Buenos Aires is the black sheep of South American cities, a relatively rich and almost European-feeling city that combines grand architecture and a collision of cultures with great nights out and some of the tastiest food you could ever imagine.
Not everyone is rich in Buenos Aires, however – there’s a problem with poverty and petty crime. Extreme inflation has really made its mark on the city and everyone’s starting to wonder if it will recover. Cue social unrest and demonstrations…
We totally get why you’re asking, “Is Buenos Aires safe to visit?” It may have a different feeling to other urban areas of South America, but there still are things you should be wondering about, like safety.
We have put together this huge insider’s guide to help you travel safely in Buenos Aires. It’s packed full with a ton of info, from whether Buenos Aires is safe to travel for families, to travel tips for solo female travellers.
Whether you’re embarking on a solo travel trip to Buenos Aires, or want to drive in Buenos Aires – you may even be wondering if the food in Buenos Aires is safe – our epic guide has you covered.
Whilst COVD 19 has not gone away, the world is opening up again to travellers. However, Argentina’s borders remain closed and most governments advise against visiting.
For the most up-to-date safety information and what you should be doing to help, please consult the WHO and your local government.
- How Safe is Buenos Aires? (Our take)
- Is Buenos Aires Safe to Visit? (The facts.)
- Is it Safe to Visit Buenos Aires Right Now?
- Buenos Aires Travel Insurance
- 20 Top Safety Tips for Traveling to Buenos Aires
- Keeping your money safe in Buenos Aires
- Is Buenos Aires safe to travel alone?
- Is Buenos Aires safe for solo female travellers?
- Is Buenos Aires safe to travel for families?
- How to keep kids safe in Buenos Aires?
- Is it safe to drive in Buenos Aires?
- Is Uber safe in Buenos Aires?
- Are taxis safe in Buenos Aires?
- Is public transportation in Buenos Aires safe?
- Is the food in Buenos Aires safe?
- Can you drink the water in Buenos Aires?
- Is Buenos Aires safe to live?
- How is healthcare in Buenos Aires?
- Helpful Buenos Aires Travel Phrases
- Final thoughts on the safety of Buenos Aires
How Safe is Buenos Aires? (Our take)
Buenos Aires is the second-largest city in South America (only Rio de Janeiro is bigger) and it makes for a very cool place to explore. Big cities = tons of stuff to see, do, eat, experience. Buenos Aires is one of Argentina’s most popular backpacking destinations too.
It is safe compared to other South American cities but it also depends on where you’re staying in Buenos Aires – there are some things you need to be careful of. Nowhere’s 100% safe, right?
Certain areas at night are a bit shady and petty theft is quite common in touristed pockets of the city.
Political protests can be more than a little tense; corruption is rife, too.
That said, we’re betting you’ll be safe in Buenos Aires. Party till the early hours, lounge around in coffee shops, enjoy the energy of the city.
Is Buenos Aires Safe to Visit? (The facts.)
Buenos Aires is safe to visit.
The tourism numbers say it all. It’s definitely been on the up, growing year on year since 2007. In 2016 alone, there were 2.26 million visitors – projected to increase to 3.1 million by 2025. “A tourism boom” as described by the World Travel & Tourism Council.
But that’s not to say that the Argentine capital isn’t without its problems.
This coastal city has its fair share of crime to deal with. In 2017 there were 28,297 thefts, with the district of Palermo topping the list. The crime of motochorro – bag-snatching with motorbikes involved. Quick and sometimes dangerous.
The number of thefts has actually been decreasing. But it’s definitely important to note that areas popular with tourists – La Boca, Palermo, and San Telmo – crime has actually been on the rise instead.
Not only that, but Argentina’s safety suffers from widespread corruption, which means there can be issues catching criminals.
But all of this hasn’t deterred travellers. Definitely not. Airbnb voted Buenos Aires the 6th most popular destination for travellers in 2019.
So with that in mind…
Is it Safe to Visit Buenos Aires Right Now?
Well, at the moment it’s ok but there have been recent street protests in Buenos Aires.
Back in October 2018, there were huge protests against the 2019 budget, taking place in front of the Palace of the Argentine National Congress. Riot police and tear gas were used to deter crowds. Obviously not the ideal atmosphere for a city break.
