As one of the biggest countries in the world, Argentina has managed to offer its visitors uneventful and very pleasurable stays in the last years. This is mainly because it is one of the safest countries in Latin America. Combined with its authenticity when it comes to local color and amazing cities, Argentina seems to have found the key to staying in the destination top of each globetrotter.
Located in the Southern half of South America, Argentina seduces its visitors yearly with its beautiful culture. From the street tango to the mighty Andes, this country offers its visitors experience to remember.
Even though high authorities such as the US Department of State Travel Advisory and the UK Government have assessed Argentina as having a low rate of threats, they encourage the visitors not to let their guard down during their stay and still take into account some safety tips before deciding to plan their trip. This is where our interests meet, as we are going to introduce you to our Argentina safety guide, containing important safety travel tips you have to keep in mind in order for your Argentinian experience to be successful.
How safe is Argentina for tourists? Read the following advice and decide for yourself.
Risks You Expose Yourself to When Visiting Argentina
Overall Risks in Argentina: LOW to MEDIUM
From petty thefts to natural disasters, trouble can appear in any forms in Argentina. It is true that the risks are lower than they used to be, but they do appear and you need to be informed at any step. As in any other country around the world, incidents might happen, whether we are talking about robbery, demonstrations, kidnapping for ransom or terrorist attacks.
How to avoid trouble when visiting Argentina?
In order to avoid the troubles that you may encounter while slowly walking down the streets in Argentina, you might want to consider paying extra attention to strangers and personal belongings, planning your trip very well in advance and keeping yourself connected to the latest news. Being informed is one of the main steps when planning a trip to another country, so you are the only one in charge with planning a perfect holiday.
Pickpocketing and Theft Risks in Argentina: MEDIUM
In most of the neighborhoods of Argentina, crime can be found. Whether it is in the form of pickpocketing or counterfeit notes, crime can appear at any corner if you are not responsible enough. These crimes of opportunity appear mostly in crowded places, in which your purse or wallet might be exposed, but also indoors or in public transport. Stealing from cars and bag snatching are among the most common habits of local people. Even if it does not imply tragic events, petty crime seems to be on the rise and therefore, it could ruin your holiday, therefore measures must be taken in order to prevent that.
- How to avoid pickpocketing and theft in Argentina?
As general advice in order to prevent petty theft and robberies, you should exercise normal precautions and pay attention to the people around you and especially to your belongings. Try to leave valuable objects and documents at the accommodation and do not show off expensive things such as electronics or jewelry.
What is more, you should avoid crowded places and dubious neighborhoods and also avoid as much as possible using public transport, as they have a bad fame regarding the petty thefts rate.
Scam Risk in Argentina: MEDIUM
Given that Argentina is a crowded place – especially Buenos Aires -, it goes without saying that scams and petty theft are common. They may not be that dangerous or happening too much, so to speak, but you should still keep an eye open for trouble.
For example, the most common scam throughout Buenos Aires is the so-called “mustard scam”. Someone pretends to accidentally drop mustard or ketchup on you – or simply “plant it” in advance -, while accomplices rush to you and insist they assist you in cleaning the mustard off your coat. Naturally, all they do when this happens is searching your pockets for valuables and so on. It’s a very successful scam, so to speak, as people are often confused and surprised and simply stand still, allowing the stranger to clean them without paying attention to other things.
Same as with the “mustard scam”, there are a lot of other methods of distraction theft that you have to keep an eye on. On other rather common scam usually happens in bars – travelers find themselves lured into a bar or into a “wiskeria” by a flyer offering a free show or a discount on purchased drinks, only to find out later that they’re not allowed to leave the bar until they pay for their drinks; naturally, the drinks cost a lot more than expected and certainly don’t come with any discounts.
- How to avoid getting scammed in Argentina?
Due to the very nature of the human being, it may be difficult for us to avoid such scams – wherever we may be in the world. However, if you understand that you’re visiting a foreign country where a lot of band things can happen, you will instinctively be more careful. You already tap the pocket that contains your wallet one too many times while abroad, so why not pay attention to the strangers that approach you as well? Never think that they’ll ask you for help or for spare change, as thieves or scammers know a tourist when they see one. Obviously, tourists usually get robbed and not asked for spare change or food.
