The cost of living in Buenos Aires is above average compared to many large cities, due in part to the country's economic instability. Buenos Aires is a vibrant and lively city that offers a unique blend of European and South American culture. For expats, the cost of living in Buenos Aires can vary depending on their lifestyle, preferences and expectations.

Buenos Aires ranked 45th out of 227 cities in the 2023 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, placing it as more expensive than Sydney, Australia and Rome, Italy, but significantly cheaper than Paris, France and Luanda, Angola.


Cost of accommodation in Buenos Aires

Accommodation in Buenos Aires can be one of the biggest expenses for expats. The cost of renting an apartment can vary significantly depending on the area or suburb, size and amenities. Expats can find apartments ranging from modern high-rises to older buildings with traditional architecture.

Some neighbourhoods, such as Palermo and Recoleta, are considered upscale and more expensive, while others, such as San Telmo and Almagro, are more affordable. Expats should be aware that if they choose to rent in Argentina they will pay much more than what a local would.

They will be required to provide a few months’ rent in advance and will also need a guarantor. New arrivals needn't worry about utilities, as electricity is relatively inexpensive and heavily subsidised.


Cost of transport in Buenos Aires

Public transport in Buenos Aires is extensive and affordable. The city's public transport system, including buses, subways and trains, can be affordable for daily commuting. However, taxis and ride-sharing services can be more expensive, especially during rush hour or at night.

Argentina no longer has its own automobile industry, making cars very expensive in the country as the import tax is up to 35 percent. That said, expats will find that there are excellent quality second-hand cars available.


Cost of education in Buenos Aires

The cost of education in Buenos Aires can be a significant expense, especially for those seeking private or international schooling options. Public schools in Argentina are free of charge and available to all residents, but they are taught in Spanish, which may be a barrier for expat children who are not fluent in the language.

Private schools can be a more viable option for expat families, as many offer bilingual education in English and Spanish or other languages. International schools in Buenos Aires are another option for expat families, offering education in English or other languages and often following international curricula such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme.


Cost of groceries in Buenos Aires

The cost of groceries in Buenos Aires for expats can be affordable, especially if they shop at local markets and prioritise locally-produced goods. Local markets, known as ferias, offer fresh produce and meat at lower prices than supermarkets, but they may be less convenient and have more limited hours of operation. Supermarkets, on the other hand, offer a wider selection of products, including imported goods, and may offer delivery services for added convenience.

Basic staples such as bread, rice and beans can be inexpensive, while meat and dairy products may be more expensive. Imported goods, such as cheese and wine, may also be pricier than local products.


Cost of healthcare in Buenos Aires

Public healthcare in Argentina is free of charge and available to all residents, but the quality of care may vary and waiting times for appointments can be long – this is largely true of healthcare in Buenos Aires too. The city has a good public healthcare system, but expats may prefer private healthcare for better quality and faster service. Many expats find health insurance in Argentina to be inexpensive, and general healthcare costs for things like visits to the doctor, hospital stays and non-prescription medicines are modest.


Cost of entertainment and eating out in Buenos Aires

Eating out can be very affordable, with a wide range of restaurants and cafés offering local and international cuisine. Expats can enjoy traditional Argentinean dishes, such as empanadas, asado and mate, as well as international cuisine, such as sushi and pizza. However, cooking at home can also be affordable, with fresh produce and meat available at local markets and supermarkets.

The cost of entertainment in Buenos Aires can vary depending on the type of activity and venue. Expats can enjoy a wide range of cultural and entertainment options in the city, including museums, theatres, art galleries, live music and sports events. To save money on entertainment in Buenos Aires, expats can also take advantage of free outdoor activities, such as visiting the many parks and plazas in the city, exploring the street art scene and attending public events and festivals.

Some top attractions and things to see in Buenos Aires include the iconic Recoleta Cemetery, the colourful Caminito street in La Boca, the historic Teatro Colón and the lively tango shows and milongas. Throughout the year, there are also many annual events and festivals, such as the Carnival, the Buenos Aires International Book Fair and the Tango Festival and World Cup.


Cost of living in Buenos Aires chart

Prices may vary depending on location and service provider. The table below is based on average prices for March 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

ARS 119,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

ARS 87,000

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

ARS 61,000

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

ARS 45,000

Food and drink

Dozen eggs

ARS 500

Milk (1 litre)

ARS 260

Rice (1kg)

ARS 172

Loaf of white bread

ARS 260

Chicken breasts (1kg)

ARS 1,280

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

ARS 780

Eating out

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

ARS 5,700

Big Mac meal

ARS 1,920

Coca-Cola (330ml)

ARS 201

Cappuccino

ARS 340

Bottle of beer (local)

ARS 390

Utilities/household

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

ARS 57

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

ARS 3,500

Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)

ARS 11,700

Transportation

Taxi rate/km

ARS 99

City-centre public transport fare

ARS 29

Gasoline (per litre)

ARS 19

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