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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Letter from Buenos Aires: The Cost of Visiting Argentina Is On The Rise, Sort Of. Plus Where To Eat Now in BA.

Regular readers of But I Digress know that THE LUXURIST loves pretty much everything about Argentina.

It used to be a great bargain, but is it still a good value for budget-conscious visitors?

The answer is yes – and no – according to our friend and correspondent Alexandra Lazar, author of the terrific, informative blog on food and restaurants in Buenos Aires, Pick Up The Fork.

Pick Up The Fork recommends this hot new eatery in the oh-so-hip Palermo Hollywood quarter of BA
Allie writes:

Argentina isn't as great of a deal as it used to be. Inflation is a killer, and prices are constantly rising. 

Those who have already traveled to Argentina within the last few years will notice that it is much more expensive now. That being said, for first time visitors Argentina would be quite the bargain. 

They can find great deals staying in very nice apartments (instead of hotels) and eating out at wonderful restaurants, spending a fraction of the price that they would in the U.S. Shopping (leather and wine, for example) is more affordable. Public transportation and taxis are relatively cheap, too. 

Superclassico: River Plate vs. Boca Juniors. Not to be missed!
The type of things that are more expensive, or the same as the U.S., are small items like a good cup of coffee (which costs around US$ 3-5). Ethnic food is expensive compared to the U.S. (although tourists probably won't be eating much of this). So are toiletries and, of course, anything imported.

Even though it's about 4.39 pesos to the dollar, and local prices are pretty inflated, it's still a good time to travel to Argentina. 

Allie adds that Spring or Fall are the best times to be in Argentina.

She also makes this recommendation:

Those who want to experience Buenos Aires to the fullest should contact Madi Lang, who runs BA Cultural Concierge. She'll organize a customized itinerary for your visit, book you into a smart boutique hotel or charming apartment (at a fair price), arrange a guide, driver, or cell phone, and generally ensure that your entire visit will go smoothly and be memorable.

That's good enough for us, and it should be for you, too.  Contact Madi at www.baculturalconcierge.com.

Alexandra Lazar's lively blog, Pick Up The Fork, is our go to source for anything and everything to do with food in Buenos Aires. We especially recommend her recent post Eat As The Porteños Do – Lazar's take on the best places to eat the most typical local breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  

Residents call themselves Porteños because BA is a port city situated on the Rio de la Plata, or River Plate, after which the beloved Argentine soccer club is named. 

Be sure, too, to catch an Argentine soccer match. It's an experience. Because the fans are usually more excitable than the players, don't go on your own unless you speak Spanish well and feel very comfortable in a dark alley around 3AM. Your hotel, or Madi Lang, will make arrangements for a group visit with an escort.