In short, keep an eye on your surroundings and pay attention to who you interact with!
Kidnapping Risk in Argentina: LOW to MEDIUM
The risks of being kidnapped in Argentina is not very high. This kind of events are referred to as “express kidnappings”, as they happen very rarely and they do not have tragic endings. Usually, victims are caught and forced to withdraw large sums of money from ATMs when they are seen using them. In other circumstances, victims are caught and kept hostages for short periods of time, while the kidnappers call the victim’s friends or family, asking for ransom. After receiving large sums of money, the criminals release the victim unharmed, but as you can imagine, with awful memories about the trip to Argentina.
- How to avoid getting kidnapped in Argentina?
Tourists should try to use ATMs as little as possible, in order not to attract the others’ attention to their bank account. Extra caution is needed when encountering new people and sharing details about the family’s financial status. These might be useful advice in order not to inspire the others to create diversions in order to have access to your money.
Terrorism Risk in Argentina: LOW to MEDIUM
Because we are talking about one of the biggest countries in the world, we cannot completely rule out the dangers of it being a target for terrorist groups. Even if the terrorism cannot be ruled out, the risks of encountering such an unwanted event are pretty low. Since 1994, when the last traces of terrorist activity were registered, there have not been any other clear antecedents in the last years. Hopefully, the situation will not change in the future.
- How to avoid terrorism in Argentina?
In order for terrorist attacks to be avoided in Argentina, you should avoid staying in very crowded places too much. In the past, some small explosions took place in banks, although the authorities were not sure whether they were made by terrorist groups or not. Therefore, avoid public places in which many people gather, as they could be target locations for the Islamic groups.
Violence Risk in Argentina: LOW to MEDIUM
Violence is very rare in Argentina. Since 2017, there has been an increase in violent repression and violent crime is scarcely present on the streets of Argentina. The only events which might end being violent are the protests and demonstrations found along the streets of big cities. They usually have little effects for tourists and the only risks you might be exposed to are for you not to be able to visit all the tourist attractions you wanted, due to the fact that some streets might be blocked by the gatherings.
- How to avoid encountering violence in Argentina?
Even if the rates of violence in Argentina are very low, you should still keep an eagle eye in order for you not to be the exception to the rule. Therefore, whether you found yourself in the middle of a riot, try to blend with the people marching until you arrive to your destination, but avoid staying until the end of the demonstration. Be very cautious with your belongings and the people you are with, as you or they might get lost. If encountering violence, the best thing to do is not to respond to it. Sometimes, keeping in mind important phone numbers such as 911 for the Police and 107 for the Medical Emergencies can prove helpful.
Risks for Women Traveling Alone in Argentina: MEDIUM
Apart from the risks that each visitor may encounter along the way, women traveling solo in Argentina should take into account some other aspects as well. Women, as well as children, are conceived as weaker and may be targeted as theft victims when seen alone. For some reason, people in Argentina are very attentive to the way in which people are dressed. Therefore, provocative outfits are not appreciated in this region and might conduct to verbal violence or even much unpleasant events.
- How to avoid crime as a solo woman traveler in Argentina?
In order for a woman traveling solo in Argentina to be safe, she should keep in mind a few safety tips in order to avoid unwanted events. Therefore, take care of your belongings and leave important documents at the accommodation when walking alone on the streets of Buenos Aires or other big cities. Try to avoid showing off expensive jewelry and electronics and pay attention to the way you dress. Visiting a country where passion is in the air might include some jealousy coming from women who do not want their partners to see tourists dressed up provocatively.
Rape Risk in Argentina: LOW to MEDIUM
As with most South American countries, harassment and sexual assault are an issue – this is also one of the reasons why tourists usually avoid such countries. However, Argentina may very well be at the bottom of the list, so to say, mainly due to the fact that, over the years, its rape rate consistently decreased. The last official statistics show a decrease of almost 8% in 2015, with a total of 3,484 rape cases. This amounted to 8 cases per 100,000 population, which is also a decrease in 8.24% compared to 2014.
In short, Argentina can be considered safe for women – still, as mentioned above, solo woman traveler should take increased protective measures -, and they can enjoy their time here without worrying about being assaulted on the street. However, they may still experience the usual catcalling and verbal harassment – things that are, more or less, common in any other country.
- How to avoid getting raped in Argentina?
