- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Argentina Guide (PDF)
Argentina offers a stunning and relatively undiscovered destination for expats seeking to relocate to a new country. Argentina's vast plains, the Pampas, are a verdant expanse of natural beauty, stretching out along the country's eastern coast. The imposing Andes mountain range to the west provides a majestic and awe-inspiring backdrop to the country's already stunning landscape.
Despite its immense size providing an expansive sense of space and natural beauty, with an area 11 times larger than the United Kingdom, Argentina's population is just over 46 million people. Only by taking a leap of faith and committing to a long-term stay can one truly appreciate the breadth of Argentina's natural beauty.
With its rich tapestry of cultures and vibrant way of life, Argentina is a country that exudes a palpable sense of excitement and energy for expats looking to make it their home. From the bustling city streets of Buenos Aires to the laid-back lifestyle of the countryside, Argentina beckons to those searching for a home that promises many experiences.
Living in Argentina as an expat
Argentina's 23 provinces are a colourful mosaic of distinctive regions, each with its own unique character and allure. The cosmopolitan capital city of Buenos Aires is a bustling metropolis that pulses with the rhythms of daily life, a vibrant blend of European, indigenous and African influences. Each province offers its own unique charm and opportunities, and expats need to research and determine which location suits their needs. Outside the main urban areas, expats will find a sparsity of other foreigners and English speakers.
Despite Argentina's robust GDP, political and economic stability remains elusive in a region plagued by corruption and mismanagement, and the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia–Ukraine conflict have further impacted the country's stability. Argentina's economic instability has created a dynamic and exciting real estate market, full of opportunities for those looking to invest in this extraordinary country. There are opportunities for foreigners to purchase land, although the legal requirements can be complex.
Outside of being assigned by a large multinational corporation and getting transferred to Argentina, or relocating to Argentina with a specialised and in-demand skill set, employment opportunities are rather limited for expats. English teaching, tourism and hospitality are popular jobs for expats. Argentina also presents interesting freelance and entrepreneurship opportunities, particularly in technology and education.
It is advisable for expats to have a good working knowledge of Spanish, as it is the official language and essential for daily life. However, in some regions with higher levels of tourism, English proficiency may be more prevalent.
Cost of living in Argentina
Argentina offers expats an affordable and high quality of life, with the cost of living in the country's rural areas being particularly low. That said, salaries in Argentina tend to be low too, and expats should look to find a job with an international company where they are not earning Argentinian pesos. Due to the country's economic instability, inflation is extremely high at times and prices can soar, which is all the more reason to earn an offshore income.
Expat families and children
Expats moving to Argentina with their families will find a range of schooling options available, including both Spanish and English-language schools. The cost of tuition fees can vary depending on whether the school is state-funded or privately owned. Expats should research and visit potential schools before deciding on which one to enrol their children in. Families with children may be interested in housing options with large gardens or proximity to parks, particularly in major cities. This will provide ample space for children to play and explore their surroundings.
Healthcare in Argentina is generally considered to be of good quality, with well-trained medical professionals and modern facilities in most urban areas. The country's public healthcare system provides free medical care to all citizens and residents. The system is funded by taxes and covers a wide range of services, including consultations, hospitalisation, emergency care and medication. Additionally, the private healthcare sector offers a higher standard of care but can be expensive. Expats are recommended to have private health insurance to cover the cost of private healthcare services, as the public system can sometimes experience long waiting times and overcrowding.
Argentina has an efficient and extensive transport system, including buses, trains and subways, making it easy for expat families to move around cities without needing to own a car. It is worth noting that rush hour traffic can be heavy in major cities, so it may be best to plan accordingly to avoid long commute times.
Climate in Argentina
From the sultry heat of the subtropical north to the snow-capped peaks of the southern Andes, Argentina's climate is a diverse and ever-changing canvas of natural wonder, ready to be explored by adventurous expats. Expats moving to the country can expect to experience four distinct seasons, with summer closing out the year and winter dominating the middle months. In Buenos Aires, which is Argentina's most popular expat destination, summers can be humid and hot, while winters are generally mild. The majority of the rainfall in the city takes place during the summer months.
With its delicious cuisine, rich history, and vibrant culture, Argentina is a country that rewards those who take the time to fully immerse themselves in its many charms and delights. Those who take the time to learn the language and immerse themselves in the local culture will find that they can easily adapt to life in Argentina and make it their home.
Full name: Argentine Republic (República Argentina)
Population: Around 46 million
Capital city: Buenos Aires
Other major cities: Córdoba, Rosario, Mendoza
Neighbouring countries: Argentina is bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Chile to the west and the Drake Passage to the south.
Geography: Argentina is the second-largest country in South America by geographic size. It has a varied landscape ranging from its extended coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, the rain forests in the north, the flat Chaco plain, the grasslands of the Pampas and wastelands of Patagonia, to the Andes Mountains in the west. Aconcagua is the highest point in Argentina, which is also the highest point in the Southern and Western Hemispheres.
Political system: Presidential democratic republic
Main languages: The official language of Argentina is Spanish. English is spoken widely in large cities and tourist centres.
Major religions: The most common religion in Argentina is Roman Catholicism (more than 65 percent), but religious freedom is guaranteed by the country’s constitution and expats will be able to practice their religion in peace.
Time: GMT -3
Electricity: 220 volts, 50Hz. Old buildings use two-pin, round-pronged plugs, whereas newer buildings use three-pin, flat-pronged plugs.
International calling code: +54
Internet domain: .ar
Money: The official currency is the Argentine peso (ARS), which is divided into 100 cents. Foreigners are permitted to open a bank account in Argentina as long as the appropriate paperwork is in order. It is possible to open an account in pesos as well as in dollars. There are many ATMs in and around Argentina’s larger cities.
Emergency numbers: 101 (police), 107 (ambulance), 100 (fire). 911 can also be used in Buenos Aires.
Transport and driving: Argentina has an extensive road network that spans the entire country. Most areas of Argentina are covered by a comprehensive public transport system, particularly in and around the country’s large cities. Vehicles in Argentina drive on the right side of the road.
Education: Argentina provides free public education for all of its residents, including expats, though this is almost exclusively offered in Spanish. There are numerous private and international schools in Argentina, most notably in Buenos Aires.
►Want to know more about life in the capital? See Moving to Buenos Aires.
"Life here is much slower paced than our life in the suburbs of New York City was. We have a lot more family time, more downtime, and a much richer social life. There's always something fun to do! We were never as social in NYC as we are here." Learn more about Maggie, an American expat, and her experience living in Buenos Aires.
"I love the city vibe here. It’s a beautiful, vibrant and fun city to live in and you certainly can’t
complain about the price of meat and wine! Life here is totally different than home. So many things, too many to list!" Read about Canadian expat Amelia's life in Buenos Aires in her interview.
Are you an expat living in Argentina?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Argentina. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.
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