Although known by the romantic nickname of “the Paris of South America”, issues of safety in Buenos Aires are still a concern for the thousands of tourists who visit the capital each year. As a general rule, caution and common sense are the easiest ways of ensuring that Buenos Aires leaves you with memories of dazzling tango shows and delectable Malbec wine instead of unfortunate experiences. But for risk-free travel in Argentina’s magical capital, follow these Buenos Aires safety tips.
1. Remain aware of your surroundings
Like all cities around the world, there are certain neighborhoods that are a no-go. Areas such as La Boca are notoriously dangerous if you stray from the main tourist avenues, so consult with your hotel concierge before sightseeing as to the regions that you should avoid. At night time, even central tourist districts such as San Telmo can become dangerous, so being cautious when walking the streets and getting a radio taxi to take you back to your hotel are important Buenos Aires safety tips.
2. Keep an eye out for petty crime
Pickpockets are an unfortunate part of life in Buenos Aires, however, they can be avoided. Being very aware of your belongings in public spaces is the main rule.
Keeping your handbag on your lap and mobile phones hidden away, not left on the table in restaurants can prevent your trip costing far more than you planned.
3. Avoid “flashing your cash”
Wherever you travel in South America, it’s common sense to avoid wearing expensive watches or jewelry as these are an unfortunate magnet for thieves. Keeping your camera in a zipped up rucksack rather than dangling around your neck is another way of protecting your belongings and staying safe in Buenos Aires.
4. Keep valuables locked in your hotel safe
When sightseeing, you really don’t need your passport; instead, make sure it’s locked up in your hotel safe. Although in some instances, such as when paying by card in Argentina, you will need a form of ID.
In these cases, a driver’s license or even a photocopy of your passport should be sufficient and will save you the stress of carrying your most precious possession around with you.
5. Don’t fall for the scams
One of the techniques favored by petty criminals in Buenos Aires is distraction. Thieves will squirt liquids such as mustard or even bird droppings onto your clothing and someone will come over to help, potentially a friendly-looking old lady or business woman in a suit.
Whatever you do, don’t accept their assistance and instead, head back to your hotel or a restaurant to get cleaned up; many tourists have their rucksacks stolen while they’re distracted by this “friendly onlooker” helping them to remove the stains.
6. Always take a radio cab and be careful with payment
When traveling by cab, always ensure that you take the safer radio taxis, which can be booked in advance from your hotel. Asking for an estimated price before you start your journey will also help to reduce the likelihood of you being ripped off by unscrupulous drivers. Always check that they put the meter or reloj on at the start of the journey too.
Paying with small bills is also important. Bill swapping – where taxi drivers claim you have given them a counterfeit bill, when in fact they have swapped the one you paid with – is common, so always keep some change on you.
Buenos Aires safety tips
Exploring the stately plazas of elegant Buenos Aires is a delightful experience and one which shouldn’t be spoilt by safety concerns. Exercising caution, ensuring you take care with your valuables and are always aware of your surroundings will guarantee that your time in the capital is memorable for all the right reasons.