Incredible stretches of Pampas grasslands, mighty glaciers, Andean foothills, a multicultural melting pot in Buenos Aires, and the ends of the Earth in Patagonia; it’s all here in Argentina.
Neither developed nor developing, Argentina is a modern country that’s seen a depressed economy in recent years. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be improving either.
Much of the population already lives in poverty and petty theft is common in the cities. Naturally, you’re probably wondering: “is Argentina safe?”
To help you with all things safety-related in Argentina, we’ve created this mammoth insider’s guide. In it, you’ll find all the information you could need for seeing this AMAZING country for yourself. We’re all about smart travel at The Broke Backpacker and think you should be too!
There is a load of different topics that we’re going to discuss in our guide. That means pretty much everything from whether it’s safe to visit Argentina right now with the economic crisis, to whether the food in Argentina is safe to eat.
Regardless if you’re a parent thinking about taking your family on an Argentinian adventure, or if you’re someone who wants to backpack solo around Argentina – our guide has you covered. You’re about to learn a whole lot about staying safe in Argentina!
- How Safe is Argentina? (Our take)
- Is Argentina Safe to Visit Right Now?
- Argentina Travel Insurance
- Safety Places to Visit in Argentina
- 19 Top Safety Tips for Traveling to Argentina
- Is Argentina safe to travel alone?
- Is Argentina safe for solo female travelers?
- More on Safety in Argentina
- FAQ’s on Argentina’s Safety
- Final Thoughts on the Safety of Argentina
How Safe is Argentina? (Our take)
Compared to its neighbors, Argentina is very safe to visit. It’s one of the safest Latin American countries for tourists and is much less hectic than the popular backpacking country Brazil, Colombia, or Peru.
But it’s not all roses here. Argentina has a problem with drugs, namely using and dealing, petty crime is rife, and corruption (including day-to-day bribery) isn’t uncommon.
Poorer neighbourhoods tend to suffer from these issues more than rich neighbourhoods. But that’s like anywhere in the world. And crime is on the up and so is drug use. In fact, the youth (12-17) drug rate has increased by almost 150% between 2010 and 2017.
Then there are natural disasters. Seasonal flooding DOES occur and there’s also the semi-often eruption of Copahue Volcano on the border with Chile to worry about.
At the moment, Argentina is going through a period of inflation as well. The currency (Argentinean peso) has experienced severe devaluation, which really doesn’t help the huge gap between the rich and poor
But if you’re a tourist in Argentina, these problems probably won’t affect you very much, that is, unless you go looking for trouble. Plenty of people visit and have a trouble-free time. In most of the country, you should feel safe.
Is Argentina Safe to Visit Right Now?
There wasn’t a time where travelling Argentina was super safe, but we can say that you’ll less likely to get into trouble now than in recent years.
It’s important to note that 35% of Argentinians live below the poverty line as well. Of course, this is going to lead to a HUGE difference between rich and poor.
But be aware: poverty and street crime go hand in hand, and the economic crisis might be making things worse.
There have been recent protests in Buenos Aires against austerity measures. Sometimes these do turn violent and have been dispersed violently by riot police, too. In some cases, roads can be closed down. However, if you stay away from these protests, Buenos Aires is generally safe. Avoid the sketchy areas and use your common sense when you’re visiting the city!
British travellers have the added complication of the Falkland Islands, which is a British territory claimed by Argentina. There are occasional protests outside the British Embassy and other British establishments. When these happen, keep away.
There are always things to watch out for, especially in the urban areas: there include scams, unlicensed taxi drivers, pickpockets in tourist areas, and the occasional mugging.
The upside to Argentina’s financial struggle is that your foreign currency goes a long way. Financially, it’s a good time for you to visit Argentina.
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Do you need Travel Insurance for your trip? Even if you’re only going for a few days, that’s more than enough time to get smote by wrathful angels. Have fun in Argentina, but take it from us, overseas medical care and canceled flights can be seriously expensive – insurance can, therefore, be a life-saver.
Travel mishaps can and do happen and it is well worth thinking about insurance before you leave home.
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Do be sure to read the terms and conditions to make sure that the policy covers your needs.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
Safety Places to Visit in Argentina
No matter if you want to stay in one spot or travel around, having a safe place to stay is essential. With Argentina’s “not so safe” reputation, it’s even more important to figure out which places are the best. That’s why we listed the best ones below:
Cordoba is a great student city with lots of young travellers from all over the world. You’ll find the massive university of Cordoba here, as well as stunning architecture and loads of culture and history. The city is not as big as Buneos Aires and the crime rate is significantly lower, which makes it one of the safest places in Argentina.
