10 Ways to Spend the Equivalent of $10 USD While Studying Abroad in Buenos Aires

Jul 2, 2013 10:13:53 AM / by Stephanie Sadler

In Buenos Aires, $10 USD buys you about 53.50 Argentine pesos. Each of these suggestions below will ensure you spend no more than this amount – perfect for a CAPA International Education study abroad student budget. We will save the freebies for another post!

1. TRY A BUENOS AIRES BREAKFAST. The real highlight of breakfast in Buenos Aires is not the famed medialuna (similar to a French croissant, but smaller and sweeter), or the decadent café con leche. No, no! While these early morning delicacies are certainly a tasty bonus, the true draw of breakfast in Buenos Aires is the environment and the buzz of the café. In fact, one of the reasons why Buenos Aires is known as “The Paris of the South,” is its adoption of a café culture that very strongly resembles its colloquial namesake.

Buenos Aires’s most famous is Café Tortoni (est. 1858), which is as renowned for its gorgeous art nouveau interior, as it is for its famous clientele. Everyone ought to visit Café Tortoni at least once, but this is most famed breakfast purveyor is most certainly not the only option. The cafés can be found along nearly any street in Buenos Aires, so you’re never more than a stone’s throw from your next coffee.

Midnight at Cafe Tortoni in Buenos Aires
Photo: Cafe Tortoni by Miguel Vieira

2. HAVE A SANDWICH FOR LUNCH. In Buenos Aires, there are perhaps just as many great lunchtime restaurants as there are cafés. Many restaurants will have the set standard ham and cheese sandwich as an option, but don’t shy aware from the local fare! Try and sandwich de milanesa (a tender and thin piece of steak that is breaded and fried), or a sandwich de lomo (one of the best cuts of beef in the world). One of the best sandwiches in Buenos Aires can be enjoyed from El Desnivel, in San Telmo (Defensa 855). Order your sandwich de lomo a llevar (to-go) to avoid table charges, and don’t forget the chimichurri!

Buenos Aires
Photo: Milanesa de Pollo in Buenos Aires by Joey Harrison

3. EAT PIZZA WITH FAINA, PORTEÑO-STYLE. Steak may be what Argentina is best known for in culinary terms, but did you know that porteños are crazy about pizza? Well they are! What’s even better? Pizza places are everywhere, the standard of quality is very high, and it’s all affordable. Like all things on this list, Buenos Aires puts its own spin on pizza. Don’t shy away from ordering faina with your pizza. This is a pizza base made of ground chickpeas, and often topped with onions. Faina is intended to make your pizza slice more filling. You can eat faina either on its own, or even better, topped with a slice of regular cheesy pizza on top.

Buenos Aires - Retiro: El Cuartito - Fugazzeta con fainá
Photo: Pizza with faina from El Cuartito by Wally Gobetz

4. ORDER A BIG MAC. Yes, we know what you're probably thinking right now. What could possibly be so special about a Big Mac in Buenos Aires? Truth be told, a Big Mac is about the same as what anyone could find anywhere else in the world. Well, maybe the beef in that Big Mac is a touch better. But that’s not how the Big Mac made it to this list.

Readers of The Economist will be familiar with the weekly magazine’s Big Mac Index. Since 1986, this index has been The Economist's lighthearted study of purchasing power across foreign currencies. So what does this have to do with Buenos Aires and Argentina? Well, go to a McDonald’s in Buenos Aires, and look at the menu. There won’t be a single photo, not a single mention of the Big Mac. But don’t be discouraged! Anyone can order a Big Mac. Even better, the price of that double decker will cost you much less than the other sandwiches featured more prominently on the menu.

But, why? As published in The New York Times as early as November 24, 2011, government officials have pressured McDonald’s business owners to freeze the price on specifically, and only, the Big Mac. In doing so, Argentina is ostensibly represented within The Big Mac Index as experiencing less inflation than reality.

