Argentina: 5 Things to Know Before You Go!

Doing your research for a trip to Argentina? Here are 5 quick tips to get you started.

Violent crime is extremely rare, and smaller towns in Argentina are even safer than Buenos Aires.

Nevertheless, it is important to remember there are always pickpockets in tourist areas on the lookout for easy prey. Always protect your valuables and keep your passport and tickets in a safe at your hotel. The Buenos Aires barrio of La Boca, just a few blocks away from the famous street Caminito, has seen a number of thefts lately. Take special care when you‘re in this area.

We know there is a lot to read before going to Argentina - like what vaccinations do you need? - so we asked our friends in the adventure travel space to give us some tips on what they wish they knew before they went to Argentina.

Five Quick Tips for Argentina

1. Carry Change

Check your 100 peso note BEFORE giving it to the shop assistant – they can claim it was counterfeit and give you back the counterfeit! Also, coins are like gold. It‘s hard to get change anywhere and you can‘t take a bus without coins! Mat Lewis, i-to-i

2. Avoid Demonstrations

They happen all too regularly in Buenos Aires and occasionally can get a bit violent. Agustina Marmol, Dolomite Mountains

World Nomads: There are a couple of places in the city that are the focal point of protests. If there's going to be trouble, it'll be here.

3. Know Your Bearings

Always know where you are on the map. Buenos Aires is the kind of place where fancier, tourist-friendly neighborhoods are directly adjacent to some rough spots. Josh Steinitz, NileGuide

4. Take Taxis at Night

Buenos Aires is safe for women traveling and sightseeing alone, but you should be aware that the men there will whistle at you when you pass by, and comment on your looks. During the night it‘s better to take a taxi to where you are headed instead of walking the streets alone, that applies if you are travelling alone or not, especially for La Boca area. Antonija, GeckoGo

World Nomads: And watch out for these common scams and petty crimes.

5. Beware of Dogs

There are large packs of dogs hanging around some of the bus stations, so beware. Most of the time they won‘t bother you but it‘s always better to travel with a friend, power in numbers. Christina Tunnah, WorldNomads

Need some handy Spanish travel phrases? Try our Spanish Language App.

What did you learn in Argentina and wish you knew before you went? Leave us a comment!

32 Comments

  • Ray said

    Always try to hand over the exact fare for a taxi ride - occasionally yoy will receive counterfeit notes in change if you handover a large note

  • Ray said

    The train from Buenos Aires to Cordoba is the slowest ever - take the bus.

  • Jess said

    Argentina has got less safe in recent years. Keep your guard up at all times and avoid any streets that are not crowded. I love Argentina, but it has it's ugly side. I was robbed in La Boca, two blocks from Caminito - some young guys pointed guns at me and my friend and set a pack of dogs on us. We got away without any serious injuries, but count ourselves lucky.
    Don't carry a debit/credit card with you (if you are robbed and they find it, they will escort you to a cash point and make you take out as much as you can). Keep some cash in your bra/shoe. Try to blend in in terms of clothing (including no fancy glasses).
    I hate guided tours, but for safety reasons I would recommend it if you want to visit La Boca or San Telmo. Also be careful in Once.

  • Estan said

    One of the prevailing myths about Buenos Aires is that it is "safe." Part of that is the fault of the tourism industry, along with the unwillingness of governments to tell the truth about negative factors. But in 2013, the Argentine judicial system, acting independently of the don't-tell Kirchner government, prepared a study of homicides in the city of Buenos Aires. The result: a homicide rate of 6.09 per 100000 population. Compare that to the 2014 homicide rate for NYC (which no reasonable person considers safe) at 4.0 per 100000. As for robbery, the published UN numbers for Argentina reveals that the country has by far the highest theft/robbery rate in the entire western hemisphere.

  • German said

    Esteban is wrong. Chile has the highest theft/robbery rate in the Americas, with about 60% of homes having been target of some kind of theft during 2014.

