Costa Rica Blog

A look at Argentina for expats and retirees looking to move abroad

Posted by Steve Linder on Tue, Mar, 01, 2011

In the next few months, I am going to look at 20 countries that are often sought out by Expats and Retirees.  Each will be as a comparison to living elsewhere, including owning property in Costa Rica, the US or Canada.


Home of the tango, los gauchos and Buenos Aires (known as the Paris of Latin America), Argentina is a vibrant and diverse country.  Most expats settle in the capital, Buenos Aires, and who could blame them?  The city is easy to navigate, thanks to integrated public transportation, and is home to world-class shopping and dining.  It’s been called South America’s most European city, and that influence can be seen in the French and Italian architecture and wide, tree-lined avenues.  Buenos Aires is tantalizingly full of culture, including hundreds of theatres, cinemas, museums art galleries and all-night bookstores. It’s a place that’s sophisticated during the day, but sizzling at night.

On the other hand, if you’d like to get away from the hustle and bustle, there are plenty of smaller countryside towns to settle down at.  Although you should try to learn Spanish no matter where you decide to stay, this is more important the farther you travel from Buenos Aires.

The simplest way to obtain residency in Argentina is to apply for a temporary one-year visa, which can be renewed every year.  After you have spent several years in the country you can apply for a long-term visa.  There are also specific retirement visas available which require you to prove that you have a steady income of about US$1000 per month.

Argentina was a famously inexpensive destination in the early 2000s, and although the last few years have seen prices increase considerably, the cost of living is still quite low.  As an example, a steak dinner at a high-class restaurant will set you back only 40 pesos, or about US$13.  Steak is of course another Argentine trademark, and though meat-lovers will be at home here, there are plenty of vegetarian options as well, especially pasta and pizza.

Country Overview

Argentina is the second largest country in South America, situated between the Andes mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. It can be divided into four main geographical regions: the fertile central plains of the Pampas, the southern plateau of Pategonia, semi-arid lowlands of the Gran Chaco in the north, and the rugged Andes mountains along the western border.   The climate is generally temperate, and ranges from subtropical in the north, where the summers are very hot and humid and the winters mild, to subpolar in the south, where summers are warm and winters bring heavy snowfall.

Facts and Figures

Argentina’s population was about 40.5 million in 2008 and is estimated to be 42.7 million by 2015.  Most people speak Spanish, which is the official language.

In terms of crime, the rate of intentional homicides is 5.45 per 100,000 people, which is just slightly higher than that of the United States.


Political Instability Index (out of ten): 7.1


Quality of Life ranking (out of ten): 6.469



In terms of currency, one US dollar is roughly equal to 3.05 Argentinian pesos.

Price of a round-trip flight to Buenos Aires (in US dollars):

From New York: $1067 (Expedia), $1,606  (American Airlines)

From Los Angeles: $1,053  (Expedia), $1,298  (American Airlines)

From Miami: $1,040  (Expedia), $1,418  (American Airlines)

Price to rent an economy car for 10 days in Buenos Aires (in US dollars): $354.53

Median price for an apartment in Buenos Aires’s city center: $2,625 per square metre

Tags: Expats, retirees, north americans living abroad, baby boomersm, Costa Rica