Gatherings and protests are likely to happen in the future. It’s kind of part of life in Buenos Aires. These often happen around Plaza de Mayo and Avenida 9 de Julio. Social unrest can lead to piqueteros – roadblocks that can make getting in/out of the city tricky.
Inflation is a big problem now and it doesn’t show any signs of getting any better.
Also, there’s tension relating the British-owned Falklands. Protests sometimes occur outside the British Embassy and British businesses.
Crime is on the up in certain districts of Buenos Aires. We’re talking being especially alert in San Telmo, Florida Street, Avendia de Mayo, La Boca, Retiro, Avendia 9 de Julio, and the Rivadavia Avenues around the Obelisco de Buenos Aires. Distraction techniques, scams, pickpockets – you name it.
Aside from that, there’s no actual danger right now that’s going to put a stop to your Buenos Aires trip. You should have a trouble-free visit.
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 Buenos Aires, 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.
We have used World Nomads for years now and I have personally made several claims. Why not get a quote from them yourself?
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!
So although it is one of the safest cities in South America, that doesn’t mean it’s without crime. And tourists are definitely targeted for crime. You’re going to have to be extra careful. So we are going to share with you some handy safety tips for travelling to Buenos Aires. We’re all about smart travel and we want to help you do the same! And here they are…
- Be vigilant in crowds and busy public transport – keep a close eye on everything.
- And take particular care at the Retiro Bus Station – known for its pickpockets. Wear a money belt (our recommendation is below).
- Super careful with your iPhone – or smartphone. They’re super expensive in Argentina. Don’t leave it lying around. Laptops too, digital nomads!
- In fact, even it’s in your hands, people snatch them! – so try not to use it as you walk along. Use inside.
- Careful at ATMs – be aware of who’s around you and don’t get money out at nighttime.
- If you do become a victim of crime – head to the tourist police. It’s the best you can do.
- Distraction techniques are normal – the ‘mustard scam’ (when ‘accidentally’ spills mustard on you) is a real thing. Someone, often women, distracts you whilst someone else steals your shizz.
- People sometimes pose as other tourists – in hostel and hotel lobbies especially. They’ll steal your bags when you’re not looking – so always look!
- Don’t hang your bag on the back of a chair at a cafe – Will go missing. So keep it secure.
- And don’t hang your bag over one shoulder – that motocharro thing, it happens. Secure ’em. And don’t walk close to the road.
- Don’t put all your valuables in one place – especially large sums of cash. If it goes missing, everything goes missing.
- Avoid wearing anything too flashy – designer handbags, expensive jewellery, activewear, obvious brands… It all screams ‘target for thieves!’.
- Keep a copy of your passport safe – if that goes missing, you definitely will need a copy.
- Walk around like you know where you’re going – looking lost = tourist = target. Be confident and know where you’re going.
- Steer clear of any political protests – they can turn nasty.
- It’s not worth mentioning the Falklands – so don’t.
- Don’t do drugs – even a small quantity can land you a long spell behind bars. For real.
- Get yourself a sim card – if your phone doesn’t work in Argentina, get a temporary sim.
- Learn some Spanish – it’s the language in Buenos Aires. Even just a few phrases will help, so challenge yourself and learn Spanish!
- Protect against mosquitoes – because of dengue fever (any time of year). Cover up and use repellent to keep them away.
So there you go. Buenos Aires is a cool city to explore, but definitely not always the safest, especially when it comes to your money. Or if you’ve got an iPhone in your hand. Or an iPad. Or your bag’s dangling on your chair at a cafe. Basically: be smart! Watch your surroundings, be careful in crowds, don’t fall for distractions. All of this will help you be secure and have a blast in Buenos Aires!!
Some General Safety Tips from the OG Broke Backpacker
Keeping your money safe in Buenos Aires
The last thing you want to happen whilst you’re trying to have an awesome time pretty much anywhere in the world is to lose money. Whether that’s by petty theft, or losing it yourself, it’s an easy way to put a dampener on your trip.
And in Buenos Aires, you guessed it: you’re going to have to be vigilant. Some areas of the city are downright dodgy. Even (and especially) in busy tourist areas. But we’ve got a super simple solution for you: use a travel money belt.
There are a head-spinning amount of options out there when it comes to money belts. So we’re here to help keep things simple and easy and recommend our top choice, the Active Roots Security Belt.
