Buenos Aires Digital Nomad Guide (2023)
Buenos Aires is one of the best digital nomad cities in South America. The promise of an Argentina digital nomad visa is further sweetening the deal for remote workers. Here is a guide on where to work, stay and play in Argentina’s captivating capital.
The ultimate Buenos Aires digital nomad guide
Buenos Aires is a seductive city known for its European façade and Old-World charm. The architecture, the refined chaos, the juxtaposition of old and new, the cuisine, and the energy of this nocturnal capital all invite admiration and adoration.
Buenos Aires wants digital nomads to come and adore it and a city campaign targeting remote workers has been rolled out highlighting the many perks of relocating there. One of the touted benefits includes a competitive exchange range for people earning in stronger currencies than the Argentine peso like dollars and pounds.
If you are planning your next “workation” in Buenos Aires, read on for an introductory guide on where to work, stay and play.
Fast facts about Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires literally means “good airs” in Spanish. The Argentine capital is the most visited city in South America and has more theaters than any other city in the world (around 300).
Its residents are called Porteños, the people of the port. Perhaps one of the most famous porteños, Jorge Mario Bergoglio (also known as Pope Francis, the 266th pope), used to be a nightclub bouncer in the city before joining the seminary.
The metro system, Subte, is the oldest in Latin America and the Argentine tango originated in brothels here in the mid-1800s. An estimated 85% of the city’s residents are of European descent and curiously, Buenos Aires has more psychologists per capita than any city in the world according to World Health Organization data.
When to go to Buenos Aires
The seasons in Argentina are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere.
Summers in Buenos Aires (December till March) can be very humid and hot. January is when the heat is most intense. At this time, most locals flee to the beach resorts of Mar del Plata or go abroad to Uruguay, leaving behind a ghost city.
Although these are the rainiest seasons, fall (March till June) and spring (September to November) are pleasant times to visit.
The purple Jacaranda trees are in bloom in October and November making this one of the most beautiful times to see the city.
Winters (June till September) are rainy, overcast and cold but don’t expect snow — this has only happened twice.
If it’s community you’re after, groups of digital nomads are known to pop over to Buenos Aires before or after carnival in Brazil.
Where to stay in Buenos Aires (Neighbourhoods)
Buenos Aires’ 48 official neighbourhoods are distinct and often feature a marriage of architectural styles from colonial and neoclassical to art deco and brutalist styles within a matter of blocks. A luxe Parisian-style apartment building may exist right alongside a communist-looking conundrum. Many streets are named after the world. At any given moment, you may find yourself in Mexico, Córdoba, Honduras, Uruguay, or Bolivia, and what a delightful prospect that is.
Buenos Aires’ Palermo neighborhood feels somewhat like New York. There’s even a region called Palermo Soho. Palermo is an upper-middle-class, sprawling and trendy barrio that’s partitioned into Palermo Soho, Palermo Hollywood, and Las Cañitas. A sweet mix of residential and commercial, you’ll find the trendiest bars, delectable and varied cuisine, cool cafes (with decent Wi-Fi), museums like MALBA, and spacious parks to spend your downtime.
This largely residential area was the inspiration for the famous Mafalda comic strip by Quino. Its streets are leafy and sleepy though it’s witnessing a rise in hip bars due to its proximity to Palermo. Altogether, it’s much quieter and more reserved, and its prime tourist attraction is the Mercado de Pulgas market.
French architecture, grand mansions, Recoleta Cemetery, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, leafy parks, and tons of well-heeled Porteños are what you’ll find in Recoleta. Additionally, there’s the Recoleta Cultural Centre, which has plenty of exhibition rooms and breakaway areas for working, reading, and leisurely letting time go by.
Arguably Buenos Aires’ most charming area, San Telmo is teeming with cobbled streets and colonial houses with glory days well behind them. It’s the city’s oldest neighborhood and Plaza Dorrego is its beating heart while Mercado de San Telmo indoor market keeps stomachs full. A stroll around these parts feels like paying a visit to the days of yesteryear.
