San Carlos De Bariloche, Argentina Report of what it's like to live there

Personal Experiences from San Carlos De Bariloche, Argentina

San Carlos De Bariloche, Argentina 04/16/08

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Yes.

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2. How long have you lived here?

Four months.

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3. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

11 hours from New York City to Buenos Aires and 2.25 more to Bariloche.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

I´m a writer.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

There are apartments in the city and hostels are everywhere. Just outside of the city starting about a kilometer out, there are plenty of houses. Many are located on dirt roads though.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Groceries are very cheap compared to the upstate New York prices I´m used to. 6 rolls of bread costs about $1.50 (Argentine pesos), a liter of Quilmes the national beer is $4.00 (Argentine pesos).

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

English books.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There´s Chinese food, Mexican food, many Parillas, and loads of Italian restaurants. I haven´t seen a McDonalds, but then I´m not looking.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Through the very slow Correo... Argentine post.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Very cheap. Our cleaning lady cost $9 pesos an hour.

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3. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

There's only one or two ATMs that will withdraw from our account in the States, but it hasn't been a serious problem. Credit cards are accepted but there's always a surcharge. Cash is preferred, but don´t expect anyone to make change if you have a $100.00 peso bill.

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4. What English-language religious services are available locally?

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5. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Yes.

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Some.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

The sidewalks are very uneven and I kept stumbling when I first got here. It seems it might be annoying, but I have seen people in wheelchairs.

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Transportation:

1. Do you drive on the right hand side of the road or the left?

Right.

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2. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Yes. The buses are very cheap and so are the taxis. Just wait at a sign that says Taxi and one comes quickly.

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3. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Cars are older here than in the States. There are a lot of dirt roads and car insurance is very expensive. I didn't import a car so I have no details on this.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

You can get one but you may have to go to a few places.

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3. What is the best way to make phone calls back home?

I go to the locotorio wich is cheaper, but the cheapest is SKYPE.

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Pets:

1. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Yes, at the bilingual schools.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

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Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Good.

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2. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Nothing serious, lots of stray dogs though.

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3. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Pretty good.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

It get very windy. The wind howls around our apartment building and makes the windows shake. I can even hear gust ring the bell in the clock tower across the park.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There's no international school, but some very good bilingual schools. Many English-Spaninsh. Some English-German-Spanish and one Spanish-French. My kids go to Coleigo Del Sol. They have been very helpful and accommodating to my three daughters, ages 9, 6, and 4. The school is set up to teach English to Argentine children, but it has been going pretty well so far.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

There are special needs kids in the school, but not being a parent of one I can't be sure. The school has steps and no elevator, but I wouldn´t be suprised if they switched calssrooms around for a child in a wheelchair.

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

There are Jardins all over the city. The bilingual school my kids attend has one as well. They are located at Km 4 and take a school van there from our apartment each day.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Moderate.

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2. Morale among expats:

Good.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Movies, theater, night clubs.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Yes, great for everyone!

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Yes, I see many same sex couples.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

I don´t know for certain.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Bariloche attracts visitors from all over the world. During the high seasons there are activities throughout the city. In the summer there are clowns and jugglers in the streets and street performers of every kind. There's the arteseans markets, and chocolate shops and some fantastic ice cream. Located in the middle of a national park you can also go trekking, parasailing on the lake, parachuting out of planes, rafting and zipline through the canopy. In the winter there´s also skiing, snowboardingand sledding. There are many more things to do, but you get the idea.

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Chocolates, mate cups, many handicrafts.

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9. Can you save money?

Yes, if you try.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

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3. But don't forget your:

Winter coat and scarf!

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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7. Do you have any other comments?

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