  • Broke said

    Hey everyone I went to Argentina and I like it so much ! It's incredible the people, their passion and love! Also you should try mate and alfajores! The bestest are Havanna and Águila. Oh I cannot forget ASADO! You know, its the best meat ever. If you like Football you must to visit the River Plate's Stadium! La boca isn't attractive at all. Its a turist zone, but its dangerous. But not for that you should say that Argentina isn't pretty. If you get the chance to go to a concert, its a beautiful and louder crowd! You must to visit Palermo, Puerto Madero (so beautiful). You shouldn't speak like that! All the countries has their bad side but not for that you're gotta be mean. You know what? It isn't Buenos Aires, its every state! Río Negro, Usuharia, Cataratas, Misiones... It has a very warm way, and such a beautiful paradises! I'd love get back there! At the end, you're going to miss their passion, warm and love... Did u saw when Argentina get into the Final world cup? EVERYONE was so happy, emocional and proud. I was there and it was brilliant I felt me like an Argentinian! So before say those things about a country, you gotta say the beautiful things and investigate good for enjoy of a better the trip. South América is "a bad suggest to go" but you gotta travel before judge. Besos xox.

  • Martin Grahan said

    Buenos Aires, horrible place not recommended at all!

    I am 21 yo man at my "sur america" trip with my gf, I am here in Buenos Aires right now and I couldn't regret it more, first I already got robbed twice, first time my cellphone at the streets, second time my notebook and all my money they had a big knife and was scary as fuck, I was staying in "lanus" neighborhood (extremely dangerous) I didn't knew. The only places to stay safe here are the wealthiest neighborhoods (some parts of palermo, some parts of recoleta, whole puerto madero is OK, some parts of belgrano and some parts of nunez) if you are going anywhere else cancel your booking right now! And carefully investigate about the neighborhood you are going, this is serious and can cost your life.

    OVERALL
    Buenos Aires is a huge city, but very gray, people look depressed, the economical situation is distasteful, there are a lot of families living on the streets even camping on the main avenues, trash everywhere, overall poverty, lot of protests because corrupt government, huge ghettos areas inside the main city, drug addicts at night in the "congreso" (a must go for tourists) area willing to kill for a next "paco (crack)" dosis, people is always trying to get advantage of tourists, they up the prices 5 times more just for us, they give us counterfeit money as exchange, etc.
    DO NOT stay at hostels, since everything in Argentina is centralized in Buenos Aires poor people from the whole country goes to the hotels to get a job in Buenos Aires or study and they WILL steal the stuff of the tourist, they might be actually good people but they really need the money to survive the next day.

    PROS
    Nightlife is crazy, it never ends, Argentinians party hard until 7AM and then they make after parties, is sick.
    Is relative inexpensive.
    If you like grilled meat with just salt you will be in heaven.
    Girls are beautiful, like Italian girls or even better, but they are used to local Argentinians trying to prey on them, touch them, force them, so is not easy to start a conversation with then specially if you are in a loud bar or club, once they see you are not predating them they will love to have a chat, you can and should invite them drinks (most of them are poor and can't afford to drink at the bar/discos that's why they drink all they can before entering the place).

    Nothing more to say I am leaving this city forever tomorrow, me and my gf lost more than 6.000 € in two weeks just in robberies and I almost got stabbed in the "congreso" area walking alone at night.

    This is as 09-May-16: my advice is to AVOID this place, unless you are in a big group or an adventurer or business.

  • Alexzandro said

    I love argentina. Every country has its ugly place. Just like nigeria, there are a place you cant pass in the night with a bus. But here in libya is the worst, every body have guns. If you work some will pay you. While some will nöt. Pls i want to visit argentina. I want to stay there and work. But i dont have anybody there. Pls help me out. Am a nigeria but right now am in libya. I want to live in argentina. Pls help. I will jae very greatful.

  • Lin said

    There is no dole there. Dangerous, yes can be but just try not to look like a tourist. I was robbed by a taxi driver. Always write down the rego number. Carry little money at night and avoid quiet streets. I have been twice and going again soon. This time travelling around by bus. Enjoy, dance, eat steak...learn Spanish. Do it all.

