Santiago del Estero, Argentina – City Guide for Nomads and Expats

Santiago del Estero, Argentina

Founded in 1553 and located in the northern Argentina, Santiago del Estero is the capital of Santiago del Estero Province. Believe it or not, Santiago del Estero was the first city founded by Spanish settlers in Argentina! For that reason the city is sometimes referred to as the “Madre de Ciudades” (Mother of Cities). You are probably going to visit this city by car, driving through on the way to Tucuman. I can’t imagine many tourists fly into Santiago directly. Santiago del Estero has a population of 250,000+ people, modern buildings, infrastructure, and wifi. One cool thing about the city is that there’s still a sizable Quecha-speaking community.  It’s also known as the birthplace of Chacarera music.

POPULATION: 252,192 (2010)


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Santiago del Estero is famous for its musical heritage, including as the birthplace of Chacarera music. Chacarera is a typical folk music; you should definitely find a live musical show while you’re in town!

Chacarera Music
Chacarera Music

 

NOMAD & EXPAT COMMUNITY IN SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO

Most travelers come to Santiago Del Estero while driving from Cordoba towards the northern cities of Salta, Tucumán, and Jujuy. The expat community in Santiago Del Estero is probably close to zero. Most tourists you will meet are probably overlanders driving through in large vehicles. Digital nomads will appreciate the city if only for the high speed wifi, coffee shops, and accommodations after a long road trip. A visit to Santiago Del Estero is an authentic Argentine experience.

 

WHERE TO STAY IN SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO

The center of town is Plaza Liberdad.

If you stay anywhere around there, you’ll be able to find everything you need within walking distance.

 

DAY TRIPS & THINGS TO DO IN SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO

The two big tourist attractions in Santiago del Estero are Copo National Park and the Rio Hondo hotsprings. A little further out, you can visit the city of San Miguel de Tucumán. Rio Hondo hotsprings are also known as the Termas de Rí0 Hondo.

Rio Hondo Hotsprings
Rio Hondo Hotsprings

The hotsprings are located about an hour outside of town. A visit to the hotsprings is perfect for a day trip or weekend away. If you ever meet someone from Santiago Del Estero, just say ‘Oh yeah, the Rio Hondo hotsprings’ and see their face light up!

How to Get to Rio Hondo
How to Get to Rio Hondo Hotsprings from Santiago del Estero

 

CAFES & COWORKING IN SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO

Argentina has a big cafe culture, so finding an espresso is easy. Working in cafes in Argentina is great because there’s always empanadas and an espresso machine. And food is so cheap! You are going to find food to be very reasonably priced here in Santiago del Estero.

My Latin Life recommends:

Cafe Martinez: A chain of cafes found all over Argentina. Will definitely have wifi but speeds can vary. 

Fattor Mitre: Wifi and air conditioning.

The Office Cafe-Bar: Wifi and coworking vibes.

Cafe Map in Santiago Del Estero
Cafes in Santiago Del Estero

 

BARS & NIGHTLIFE IN SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO

6/10 

Most nightlife is in the Barrio Centro, with some of the boliches (nightclubs) located on the outskirts of the city. In the Centro, there’s lots of bars walking distance from each other.

My Latin Life recommends:

380 Bar: Standard bar with solid food options.

Bruno’s Bar: One of the most popular in the city.

Casa Tomada: Beer ba with big patio.

Casapinta: Beer bar in a colonial building.

Bars in Santiago Del Estero
Nightlife Map in Santiago Del Estero, Argentina

 

COST OF LIVING IN SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO FOR NOMAD & EXPATS

According to LivingCost.org, you’ll need a minimum of $381 USD/month to live in Santiago Del Estero, Argentina.

Santiago Del Estero is pretty cheap!

Cost of Living in Santiago del Estero

IS SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO SAFE FOR NOMAD & EXPATS?

Santiago Del Estero is reasonably safe. Argentina is also a very safe country by Latin American standards. Keep in mind that the state of Santiago Del Estero is one of the poorer states in Argentina. It also has a somewhat transitory population due to the location along the highways. 

 

HOW TO GET TO SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO

Santiago Del Estero is kind of a ‘highway city’, sandwiched between route 9 and route 34, on the banks of the Río Dulce. The closest major city is Tucumán, and you’ll probably pass through Cordoba and Rosario on the way. Santiago Del Estero is definitely farther from Buenos Aires than you might expect. In fact, Santiago is located roughly 16 hour drive from Buenos Aires by car!

Estero to Buenos Aires
Estero to Buenos Aires

You can also drive to Tucumán in only 2.5 hours. 

Estero to Tucuman
Estero to Tucuman

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Santiago Del Estero is a surprisingly modern and developed city. There are some tall buildings and a sizable downtown. It’s also a city with a rich cultural and musical history. However, beyond the music and classic Argentina vibes, Santiago is pretty much an average third tier Argentine city that will get boring quickly. It’s worth checking out if you are driving through, but you’re likely not going to seek out the city for its touristic value. Prices are very good here and you’ll be able to save money. The city is well suited to digital nomads and travelers looking for decent wifi and infrastructure, an authentic experience, and a cheap place to stay.

OVERALL RATING: 6.5/10

 

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