Cordoba is an eclectic mix of the old and the modern. With many unique neighborhoods, Cordoba is a hub for young travellers and university students.
Although most people would disagree, Buenos Aires definitely counts as one of the safest cities in Argentina as well. It’s a 12mil people city and a very modern place compared to other areas in the country. There are a few areas (which we will cover later) that you should avoid, but overall, Buenos Aires is pretty safe and offers great opportunities for travellers looking for work or expats trying to grow their business.
Buenos Aires is a stunning marvel with a split reputation. The city’s full of energy, wonderfully designed, and there is rarely ever a dull moment. For those backpacking Argentina, Buenos Aires is the perfect place to kick everything off.
This stunning northern town is for the more laid back travellers that want to enjoy lots of safety and culture. Staying here means getting to know the Argentine gaucho (outback) culture. Locals are known to be incredibly friendly. It’s also a charming place for couples or families that want to escape the busy capital city without having to give up too much modern infrastructure.
Salta is a thriving commune and backpacker hangout smack dab in the middle of the desert. This desert also happens to double as one of Argentina’s premier wine regions. It’s a charming and relaxing getaway.
Places to Avoid in Argentina
We’ve mentioned it above, some places in Argentina are safer than others. Generally, the more remote you’re living, e.g. small towns and local villages, the safer you’ll be. Crimes can only be found in the main cities, and unfortunately, most of it in the capital one.
Buenos Aires has two different reputations. One claims it as one of the most dangerous cities in Argentina, and the other one an incredible place to experience different cultures, history and some of the best food you’ve ever had in your life.
And neither of them is wrong. With more than 12 million people, Buenos Aires ist just as unsafe (or safe) as any other big city. You will find petty crime and pickpocketing which is mainly targeting tourists, but you’re unlikely to experience anything worse. However, there are some areas that tourists should avoid in general. We’ve listed them below:
- Around public transport terminals: Petty theft and pickpocketing occur around these areas the most. Watch your belongings and don’t wait too long around terminals. Check the schedule beforehand and wait inside a cafe or nearby place instead.
- Small side streets: These can get especially sketchy at night. While they might be romantic during the day, stay away from areas where there are not many tourists.
- Villa 31: This neighbourhood is a Shantytown and should be fully avoided by tourists. Most crime, including gang activity and drug use, can be found here. Luckily, as a visitor, you’ll be highly unlikely to walk into this area.
It’s definitely not as dangerous as some of its South American neighbours, but, like anywhere in the world, there are still precautions that need be taken in Argentina. Mostly, you’ll have to look out for street crime and petty theft.
It will pay to have a few top tips under your belt to help you travel smart in Argentina. A lot of the time, it’s just about being aware of situations and your surroundings.
- Keep away from protests – these can turn violent on both sides. Don’t get involved.
- Trade unions are also often on strike – be aware that this can affect public transport. Check the news before you head out.
- Watch out for distraction techniques – spilling mustard on you, falling over, “look over here!”… All the classics. Don’t fall for it, just keep on walking.
- Don’t go around in designer clothes, SLR in hand – you’ll look rich. Looking rich is gold dust for thieves.
- Similarly, don’t keep lots of money in your wallet – if anyone catches a glimpse of it, it could be gone before you know it. Keep an emergency stash in a money wallet.
- Get your hands on a money belt – keeping money hidden where no one suspects it might save the day. At the Broke Backpacker, we swear on the Active Roots Security Belt!
- Know where you’re going – memorize the map, ask for directions before you head, anything to keep you from looking lost.
- Try to blend in – shouting around in English, looking like a complete tourist with a singlet, fake aviators and short shorts is asking for negative attention.
- Be careful of counterfeit scams – the 100 peso note is widely counterfeited. Sometimes people just don’t accept them at all.
- Keep your belongings close – hanging a bag on a chair, putting it on the floor next to you – no. Keep it on you and keep it close.
- Be aware of pickpockets – sometimes they can work in groups, especially in and around public transport. Stay alert!
- Careful walking around with your phone in public – it can get snatched. Duck into a cafe or shop if you need to use it. Seriously, electronic goods are super expensive in Argentina.
- This goes for laptops and tablets, too – digital nomad? Yeah, keep that Mac under lock and key.
- If someone does try to rob you, don’t resist – injury or worse can happen. Is that worth saving some stuff?
- Don’t be overly “British” – we’d advise against having the Union Jack on anything. People may take this as a cultural insult.
- Avoid conversations about the Falklands – It’s probably not going to end well.
- Lots of people do drugs, but they’re still illegal – and even a teensy bit can land you a lengthy prison sentence.
