Apartments in Buenos Aires
When staying in another city for more than a few days I always find it more economical and rewarding to rent an apartment rather than stay in a hotel. For me the benefits of your own “pad” far outweigh daily maid service or a pillow mint. A rented apartment, even a studio, usually provides more space than a hotel room. Plus you have a kitchen – saving you money and time when you don’t care to eat out, a fridge to store leftovers when you do, and provides an opportunity to visit local markets and cook as the locals do. An apartment is also more secure. You’re located in a residential environment, without cleaning staff and other travelers milling around your room.
The potential CON that comes with renting an apartment, is the opportunity to BE conned. Payment methods vary among renters and companies. Some rentals request a deposit of cash be WIRE TRANSFERRED in advance. That’s a 100% no for me under any circumstance. I only rent with those that accept credit cards, or Paypal which allows payment via your credit card. Should your transaction turn sketchy you can easily dispute the charges on your card, and your email exchanges will provide proof for an easy chargeback. Even L.A. Times travel writer Catharine Hamm was bold enough to use herself as an example to warn others what can happen: Don’t send cash, period.
Unlike hotels, with rentals you can’t filter through dozens of Tripadvisor reviews for details. You’re dependent on the referrals you find on the ‘net and the interaction you have by phone and email leading up to your stay. Good research pays. One night in a crummy hotel is far less lost than a rental provider not following through on a unit or ditching you upon arrival. For that reason I also take the name and address of a nearby hotel or hostel with availability, as a backup in case plans falls through. I’ve never had to use a backup, but it’s better to be prepared than sitting on your suitcase at a foreign payphone looking for someplace to sleep.
In a big city the options can be overwhelming. Googling “Buenos Aires Apartments,” or “short term rental” with any other large city yields a multitude of results.
In Buenos Aires I recommend BA4U Apartments. I found them through a small company specializing in day trips and activities geared to GLBT folks. BA4U Apartments only requested one night up front for my 15 day stay. I sent this on my credit card via Paypal, and was able to send the deposit via Paypal which was promptly refunded after departure. Their units are located primarily in the Recoleta, Barrio Norte and Palermo neighborhoods. The site is easy to use with plenty of photos and rates clearly posted, and most importantly my email communications were a breeze and all questions and any concerns answered promptly.
I had originally booked “The View”, but a few days before departure my contact Tomas informed me of gas problems in the building that would require substantial time to fix. He was apologetic and offered an upgrade to the “River View,” a new unit near Las Heras and Aguero, near Parque Las Heras, and also included airport transportation at no charge. Issue solved proactively and with excellent communication. Mind at ease I was then curious what the residents of the other building were doing without hot water. The only stipulation to my upgrade was that I water the plants. They obviously were unaware of my history with gardening. Thankfully it rained heavily the third day.
I actually preferred “RiverView’s” neighborhood along Las Heras over our original apartment along the stuffy designer store laden blocks east of Recoleta Cemetary. The neighborhood is perfect, and we found many small cafes walking various streets down to Avenida Santa Fe and back. This may have been particular to the building, but the two building managers were some of the friendliest Portenos I’ve ever met. I felt as though I had lived there for years and was more than just a tourist staying for a few weeks. On a few nights we had friends over with some new acquaintances for drinks – and I truly have never felt more like an expat living in a new city, even if it was for only half a month.
When returning I’ll definitely be scouting their catalog of residences again. And for those looking for a referral I highly and happily recommend them.
Doing it: All apartments and contact info listed at http://ba4uapartments.com.ar/
Above: View to the north and the Rio de la Plata. Right: Overlooking Avenida Las Heras and Hospital Rivadavia
Below: Drinks with friends. Right: The neighbor across the way tending to her flowers
Related: Marnixkade Canalview . Amsterdam
photos/edits by Caleb Cross Denver Colorado