Bienvenido a San Juan! Nestled in the heart of the popular wine-growing region of Tulúm Valley in the west of Argentina, the city of San Juan is a bit of an anomaly. Despite its dry, hot climate, this is a busy and modern city full of lush vegetation and numerous canals, winning it the nickname “The Oasis City” among locals and expatriates. San Juan certainly feels like an oasis of sorts – outside of the metropolitan area, there are no other cities for many miles in any direction. In fact, the nearest major settlement is the city of Mendoza, a two hour drive away by car. Despite (or maybe because of) its isolation, San Juan is an extremely well-serviced city with great transport links, wide streets, museums, shops and a good university. Expats living in San Juan will find it is like living in any South American city, except you are just a short drive from the stunning El Leoncito National Park at the foot of the Andes; the ethereal beauty of the Ischigualasto Provincial Park; and some of the best vineyards in the world.
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Expats thinking about moving to San Juan may be put off by the city’s remoteness. However, the city enjoys excellent transport links, with a major road (National Route 40) connecting it with Mendoza, Cordoba, La Rioja and even Santiago in neighboring Chile. The Domingo Faustino Sarmiento Airport is just 15k from the city, and runs daily flights to and from Buenos Aires. Any expatriate who has lived in wine regions before will be used to the hot, dry climate, but others may find it exhausting at first. Invest in a good air conditioner the day you arrive in the city, and stay indoors in the middle of the day during the summer. Other expats can give you advice on dealing with living in a hot climate – just sign up on InterNations and use the forums and discussion groups to socialize and network with fellow expatriates in San Juan and across the globe.
The biggest industry in San Juan is wine exports. Wine lovers and dealers from all over the world visit the city to sample and export the regional wines. San Juan residents are, therefore, well used to expatriates and tourists. However, most business in the city is conducted in the national language of Spanish, so it is essential that expats working in San Juan can hold a conversation in Spanish. Argentinian Spanish is slightly different to European Spanish, so take a couple of lessons from an Argentinian teacher before you set off or use InterNations to look for a native speaker with whom you can practice. For various tips on picking up new languages, adapting to new work environments, and general life abroad speak to veteran expats on the InterNations discussion groups and forums or have a browse through our content section, including the Expat Magazine.