- Protect against mosquitoes – there’s dengue fever here, so cover up, use repellent, and coils if you get them.
- Keep an eye on the weather if you’re out trekking – especially in the northern provinces; flash flooding does occur.
- Seek tourist police if you need help – you’ll find them around tourist areas.
It’s always important to be aware not only of your surroundings but of obvious stuff like the weather. Ultimately, being aware is going to help you stay safe in Argentina.
Some General Safety Tips from the OG Broke Backpacker
We’re all for solo travel – you get to do some pretty amazing things when you’re by yourself. Travelling solo will definitely teach you a thing or two about yourself and that’s going to be a pretty big confidence boost if you ask us.
But it’s not always fun or easy. You can get lonely, feel jaded, even unmotivated to do stuff. And then there’s the added safety concerns, too. We’re going to share with you some of our best solo travel tips for Argentina so you can have an absolute blast.
- Knowing your surroundings is going to be pretty handy. Everything from memorising a map, to asking your hostel for directions to places, even going on a walking tour (if they have one). All this going to help you get acquainted with your local area. And this helps you NOT look lost.
- Speaking of tours, join a few! These are great ways to travel around safely, get to see parts of Argentina you may not go to by yourself, and learn stuff about the country, too.
- Book yourself into a good hostel. Meeting people and making some travel buddies helps to beat the solo travel blues. You’ll also pick up some tips for future travel and maybe even a friend for onward travel.
- Go easy on yourself. It’s good to push yourself, but we also know that trying to do every single thing the guidebook tells you to do is exhausting.
- Follow your gut. If you’re getting the feeling that a situation might be getting odd and sketchy, it might well be. Trust your instincts!
- Don’t get super drunk if you’re heading off on a night out. There’s (probably) no one to drag you home if you’re getting too stupid.
- Learn some Spanish! This is an especially good idea if you’re by yourself, as the country will most likely open itself up to you. Even learning a few basic phrases as you travel around is great.
- Keep in touch with your family and friends back home. Just ’cause you’re travelling solo, doesn’t mean you ghost everyone you know.
Solo travelling around Argentina is honestly going to be awesome. Aside from the cities, you’re probably not going to have to worry about much in the way of petty crime. That means more time spent absolutely loving life, less time spent worrying about every little thing.
Is Argentina safe for solo female travelers?
Travelling as a female brings a whole other layer of safety concerns. While it’s true (and unfortunate) that women have to be more careful, Argentina is a great place for solo female travellers.
There are a number of dangers and annoyances that women will need to be aware of in Argentina, but these can be avoided with certain precautions. Here are some key ones:
- Like most South American countries, Argentina is home to a macho society. This means catcalling, regularly and frequently from almost all men. If you’re walking alone this is likely to occur. Ignore it, and it will become background noise.
- If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, feel that you’re in danger, or feel threatened by someone, move towards a public place, a shop, tourist police – find help.
- Don’t walk around sketchy streets after dark e.g. parks, shortcuts down alleyways, all the usual stuff. Just be careful and think, “Would I walk through a place like this at home?” If in doubt get an Uber home. Often the safer option.
- Taxis aren’t always great for solo women travellers, in both Argentina and the whole world for that matter. Trust your instincts. Does the driver seem sketchy? Then don’t get in.
- If you go out to bars and clubs alone, men are sure to come up to you – and this means unwanted attention more often than not. It’s best to head out with a group of friends. You’ll have a much better time.
- Trust your instinct. Don’t hesitate. Rather than getting into some sort of dodgy situation, just do whatever is going to be safer.
- Sometimes people can seem too interested. If someone seems to be interrogating you, you don’t have to tell them everything. Lie, if you feel like it.
- Let your fellow travellers and hostel staff know if you’re going out. It pays to have someone know where you are.
- Walk with a purpose – like you know where you’re going and you know what you’re doing. Eyes forward. It just gives the impression of less vulnerability.
- Depending on where you are, dress modestly/try and fit in. Look at what the local ladies are wearing and try to blend in accordingly. If you don’t want unwanted attention, looking like a local is a good idea.
With the macho culture here, it’s also going to feel uncomfortable at times. Argentina isn’t completely full of dogs or chauvinists though – most people here are very friendly and will look out for you.
This is especially the case outside of the cities. In the rural areas, you’ll have to go looking for trouble for it to find you.
We believe that Argentina is safe for solo female travellers so long as they travel intelligently and take the extra precautions.
More on Safety in Argentina
We’ve covered the main safety aspects of traveling in Argentina but there is loads more to know about this epic country. Read on for more specific travel tips.