In order to avoid getting raped while visiting Argentina you should, first of all, avoid any shady or remote areas – it is paramount that you stick to the areas meant for tourists and don’t try to explore too much of the country on your own. Keep in mind that strangers are not the only danger – there are a lot of other things that can harm you if you’re not paying attention. Then, it is also recommended that you stay within crowded places or find a tourist group to travel with – basically, limit the time you spend traveling alone.
As for the verbal harassment and such, simply ignore the individuals and move on. You can avoid such things by approaching a decent dress code and probably less make-up as well. Naturally, keep your valuables hidden – such as jewelry – and, overall, have a tourist-like look, without trying to attract too much attention to yourself. However, don’t try to look too much like a tourist, as this may bring other trouble on your head, so to say. Even better – try to blend in with the rest of the people!
Obviously – do not travel alone during the night!
Risks for People Traveling with Children in Argentina: LOW to MEDIUM
As you may know, children require special care while traveling. First of all, they may not be used with traveling at all and can get sick or anxious – while it’s not recommended to give them medication for such conditions, you could do so during a trip in order to calm them down. In short, you’ll have to be permanently taking care of your children if you choose to take them with you.
This means that, instead of shopping for souvenirs and taking photos all the time, you’ll have to travel with relatives/ friends that can help you take care of your children or browse souvenirs for you. On top of that, you must also take into account the fact that they may get lost if left unattended. As mentioned above, Argentina – especially Buenos Aires – is pretty crowded, with both tourists and locals. If you don’t keep an eye on your children, they may walk away and get lost – in this case, you will most likely have to call the authorities if you don’t find them in about five minutes.
Basically, while you will enjoy everything that Argentina has to offer, you’ll also have to spend all of your time with the children, making sure that they’re OK, that they’re feeling good, and that there’s nothing bothering them!
- How to avoid unwanted scenarios?
As mentioned, unwanted scenarios can be avoided if you keep an eye on them at all times and if you’re prepared for everything! If you know they may get sick or anxious while traveling, have a bag of medicine prepared specially for them when leaving your home. It is better to have medicine ready than search for it in Argentina – we’ll take a look at its health system in just a bit!
Then, it is very important to have someone that can stay with them while you can’t. Even if you’re alone and you have only one child, it’s still hard to manage a trip – not to mention two children; such a scenario definitely requires a helping hand!
Natural Disaster Risks in Argentina: MEDIUM to HIGH
Argentina is exposed to many natural disasters every year. From earthquakes to heavy flooding and volcanic eruptions, unforeseen events could ruin your holiday if you do not go there well-informed.
A large number of active volcanoes such as Maipo and San Jose can be found in Argentina and the danger of them erupting are high anytime. This country is also visited frequently by Pemperos, which are strong windstorms found in the Northeastern region of Argentina and also in pampas. Being a mountainous country, the risk of earthquake is high, too. San Miguel de Tucumac and Mendoza are areas in the Andes mountains which are usually accustomed to earthquakes.
In order to avoid encountering natural disasters during your stay in Argentina, stay connected to the latest news and also keep distance from the places in which such unwanted experiences might be caused by them.
Transportation Risks in Argentina: LOW to MEDIUM
The cities of Barcelona are very big, with many neighborhoods that might confuse you if you do not have a well-organized schedule regarding time, routes and destinations.
What seems to pose some dangers for travelers is the public transport, along with the stations, as they seem to be the target locations for thieves. Another aspect that is well known about Argentina is the taxis. They might prove dangerous ways to reach your destinations, as the drivers are notorious in what concerns their driving manners and their scamming skills.
The road safety standards may vary, you need to pay attention and to take extra care when driving. Do not forget to buy a city map, in order for you not to get lost or be tricked by taxi drivers. You should also avoid public transport as much as possible, as it could turn into an unpleasant journey. Hide valuable items and be polite with the other people.
In what concerns the taxis, try to book them in advance and pay attention to the taxi that you choose, as they might be driven by scam artists, who pretend to be taxi drivers. Check every time if they have a radio taxi and insist on turning on the taxi meter, in order not to be extra charged.