Buenos Aires - San Nicolás: Edificio El Trust
Photo: McDonalds by Wally Gobetz

5. SPEND SOME STUDY TIME AT EL ATENEO. Along busy Santa Fe Avenue, is an old theatre-turned-book shop, call El Ateneo. Quiet and cozy, yet elegant and grand, this space is one of the best places to catch up on homework whilst sipping yet another café con leche to keep you going. This photo should say it all.

This is No Barnes and Nobel:  El Ateneo
Photo: El Ateneo by David

6. SPEND AN EVENING AT THE CINEMA. The capital city is the heart of the Argentine film industry, so it’s probably not too surprising to learn that there is a wide variety of fantastic cinemas throughout the city. A trip to the cinema is always affordable, and there’s a lot to choose from. Those wanting to see the latest and greatest Argentine productions shouldn't miss a show at the Cine Gaumont (on Plaza del Congreso); those who love a good Hollywood blockbuster will find a Cinemark in Puerto Madero; and architecture fanatics should check out the Teatro Premier on Corrientes, amidst the hustle and bustle of the Buenos Aires theatre district.

Cine Gaumont
Photo: Cine Gaumont by Camilo Ameijeiras

7. EXPLORE MUSEO EVITA. This is one of CAPA International Education Buenos Aires program Director´s favorite spots in the city. Make sure you don’t miss the chance to see where the famous Evita had her foundation and take advantage of the wonderful tour and exhibit. Top off your visit with a great café Argentine style!

Museo Evita
Photo: Museo Evita by RingoChan

8. MIND YOUR MANNERS AT A MILONGA. Tango is an icon of Buenos Aires. If you want to dance some yourself, then make your way to a Milonga. Be sure to either take a lesson or at least read up before your dance hall debut, though. The customs and etiquette of the Milonga are both strict and particular.

Beginners should consider going to La Catedral on a Tuesday night, when they host the most basic of lessons. Alternately, head down to Plaza Dorrego in the heart of Palermo at 8:00pm on any given Sunday. This milonga is set beneath the stars, on a lovely plaza that is surrounding by restaurants with outdoor seating. This is the ideal option for those who are more interested in people watching than dancing themselves.

Tango en Dorrego
Photo: Tango in Dorrego by Montecruz Foto

9. ENJOY A BUENOS AIRES BOLICHE. The nightlife in Buenos Aires is legendary, and not for the faint of heart. Most boliches (nightclubs) will open their doors before midnight, and may even offer early birds free or discounted cover charge. Yet, hold tight if you arrive early, as most clubs don’t really get going until around 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning! Club guests will have to wait for the fun to begin, but once it gets going, the the dancing won’t stop until around 7am. So please, heed this warning: do not go out in Buenos Aires on a school night!

For a great night out, that won’t break the budget on cover charge alone, be sure to put your name on the list for Hype! at Kika (Honduras 5339 in Palermo Hollywood).

Photo: Hype DJ by Lucas Calderon via the Hype Facebook Page

10. TAKE A TRAIN RIDE TO THE SUBURBS. Depending on which suburban oasis you choose, the towns surrounding Buenos Aires can offer much more than track homes, green lawns and soccer moms. Sure, there are suburbs that offer that. But you didn’t come to Argentina for another dose of California-style suburban development, did you?

Why not hop aboard the Tren de la Costa (connect from a Mitre train at Bartolome Mitre/Maipu) and explore the area north of Capital? Alight at the Barrancas stop to explore their fantastic antiques market. While there, stop by Perú Beach, a small man-made beach resort offering sporting options, such as short football fields, covered roller skating rink, outdoor climbing wall, a small sandy area for sun bathing, and even kite surfing. Up for more? Hop back on board the Tren de la Costa and ride it to terminal station Delta. Welcome yourself to Tigre! There, you’ll find great market shopping, fantastic river views, and lots of delicious food.

Museo de Arte - Tigre, Provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Photo: Museo de Arte, Tigre by fnervi

Have you been to Buenos Aires? We’d love your suggestions on your favorite way to spend the equivalent of $10 USD in this global city!

Topics: Buenos Aires, Argentina