This is a winner for a few reasons, but the main one is that it looks like a normal belt. No bulges. No multiple pockets. Simple.
And unlike other money belts, it’s pretty affordable and sturdy, too. So when you’re planning a trip and you’re wondering about how to keep your money safe in Buenos Aires, you may be panicking but honestly: all you need to do is wear a money belt. Put a little stash of cash in there and no pickpocket is even going to know it’s there! Plus it’s something to fall back on if you do lose some money! Check out our in-depth review here.
If you need a little more room for your passport and other travel valuables, have a look at a full-size money belt that tucks under your clothes instead.
If neither of those options appeals to your refined fashion sense, don’t compromise! Opt for an infinity scarf with a hidden zipper pocket.
There’s a lot to be said for solo travel. Doing stuff by yourself means you get to learn about what you want to do, challenge yourself (with no one to back you up) and maybe even grow as a person. It’s pretty cool, we’ve got to say, but it’s not always going to be great.
It can actually get boring. You can get jaded with your travels and lonely too! Plus, you’re bound to be more of a target for petty crime if you’re by yourself. And that’s a general rule for backpacking Argentina alone, too. So here are our tips for solo travellers in Buenos Aires…
- Stay at a nice hostel. hostels in Buenos Aires It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just a place where you can meet fellow travellers, form new friendships, and feel safe. There are many amazing so you’ll be easily sorted.
- Head to an event. There’s always loads going on in the city that is popular with locals and travellers alike. And what’s more, English is ofren the common language for these meet-ups, so go for it. Find out what’s going on in the city by checking Facebook groups and things like Twitter.
- Go on a guided tour. Not only do you get to actually learn about Buenos Aires, but it’s also a good chance to meet some fellow travellers.
- And with meeting people in mind, Buenos Aires is full of sociable hostels. So we’d definitely recommend checking yourself into one of these. And make sure you choose wisely since there’s something for everyone – from party hostels to chilled ones. Pick whatever suits you. Make friends, chat, get some travel buddies together – all good for beating the solo travel blues.
- If you do go out partying, don’t go absolutely wild! Getting totally wasted is a good way to have no idea what’s going on. This means not finding your way home and making some bad judgement calls. So have fun, but don’t go mental, we’d say.
- Keep in touch with friends and family back home. Let people know what’s happening, what’s going on, where you are – it’s a lot safer (and better for your sanity) this way than going completely off-grid.
- Definitely make friends with the people who work at your hostel or hotel too. This is a good time to gather some local advice about things to do in the area, good places to eat – stuff like that. Locals know best!
- Don’t travel with too many things! Not only is this just not fun at all, but it’s easier to have things go missing if you’re travelling with two or more bags. Keep it to one and pack light. It’s definitely not about lugging heavy bags around a city.
- Spread your important documents, cards and cash around. Use a safe at your accommodation. And wear a travel money belt. If all of that sort of stuff goes missing it’s an absolute nightmare! So maybe consider getting yourself an emergency credit card, too.
There’s literally so much to do in Buenos Aires for solo travellers, with fun activities going on all the time. Go try out some yoga, try your hand at Spanish lessons… There’s a ton of things to get up to. And what’s more the nightlife is poppin’ and is the perfect way to meet new friends. So book yourself somewhere social, get chatting to people and head out into the city. It’ll be awesome!
Is Buenos Aires safe for solo female travellers?
Buenos Aires is actually a good city to explore as a solo female traveller. Dubbed “the Paris of South America” the city is packed with vibrancy and all the heat of Latin culture. This modern city isn’t too tricky for solo female travellers to explore and get to grips with…
… But there’s always going to be some annoying men out there who might be overbearing, as well as some other safety concerns that you may be worried about. But it’s ok! Here are some pro tips for solo female travellers in Buenos Aires to help you have an ace time.
- As a solo female traveller in Buenos Aires, you may be targeted with catcalls and/or comments. It’s thought of as ‘complimentary’ by the male perpetrators; they’re not meant to be insulting, but they don’t come across that way. The best course of action? Ignore.
- Machismo is part of society. So be aware that this macho way of thinking is kind of the way that things work in Buenos Aires and Argentina as a whole.
- Watch your drink (and food) when you’re out. Don’t leave either unattended. Spiking of food and drink can happen and can end up in drug-assisted rape.