Night-Clubs, Pubs, and Bar Risks in Argentina: MEDIUM
First of all, keep in mind that in night-clubs, pubs, and bars you have the same chance of being scammed or robbed as you do on the street, in the middle of the day. Argentina is known for its wild parties, so expect night-clubs to be really crowded and with a really crazy atmosphere – especially those in Buenos Aires. Obviously, not all people in them will be drunk or up for party, so to say – some of them will eye tourists and wait for them to leave their guard down.
As such, when visiting night-clubs, pubs, or bars, make sure to bring only the essentials with you – namely, copies of your personal documents and enough cash for drinks that won’t get you drunk. However, as we’ll mention below, you should always have a decent amount of money on you to pay for any treatment or medicine that you may need in the case of an emergency.
Be careful in the night-clubs/ pubs located in the 9 de Jului, San Telmo, Retiro, La Boca, and Avenida de Mayo areas. Foreign authorities advise tourists to be alert at all times when passing through or visiting such areas. Make sure to not let your guard down, no matter who approaches you.
Moreover, when it comes to places where you can party and drink in general, make sure to order your own drink and never accept any from strangers. The use of date-rape drugs seems to be increasing throughout the world and, as such, even countries with no reports of such drugs being used can be subject to them – as in, mostly tourists are usually subjects to such substances. Keep an eye on your drink at all times and if you think it has a weird taste, contact the authorities and return to your accommodation as soon as possible.
Health Risks in Argentina
Argentina comes with decent, even good, medical facilities – however, it is known that they can be rather expensive. On top of that, public hospitals may be crowded, depending on the time of the day/ week – and holidays, of course.
In terms of health risks, it is recommended that you take the Yellow fever vaccine before entering the country, especially if you plan a trip across multiple areas – as some parts of Argentina come with the risk of this disease. Furthermore, Argentina has a risk of Zika virus transmission, so you should take the proper measures to avoid getting in contact with it, so to say – the same applies to the Dengue fever, which can occur all year long and is caused by mosquito bites.
Be extremely careful if you travel to the Province of Chubut, in Epuyen, as a hantavirus outbreak has been reported here. Keep yourself up-to-date with all of the information regarding this outbreak, as well as with information related to any other health risks that you may expose yourself to while visiting Argentina.
Naturally, always travel with proper travel health insurance and, as mentioned above, make sure to have enough funds on your to cover the costs that may come with treatments or medicine that you’re required to take. Never embark on a trip, so to speak – especially a long one – without funds that can save you no matter the situation.
List of Vaccines You Need in Argentina
Safety is always connected to health and visiting another country should definitely be preceded by a visit to your medical care provider, who can advise you properly regarding the measures to be taken before going on a journey. Make sure you have a health insurance available in Argentina, too, and be up-to-date with the vaccines recommended. You might be exposed to diseases such as Hepatitis A, Yellow Fever, Dengue, Typhoid and Rabies. Your health is a priority included in the Argentina safety travel guide we provide.
- Hepatitis A and B
- Yellow Fever
- MMR Vaccines
- Polio/ Influenza
Most Dangerous Areas in Argentina
Among the most notorious places to visit in Argentina, Buenos Aires is the first. Because it is a large and crowded city, Buenos Aires is unsafe in what concerns the robberies and the petty thefts. People there take advantage of the fact that visitors are sightseeing the attractions and steal from them. Some other places in which robberies and kidnappings are common are La Boca and San Telmo followed by suburban areas such as Mendoza and Rosario. Dangers are present in traditional neighborhoods as well. As examples, Recoleta and Florida St Congreso should be avoided.
Generally, in this country you find the lowest crime rate in South America, but you still need to be careful to these unsafe areas for tourists in Argentina. Be cautious in every big city, avoid dubious neighborhoods and try to go sightseeing accompanied by other people. Advice received from tourist guides or travel agencies would also prove useful.
Concluding Remarks: Is Argentina Safe to Visit?
Make sure you take into account the Argentina safety travel tips we provided and do not forget to:
- Keep an eye on the news
- Be cautious in public places and big cities
- Leave valuable objects at the accommodation
- Only carry small amounts of money
- Avoid crowded areas and demonstrations
- Not trust everyone you have just met
You are the only one deciding whether Argentina is a safe place or not for you and your friends or family, so in case you decide to bark on this adventure, keep these safety travel tips in mind and you will be able to enjoy Argentina and all the amazing experiences that this country offers.