Is Buenos Aires safe for tourists? One of the concerns when you’re planning your trip. Out of experience, I can say that Argentina is one of the safest countries in South-America. I live in Buenos Aires for several years and I’m here to give you honest information about your safety here in the city. I made a map (see page bottom of page).
Read also: most common scams and safety when taking a taxi in Buenos Aires
Safety index of Buenos Aires
In 2019, two tragic events took place in Buenos Aires that involved tourists :-(. However, Argentina is not often in de news. The U.S. Department of State gives Argentina a level 1 “Exercise normal precautions”.
In general, Ican say that Buenos Aires city is safe for tourists in the daytime. Of course, take your precautions as you would do in every other city that you don’t know. Here some specific tips when you visit Buenos Aires:
- Don’t use your phone on public transport. The highest risk of robberies.
- Don’t use your phone or camera when waiting at a bus stop or near a train station.
- Wear your bag on the front side of your body on the street and in the metro. It’s also much handier in an area that is crowded.
- Put your phone, camera, … back in your bag if you don’t use it.
- Don’t put anything in your back pockets.
Robberies involving motorcycles often occur in Buenos Aires. It’s the most frequent way of thieves to work in Buenos Aires. The thieves operate with two. One jumps off the motorcycle and steals your belongings and they are away before you know. Mostly violently.
Therefore, keep your eyes on the motorcycles driving around in the city. Especially on intersections.
On of the hotspots for motochorros is on Sunday during the Feria de San Telmo. It’s crowded near the intersections and motochorros are liking that kind of areas.
Visit safe Buenos Aires
Exploring the city is best when walking from place to place. And yeah, pickpocketers are active in Buenos Aires too. But, not afraid. There are some nice gadgets to feel more secure. Such as the “Anti-theft bag for women” or the “Shoulder anti-theft bag for men and women“. Worth checking out because both also have the RFID blocking function.
Read also: Where to stay in Buenos Aires: areas and neighborhoods
The Villa’s / shanty towns of Buenos Aires
There are some areas that you have to avoid as a tourist in Buenos Aires! Don’t go near the villa / shanty towns around the train station Retiro. Because they are dangerous.
Pickpocketers are very active in that area. Be aware when you walk around any train station. Constitution and Retiro. If you want to go to Tigre, you need to take the train departing from Retiro. Just keep all your belongings close to you and walk straight to the train station. The most important thing to know when asking ‘is Buenos Aires safe”.
I had my own experience there. I was walking to the main post office which is located near Retiro. I was followed by a guy but my friend next to me was aware and looked all the time the guy into the eyes. To let him know that he saw him.
Is La Boca / El Caminito safe?
You probably want to visit La Boca. In the daytime, you will see a lot of tourists going there and it’s pretty safe. No problem will occur if you take your precautions. Also, the tourist police will be there. If you have any questions. :-). However, don’t visit La Boca if the sun is under.
I suggest you take a bus or taxi straight to the tourist point El Caminito or Boca Juniors stadium. Walking from another neighborhood in Buenos Aires to La Boca is not our favorite route.
Areas where you need to look out
I made a list of places where you need to take some precautions:
- Intersections around 9 de Julio avenue. (Obelisco, …) I witnessed there a phone robbery when a passenger entered the bus.
- San Telmo during night
- Recoleta during night
- La Boca during the night (don’t go!)
- Retiro and Constitucion train station
On the bus
Don’t use your phone or any other electronics when you’re taking the bus or subway. Thieves run up the bus when it stops and opens the back doors. Especially when you’re sitting next to a door. They jump in and out the bus is less than 2 seconds.
My “is Buenos Aires safe” map
Here below I show you 6″is Buenos Aires safe” map. This map is purely illustrative and it’s not based on statistics. The area colored in red is a “don’t go area”. Orange is “go in only in the daytime and directly to the point”. The purple area is the domestic airport in Buenos Aires.
I went to BsAs in 2018. My first experience (because I had no SIM card yet in my iPhone) was being ripped off by the taxi driver on the way to the hotel from the national airport (because I came from Chile & then Bariloche, ARG): He took a roundabout route that I could only confirm once I was at the hotel and could look on the map at some of the streets/intersections I had noticed and at how I was struck he was coming to the hotel from the back (I had been in BsAs in 2009 and so had a sense of the city). So, yes, he got an extra $5-10, but he and other cab drivers will lose much more in the future because I won’t use them again. Nor, given some of other reports I’ve read recently on other sites, about the muggings that have taken place, will I return for the 2-3 months I had planned on living there starting this month because of the good exchange rate. If in the future I read that the government actually cracks down on taxi thiefs and other thugs, in a sincere attempt to draw back tourists and long-term visitors, I may reconsider. Now, I’ll just go stay in Chile or other non-SA countries that are safer. You don’t need to go to ARG to see Patagonia, the only part that really interests me now. Chile gives equally good experience there and at least was much safer in 2018.
Just returned from my other home, Buenos Aires. I have never had such a wonderful weather like November, December and the first part of January
Transportation: safest and cheapest is Cabify. Very simple to use. You download the app to your phone and set up where are you leaving from. where are you going. You pay nothing. The entire transaction is done by credit card. Thet send you the plate number, make and color of car, driver’s phone and a photo, if available. A few minutes after the trip is finished, you get a receipt and if you want you can go into their web and check your account. Great service!
Can you recommend a couple of top quality segway tours in BA? We find this an amazing way to get to see a city! Hope to hear from you. Regards, Jonny Kustow
Hi Jonny ?, one of the segway options you can find here. Also, more companies are providing tours with electric scooters. Great idea to discover Buenos Aires with a segway! Enjoy your stay.
and the purple areas in the map? y disculpe, las zonas coloradas en morado, eso qué? gracias/ Mahalo
Dear D, the purple color comes from Google Maps as airport indication. (Aeroparque Jorge Newbery). Regards.