Is Argentina safe to travel for families?
Argentina is a great place for families. Beaches, good museums, gauchos to meet; yep, it’s a good destination to travel with your kids in tow.
That said, there are things you have to watch out for. It may be a family-focused country, but there are issues that will probably be different from your home country.
- Most restaurants don’t open till 8 pm. Bring snacks for your little ones and maybe get used to staying up late. Kids included.
- It can get very hot in the middle of the day. Plan around it, bring sunhats, plenty of sun cream, and definitely make sure your kids keep hydrated. Make sure that everyone has a water bottle.
- Travelling around with a stroller is more stress than its worth. Pavements aren’t always the problem – in Buenos Aires, there’s an actual problem with dog shit everywhere.
- Everyone, even young children, stays up well into the night. Even after midnight, you’ll see children and their families strolling around and sitting in parks after their dinner. Don’t be overly concerned about bedtimes. It’s a great way to soak up the Latin culture here.
Is it safe to drive in Argentina?
Argentina is huge and a lot of it you can only get to with a private vehicle. Thankfully the roads are pretty good.
You’ll have to drive defensively. Argentinians can be pretty aggressive behind the wheel. Expect tailgating, speeding, sudden lane changes, jumping red lights, squeezing into small gaps in traffic, and erratic driving in general.
When you’re in more rural areas you’ll have to watch out for other hazards, like animals on the road. It’s very difficult to see these animals in the dark so we’d suggest that you avoid driving at night.
Note that there is also a law that states you have to use headlights at all times. Even in broad daylight!
If you’re heading out on a motorbike – WEAR A HELMET. Not only is it stupid not to, but it’s also the law.
Driving in Argentina is generally safe, and is always going to be a bit of a challenge, let’s be honest. But it’s an amazing way to explore the country and to reach places you wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach.
Is Uber safe in Argentina?
Uber is safe in Argentina. It’s available only in Buenos Aires and it’s one of the best ways to get around the city. Especially if you’re a foreign visitor.
Convenience, few language barriers, tracking your journey, no scams; all the usual Uber benefits apply in Argentina.
Are taxis safe in Argentina?
Taxis are all over the place in Argentina and people use them frequently. And taxis are safe in Argentina. But there are a few things to bear in mind.
- If you use them in the BSAS, they’ll be metered. Outside of this, you’ll have to agree on your fare BEFORE you get in.
- Some nefarious drivers will hike up the meter by driving you around aimlessly and claiming to not know the area. Keep a maps app open so you can see how DIRECT your journey really is.
- Having a few words of Spanish is going to help you actually get around AND make you seem less like a gringo. This makes you less likely to be literally taken advantage of.
- Make sure you have small change on you. If you DON’T, ask if they’ve got change before you get in. Sometimes drivers will also switch notes and give you the wrong change, so make sure to count and challenge them if it doesn’t add up.
- Real taxis are black with yellow trim, have proper signage on the doors and the bumper, and always say “RADIO TAXI” on the top.
- The safest way to get a taxi is to have your hostel/hotel/guesthouse call you one. You can also get a taxi app like Easy Taxi. Works like Uber, no problems there.
- However, you can also hail radio taxis off the street. That’s fine and normal. Just make sure it’s licensed.
Is public transportation in Argentina safe?
The public transportation in Argentina is mostly safe but there are some situations that you need to be aware of.
The metro in Buenos Aires (subte) used to not be so popular because of crime. That’s slowly waning but you’ll still need to be wary of pickpockets. Watch out for people getting too close, “bumping into you” or even trying to cut your bag.
The metro is affordable but it DOES get crowded in peak hours. Not comfy and maybe more likely to be robbed.
Then there are the colectivos, which constitute the public bus system in most Argentine cities. These are speedy so you’ll need to hang on! They might not even stop completely for you to get on. Not the safest option, but these can be a fun and good way to get around cities. They can get crowded and complicated, so make sure you’re on one that’s going in the right direction.
INSIDER TIP: buy yourself a SUBE card when travelling in Buenos Aires. This works like an Oyster and makes things easy.
Long distance buses are known as micros. These are often inexpensive and relatively comfortable. Make sure you pick a good bus company. Do the research, read reviews – you don’t want to be sat on a terrible bus for hours on end – or overnight.
Argentina has an effective train network and is used often by travellers. Some of the train journeys you can take are “just” tourist routes but they’re still definitely worth it.
You should be careful when hanging around the bus and train terminals. Thieves love these places as they’re full of unsuspecting travellers.
When moving from place to place, you shouldn’t store travel documents in a bag, even if it’s under your seat or overhead.
