Local Laws in Argentina - Tips for the Traveler

Showing some social and cultural sensitivity can help you stay out of trouble. Find out how to stay safe with these tips on local laws and etiquette in Argentina.

Politics in Argentina

Be aware, talking politics as a foreigner can be a risky business.

Avoid speaking about England or Great Britain and the Falkland Islands including the Falklands War. In fact you shouldn‘t even be referring to the islands with its English name – use Las Islas Malvinas instead.

Also avoid talking about the Perón years and the military junta.

These are very sensitive subjects to many Argentines and can cause offence.

Don’t Fly the English Flag

In fact, it's best to avoid wearing any English or British symbols. English and British flags, as well as English national football (soccer) tops, are definitely to be avoided. Anniversaries of the conflict are always an occasion for demonstrations outside the British Embassy by various activist groups in support of Argentina's position on the Falkland Islands. There is usually a demonstration at the Embassy on April the 2nd each year.

Local Laws

Be aware local laws in Argentina may be different to what you know at home.

Offences committed against national symbols carry a penalty of imprisonment between six months and four years. This penalty is increased if the act is committed in conjunction with another offence, for example, defiling a national flag that has been stolen.

So don‘t get drunk and do anything stupid. You could be nursing your hangover with an extended stay in Argentina in prison. If you are arrested, you do have rights to legal representation, to remain silent and access to a translator if needed.

The legal drinking age in Argentina is 18 and there are different blood alcohol limits for drivers; 0.02% for scooters and motorbikes, 0.05% for other vehicles. 

Penalties for drug offences, even possession of small amounts, are severe and include lengthy imprisonment in local jails.

While prostitution may be legal in Argentina, organised prostitution such as brothels are illegal. Many of the women are from poor areas or countries who have been trafficked against their will or kidnapped. The industry is unregulated meaning that there is a high risk of catching sexually transmitted diseases. 

It's a good idea to always carry photo ID with you as police may ask for it. Always be polite and never give them any attitude.

Argentina became the first country in South America to legalise same sex marriage in 2010 and as a result, the rights of LGBTI people are protected. Buenos Aires has a lively gay scene and is home to the biggest gay pride parade in South America, held in November each year. 

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  • Silvana said

    Boy, for the sounds of it, you had the most terrible trip. Surprisingly, there is just mention of the bad and worst things. I almost feel sorry for you... you didn't see anything good worth to be mentioned here (not food, culture, music, tango, landscapes...) and you didn't have any good experiences to share. <br>I am from Argentina and have many friends that are NOT Argentinians, and yet their stories and experiences are not at all like yours. They have had traveled extensively backpacking and on buses and their accounts are far more fun, than what I read in here. True, there is danger and bad things in every country. I am sure even in yours (wherever you come from) So sad you traveled a wonderful, beautiful, big country with so much to offer, and instead, all you did take with you were bad memories.

  • Safety Hub said

    Hi Silvana... Thanks for your comment. There might be a little confusion here - this is an article from the World Nomads Safety Hub - we are here to educate travellers about some of the dangers they may face during their travels. We only mention the "bad and worst things" in the spirit of education and in the wish that our travellers stay safe. Unfortunately, the reality is when talking about travel safety, you need to discuss potential dangers that travellers may face - and obviously with you being a local you might ask "well where are the good bits?" - so we can understand.<br><br>We know many people who travel to Argentina and have fantastic adventures, experience the wonderful culture and environment, make life long friends and return home safely - so our intention is not to portray your country in a bad light. It is only to educate.<br><br>(By the way, we do this with EVERY country, not just Argentina! :)<br><br>Thanks,<br><br>Jesse Perez - World Nomads Travel Safety Hub

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