- Women do go out partying by themselves though, especially in Palermo and Recoleta. So you can definitely join ’em and go for it yourself. But just make sure you’re able to get home ok. Don’t get crazy drunk as losing your senses can lead to some pretty bad situations.
- Go out with other travellers. Find yourself a cool, social hostel that fits what you’re looking for, check-in to a female-only dorm and get chatting to other backpackers. Obviously, you should read reviews before you book – especially those written by other solo female travellers. It will help get a feel for a place.
- Don’t wander around down deserted, unlit streets at night time. Even in the day, it’s not going to be the best idea to be doing this sort of things. Stick to busy, well-trodden roads – and try to look confident whilst you’re doing so, even if you don’t feel it.
- Make a scene, if needed. If you really feel uncomfortable with the way a man – or anybody – is acting towards you, make a scene. Kick up a fuss and find help.
- Avoid telling people details of your travel and/or any personal details. Questions like this may seem innocent but can actually cause problems down the line, so be sensible and sparing with the information you’re giving out to strangers.
- Try to blend in. It’s a pretty open-minded city, but that doesn’t mean that everybody wears revealing clothing. Take a look around you at what other women are wearing, and try to imitate that as much as possible. Goes a long way in not only making you feel more comfortable, but it’s also good to not look like a tourist. Good to cover up against those mozzies as well!
There are tons of ways to store valuables and goods while traveling but a travel scarf has to be the least obtrusive and the most classy.
The Active Roots Zipper Scarf is your run-of-the-mill infinity scarf but with a hidden pocket that’s big and sturdy enough for a night’s cash, your phone, a passport and (hell with it) some snacks too!
So, Buenos Aires is actually a pretty cool place to go for a solo female traveller. It’s probably a bit overwhelming for a first-time travel trip as a solo female, but that’s not to say it can’t be done. It’s a multicultural city that’s open-minded and geared up for a lot of fun.
The most annoying thing about being a woman in Buenos Aires has got to be the catcalling. It’s not constant, but it does happen quite often and it can wear you down. But remember: ignore it. You’re here for an amazing trip, not to be ‘complimented’ all the time, right?
So we recommend getting involved in some activities! Take a tango lesson, make friends with people staying at your hostel, hop on a tour of the city and learn about the history and culture that makes Buenos Aires so dang cool. You’re going to have an amazing time here!
Is Buenos Aires safe to travel for families?
Buenos Aires is a great place to take children!
There are plenty of parks busy with families – such as the Parque de la Costa in Palmero; there are museums like the Museo Participativo de Ciencias (the science museum); and then there are many playgrounds, plazas and shopping malls to take a break-in.
Safe to say you won’t be getting bored here. The opportunities to enjoy Buenos Aires with children are endless!
There are loads of chic little hotels spread around the city, as well as hostels and guesthouses. You should definitely research before you book. Hostels can be a little too party-centric, whereas boutique hotels can be a little stuffy for children.
A good idea would be to rent an Airbnb or an apartment. That way you also get a kitchen to make some food in, thus keeping your costs down. This will also help if you don’t want to adapt to that Latin lifestyle of late-night eating (restaurants don’t open until 9 pm) and strolling.
However, it’s a breeze for children to eat around Buenos Aires.
Thanks to a sizeable Italian community, there are plenty of places where you can grab a bowl of pasta or a pizza. Easy food for a picky eater. Restaurants will also often let you share your dishes, too.
Bonus: children under 4 travel for free on the public transport system. Also, it’s normal for people to give up their seats for little ones and their parents.
All in all, Buenos Aires is safe for families.
How to keep kids safe in Buenos Aires?
There are downsides to travelling to Buenos Aires with your family, though.
Firstly, it’s not easy to travel with a pushchair on the poo-covered (honestly) and not always well-maintained pavements. Also, public toilets are often not very nice and you won’t find many places to change a smaller child, either.
On a more serious note, pollution can really affect those with pre-existing respiratory problems. If your child has asthma, or even if you do, maybe you should reconsider. The pollution can get pretty bad.
There’s dengue fever in Buenos Aires too, so make sure your kids are all covered-up in the evening and that you all use strong repellent to keep mosquitoes away.
Other than that, Buenos Aires is safe to travel for families. Locals have a laid-back mindset when it comes to children and there’s a community feel in its neighbourhoods.
