Safety Tips for Women Traveling in Argentina

Argentina is generally a safe country for women traveling alone, but it's always advised to take precautions. Here are some easy hints and tips to stay safe.

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Gloria walking on Perito Moreno Glacier in southern Argentina Photo © World Nomads

The main complaint from women travelers is unwanted attention from men.

Most are cases of minor harassment – whistling, making suggestive comments, staring, for example - but there have also been reports of sexual assault. 

Staying Safe While Sightseeing Alone

As you would in your own hometown or country, make sure you stay alert and cautious when walking alone, especially at night. Savvy travelers know to avoid quiet, dimly-lit streets even in metro areas. Thinking about taking a shortcut through an empty park after dusk, or what about checking out a quiet street or alleyway? You probably wouldn’t do it at home, so don’t try it on your travels!

If you’re a woman walking alone in Argentina, regardless of time of day, local men will probably stare or whistle at you. It’s not incessant, and most of the time you can just ignore it and move on.

But in certain situations, it can be enough to make some women feel very uneasy. If you feel uncomfortable, politely but firmly tell the man to leave you alone then head toward a group of people or family.

If you feel threatened or in danger, run to a store or crowded area and let someone know what is happening.

The Argentine police operate a 24-hour police helpline in English for tourists in Buenos Aires, which can be accessed by dialling 101. You can also try the general emergency number on 911 (yes, the same as in the US).

Yas looking out the window at a rainbow over a glacier in Argentina
On a boat trip to see Perito Moreno Glacier up close. Photo credit: World Nomads

How to Stay Safe at Night in Argentina

One thing South American cities like Buenos Aires are renowned for is their amazing nightlife.

In Argentina, in general, dinner is served much later, around 9pm, so you won’t find many local restaurants open until then. Bars don’t get going until around 11pm or midnight, and there’s really no point heading to the boliches in Buenos Aires until at least 2am or 3am.

Things to watch out for at bars and clubs are groping and unwanted attention from men. This is more likely if you’re seated alone, or waiting for friends near a bathroom door, for example. Stick to a group or with a friend as much as possible.

If you’re heading from one venue to another, or going home, avoid walking around alone and be wary of getting in a taxi by yourself as there have been reports of dodgy drivers, ranging from pesky, annoying behavior, to downright harassment and assault. Be sure to only hail radio taxis, which are easily identifiable by the “Radio Taxi” sign on the rear door.

Some taxis will have a light with Radio Taxi written on it on top of their car. To hail an available taxi, look for the red “libre” sign in the front window.

This won’t rule out any risk entirely, but you’re less likely to be scammed or assaulted in a registered radio taxi. Carry the business card of your accommodation so you can show the taxi driver where to go.

If you’re going back to your hostel or hotel, have a friend walk with you right up until your door and lock the door behind you. There have been reports of security guards at hostels and student accommodations taking advantage of women returning home from a late night on the town. 

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