Coworking spaces in Buenos Aires
Community comes first at La Maquinita which has enviable breakout areas in all of its outposts dotted around the city. Two are in Palermo which has a high concentration of the city’s coworking spaces.
You’ll find global office space company WeWork in Retiro and Microcentro, which is perfect if you’d like to combine work with exploring the central areas. Microcentro is where you’ll find the iconic Café Tortoni (the oldest established café in Buenos
Aires) and Casa Rosada (Pink House) which is the presidential palace in Plaza de Mayo.
There’s a warm and inviting energy at both branches of Huerta Coworking — you even get free mate. For the unacquainted, mate is a bitter and invigorating, caffeinated green tea made from the yerba mate plant that’s sipped out of a metal gourd. It’s consumed anywhere, at any time, and it’s a staunchly Argentine custom. Numerous potted plants breathe life into the spaces and sustainability-conscious nomads will be pleased to know that Huerta Coworking is a certified B Corporation.
Cafes with Wi-Fi in Buenos Aires
If you didn’t peer further back into Palermo bookstore Eterna Cadencia, you wouldn’t know that it has a bright inner courtyard restaurant and cozy living room of sorts with reading chairs, cushions and funky wall art. Some English books are available for purchase within the shop as well.
Ninina selects, roasts, and prepares high-end coffees and serves mouth-watering cakes. Everything is so utterly photogenic here. For a slice of the action, visit the branches dotted all around the city including Villa Urquiza and Palermo.
La Panera Rosa
Pink is the name of the game at La Panera Rosa (The Pink Bread Basket), where everything is pink besides the actual food. This café chain comes all the way from Madrid but the menu has been suitably augmented for local tastes. You can sip mate from a pink gourd, devour an oh-so-sweet dulce de leche cake or eat a milanesa off of a pink plate (of course).
Lo Del Francés
Travel to Paris by way of Lo del Francés, a French bistro in San Telmo. It’s set over two floors with obligatory outside seating for the warmer months, and an upstairs area for added privacy. This place has a certain je ne sais quoi. Staff speak French and there are hearty, decorative meals from different regions in France.
Café Martinez is Argentina’s answer to Starbucks and it is wholly reliable; there’s practically one on any corner. Their budget-busting lunch specials are great fuel for working, too. Remote workers will appreciate that these cafes tend to have numerous tables next to plug sockets and nobody bats an eyelid if you’re working in one for extended periods.
Ateneo Grand Splendid
National Geographic called it the world’s most beautiful bookstore for very good reason. Ateneo Grand Splendid is housed in a former theater and a café now occupies the main stage. While there, be sure to head to the top balcony to admire the theater in all its glory.
What to do in Buenos Aires
1. Explore Microcentro
First-time visitors to Buenos Aires should begin exploring in Microcentro. This is where you’ll find the iconic Café Tortoni, El Obelisco (The Obelisk), the Ministry of Health and Social Development (which has two larger-than-life metal sculptures of Eva Perón that can be seen from far and wide), as well as Casa Rosada (Pink House), the presidential palace in Plaza de Mayo. You may recognize the building (and its balcony) from the movie ‘Evita’.
Caminito is a street museum in La Boca. Artist Benito Quinquela Martín transformed what used to be a landfill (and the city’s eyesore) by painting the walls in bright colors. Today it’s one of the most iconic landmarks in Buenos Aires.
Make friends with Fernando Botero and Frida Kahlo at MALBA, the Museum of Latin American Art. Buenos Aires is a famously creative city and MALBA is the jewel in its artistic crown.
4. Centro Cultural Recoleta
Buenos Aires has a museum mile which this cultural center is part of. There are 27 exhibition rooms at Centro Cultural Recoleta and outdoor restaurants, educational spaces, a music studio, a micro-cinema, and an amphitheater where one may enjoy concerts, workshops, and more for free. The building exterior itself is a work of art; it regularly gets a new lick of paint.
