Argentina is in the southern part of South America. It borders with Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay to the north, Uruguay to the north east, and Chile to the west. You’ll find the Atlantic Ocean on the eastern coastline. Argentina is a mix of wilderness and sophistication, from the beautiful urbane streets in Buenos Aires to the jungle by Iguaza Falls. You’ll fall in love with its sensual tango, the cobblestoned streets of San Telmo in Buenos Aires, its passion for futbol, and its towns with colonial architecture like Cordoba, or the city of Mendoza, famed for its Malbec wine.
Argentina is one of the safest countries in Latin America for travelers. This does not mean you should let your guard down; it is still recommended to use your common sense as you would in any big city as petty crime is on the rise.
Crime and Scams
Most of the crimes and scams against foreigners are crimes of opportunity. These semi-professional thieves target unaware travelers in tourist areas and restaurants. Bag snatching is common, so make sure you carry your bag facing away from the street and preferably always close to you.
Bus terminals are common places where thieves take advantage of distracted travelers and use their pickpocketing skills. This is especially true in Buenos Aires’ Retiro station. “Accidental” spills are a way to distract you and pickpocket you, so always be vigilant. Mobile phones can be snatched while they are being used, so keep your valuables out of sight.
In Buenos Aires, be particularly cautious in La Boca, San Telmo, Florida St., Congreso, and Retiro as there have been reports of robberies involving physical violence.
“Express kidnappings” can occur. Victims are grabbed and force to take out as much money as possible from ATMs. The criminals can also contact the victim’s family or friends and ask them to bring all the cash they have in a couple of hours. Once the ransom is paid, the victim is usually released unharmed.
If you are taking a taxi, use a dial-a-taxi service instead of flagging down one as you may get in a fake/unregistered taxi. Licensed taxis have a visible company logo on the rear passenger doors.
Argentina is a country exposed to many natural disasters like earthquakes, severe storms that can result in heavy flooding in some areas, and volcanic eruptions.
San Miguel de Tucuman and Mendoza are the areas in the Andes that are subject to earthquakes.
Pemperos are violent windstorms that can strike the pampas and northeast.
There is volcanic activity in the Andes Mountains along the Chilean border (last erupted in 2000). Other active volcanos include Llullaillaco, Maipo, Planchon-Peteroa, San Jose, Tromen, Tupungatito, and Viedma.
Warnings & Dangers
OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM
Taking normal safety precautions are recommended in Argentina. Exercise common sense and remain vigilant for suspicious behaviour as you would in any other country. Watch out for pickpockets in tourist areas and protect your valuables.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: HIGH
Pickpocket and bag and purse snatching are common in tourist locations and public transportation. The theft of smartphones is increasing. Remain vigilant for thieves that use different strategies to rob you.
MUGGING & KIDNAPPING RISK: HIGH
Muggings have happened in urban areas. Though most victims are not physically injured, criminals usually do not hesitate to use force if the target does not cooperate; in case of being robbed, do not resist and hand over your valuables. Avoid walking alone after dark.
Although kidnapping is not common, express kidnapping involving tourists have occurred in Argentina. Victims are abducted for a few hours and forced to withdraw money from ATMs in order to be released.
SCAMS RISK: HIGH
As in any other country, taxi drivers will try to take advantage of travelers by overcharging them.
Bag snatching is common, so make sure you carry your bag facing away from the street and preferably always close to you.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM
There are also unlicensed taxis, so make sure you pre-arrange a ride or use radio taxis from places like a hotel when possible.
NATURAL RISKS: MEDIUM
Seasonal flooding in the northern provinces are common, which leads to transport disruption. Flash floods can happen during heavy rains in other regions.
Argentina has some volcanic activity. The Copahue volcano, located along the Chilean border, is still active and sometimes residents need to be evacuated. Monitor local media and follow the advice of the local authorities.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
Terrorist attacks are unlikely in Argentina. However, they cannot be ruled out. Remain vigilant and take advice from authorities, hotels and tour operators.
WOMEN TRAVELER RISK:MEDIUM
Many women travel safely without any issues. However, if you are traveling alone, it is important to exercise particular care in crowds, on public transportation, in rural areas, and in isolated sections. Women can occasionally be subject to some whistles or attempts to get their phone numbers. Lone women shouldn’t venture alone in isolated places, remote villages or popular cantinas.
Most countries do not need a visa to enter Argentine when the purpose of the visit is tourism. Your passport should be valid for the duration of your stay, so no additional period of validity beyond is necessary. www.doyouneedvisa.com is a useful website that can help you know if you need a visa or not based on your nationality and the country you’re visiting.