Tips for New Arrivals to Buenos Aires

Written by Lucy Courtnall
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Plaza de Mayo from Cabildo Plaza de Mayo from Cabildo

Arriving in a new city can be daunting, especially if it's half way across the world and works around a completely different language and culture. To make your integration into  Buenos Aires a little bit easier, here are a few tips to remember:


The transport system in Buenos Aires is very reliable, so one of the first things you should do is to buy a SUBE card. The nearest shop to the VG house is called Puerta Digital. You then need to charge your card at any Kiosk or Subte station.

If you are only here for a short time, or if you're travelling with a friend or partner, it may be cheaper for you to share a SUBE card.

When you get on a bus, remember to tell the driver where you're going and how many people you want to pay for with your card. It´s a good idea to look up the name of the road of the place that you want to go to before getting on the bus. You will always need to tell this to the driver, and they will help you to know when your stop is coming up, or tell you if their bus doesn`t go there which can be very useful!

Another important thing to remember is that Buenos Aires is designed in a grid system and roads can stretch from one end of the city to the other. This is great as whenever you feel you might be lost, you will undoubtedly come across a road name that you recognize and can then just follow it home!

However, when getting a taxi, make sure you know the number of your destination not only the road, as this can save you time and money as well as a lot of confusion.


Queuing is a varied concept in Buenos Aires. When at a bus stop it is polite to queue and let those who were there before you board the bus first. It`s also very much expected that you must always give up your seat on any form of public transport if someone less able gets on board. Portenos are very polite and considerate, a wonderful part of their culture!

However, many shops, medical centers and the post offices operate a ticket system rather than have long queues. This is great as it means you can collect your ticket number and then look for a seat or even pop out for a coffee and come back when your number is ready to be called.


Don't be surprised if your change is not exact when paying in cash, as the smaller coins are not always available shopkeepers tend to round figures up or down. If you have any small notes or coins, always have them handy to help out!

If you want to pay by card, you will often have to present documentation such as a passport of driver's license so don't forget to bring this out when doing big food shops.

It's also a good idea to always keep spare cash on you or in your apartment as sometimes the banks will run out of notes or occasionally they will shut at unexpected times, so don't rely on this as you only option.


One really fantastic element of Buenos Aires culture is the food scene. It`s perfectly acceptable to buy one coffee and stay in a coffee shop for hours without hassle.

Italian cuisine is a big part of the city`s food scene and ice cream shops will often stay open till midnight or beyond, a nice alternative to going to a bar if you want a relaxed night! They also sell insulated takeaway pots by the kilo or quarter kilo if you would prefer to have a night in.

Ensure you visit some of the city's famous and age-old pizzerias too such as Pizza Guerrin where it's normal to order pizzas by the slice and stand up to eat it with a knife and fork alongside the businessmen of Buenos Aires. 

By following these tips and embracing a spirit of adventure, you´ll be sure to feel comfortable in the city in no time!

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