5. See a show at Teatro Colón
There are almost 300 active theatres in Buenos Aires; Teatro Colón is the glitziest and the one you can’t miss. It’s considered to be one of the five best opera houses in the world due to its incredible acoustics. Take it in via a guided tour or buy tickets for a show; it seats 4,000.
6. Follow the comic strip trail
Paseo de la Historieta in San Telmo is an open-air sculpture trail paying homage to Argentina’s most iconic comic book characters like Isidoro Cañones and Mafalda, who became popular throughout the Spanish-speaking world. She can be found sitting on a bench on the corner of Chile and Defensa. The trail spans San Telmo, Monserrat and Puerto Madero.
7. Explore Puerto Madero on foot
Treat yourself to an outdoor workout in Puerto Madero where you’re promised expansive water views and you can admire the old ports, Puente de la Mujer, a yacht club, and the area’s presidential residential buildings. Start at Parque Mujeres Argentinas, a park dedicated to the women of Argentina. Incidentally, many streets in Puerto Madero are named after women.
8. Don’t miss Centro Cultural Borges
This cultural centre is named after Buenos Aires’ most famous writer, Jorge Luis Borges, who famously compared the Falklands War (Las Malvinas) to ‘two bald men fighting over a comb’. Catch an art exhibition, go to a reading or take in a concert.
9. Salón 1923 at Palacio Barolo
One of the most outstanding buildings in Buenos Aires (and perhaps all of Latin America), Palacio Barolo was designed by Mario Palanti who stuffed it with overt references to Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy. Purchase tickets on the ground floor before your heavenly ascension up to Salón 1923, the impressive rooftop bar and restaurant.
10. Visit the oldest bookstore in the city
Argentina is a famously literary country and Buenos Aires has more bookstores per person than any other city in the world. There are over 700 book shops and having opened in 1785, Librería de Ávila on Adolfo Alsina 500 is reportedly the very oldest.
11. Exercise at Parque 3 de Febrero
Run, walk, row, rollerblade, or cycle with the rest of the fitness fanatics at the biggest park in the city. Parque 3 de Febrero is popularly known as Bosques de Palermo. It’s also home to the Galileo Galilei Planetarium, making your workout all the more scenic. This UFO-shaped planetarium stands on the site where the first-ever recorded football match in Argentina took place in 1867. Also within the park is El Rosedal, Palermo’s rose garden with over 18,000 beautiful roses. Skates, bikes, and even boats can all be rented within.
12. Have a revolutionary pastry
For breakfast and tea time (la merienda), porteños enjoy medialunas and facturas, which translate to ‘half moons’ and ‘receipts’. Medialunas are petite croissant-esque pastries in the shape of a crescent moon and facturas are buttery and flaky. They’re consumed solo or with a variety of unique fillings. Pastry names in Argentina may tickle and confound you as many were christened by the baker’s union with anti-church and anti-establishment names after a strike for better working conditions. While in Buenos Aires, also try cañoncitos (little cannons) and bolas de fraile (friar’s balls) or dulce de leche-filled suspiras de monja (nun’s sighs).
13. Take a trip to Tigre
Tigre is to Buenos Aires what The Hamptons are to New York City – a nearby oasis that’s miles away from city life. After a mere 40-minute drive (or an hour and a half train ride), you could be floating through this riverside town on a boat tour, kayaking, visiting the mate museum, or blowing off steam together at a jolly amusement park.
14. Try local pizza varieties
A strong Italian influence in Buenos Aires means pizza is big business. You can also find some uniquely Argentine pizzas here like fugazza, a cheese-free pizza with a thick dough that’s topped very generously with onions. Those who simply can’t do without their queso can opt for a fugazetta instead, which is a fugazza topped with cheese or a fugazetta rellena (filled).