  • hope said

    I'm still making my research about buenos aires coz I'm planing to go and study spanish there..
    well.. now I'm scared as i will be alone and as a girl i don't know how it will be

    i live in dubai and its so safe here i can go alone anytime anywhere and carry phons and wear my gasses and watch without thinking off all you guys talking about we also can leave our personal items on a table in caffe and go the the bathroom and come back everything on its place.

    can i get some advice if i can go or not at all??

    thanks.

  • LarryPowers said

    Seriously, if I were a girl, I will never entertain going to Argentina alone. Even with a tour group, you have to make sure you have selected reputable tour groups, because some of the operators are crooked as hell. Your life and well-being are above everything else. Even tough looking and worldly guys get robbed, harassed and so on, so a lone girl stands no chance. So speaking from experience as a guy that has been their couple of times for work, I would not advice it.

  • KC said

    The best answer is to avoid Argentina at all costs.
    Really crappy country.
    Flew there on Christmas Eve. Denied entry.
    I paid the entry fee but they said paperwork that I got from American Airlines not correct.
    Well, many hours later and lost luggage, I was sent back to Los Angeles on Christmas Eve.
    I hate turning on an entire country because the Immigration officials were really nasty to us, but it did leave a shitty taste in my mouth.
    Only good news is watching them constantly lose in Soccer, the one sport they claim they are good at.
    I suggest to others to find other South American Countries to visit.

  • Pablo said

    Hi Everyone! I´m Pablo, im a traveler as you and i´m working helping foreigners to travel in Argentina safe and cheap!

    Trust me, there´s nothing to fear here in Buenos Aires!

    visit www.facebook.com/theargentinianhelper and contact me and i will help you with your next travel!

  • John said

    Pickpocketed within hours of arriving. Fell for bird poop scam. Old lady of about 70 came up to helpfully clean off "bird poop"(turned out to be mustard). Next thing I knew she had got into a waiting car and my wallet was gone. Told at hotel "it happens all the time."Can'take judge a whole city by its criminals but extreme vigilance is required in this place.

  • Canada said

    I was staying in Buenos Aires. I was going to a decent billiards place with my friend. About 6 times in total. The second last time I went I asked the security to call me a remix/taxi. He said ok. The girls that serve the drinks and give out the coins offered me a ride. I trusted them because I talked to them many times and they seemed normal to me. So they gave me a ride and all was good.

    The last time I went I again asked for a remis. The security guy ordered me one and 5 minutes later he said it was there.

    I said good night to everyone and jumped into the taxi. The taxi drive a block down the street and stopped. Two guys opened the front door and the back door. One grabbed my arms from behind and the person in the front stole everything I had. My watch . 3000 pesos. Cell phone and they were desperate for my keys. Saying over and over tu chaves.

    I thaugt I got to get free and faught with the 3 guys and ran away. I don't remember how I got back to the house I was staying in. But the police were there.

    It was all planned by the mafia and is why the nice girls offered me a ride home the time before. To find out where I live.

    When they broke into the house they got another 5000 pesos and another phone. They were fast because I broke free or they would have held me hostage and spent the whole night robbing me and my friend.

    What a fucking horrible experience. I left as soon as I could book a flight home.

    I would suggest not going to Argentina. It is now full of drug dealers. Mafia. Poverty. Drug addicts and desperate people that will go to any extreme for money.

    I was so lucky I wasn't murdered.

  • DeeSource said

    I came to this site, because once my daughter is finished with her 4 yr college degree, I'd think more seriously about traveling. I had a few friends who talked about Argentina and a couple who visited. I'm not terribly interested in going there, but thought I could see what others say about it "here"...THEN... I see some very RUDE comments. Why would someone be so bold as to place on a public forum "Knee Grows" in reference to a group of people (me-who shares that same pigmentation) associated with crime? At least a couple of people took that to task. Thanks, TJ and Toks for putting that person on blast and speaking up about it.

  • MARCELA said

    Hi everyone,visitar Argentina no es solo conocer Buenos Aires,hay muchas otras ciudades las cuales son hermosas por ejemplo la provincia de Córdoba que esta situada en la región central del pais.saludos a todos desde Córdoba,Argentina

  • Frank said

    I've been to Colombia 5 times. It sure is much safer than Argentina.

