On the hunt in BsAs

October 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

The “furnished apartment for rent” sector is pretty well developed here and far cheaper and more comfortable than a hotel or hostel for a several week stay. Craigslist is alive and well here, check it out if you will be staying for at least a week! We skipped touristing and plunged right into apartment searching our first day, which was actually a great way to get to know the city.

Criteria:

  • Our original target was a furnished apartment in the range of 400-600 USD.
  • We were open to roommates, and in fact preferred the idea of them so it would give us a way to meet other people and have conversations outside of the two of us.
  • Of course, Wifi is a must…we are still too addicted to get away from technology completely, and besides the fact that practically we need to take care of admin and planning stuff using our netbook.
  • We wanted a ¨good¨ neighborhood – safe enough to walk around in the evening, close to subte (subway) for Joe´s commute to class, and full of interesting cafes and parks to occupy lazy afternoons. With some help from Katie, our expat friend here, we narrowed the list to Palermo, Recoleta, and Barrio Norte.

The Candidates

We visited 6 apartments in total, 3 were shared apartments with other travelers, 2 were rented rooms in a family house, and one of which would be our own place.

We unfortunately did not find a place that aligned with all of our criteria and had to prioritize our requirements. One place would have meant a smoker roommate, another was a bit dirty and went by the norm of ¨all doors unlocked at all times¨, and the other 3 really were not in our desired location. People tend to ¨round up¨ to the nearest desirable neighborhood when creating their craigslist ad, even if their location is not exactly within that locale.

We could have continued looking, but decided we had found one that met our criteria decently well, we were anxious to move onto the vacationing part of the trip, and wanted to give our friend hosting us a break (thanks Katie!!)

The winner

Ultimately we picked the place of our own for 700USD, which although above our initial target, still only equated to a rate of about 23USD per night, which was further broken down to only 12USD per person – cheaper than any hostel which would have set us back at least 30 per person.  It had a great living area with futon, table and chairs, tv with cable, and furnished kitchen.

The neighborhood was nice, a mix of residential and commercial, with highlights including proximity to the biggest city parks, tons of shopping and cafes, a nearby plaza, and a short walk to the subway.

Along the way

Hunting through craigslist and scouting the spots out around town meant we quickly got familiar with the transportation system, basic street layout, and plunged right into using Spanish. The bus system here is hard to navigate, and requires the purchase of a thick guide about the thickness of a magazine, but only a quarter of the width and length. We saw first hand something we had been warned of – coins are precious! The buses require payment by coin, and it´s extremely hard to get change at random stores. They always ask if you have exact change, and if you plan on riding the bus home, you better lie!

Kasey had to speak with the apartment owners in Spanish, though a few spoke English, and even more difficult had to make phone calls to set up appointments with others. The final test was the translation of the apartment contract we signed. Despite the legal jargon, we are pretty sure we know what we signed up for…here´s hoping it all works out!

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