15. Walk along Calle Lanín
Calle Lanín is a leafy, colourful dream come to life. The lane is decorated with multi-hued mosaic tiles throughout and they were placed by a local artist who started with his house and thankfully, then decorated many others.
16. Talk to locals
Of all its charm, alluring architecture, art, and enticing eats, the best thing about Buenos Aires is the people that live there. They are ever-willing to talk your ear off about their love of futbol, political theories or simply cook you a divine asado (steak). No one can show you how to enjoy this city and all its beautiful contradictions better than a bonafide Porteño.
17. Visit the San Telmo Sunday market
Every Sunday, many visit the Fería de San Telmo (San Telmo Antiques Fair), whether they intend to purchase antiques or not. To obtain a stall here, traders must sell items produced before the 1970s. Bursting out from Plaza Dorrego, one may enjoy live tango shows, shops, alfresco dining, and live performers all around San Telmo.
What to pack for Buenos Aires
Packing decisions will naturally hinge on when you’re visiting. Spring evenings are still chilly so you’ll do well with a light jacket. The Porteño is generally quite fashionable and favours a smart, classy style with not much skin on show – even in the warm summer months. Leave the backpacker gear at home to avoid standing out like a sore thumb.
Buenos Aires is coastal but not tropical and the stylistic temperament is relatively pared back. The dress code for tango shows is business casual. The city really lends itself to walking, so bring comfortable footwear. Women often wear platforms and modest heels to contend with the many pavement obstacles. Jeans are worn all year round. Flashy jewels, overly-branded attire, and valuables should be left at home. While the city is relatively safe, don’t bring undue attention to yourself.
Something else to bring with you is cash. Inflation has not been kind to Argentina. Your dollars, pounds, and euros will go further here, particularly if you change money to Argentine Pesos at the ‘unofficial’ rate and not with the banks. Cash withdrawal fees for foreign cards are notoriously high too.
Buenos Aires budget hotels and hostels
America del Sur Hostel
This fun (and large) San Telmo hostel will pad your itinerary and your social circle. Evening activities include pub crawls and tango lessons. Should your travels take you up north, America del Sur Hostel also has a sister hostel in Calafate. Highly recommended.
HTL 9 de Julio
Who doesn’t love luxe lofts at wallet-friendly prices? This affordable hotel is well-located within walking distance from numerous sites and a delicious breakfast is served right to your room by friendly, multi-lingual staff. The rooms are clean and there’s reliable Wi-Fi. Best of all? The rooms at HTL 9 de Julio are utterly humongous.
An immensely popular hostel chain with locations in San Telmo and Palermo. At Art Factory Soho, there are stunning murals painted by local artists. All dorms have plugs and lights.
Hostel chain Selina landed in Buenos Aires in 2019 with this Palermo Soho hot spot a stone’s throw from the throbbing nightlife of Plaza Serrano. Expect Selina’s typical uber-hip decor with everything from reggaeton classes to yoga sessions and dining options under one roof.
Play Hostel Soho
Play and stay at Play Hostel in Palermo Soho which has music-themed dorms and private rooms. It’s located just 6 blocks from Plaza Serrano and you get your money’s worth with a buffet breakfast each morning.
You get your money’s worth at Circus Hostel owing to the chic sun deck with pool and gardens. The whitewashed walls create an airy, clean ambiance and the prime location in San Telmo will delight. Plaza Dorrego is just three blocks away for the famous San Telmo Sunday market.
Buenos Aires mid-range hotels
There’s a nautical theme throughout at Hotel Pulitzer – after all, it’s close to the Naval Centre (and the Borges Cultural Centre too). The jewel in its crown is the 13th floor where you’ll find a rooftop pool with inviting sun loungers (open seasonally). Hotel Pulitzer is also home to one of Buenos Aires’ most fabulous rooftop bars, Sky Bar.
NH Buenos Aires 9 de Julio
Outdoor pool, bar, fitness centre, abundant breakfast options, and faultless service all within walking distance from pretty much everything – what’s not to love about this NH hotel? Take a dip on the rooftop pool while Evita towers over from the Ministry of Health building.
