Below are some general tips for life in Buenos Aires that didn’t quite fit into any of the other sections. If you have a tip to add please email us with your tip. If we add it to the site we’ll quite happily attribute to you with a link to your website.
Cell phones and electronics
Electronics in general are expensive in Argentina. If you plan to use a phone here the best thing to do is bring an unlocked SIM card phone from your home country. It is possible to find places to unlock phones here, but you are better off if you can get it done before you come. Some phones (newer iPhones) are problematic to crack.
Choosing a carrier here comes down to Claro, Movistar or Personal. Each offers a different package and all 3 are expensive for voice calls. Texting is by far the best option. Getting your phone started is as simple as buying a SIM card for 10 or 20 pesos from one of the carriers and also purchasing credit. Buying credit can be done at most kioscos. The credit is either put directly on your phone by the cashier if they have the computer system or you buy a ‘tarjeta’ which comes with instruction and a code to enter. If you need help the first time just ask.
If you are bringing your computer or other electronics over you will need to buy an adapter for the plug. Adapters are easily purchased from an electronics shop or a street vendor. They are relatively cheap costing 10 pesos and up. For cameras, phones and computers you don’t need a voltage converter (a hard plastic box attached to the power cord). Electronics should come with their own converter and can generally handle up to 240 volts. If you are not sure, check the sticker on it for the rating.
Theft & safety
It’s always good to keep your money and other valuables hidden and know your surroundings to guard against theft. The typical Argentine criminal is not interested in violence, but they do want your money or electronics. Common thefts around the city are grab and runs or a grab and bike. There have been (verified) cases of people grabbing a purse or a cell phone and running or riding away and unless you are a track star there is very little chance of you catching them. It seems this type of criminal is well trained and fast on their feet. They are also very good with their hands and can get into your pockets and bags without you ever noticing. Targeting people on crowded streets, subways and buses in a common occurrence.
Some areas are worse than others for thefts so get to know the city. La Boca is not recommended at night and parts of Retiro can be quite dangerous as well. San Telmo has some great bars, restaurants and apartments, but does have some opportunists. When going out at night it is always good to take just what you need.
The best way to satisify your cravings from home is by using your channel of friends and requesting a delivery when someone visits or returns from a trip back home. Much Frank’s Red Hot is acquired that way in order to keep the wings cravings at bay. If not, you can always try The Mule Pool.
The Correo is the Argentine post office. You can send anything from letters to parcels there. Rates vary from country to country and don’t expect them to be able to speak English so if you aren’t fluent in Spanish get some help or know how to ask for the service you want before going. Bring your passport and know your the address where you are staying before you go. Some useful words:
- to send – enviar
- I would like to send a package to… – Mi gusteria enviar un paquete a…
- address – la dirección
- name – nombre
- signature – firma
If you are here for the long haul and don’t want to miss out on your favourite shows back home you have a few good options for streaming online. Cuevana has many English shows and usually doesn’t kick you out after watching 72 minutes or less. If you can’t find what you want there, chances are that Sidereel will have it. To download movies or entire series on your computer many people use bittorrent clients Vuze or uTorrent. It does require you to download free software, further information on bittorrent software can be found here. And of course ask around on the forum if you want more suggestions. (We take no responsibility for third party software or websites so you are using them at your own risk and discretion).
If you’re bringing a laptop with you and want to make sure that your files are backed up somewhere safely, Dropbox is a free online backup service that most people who have used it rave about. There are other options available but Dropbox seems to be the most popular.