Volunteer Survival Guide: Top 5 Tips for Traveling in Buenos Aires

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Here's the Top 5 Tips for Traveling in Buenos Aires.

Never order a package:

There is a lot to say about the mail service here, but to jump to the conclusion: it is not as bad as the worst stories you have heard.

If you are expecting a package, the chances are they are stuck in customs for a long time. My friend sent me a package but she had to nag the mail service several times before she could get the package out of customs. Once it arrives in the mail room, you will receive a letter saying you can come pick your package up. I went to the Retiro international mail room (Correo Argentino) on a Tuesday morning around 9:30. I expected a lot more people because I went there on a Monday afternoon around 3 pm to check and saw the space filled with people. I lined up for about thirty minutes with the notification I received and my passport, and after they gave me a receipt with five digit number. After that, I waited in the area that said “zona de espera” for about two hours. They will call out your number (sometimes too quick to understand), and this can be tricky if the number “ninety two thousand five hundred twenty five” in Spanish does not pop up to your mind almost immediately. But everything depends on who calls your number that day.

After your number is called, you line up to be let into “Aduana”, and finally you will receive your package. In my case, I only had a few snacks and drinks in the package so it did not matter, but they told me any sort of frozen food is not allowed. It took me about three hours to get my package. Yet everything depends on what you have in your package, when you go there to receive your package, and if you have to pay an additional tax for your things.

Always have cash:

Most places in the city do not accept cards, and if a place does accept your card, there is a chance it will not work. This is why I highly recommend always having cash on you because if you are ever trying to buy something or pay for food at a restaurant and they do not accept cards, you will always have a back-up plan. Now this can be very annoying; you are constantly burning through cash, always having to deal with the ATMs and the charge to withdraw money, and most banks are only open until about 3pm, but I promise it is worth it and necessary.

The Subte closes at 10pm:

Nightlife in Buenos Aires is very different from anything I have ever really experienced before. On the weekends clubs don’t usually open until 1 am and people stay out until 6 or 7 in the morning. Even during the week people stay out at happy hour until 12 am. Now I fully encourage you to embrace this culture as much as you can, but it is important to remember when you go out that the subte closes at 10 pm every night, weekdays and weekends. This is good to know because if you go out at night, chances are you will stay out later than that and thus, will need to take a taxi home. So, whenever you go out, I highly recommend bringing some extra pesos for cab fare because it is likely you won’t head home before 10.

Bring the clothes you think you will need:

Something I have noticed while living here is that clothes in the city are quite expensive. Most things are on sale here right now and even the sale prices are too much for me, which is why I strongly recommend bringing all the types of clothes you think you will need while abroad here. Fully check the weather of both the city and all of the places you are planning to go while staying here and pack accordingly. I only brought winter clothes for my time here without considering that winter here is different from winter in Boston, and without checking the temperature in Puerto Iguazu, a place I was planning on visiting, and did visit, during my time here. Therefore, upon arriving I was forced to by a few new articles of clothing and shocked at the prices.

Most things are closed on Sundays:

Last but not least, it is important to remember that on Sundays (except restaurants ans malls), most places and things are closed. I did not know this coming in and it was a bit of a frustrating adjustment, but if you are prepared for it, it is not bad at all.

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Voluntario Global helps local communities by being available to discuss anything that local organizations need, and offering ideas for further change and development.


Location: General Pacheco. Buenos Aires. Argentina
Email: jfranco@voluntarioglobal.org

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