A Luxurious Retirement in Buenos Aires on a Budget

A small nest egg can buy a rich quality of life in this eclectic city.

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Vibrant and eclectic Buenos Aires is one of the most affordable places on earth to enjoy a luxurious retirement. It’s not the cheapest place in the world to retire, but this cosmopolitan capital with a European flair boasts an affordable cost of living that buys you an enormously rich quality of life.

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Buenos Aires is the largest city in Argentina and the second-largest in South America. You will be able to find every manner of service, amenity, distraction, comfort, and entertainment you could imagine. There is also everything a place needs to qualify as luxury including four- and five-star restaurants with wine lists to match, malls and boutiques offering internationally recognized brand-name indulgences, spa and salon services, specialty food shops, and wine stores offering good vintages from around the world. You can be entertained by live theater, movie cinemas showing first-run and foreign flicks, and plenty of English-language bookstores. And you will be able to find amenities including affordable help around the house, a private driver, and to-your-door delivery services for groceries and restaurants.

In spite of all these cosmopolitan offerings, Buenos Aires manages to deliver a laid-back lifestyle. It’s a big city that retains a small town feel. The melting pot local population is friendly, pleasant, and polite. There’s an established expatriate community that you can tap into as much or as little as you like. This is a city with an interesting history and an ambiance of charm and culture. There are plenty of parks, squares, plazas, and other places to walk and wander while enjoying the scenery, architecture, and the people.

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Buenos Aires is cobwebbed with picturesque neighborhoods, each with its own personality. Busy Microcentro offers the best shops and theater. The civic center, Monserrat, is home to Plaza de Mayo, the venue where the famous Peron speeches were delivered. Take a stroll along Palermo Viejo, and you’ll find everything from retro stores and cutting-edge fashion shopping to the city’s best restaurants. Monserrat runs into San Telmo’s cobbled streets. This artsy area, with its tango bars and the bustling Plaza Dorrego flea market and antique fair, is one of Buenos Aires’ best walking neighborhoods. Recoleta and Palermo are well-to-do neighborhoods which offer good dining and even better nightlife. The more low-key neighborhood of La Boca, along the west bank of the Riachuelo, is home to colorful tin houses and open-air cafes.

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Buenos Aires, which means good airs, boasts a pleasant climate. And the standard of medical care in this city is among the best in the world. But these practical matters are often overshadowed by the city’s culture. Buenos Aires has a charm that is infatuating, even intoxicating, and that goes well beyond the affordable cost of living and the good health care. There’s something about this city that captures your imagination in a way that is hard to forget.

Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter. Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.