Hotel Madero is a business and couple-friendly hotel in Puerto Madero. The rooms are flooded with natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Don’t forget about the rooftop spa with panoramic city views.
A Hotel Buenos Aires
Part hotel, part gallery, purchasable paintings hang in each of the 34 rooms here. A Hotel is very well-priced in ritzy Recoleta and it’s conveniently located if you’d like to discover downtown Buenos Aires on foot, as well as Palermo.
Esplendor by Wyndham
Enjoy the splendour of 4-star Esplendor by Wyndham which is a three-minute walk from Galerías Pacifico shopping mall in downtown Buenos Aires. There’s the added elegance of immensely high ceilings, avant-garde decor and (lovable) oddball triangular cushions garnishing the beds.
Exe Hotel Colón
Stay at Exe Hotel Colón to sleep a stone’s throw from the widest avenue in the world and for rooms literally overlooking the Obelisk. Fret not, however, there’s soundproofing.
Buenos Aires boutique hotels
Nuss Buenos Aires Soho
There are 22 spacious rooms in this 100-year-old year Spanish-style convent-turned-boutique hotel. Nuss Buenos Aires Soho is set over four floors and the in-house chefs bake fresh bread each morning.
Mine Hotel is a great place to drink in the sights and sounds of Palermo Soho. Staff members are bilingual, rooms are colour-coordinated with spacious beds, the lobby and courtyard are warm and inviting, and you can enjoy a dip in the pool too.
Hotel Legado Mítico
Regularly making it onto the list of Buenos Aires’ best hotels is Legado Mítico, an intimate boutique property in Palermo. Each room is themed and as such, is a dive into Argentina’s history. Legado Mítico is worthy of your leisure time even just for the garden area, but you’ll particularly be enthralled by the library and reading rooms, which are a bibliophile’s dream.
Buenos Aires luxury hotels
Naturally, Buenos Aires has a wine hotel and Algodon Mansion is it. This 5-star property in upscale Recoleta boasts a swimming pool and complimentary wines. The building is an opulently restored French-style mansion. You may recognize the name from Mendoza’s Algodon Wine and Estates Champion Club.
Expect world-class service and regal French decor at Alvear Palace in Recoleta. This glamorous 5-star hotel has extravagant chandeliers, 207 rooms, and has won too many awards to count. Enjoy spectacular views at the Alvear Roof Bar or afternoon tea at L’Orangerie with service from white-gloved waiters.
A Leading Hotel of the World, this Phillipe Starck-designed powerhouse draws the fashionable crowd to Puerto Madero. Faena’s swimming pool is iconic with burgundy lounge chairs and a crown fountain in the water.
Palladio Hotel Buenos Aires
Palladio is an MGallery by Sofitel hotel in Recoleta. The on-site Negresco Bistró is perfect for fine dining enthusiasts. Escape to the heated rooftop pool or lounge at the spa. It’s located in leafy Plaza Rodriguez Peña.
Hilton Buenos Aires
You can expect the usual Hilton bells and whistles plus views of the city and the river in Puerto Madero. With three restaurants (El Faro, Alberto’s Lobby Bar and Croutons Grab and Go), you’ll never go hungry here.
Be Jardin Escondido
Be Jardin Escondido by Coppola has quite the back story. It was once the home of The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola and all seven rooms are named after a Coppola family member. ‘Francis’ is the best and largest room. There’s an outdoor kitchen with a lush garden and a parilla as well.
How to speak the lingo
Spanish is the official language of Argentina but Buenos Aires has its very own local slang by the name of Lunfardo. It emerged in the late 19th century as a result of different immigrant groups attempting to communicate with each other. In Argentine Spanish there are several words that are wildly different from the rest of the continent like palta (avocado) which is aguacate in other Latin countries, corn is choclo and not maíz, and mango isn’t used for the juicy fruit, it’s used to refer to money.
