International Studies Abroad ®est. 1987

Culture Corner

What is Buenos Aires like?

Buenos Aires is the largest city in Argentina and is one of the most lively cities in the world. It has rightfully been called "the Paris of the South America" as it is reminiscent of many European cities while it still maintains its latin culture and flair.

Buenos Aires lies in the Pampas (fertile plains), close to the coast, and is located on the edge of the great Río de la Plata. The Pampas are famous for the gauchos, or cowboys, who tend the land and raise cattle and horses there. Because Buenos Aires is a port city, the locals are commonly known as Porteños. Many of Argentina's inhabitants are descendants of Western European immigrants who traveled to Argentina in the mid 19th century. You will see the European influence in the architecture of the various suburbs of the city. La Boca's rainbow-colored houses and San Telmo's mixture of French and Italian styles are just a couple of examples.

Argentines are versatile and expressive and have a passion for discussing politics. In addition to the strong European influence, there are still a few indigenous communities, the largest being the Mapuche, Guaraní, Tobas, Kollas and Wichi. Over a third of Argentina's 34.3 million people reside in Gran Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires city and its suburbs in Buenos Aires province).

The identity of Buenos Aires has been influenced by different waves of immigration, providing the city with a cosmopolitan profile. Politeness and respect are closely linked with informal treatment. The normal greeting of men and women is a kiss on the cheek. Smiles, hugs, closeness when speaking and gestures are the most common and friendly way of communication.

Something to note is the use of Rioplatense Spanish in Buenos Aires. For example, porteños say vos (you) instead of the Spanish for informal treatment, and use che to address a person. Additionally, the pronunciation of the "ll" or "y" in Argentine Spanish carries the "sh" sound. For example, "Como te llamas" will sound like "Como te shamas". Porteños typically can understand Portuguese and most of them speak some English.

Region and Population

Buenos Aires lies in the Pampas (fertile plains), close to the coast, and is located on the edge of the great Río de la Plata.

About 2.8 million people live in the city of Buenos Aires, and 13 million people reside in the greater Buenos Aires area, including the suburbs.


The climate of Buenos Aires is mild year round. The mean annual temperature is 18º C (64.4º F), making extremely hot and cold days infrequent. Thus, visitors can enjoy walking around the city in any season. July is the coldest month. Although frosts are rare, you may want a woolen coat, a jacket or an overcoat and a scarf when going out. In winter, cold is moderate during the day, but the temperature drops considerably at night. In the summer, the weather is hot and humid. Mornings are warm and during midday and the first hours of the afternoon, the temperature rises. At night, the temperature goes down slightly, so people may wear light clothes; coats are not needed. Rains are more frequent in autumn and spring (from March to June and from September to December, respectively). They are mild or last a short time, thus activities are not usually hampered much and people typically go out with an umbrella or a raincoat. In the sunny days of autumn and spring, mornings are slightly cold; the temperature rises at midday and drops again at night.

Average monthly highs and lows (degrees Fahrenheit) and rainfall (inches)

Avg. Rainfall3.

Helpful Links

Tiny Travel Story: Buenos Aires