Oh – and don’t be alarmed by strangers ruffling your kids’ hair… It’s a sign of affection!
Is it safe to drive in Buenos Aires?
Thinking of driving in Buenos Aires? Think again!
The drivers in Buenos Aires can be pretty aggressive, unpredictable, and just downright crazy at times.
Safety standards vary – and so does the state of the roads. Sometimes they’re great, sometimes they’re pothole filled.
Not only that, but there’s also traffic jams galore in Buenos Aires. Buses that completely hog the road. Pedestrians who pop up out of nowhere and just cross the road carefree in front of the traffic.
Car-based crime is also a thing – thieves operating at traffic lights and bags being stolen from backseats.
We seriously don’t recommend driving in Buenos Aires. The public transport in the Argentine capital will save you literally so much time and hassle.
If you really want to drive, get used to having to use your horn a lot (to let people know you’re there). People running red lights, not sticking to lanes. You should keep windows and doors locked and not leave valuables on show, either.
Also: fuel is not cheap.
And then there are protests which block the roads, especially in downtown. Expect absolute gridlock. Protesters use it as a way to ‘drive’ home their point (excuse the pun), and the police just let it happen.
If you’re going to drive in Buenos Aires, you’ll need a lot of patience. Also, you should definitely have some experience driving in a country like Argentina if you’re going to even think about driving in Buenos Aires.
Not driving in Buenos Aires is probably the smart option.
Is Uber safe in Buenos Aires?
Uber is absolutely safe in Buenos Aires.
In fact, it’s one of Uber’s fastest-growing markets. So many porteños (Buenos Aires citizens) took up Uber driving after the economic downturn left so many people without jobs. People need their jobs as Uber drivers and can’t risk losing them.
That said, there has been tension with local taxi drivers. Sometimes you may have to pretend you’re in a ‘friend’s car’ by sitting in the front seat.
Also, you can’t get them from the airport: not safe since the taxi drivers would kick-off.
But all the usual good stuff about Uber applies in Buenos Aires, too. Knowing the car that’s picking you up, reading driver reviews, tracking your journey, no language barrier, paying in-app.
Are taxis safe in Buenos Aires?
There are around 40,000 of taxis in Buenos Aires.
They’re generally a pretty cheap and safe way to get around the city as long as you make sure you get a proper (that is, licensed) taxi.
If you hail a cab in the street, make sure it’s painted in black and yellow, has taxi flags and a red light at the top of the windscreen – if they’re free, that is. At the airport and bus stations, ignore anybody coming up to you asking if you want a taxi. They’ll most likely not be official taxi rank.
Then there are radio taxis. You can spot them from the company logo that should be present on the passenger doors.
You can head to Buenos Aires’ government website where they have a list of reputable taxi companies. You can download this list if you want – or just ask your accommodation to recommend a company.
When you get in, make sure the driver uses the meter. After 6 pm, the price goes up by 20%. That’s not a scam, just the way it is in Buenos Aires.
Ride-hailing apps make the process much easier and safer. Have a look at Cabify (no price surging, unlike Uber) and even the recently launched BA Taxis, made to be a direct competitor to Uber; both feature licensed taxi drivers.
Most taxi drivers in the city are hardworking and won’t be out to con you. But just make sure that you aren’t being driven around the houses and look after your belongings, though it’s a rarity that you’ll be scammed/robbed like this.
Is public transportation in Buenos Aires safe?
Public transport around Buenos Aires is safe, but there are some sketchy places to be aware of. Looking after your belongings and not keeping valuables in your pockets is the best way to go, especially on crowded buses and subte lines.
The buses actually cover a lot of ground. Surprisingly it’s pretty fast (even with all the traffic) and very cheap. The Buenos Aires government website (Como Llego) has a journey planner which makes it an actual breeze to get around the city. You can also download this as an app, which we’d recommend for your safety: much less chance of getting lost.
But note: buses don’t take cash. You’ll need to get yourself a SUBE card to tap in and out. Head to a tourist booth with your passport to get your hands on one.
One of the best things about the buses in Buenos Aires, however, is that a lot of them all day, all night. So you can get around even late at night. Try not to sit in the priority seat at the front; this is for people who actually need it.
Then there’s the metro or subte. This is spread over 7 lines. It opened in 1913, which makes it pretty historical.
