Buenos Aires Deals – Visiting BA on the Cheap

1 Comment Print

Travelers on the cheap have been reveling in Latin American prices for years, so it’s no surprise that Argentina is another one of those countries where your dollar (pound or euro) really goes far here. With that being said, Argentina is one of the more expensive countries in this continent, and if you’re on a tight budget, you want to hold on to as many pesos as possible. Well don’t worry; there are ways to vacation in Buenos Aires without going broke. Here’s just a couple deals to be found on your Buenos Aires vacation.


Three of the most popular things that tourists want to do in Argentina are eat steak, drink wine, and see some tango. This is all a great way to get into the culture, but if you’re not careful, you could spend too much. While going to one of the best steak houses in the city will certainly be a great experience, consider going to one of those run down-looking neighborhood restaurants. It’s pretty hard to get a bad steak anywhere in this country, and it will most likely be better than anything you can get at home anyway. So go for a cut at a local restaurant where prices are more reasonable. How will you know what is cheaper and more authentic? First, check the area you’re in. You will definitely pay more in a restaurant near Calle Florida or in Recoleta than you would in Almagro or even Palermo (depending on where in Palermo). Also, check for who’s in the restaurant. Do they look like tourists or local families? Let me start you off with one idea: Palermo Viejo (name of the restaurant) on Thames y Chacras. Cheap, friendly, and good food. What else do you need?

At the end of the day, if you’re staying in a hostel or hotel with a kitchen, just go into a super market or carnicería and buy your own. You will spend less than $15 pesos, and all you need is some salt and any sides you might want. Try the tapa de asado, a cut of meat that works well with ovens. Put some salt on it and on low heat cook it for about an hour. That’s all.


Wine is delicious here, and you have to go really low to find a bad bottle. Walk into a local grocery store and go wild. A regular bottle will range from $9-15 pesos, but for a good bottle you could even splurge up to $30. Keep in mind that the exchange rate hovers around $3.8 pesos per $1 USD. While the more expensive labels like Catena Zapata and Achaval Ferrer are fantastic, you can save those for your wedding. Just make sure you avoid going so cheap as to buy from a box, because that would be a terrible mistake.


Tango shows are all over the city, ranging from extravagant spectacles to simple half hour pieces put together for cruise ship passengers on a tight circuit. If you want to be as cheap as possible, walk around San Telmo’s Calle Defensa on a Sunday and just watch the dancers in the street. Feel free to drop them some money if you liked the show. Go a step up and enter a milonga, which is like a night club specifically for tango. This is authentic, and where tango truly takes place. There are no special performers, just regular people who dance. You don’t have to participate if you don’t want to, but you can watch from the back and appreciate it. You can get into a milonga for about 15 to 20 pesos, and sometimes the cover comes with a drink.

Additional Notes

Buying a beer in a store is a cheap way to get a buzz going, but hang on to the bottle. If you buy a $5 peso liter beer and return the bottle, your next one is going to be nearly half the price. Go recycling!

Aside from steak, good food in Argentina is extremely cheap. A slice of pizza or an empanada will run around $3 pesos on average, but if you can manage to get into lodging with a kitchen you will save more money in the end. Buy a pre-pizza at the super market for around $3 pesos and add some cheese or whatever else. Put it in the oven and now you have an entire pizza that’s actually good.

Keep in mind the time of year that you visit. Summer peak season (winter in the Northern Hemisphere) will bring jacked up prices as well as temperatures. Visiting in August, for example, will mean lower bus tickets to other cities around the country and vice versa. You trade off better weather, but get more in return for the value.

Don’t fall into the trap of doing all of your shopping in places like Calle Florida, Recoleta, or Palermo. First of all, just about everything on Florida is overpriced and is mostly junk. Recoleta and Palermo are known for having great shopping, but their stores can be expensive as well. If you’re looking for quality leather, check out the Balvanera neighborhood. On Calle Solís you find a leather district that is all but unknown to foreigners, yet has high quality goods at regular prices.

You’re always going to get a better rate on excursions when you have more people, so even if you’re traveling alone, try to buddy up with some people at the hostel. Even if you’re a lone ranger, it’s worth it if you need to save some coin. And in respects to taking a taxi everywhere, you can get around that with the subway system and buses. The subway is limited in that it doesn’t go everywhere and stops by around 11 pm. But buses run 24 hours a day and cost less than $2 pesos for even the greatest inner-city distances. Just make sure you know the routes well, as buses weave and don’t have advanced stop announcement systems. Buy a Guia T at a newsstand for all of the routes, plus maps of the city that are much more discreet than a large touristic map.

These are just some of the ways in which you can get by on a tight budget, but of course it’s always up to you how you prefer to spend your money. Maybe just cut the steak out altogether and hang out in the park where you don’t have to spend any money. There’s plenty in this city to keep you going.

One Comment

[…] nothing like a recession to test the limits of discretionary spending and consumer willing… Buenos Aires Deals – Visiting BA on the Cheap[Argentina's Travel Guide] Travelers on the cheap have been reveling in Latin American prices for […]

What Do You Think?