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Jorge Abila

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I'm a local living in Buenos Aires

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Americas > Argentina > Buenos Aires > Useful Info
Submitted on Apr 06, 2020 Useful Info

Getting around Buenos Aires with English

  • The official language of Argentina is Spanish, so obviously if you can speak Spanish you can get around the country very easily
  • Most locals in Argentina do not speak much English. In Buenos Aires, English proficiency is higher than the rest of the country, but still only a minority of the people can speak English, even fewer still can speak it proficiently
  • This varies by area. In the posh and educated areas of Recoleta, Palermo, and San Telmo, you will be able to do go into most businesses and speak English and they should be able to understand your instructions. In these areas you shouldn't have much issues communicating in English. La Boca is a mix bag, but I'd say on the whole it should be ok
  • Outside of the areas, most people won't speak much English, so be prepared to use a lot of gestures or, better yet, learn some Spanish
  • Obviously, any establishments catering to tourists (hotels, tour agencies, tourist information centers, attractions, etc.) will have staff that speak very high levels of English, this is true anywhere in Buenos Aires
  • Transportation providers, including taxi drivers, won't speak much English in the city, so you should either use Uber to get around or write down your destination to show your driver
  • If you have to deal with the police or most government agencies, keep in mind that they won't speak much English either. You should have a translation app with you to make interactions with them easier
  • Upscale restaurants anywhere in Buenos Aires should have staff with basic English skills, but most of them don't have English menus. Regular restaurants and fast food restaurants won't have much English abilities at all so it would be useful to learn some Spanish for ordering food
  • Overall, you should be fine visiting Buenos Aires with English, but try to learn some Spanish too!