Buenos Aires has one the highest number of hostels than most cities in the world. Dorms go for typically $15 to $25 a night and privates for $20 to $40 a night per person. Since there’s so many hostels, there’s a whole lot of crap. One hostel I stayed in had three 3 story bunk beds in a tiny room with no lockers. It was one of the worst hostels I’ve ever stayed in. There’s also a ton of party hostels and boutique hostels but expect to pay a lot more.
Buenos Aires is not a cheap city. Prices fluctuate like crazy so any guide book you read can be totally different in just a few weeks after publishing. It’s alright if you’re staying perhaps two or three nights but if you plan on staying for at least a week or more, I definitely recommend an apartment instead of a hostel. Sometimes an apartment can be cheaper than staying in a hostel! It works best if you’re traveling with another person to split the costs with.
Getting an apartment gives you a chance to live like a local. In our apartment, we had our local cafe shop, butcher, mini supermarket, bakery, and laundry mat all within two blocks. Since we had lived there for three months, they all knew us. Our cafe knew us so well that he would take out our drinks without even asking us. Our laundry mat would ask us how our stay has been so far and what we’ve done. And I got to speak chinese at our local chinos supermarket. Buenos Aires is a great city but it’s the culture that makes Buenos Aires really special.
Unfortunately, renting an apartment is not easy. Many of the landlords like to take advantage of the foreigners and change them more. With some preparation, it’s easy to avoid getting ripped off and have an enjoyable experience in what I call my second home.
Craigslist is popular in Buenos Aires. You’ll find a ton of listings and at first they seem great. Don’t be fooled though as most of those prices are listing prices for per week rentals and having sort through the junk is just a waste of time. The title’s doesn’t give you enough information if the price is weekly or monthly. I’ve seen many apartments through Craigslist and most were not great. You’ll have to fish through an enormous list to get anything worth looking at.
Do not leave the apartment until you were paid your deposit back. If you’re taking a bus or plane that leaves at 3PM, tell them your plane leaves at 1PM or earlier instead. Give yourself lots of time for the inspection incase anything goes wrong. You don’t want to feel rushed while they hold your deposit.
If you’re booking on websites like Airbnb, Wimdu, 9Flats, or Roomorama careful when they ask you if you’d like to avoid the fee and pay in person instead. The fee these websites charge might be worth paying as it gives you extra protection from scams.
Don’t ignore your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable with the place and you don’t know why, just sign the contract.
Don’t assume your landlord knows about every damage. Point it all out during the initial check-in inspection.
While the landlord is there doing the initial inspection, take as many pictures and videos as possible. Make sure the landlord is aware and with you while you’re doing this. It’ll scare them off from scamming you of things that had nothing to do with you.
Review the contract and ask them to have it translated into english. Seems common sense but in most cases, they only have the contract in spanish.
Ask if they cover electricity. Electricity has become a huge problem in Argentina. If they cover electricity, ask them how much they’ll cover. That information needs to be on the contract. This is especially important if you plan on arriving during the summer months of January and February as it gets extremely hot in this city.
Chances are the person you’re contacting knows english. However, if you don’t speak spanish well, I would suggest getting someone who does to go with you for the inspection.
If you’re staying with a family, ask as many questions as possible BEFORE signing the contract. Are there house rules? Can you come home at any time? Can you bring friends over? Quiet time? I’ve heard stories of people being restricted on what time they were allowed to cook and could only use certain pots and pans. Don’t let that happen to you.
Call your landlord immediately when anything happens to the apartment. Water leaks, small damages, glass breaks, etc.
Do you have any other tips?