It gets super busy, super hot, and super sticky when it’s busy. Try to stay away during rush hour. Also, a good time to get your stuff stolen too, so even more reason to stay away.
But generally, public transport is safe in Buenos Aires. Just watch your stuff at peak times.
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 Buenos Aires safe?
Thanks to the mix of cultures at work in Argentina as a whole, and especially in Buenos Aires, the city is packed full of different things to eat. And thanks to the cattle farming gaucho culture, BBQ’d meat is often on the menu. We’re talking awesome steaks!
But don’t you worry: it’s not all about meat. This is a proper good city for foodies, so don’t be surprised if you leave here a few pounds heavier. Your whole trip will revolve around eating and drinking. So to help you keep healthy (ish) whilst you do it, here are some tips…
- Don’t be afraid of cheap eats in Buenos Aires. We’re talking empanadas and things like that. Vendors sell these tasty morsels on pretty much every corner, but just make sure you go somewhere that looks like it’s doing good business. That way there’ll be a better chance of what you’re eating being fresh and less likely to make your stomach feel bad.
- Eating cheap doesn’t mean eating badly. Tasty sandwiches filled with meat are good. Try out the choripan – sausage on bread. Sounds simple, but it’s amazing. Again freshly cooked is the best way to go.
- A good rule of thumb: busy = good food that probably won’t make you ill. For the most part, you’ll be fine most places, but just ensure you’re not eating somewhere that looks overly dirty or that’s completely dead. Popular places tend to be popular for a reason!
- If you like steak, you’re in for a treat. It’s often served rare, though. If this is the sort of thing that really doesn’t agree with your stomach, then stay away. Or you can order to not be served rare.
- You should learn a bit of Spanish. Just enough to be able to navigate menus and even modify your order a little bit, so that you get something that’s going to be tasty and good for your stomach.
- Pizza is everywhere. So if you’re ever in need of something that you may be more used to than a plateful of meat, go for a pizza. It’s not a touristy cop-out either: the pizzas in Buenos Aires are the real deal.
- There’s also a load of other cultures that inform Buenos Aires’ food scene. There’s a lot of other Latin American influence, Middle Eastern, Chinese, even stuff like hamburgers and fries. You’ll never be too far away from something that’s familiar.
- Vegetarians, don’t worry! Being a vegetarian isn’t too tricky. Being a cosmopolitan city, more and more places are becoming veggie-friendly meaning you’ll be able to get a bite to eat with your carnivore friends at the same place.
- Don’t eat everything all at once. Ease yourself in. Dang, it’s tasty in Buenos Aires and all too easy to just dive right in without a second thought for how much you’re going to feel it all later. So go slow at first.
- Wash your hands! It’s a simple one that’s going to stop all the dirt of the day get all over whatever you’re about to eat – especially if it’s an eat-with-your-hands affair like a burger.
Buenos Aires is pretty much all about the food. You’re going to be able to enjoy a whole lot of different types of food here. And you know what? We haven’t even mentioned dessert. You must try the ice cream and the dolce de leche.
You literally cannot go to Buenos Aires without trying that. But, as we said, don’t eat everything all at once. It’s so tasty here that you may be tempted. So just make sure you pick and choose where (and what) you eat. You and your tummy will have a great time.
Can you drink the water in Buenos Aires?
Yes you can drink the water in Buenos Aires!
But bottled water is available everywhere. For some reason, a lot of people choose to drink it.
If you want to explore the backcountry, we’d suggest boiling and filtering your water or using the GRAYL GEOPRESS.
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Is Buenos Aires safe to live?
Buenos Aires is safe to live and with its distinct mix of cultures, it has a lot to offer potential residents.
Obviously, like most cities, there are places you probably won’t want to live (let alone walk around). The area around the Retiro Bus Station and the nearby area of Villa 31; Constitucion; and La Boca (except for the El Caminito area). You probably won’t want to live downtown either. Not the best in terms of stuff to do and bit sketchy at night. Probably, unless you’re a tourist, you won’t want to be living Centro either.
Other than that, there are some amazing parts of Buenos Aires to live in. There’s the decidedly upscale area of Belgrano. Apart from the dog-poo problem this a middle-class area that’s actually home to a large, historic German community. They even Belgranodeutsch here – a mix of Spanish and German! There are a lot of international schools located here, which makes it pretty international.