Even if you speak fluent Spanish you’re in for an adventure; some verbs are totally different and then there’s pronunciation. The Porteño accent has been likened to animated singing – in Italian. Within the tourist enclaves of the city, you will find some English speakers, however, having a Spanish phrasebook or translation app isn’t a bad idea.
I don’t know: No sé
The check, please: La cuenta, por favor
Do you speak English?: ¿Hablás Inglés?
How are you?: ¿Cómo andas? / ¿Cómo estás?
How much does it cost?: ¿Cuánto cuesta?
What time is it?: ¿A que hora es?
How to get around Buenos Aires
BA has a functioning underground service called the Subte. It’s clean, efficient, and generally safe. You’ll need a SUBE smart card to travel on public transport. They can be bought and recharged at stations, tourist assistance centres, and at kiosks throughout the city. The metro does not run past midnight.
Buses are called colectivos or bondis in Buenos Aires. The city has an extensive bus network and service is frequent and affordable. Note that any day of the week there may be a protest which might disrupt your travel plans.
Though Uber has been legal for several years, getting one can be tricky in some places. A longstanding war with taxi drivers means Uber drivers may be apprehensive about dropping off and picking up passengers from the airport arrival and departure gates, for instance. They might also request that you sit in the front to blend in.
EcoBici is the free 24-hour bike share scheme that runs in Buenos Aires. Non-residents can register online or by downloading the BA EcoBici app. You’ll need a credit card, proof of address, and a scanned copy of your passport. There are more than 100 stations around the city and over 130km of bike paths.
It is indeed safe to walk around Buenos Aires in the day. Nighttime is another story and Palermo is pretty much the only place you should really do this. Exercise caution all the same there too. The area around Constitución station is to be avoided at all costs at any time of the day – even taxis are fearful.
Travelling in and out of Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires has two major airports. The main one is Ministro Pistarini International Airport but it’s better known as Ezeiza (code EZE). Most international flights land here. The domestic airport is Aeroparque Internacional Jorge Newbery (code AEP). El Palomar is a third airport on the outskirts of the city that’s served by just two low-cost airlines. You will need proof of onward travel before boarding a plane to Argentina so keep this in mind if travelling on a one-way ticket.
Domestic land travel
Retiro station is the gateway to adventures in all parts of Argentina. There are trains and buses to Tigre, Rosario, Córdoba, and Tucumán in the north. Constitución and Once stations also serve long-distance routes.
Travelling to Chile from Buenos Aires
You’re better off flying to Santiago in Chile rather than making the 21-hour bus journey via Mendoza. If you can stomach it, the Mendoza to Santiago segment is a scenic ride through the Andes.
Travelling to Uruguay from Buenos Aires
You can get to Colonia, Punta del Este, and Montevideo in Uruguay by ferry from Puerto Madero. The journey to Montevideo takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes. Bookmark Buquebus and Colonia Express. The bus from Retiro station takes just under 8 hours and arrives at Montevideo Tres Cruces station. This is the cheaper way to go. Flying is possible from either Ezeiza or Aeroparque. Note that the ferry is faster than flying.
Tips to get the best out of Buenos Aires
Save on food
Porteños have a penchant for late dining. As such, many restaurants offer discounts – sometimes as much as 30 percent off – for those who dare to eat early. To please your palate as well as your wallet, eat at bodegóns (Argentine canteens) and watch out for the menú del día (daily menu) or menús ejectivos (executive menus) during the week. These specials typically consist of three courses and a drink, and they’re usually publicised on chalkboards outside restaurants.
Look up and around
Pay special attention to the wonderful art that exists naturally in Buenos Aires. There are impressive murals, narrow cobblestone streets and fileteado, a decorative style of flowery writing that’s unique to Buenos Aires and its tango culture. You’ll find it in spades at Paseo del Fileteado in Calle Jean Jaures in Balvanera.
* Last updated on 5 March 2023.