  • Amelia said

    Hi DeeSource,
    Thanks for flagging this comment! We have gone through and deleted these.
    Regards,
    Amelia from World Nomads

  • Eva said

    im from Buenos aires, to take the bus you can't use change anymore. you buy a card (SUBE) at a kiosk and add money to it.

  • Eva said

    Also, I've lived in the city for years, alone. Some of these incidents describe can happen anywhere. the city is not full of drug dealers and murderers any more than any large city. And While I'm sure the experience must have been completely horrible, how can it not have been, and most definitely not your fault, its not the regular happening it sounded like.
    For future travelers, just be as careful as you would in any other large and unknown city, especially a foreign one: don't flash around large amounts of cash, don't go off with people you don't know, keep an eye out, etc.
    Safe traveling everyone!

  • Rek said

    I was ripped off by a cab driver who switched my notes for counterfeit ones when I paid him. Cab drivers in BA are not to be trusted.

  • Gustavo said

    Hi, Uber is working fine in Buenos Aires, is safer than cabs. if you need take a bus you can buy a SUBE card in any kiosk or Drugstore, but if you need the climb up the bus do it and ask if anybody can pay for you.....mostly of times the ride will be free or you will paid only a little more than usual. I´m shame about the reputation of our city but a new police force is being created now in the hope of improve the safety for all us, tourists included..
    We as tourists in a foreign city usually walk unsuspecting, Buenos Aires requires attention and precautions to enjoy it ... my best advice is the one I apply when traveling abroad, take with you things that do not affect if it is stolen. Best regards

  • Bernadette said

    Well, I will probably not go to Argentina anytime soon after reading these posts. To Eva who lives there and says "Some of these incidents describe can happen anywhere. " The key word here is 'can', not do. I am a woman traveling the planet alone and I have been to 41 countries. I do not go to to clearly dangerous places and have been fortunate to avoid danger, although I have been robbed in Costa Rica by Peruvians and scammed in Vietnam by locals. I advise any woman traveling alone to avoid going out on the street alone after dark. That is just asking for trouble. Happy travels to you all.

  • Magdalena said

    I'm quite surprised about the comments I've read in this post. I'm female traveller - have travelled over 30 countries by myself - lived in London for 5 years and I am argentinean. I currently live in Buenos Aires and can tell you a bit about my country, which I love and my city - which I consider is one of the best cities in the world. Yes - it is unsafe but only if you stay in dodgy areas and if you don't do your research - this I call being a smart traveller. In the case of Buenos Aires it means staying in Recoleta or Palermo or Puerto Madero or Barrio Norte or Belgrano or Nuñez or even north suburbs, in terms of accomodation and not walking alone at night in ramdon areas and taking ramdon taxis that is not a Radio Taxi (you can take Ubers nowadays). Staying in Congreso, Microcentro, (Retiro too), Once, La Boca and San Telmo is plain stupid and risky. (San telmo a bit less however still - if you want to be safe don't stay there). Now - you can visit all this other places by day but go with tour guides if possible. You need to have a little bit of sense as to people being over friendly and offering you rides...you need to be aware that if you are in an unsafe neighbourhood carrying a flashy bag, or clothing and camera hanging loosely you will be robbed... you need to not carry large sums of money and you need to put some tap on your daily extract of money in case you are robbed and they force you to take money from a cash point... you need to carry your purse or backpack in front of you on buses and on the streets in unsafe areas. However this advice applies to every country I have visited. All the above means being a smart traveller. If you don't take this advice I give you you will probably fail in having an amazing time in this beautiful city. Buenos Aires is amazing, and for lots of people that have gotten to know it well, one of the best places in the world. Be smart, do your research. I read a comments from someone who said hostels don't work as such here - this is not true. Again please do your research - i've stayed in amazing hostels in Argentina and have met incredible travellers and friends ... check hostelworld, airbnb, booking, tripadvisor. Be SMART. Cheers!

    travellingchicas.blogspot.con

  • rick said

    I'm planning a trip there now that they have dropped the "reciprocity fee".That is a clear invitation to Notre Americanos. I'm a big guy & stay alert,moreso now that I have read these warnings.I plan on taking the ferry to Uruguay too...any danger there?