A full-sized money belt that stays tucked under your clothes keeps your documents and cash organized during your travels and assures nothing critical gets left behind or stolen.
Is the food in Argentina safe?
Argentinian meat is famous worldwide and the locals love to eat it, a lot. Honestly, nothing beats a gaucho steak grilled on an asada or parilla.
But it’s not all about meat. Thanks to the big European immigration here, there’s a whole lot on offer. Italian staples like pizza and pasta are going to make life easy for picky eaters too. It’s not just tasty, but safe too.
- Washing your hands is going to stop a lot of germs in their tracks straight away.
- If the idea of all that grilled meat isn’t your thing (i.e. if you’re a vegetarian), then Italian food can save the day. But don’t stumble into just anywhere. Find somewhere with lots of good reviews.
- Avoid fruit and salad if you want to be super safe. It may not have been washed well enough to remove all the bad stuff that could give you an annoying case of traveller’s diarrhoea.
- If you’re going to eat at a street food stall, again, do your research. Look for busy stalls. If it’s busy, it’s delicious and safe. If it’s quiet, maybe not.
- Usually, if something smells a bit off, and it doesn’t taste right either, chances are it isn’t safe. It will probably make you ill.
- If the food looks like it’s been lying around, uncovered, and it’s the afternoon, chances are it’s been there all day and picking up who-knows-what in terms of germs. Best to avoid.
- Beware! Portions are huge! Don’t let your eyes be bigger than your belly. Especially when you first arrive.
- Traveling with an allergy? Research ahead of time how to explain your allergy. Keep in mind that store owners and restaurant staff might not know all the foods that contain allergens, so it’s helpful to know the names of some of these too. If you’re gluten-free, pick up a handy Gluten-Free Translation Card with descriptions of Celiac disease, cross-contamination risk, and local Argentinians ingredients in Latin American Spanish.
For most parts, the food in Argentina is safe. Go for it, we say! And don’t forget – Argentina’s got some great wine too.
Can you drink the water in Argentina?
Good news. It’s generally safe to drink the tap water in Argentina. not ecessarily tasty, but safe.
If you’re hiking near agricultural areas, be sure to check and see if the water is potable. Always air on the side of caution and purify the water. The Grayl Geopress does a great job of this.
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Is Argentina safe to live in?
Yep, it’s safe to live in Argentina. Violent crime is rare. And though Buenos Aires is more well-known for petty theft, living outside of the capital is going to make things a lot safer.
Argentina can be a fun place to live – it’s cosmopolitan enough that you won’t necessarily be a gringo forever as in other Latin American nations.
Thanks to large expat communities in Buenos Aires, not to mention the friendly locals, you’ll have plenty of people to socialize with. And what’s more, there’s a high standard of living.
It’s great! Children play out on the streets, it’s walkable, you can stroll around with your family, go to the cinema – all the normal stuff.
Social problems like drug use and petty theft being on the rise might make things uncomfortable to say the least if you want to live well here.
BUT Argentina is safe to live in. Doing research goes without saying. And making friends with expats and locals alike, anywhere you choose to live, is going to make your experience even better.
FAQ’s on Argentina’s Safety
Travelling to Argentina can be a blast if you’re properly prepared. That’s why we listed the most frequently asked questions about safety in Argentina below.
Final Thoughts on the Safety of Argentina
Argentina is safe as long as you use your common travel sense. Argentina boasted the biggest middle class on the continent in the early 20th century and developed fairly quickly. It’s modern, and the quality of life here is pretty good.
However, the country has fallen on some bad times as of recently. The economy is struggling and poverty is, unfortunately, rising. When people are struggling to make ends meet, turning to petty theft is an easy option. Especially when there are plenty of rich tourists to target.
The biggest precaution you can take when visiting Argentina is to basically NOT look like a tourist. Don’t flash your cash, don’t stand out too much, don’t look lost and oblivious. It’ll help you to not look like a target.
At the end of the day, Argentina is safe. When you venture outside the cosmopolitan capital, it gets even safer. You will quite literally have to go looking for trouble.
The grand majority of your time in Argentina will be spectacular. You’ll get to explore a whole lot of truly epic landscapes, meet a whole load of interesting, friendly people, and go on a mouthwatering voyage of food without having to worry much at all. Just travel smartly and you’ll be golden.
And have you thought about getting Travel Insurance for your trip? You can get a quote from World Nomads by clicking on the link below.
Disclaimer: Safety conditions change all over the world on a daily basis. We do our best to advise but this info may already be out of date. Do your own research. Enjoy your travels!
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