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Expats moving to Argentina will discover a beautiful, largely unspoilt country that can, at times, appear virtually untouched by the human hand. The vast grassland plains, or pampas, of the eastern coastal regions give way to dry and unforgiving land where the country butts up against the gargantuan Andes Mountain range on its western border with Chile.
With an area 11 times the size of the UK and a population of just over 45 million people, the extent of the space and bounds of the natural beauty are only truly appreciated by those expats who decide to take the plunge and relocate on a more permanent basis.
Living in Argentina as an expat
Argentina consists of 23 different provinces as well as an autonomous city, Buenos Aires. An influx of Spanish, Italian and other European immigrants in the 19th and early 20th centuries has contributed towards a cosmopolitan and culturally rich capital city. Outside of the main urban areas, however, expats will find a sparsity of foreigners and English speakers.
Despite having one of the highest Gross Domestic Products (GDPs) in the region, corruption and mismanagement have meant that political and economic stability are still largely absent, which has not been helped by the outbreak of Covid-19. On the upside, the relative economic instability has opened the way for a buoyant real-estate market and the purchase, by foreigners, of large tracts of land.
Outside of being assigned by a large multinational corporation and getting transferred to Argentina, or relocating to Argentina with a specialised and in-demand skillset, employment opportunities are rather limited for expats. That said, more and more expats are moving to Argentina to teach English as the demand for it has grown considerably.
We recommend that expats considering a move to Argentina acquire a good working knowledge of Spanish, particularly those expats who move there without a job offer in hand and who plan to look for work while there.
Cost of living in Argentina
Argentina as a whole is affordable and offers a good-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 therefore look to find a job with an international company where they are not earning in 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
For expats moving to Argentina with their families, there are plenty of schooling options available, both Spanish and English, though fees can vary depending on whether the school is funded by the state or privately. Houses with large gardens, or close to a park, can also be found in the large cities. Thanks to the efficient and extensive transport system in the country, expats and their children will also be able to move around the cities easily, and it is therefore not necessary to own a car.
Climate in Argentina
The expansive country has a diverse climate that ranges from a sub-tropical zone in the north to an Arctic climate in the south. The country has four distinct seasons, with summer ending off the year and winter taking up the middle months. Buenos Aires, Argentina's most popular destination, has humid, hot summers and mild winters, with majority of the rainfall taking place in the summer months.
Argentina is a destination that continues to pique the interests of expats the world over. Among other things, it offers a good quality of life, beautiful areas to explore, delicious food and friendly locals. Expats who make an effort to learn the language and assimilate into the country's culture will have no problem calling Argentina home.
Full name: Argentine Republic (República Argentina)
Population: Around 45 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 provided 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.
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