdoors and family life. It is not great if you need a lot of variety in museums or great cultural activities.

    As far as doctors are concerned, we all need to be VIGILANT about our health anywhere in the world. In the U.S., medical technology is outstanding. There are good doctors and dangerously mediocre ones too!

  14. Excellent! I am argentinian, I am living in US since 2012 and I got my citizenship in 2018. I perfectly know both systems and i can say that your comments are absolutely true. Thank you so much!

  15. I went to Argentina in the winter (USA) of 2010. I spent 3 months there, mostly in the beautiful City of Rosario. At the time I spoke no Spanish, but everything worked out. This was before cell phones and the translator app. I also traveled to to Mendoza and Iguazu. I was very fortunate to meet a beautiful Argentine woman and spent the majority of my time with her and her family. I agree with virtually everything you have said. The Argentine people are wonderful to be around and to spend time with. They have an easy way about them. Their life is centered around their family. Sometimes I think that I made a big mistake of not continuing the relationship and bringing her back to the USA . I still remember the time and moments we spent together. It was incredible!
    Argentina was one of the wealthiest countries in the world before and during WWI. Europe was starving and Argentina was able to supply Europe with the food they needed. Argentina was devastated by the world depression that followed. It never recovered!
    The politics and economy are not good, and it is at the end of the world to get there, but there is something very special about the country and the people who live there. We in America could learn a great deal from these people. Perhaps it is time for me to make a return visit!

  16. Good day Solsalute, Good website, and very informative and helpful info, advice, and opinions. I don’t speak Spanish, I speak English, and some elementary and secondary school Canadian French as a second language, although I’d have to really think about it in practical use. How difficult would it be to get along around the country, with that set/level of communications skills? I assume the bigger cities and business centers probably have more ESL than outside the major urban centers? It seems you’ve managed to adapt to life there quite well, and probably in both languages?
    Also, if someone did emigrate to Argentina from Canada, as an example, are the goods and belongings you bring with you in your move taxed at entry, or do they let you “bring some of your stuff in tax free” to settle in to your new home/life?
    Regards, Mike.

  17. Hi Mike,
    I spoke Spanish before I moved here and it has helped immensely. You’ll be able to get by without Spanish in Buenos Aires but when you get out of the urban centers you’ll find most people don’t speak English and French won’t get you too far either. I’d study some Spanish before arriving or once you get here if you plan on living here.
    And regarding taxes, I don’t know specifically but I do know taxes are huge here. I’d say it’s unlikely and you’d be better off purchasing things here to settle in.

  18. My Argentine wife and I (Canadian) live in Misiones where we purchased 2017 a plantation and could not be happier.
    Argentines have their pros and cons, but so does every citizen of any country. I am originally from Quebec City and wife lived in Montreal previously so the joie de vie culture is similar to Argentina. Argentina to us is paradise compared to Canada, and especially our former home in Metro vangroovy BC. We tell all our friends Argentina to us is heaven on earth and they need to visit here to truly experience paradise.

  19. Hi solsalute!
    I have always wanted to visit Argentina, and reading about your life there has peaked my interest even further! Myself, my husband, and our 3 children live in Virginia. He will be retiring from the Navy in the next couple of years and we will finally be free to leave. We want to explore moving outside of the States. What areas would you suggest we look into?
    Thanks so much! 😊

  20. Hi,
    My husband and I are moving in Argentina next month. You are saying that health insurance is affordable but being seniors, are we allowed to have that insurance or do we have to have private?
    Keep up the good work!

  21. Hi Diane, you can and should get a private plan with a company like OSDE or Swiss Medical. I have Swiss Medical and it’s about 70 dollars a month for me and my two kids. Prices go up for each age group but it should still be affordable and very worthwhile.

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