  • Tesa said

    I was in BA in 2014. On our way to La Boca our tour guide warned us of pick pockets. We took a bus to La Boca, it was a very crowded bus and I had to stand. I had my purse hanging in front of me and I suddenly felt it pushing against my hip. I looked down to see a man'S hand squirming to get inside my purse. He was trying to hide his hands with a thick jacket folded over his arm. I speak Spanish and asked him what he was doing and if he was trying to rob me. He was shocked and pushed his way to the back exit of the bus. The locals on the bus started calling out to the bus driver that there was "another" thief on the bus and complained that this was happening too often. The man who tried pick pocketing me jumped off the bus along with a few other men. People on the bus began checking their own bags and pockets. Another guy in the same tour group realized his wallet was stolen from his cargo pants. The next day, we flew out of BA to Igazu Falls. When we landed, this same guy had money he had stashed in his luggage robbed and my friend had the locks on her luggage broken. I have traveled all around the world, unfortunately Argentina is the only country where we've experienced a series of unfortunate events. I don't discourage visiting, but definitely stay on high alert and take extra safety precautions.

  • hannah said

    I have traveled alone to many countries and never discourage anyone from traveling. I have traveled to Israel, Egypt, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Poland, Germany, Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru, India, etc. As a female, you just have to be smart when traveling to any country alone. The most important rule is to stay in good areas like Recoleta or Palermo.

    Having said that, I have learned to stay out of taxi cabs as it's generally safer on buses and trains; there is power in numbers.

    Unfortunately, I had a terrible experience in Buenos Aires and that's because I made the mistake of getting into a taxi cab, while I was extremely tired with jet lag from traveling.The cab driver switched my notes for counterfeit ones when I paid him. Cab drivers in BA are not to be trusted, at all. The lesson for me was not to carry large amounts of cash, which I no longer carry when traveling and I no longer take cabs anywhere I go, even in places like Berlin.

    What's really scary to me is staying in your comfort zone and not traveling or exploring because of what may or may not happen. Being fear based is not the answer; just be aware. Argentina is a wonderful country to visit, you just have to take precautions, just like anywhere you travel to.

  • Jody said

    Argentina is a very beautiful country and doesnt just exist for BA.

    My advice is go north. My boyfriend and I spent a month in the north travelling in from Bolivia / chile border area. Stunning mountains in this area especially around Cafayate - not to mention the vineyards and amazing wine.
    Purmaraca is one of the pretiest little villages i have seen of anywhere in the world and is like a time warp.
    Also Salta and I havent even started on Iguazu. Incredible places!

    You cannot judge a whole country based on one city. So many of the comments are about BA. If you are worried about it, just avoid BA. The rest of this amazing friendly country is happy to welcome tourists :-)

  • Bernarda said

    Some of these comments made me cry.as an Argentinian I felt pretty offended by some subjective, one-sided, poorly sustained nasty description of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I'm only 21, but I visited many countrities,I currently live in the US. Unfortunately I will have to agree with some truths, Buenos Aires can be dangerous, but is has a lot to do with where you go, when and with who. You don't need to be very smart to know that somebody walking alone at night in poor ares of BA will get mugged, specially a woman and even more a foreigner. I live near Chicago, and although US is a rich and great country and the majority of the places are safe, I know I'm not gonna go by myself to walk around Chicago at night, there are many dangerous places, there are ghettos too!!! Despite the negative sides (which every country has) Argentina is a lot of fun. The food is great, the landscape is beautiful. Arg is a very large country, the 8th biggest in the world to be exact. The Variety of views is amazing!! The parties are so much fun, they last forever, people are extremely friendly. We have the best steak,goodness I'm craving it right now!! We, Argentinians are the most gorgeous women ever!!

  • Claudio said

    It's seriously disgusting to read a lot of misogynistic, racist comments here. Western civilization has bottomed out.

  • Vanessa said

    The title is completely misleading!! It should be "BUENOS AIRES: 5 Things to Know Before You Go." You can't talk about ONE city and assume the WHOLE ENTIRE country is the SAME as Buenos Aires!

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