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Insider Tips for Living in Buenos Aires, Part I

Rex Racer

By | January 19, 2011 | 4 comments

cool things to do at landingpadba

There were a few things that I wish I would have known about before I first got to Buenos Aires. Although each of these little nuggets of info are ordinary parts of the routine here in Buenos Aires, they certainly can puzzle a newcomer. Let’s have a run through these seemingly ordinary things:

Envase: returnable bottles of beer or soda-pop

During check out at your local chino (small neighborhood grocery store), kiosk or supermarket you will be asked if you have envase if and when you are trying to purchase glass bottle beer or soda. If you have previously purchased a bottle at full price, be sure to bring your empty bottle envase and tell your friendly cashier, “si“. By returning the bottle, you will be rewarded a discount rate on your purchase of brand new, shiny full bottles. Some places may require you to bring the receipt from the previous purchase, but you will always be required to bring the empty bottles with you to get the discount. This is quite common and should be taken advantage of if you plan to drink a fair amount or be here for more than a few days. Returning your bottles will result in saving about 30% of the total cost!

But not all bottles can be returned! The sleeker, tear-shaped beer bottles like the Quilmes bottle that Madi is holding in the picture below is the returnable beer bottle. The large glass 1.5 liter soda-pop bottles are the returnable soda-pop type.

envase in buenos aires

The nonrefundable bottles are anything that contains wine, vodka or spirits. Some beer bottles are not returnable like Iguana that have a boxier shape. Once again our lovely model Madi Lang has examples of what is not kosher. (*Some places do accept the Stella bottles)

Envase in Buenos Aires

Paying Bills in Buenos Aires

As a United Statesman or Estadounidense (Tip: Saying you are “American” here is interpreted as too general because North and South America are taught geographically as one continent or simply, America. Argentines are Americans.) paying bills has always been a piece of cake.

Our capitalistic economy has made getting money to those you owe easy and efficient. As a foreigner in Argentina, it is very difficult to open a bank account here, so no online paying for you. You will need to pay the bills either directly at the company’s physical location, or take the easy way and go to either a Rapi Pago or Pago Facil. These are regular places like your local pharmacy, supermarket or kiosk that scan your bill’s bar code and allow you to pay them. Ojo (careful), the hours to pay your bills vary at these locations.

To find a location that allows you to pay your bills, just keep your eye out for a brightly colored Rapi Pago or Pago Facil outside of the locations near you.

Clothing Collectors

It is not uncommon for folks that are in need of clothing to buzz apartments Saturday and Sunday afternoons once in a blue moon. For those of you that are wary of charities and how they spend the donations they receive, this is a direct way to skip those steps. Gather up those old clothes, whatever you don’t wear anymore and bag them up. The people asking for them will be most appreciative.

Ordering Pizza

I know what you’re thinking; “Rex…I know how to order a pizza. Give me some new information!” For whatever reason, the vast majority of pizza places do not cut up their pies before boxing them up. I have my theories (keep it hot as a solid whole or maybe to each his own when it comes to how to divide a pie). Bottom line is don’t forget to ask them to cut that pizza up when finishing your order.

Tune in next week for a few more Buenos Aires little differences that make BA what it is: cool baby, cool.

To read Insider Tips for living in Buenos Aires, Part II

Wow! Don't forget to check the 'Activities you might like' right here


  1. A Broad in BA

    10/01/2010 - 6:46 pm


    Sorry Landingpad, don't know your name. I'm an expat in BA too, and a blogger as well. Loved the expressive photos with the bottles!

    I blog anonymously so I don't insert photos, Only way I can express my true feelings,

  2. Paul Strobl

    19/01/2011 - 3:33 pm

    Great piece–I make it a point to only buy beer that comes in returnable bottles. And when you buy peanuts to go with it, keep in mind that they are fried, not dry roasted–much less nutritional value. To get the healthier unfried version, you must go to a dietetica and buy the unsalted peanuts…and then salt them. Skins on have more tannins 🙂

  3. Joon

    19/01/2011 - 4:40 pm

    Tannins on the skin of peanuts? Thought it was just grapes for wine?

  4. secret admirer

    19/04/2012 - 4:46 pm

    Who’s that girl, Madi? She’s pretty hot.