Then there’s Palermo Soho. This is a cool area to hang out in. Bars, eateries, clubs – you know the score.
San Telmo is also a nice and safe area.
There are some things you want to think about such as pollution, machismo and petty crimes. Also, inflation always makes for instability in a country.
There’s a big (and visible) disparity in rich and poor, too. There’s a bit of an issue with homelessness as well.
It’s not an amazing place to live nor the safest one, but Buenos Aires is fascinating. So do your research, see how you and your lifestyle can fit into the city, make some friends, and go for it.
If you’re into late night or two, and you like red meat, then it’s probably going to appeal to you!!
How is healthcare in Buenos Aires?
Healthcare in Buenos Aires is excellent.
Public hospitals and private facilities have their differences.
Public healthcare in Argentina, in general, is free – not just for its citizens, but for foreign visitors too, but you’re going to have to be prepared for waits. And the public hospitals actually differ in quality around the city.
There are private hospitals, too. Hospitalaleman is the German hospital and a good option if you just want to pop in and see a doctor. The Hospitalbritanico and Hospitalitaliano are also good for that reason. Can you spot a theme?
Pharmacies are all over the city. You’ll find big chains like Farmacity which often have a 24-hour counter meaning you can get over the counter advice and medication around the clock.
If there’s an emergency, dial 107 or 911 and ask for an ambulance.
Basically, you’re going to be fine in either public or private hospitals in Buenos Aires. The main difference is the waiting time. Doctors, nurses, staff in general, will be of the same standard and quality in both.
Nothing wrong with healthcare in Buenos Aires. And since it’s free, we can’t complain!
Helpful Buenos Aires Travel Phrases
Argentinians speak a very distinct form of Spanish called Castellano Rioplatense. This dialect definitely sounds different from conventional Spanish. For example, the pronoun tú is replaced with vós – but, luckily, it’s still very comprehensible. Speakers of both classic and Argentinian Spanish will have little trouble understanding one another.
Note that, like most languages, Castellano Rioplatense has its own internal dialects i.e. people from Buenos Aires speak differently than those from Mendoza but, again, these variations are minimal.
Italian is commonly injected into Castellano Rioplatense due in part to the large Italian population present and the influence that the culture has had on Argentina. Argentinians love to use Italian gestures and colloquialisms, and you may even think that they very much resemble Italians sometimes, which is a common observation.
Argentinians also enjoy using slang, which is locally referred to as lunfardo. Lunfardo has no official recognition and used only in verbal interactions.
Learning a few local expressions is always a good idea. So to make your life easier, I have written the pronunciations for a few helpful Argentinian phrases with English translations.
Hola. – Hello.
Gracias/de nada. – Thanks/you’re welcome.
¿Dónde está…? – Where is…?
¿Como te llamas? – What’s your name?
Buenos dias/buenas tardes/buenas noches. – Good morning/afternoon/night.
¿Cómo andás? – How’s it going?
¡Qué copado! – Cool!
Sin bolsa de plastico – No plastic bag
No paja por favor – No straw please
No hay cubiertos de plástico por favor – No plastic cutlery, please
Dale! – Let’s go!
Buenas ondas – Good stuff.
Oye boludo/che – Hey big balls/crazy.
Final thoughts on the safety of Buenos Aires
Though Buenos Aires isn’t exactly like other South American cities, it also isn’t exactly like developed Western cities. Simon Kuznet (a super famous economist) once said there are “four sorts of countries: developed, underdeveloped, Japan, and Argentina.” So Buenos Aires has a legacy of richness and potential that’s now sort of crumbled away. But the only sort of. There are still some issues though…
The inflation thing is pretty bad, people are losing their jobs, homelessness is becoming a pretty big thing and crime is actually increasing in touristed areas. The government – and corruption of it – is taking a lot of porteños to the streets to demonstrate their frustration with the way things are going. And we don’t blame them.
And it may get worse. But for now, we’d say Buenos Aires is safe. It even feels like a safe city. Certain neighbourhoods aside (like most cities in the world), there are many safe districts of the city that are wholly walkable, leafy, affluent, interesting, filled with heritage… And that’s before you even start getting hungry. Join the citizens and eat, drink and dance away your worries. But don’t forget travel insurance, whatever you do!
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! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which means we earn a small commission if you purchase your insurance through this page. This costs you nothing extra and helps us keep the site going.