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Is Buenos Aires Safe to Visit in 2024? An Expert Guide to Safety 

Argentina is a dream destination, thanks to its ample selection of mountains, glaciers, beaches, wildlife, historic pueblos, and amazing food.

But, while its attractions continue to entice visitors, you might be wondering if the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, is a safe place to visit – or one you should skip entirely.

Because it is the hub of all air travel getting in and out of the country, Buenos Aires is likely already part of your itinerary. But is it safe to spend a few days there?

The answer is a resounding “Yes!”

Buenos Aires is at once an old-world and cosmopolitan experience. The city is filled with beautiful European architecture, museums, parks, and cafes that will more than serve a couple of days exploring its tree-lined streets.

And, when it comes to safety, like any city around the world, it’s essential to take common-sense precautions; here are our top recommendations for staying safe in the Argentine capital.

It's generally safe to walk around the tourist areas of Buenos Aires at night - but taking safety precautions and traveling with groups is advised.
Buenos Aires has a reputation as a city that never sleeps. As a result, because there is often safety in numbers, the popular and tourist areas of the city are generally safe to walk around at night – although taking precautions is advised.

Is Argentina in general safe to visit in 2024?

Argentina’s economy is currently struggling and this has created a wide gap of inequality among its citizens. Therefore, large cities have a high crime rate and petty theft does occur.

That said, Argentina is considered a politically stable country and the Global Peace Index, which ranks countries according to security and safety, designated Argentina as the 54th most peaceful country out of 163 countries worldwide in 2023.

Argentina economy update

The Argentine economy is a huge mess at the moment, with inflation expected to hit 200% this year. Using Argentine pesos can therefore be a nightmare – and mean you lose a lot of money. The blue dollar (an unofficial exchange rate that gives you a better conversion than the official rate) is around, but if you want to avoid carrying lots of cash, you can now pay using your credit card and get an exchange rate similar to the blue dollar rate. You must choose to pay in Argentine pesos (not USD!) to secure this rate.

Both Mastercard and Visa give you what is called the MEP rate, which is almost as good as the blue dollar rate. Mastercard will charge you the official rate but refund you the money a few days later; Visa will charge you the MEP rate from the beginning.

If you do want to have some Argentine pesos for paying in cash (which I highly recommend as you will need them for some restaurants and attractions), it’s best to use Western Union, whereby you send cash to yourself using the Western Union app and then withdraw it in Argentine pesos from one of their branches in Argentina. Bear in mind, those in El Calafate and Ushuaia can run dry of notes, so it can be easiest to do this in Buenos Aires.

Additionally, you can bring USD (unmarked and untorn hundred dollar bills), which you can exchange at “cuevas” (unofficial exchange houses). These will be able to give you the blue dollar rate and any hotel owner will be able to tell you where your nearest one is. Souvenir shops in most parts of the country will be able to give you pesos in exchange for dollar bills – although they might not give you the best rate.

Avoid cash machines. Currently, the maximum withdrawal is the equivalent of $15 USD in Argentine pesos and it will cost you $10 USD in fees.

The chances of tourists being involved in violent crimes, such as armed robbery, are statistically small. As of February 2024, the US State Department declared Argentina a “Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions”.

For up-to-date travel advisories, or to join the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, visit the website of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, or the equivalent agency in your home country.  

Because of these high rankings, we added Argentina to our list of South America’s safest countries in 2024.

Key safety considerations for visiting Buenos Aires

Generally, it is very safe to move around the city center and tourist and upscale neighborhoods such as Recoleta, Palermo Hollywood, Palermo Soho. However, as in any city around the world, it’s worth taking the precautions to keep you and your belongings safe. 

  • Don’t look like a tourist or an easy target. Pay attention to how locals dress, how they carry their possessions, and what they do with their phones. In Buenos Aires, you’ll generally see locals dressed in a chic and conservative manner.
  • In Argentina, it is very common for both men and women to wear a cross-body satchel, or fanny-pack across their chest. The purpose of this is to keep their phone and money safe. For additional protection, people zip a jacket up over the bag, or a backpack facing the front – therefore making it impossible for somebody to cut the straps and steal it away. If you don’t have a fanny pack, money belts can also be used.
A bustling street in Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital. As a busy city, it's relatively safe to visit - but you still need to practice caution.
When it comes to safety in Buenos Aires, like any city around the world, it’s essential to take common-sense precautions.
  • Smartphones and iPads are expensive in Argentina, so are targets for thieves. It is common for them to be grabbed out of your hand, from your pocket, or off the table at a restaurant. Therefore, don’t look at or use your phone in the street, or on public transportation. Always step into a shop, café, or into a corner where your body can protect it from being grabbed. Never set your phone on the table at a restaurant.
  • Don’t wear fancy jewelry like necklaces and watches, or cameras around your neck. These make you an easy target.
  • Don’t carry large amounts of cash. Consider stashing small amounts of bills in different places (like zippered pockets or in your shoes) on your body. Consider carrying a “dummy wallet” filled with a few small bills so you can hand it over quickly if forced, leaving you with the bulk of your cash and credit cards in your real wallet.
  • Take a photo of your passport. You can then leave this, and other important documents in your hotel rooms. Only carry your debit and credit cards when you know you are going to use them and don’t let credit cards be carried out of your sight when paying at a restaurant or store.
  • Stay in popular areas and only walk on well-lit and busy streets. If you need to move between areas – and aren’t sure how safe the places between are – then take a taxi.
  • Stay alert and trust your instincts. Decline an offer when something doesn’t feel right and pay attention to your surroundings: people on motorcycles, scooters, skateboards, or the nicely dressed person next to you on the subway can grab your bag and get away.
  • If using a taxi, be vigilant to unscrupulous business practices. Negotiate the price ahead of time, or ensure they are using their taxi meter. Alternatively, take an Uber or Cabify.
  • Stay away from protests, because they can turn violent. It’s best to not get involved nor remain in the vicinity of any type of protest.
The upscale Recoleta neighborhood is one of the safest in Buenos Aires - but you should still take common sense precautions.
The upscale Recoleta neighborhood is one of the safest in Buenos Aires – being aware of your surroundings is still advised.

Safety in Buenos Aires FAQs

These upscale neighborhoods are some of the safest in Buenos Aires, however, normal precautions still apply – especially if you’re leaving the popular bars and restaurants of these areas late at night.

Generally, the wealthier neighborhoods north of Corrientes Avenue have lower crime rates than the neighborhoods south of Corrientes. That said, stay alert around the Retiro bus and train terminal at all hours of the day.

Buenos Aires has a reputation as a city that never sleeps. Bars, restaurants, tango halls, and dance clubs don’t even start hopping until after midnight. As a result, because there is often safety in numbers, the popular and tourist areas of Buenos Aires are generally safe to walk around at night – although taking the precautions outlined above is also sensible.

That said, after the stores close, the streets around Florida Street in the San Miguel neighborhood, 25th de Mayo Avenue in the Montserrat neighborhood, Plaza de Mayo and streets in the San Telmo neighborhood become empty and less safe.

Even the streets just north and south of the very hopping Corrientes Avenue become ominously dark and quiet in the night. It’s also worth noting that, as a tourist, it is not advisable to spend your evening in La Boca.

If going out at night, pre-arrange a taxi or take an Uber or Cabify. Avoid taking public transportation if it seems there’s no one else around. Stay alert and listen to your instincts.

American tourists are not targeted in Buenos Aires any more or less than tourists from other countries. However, your US Dollars are a desired commodity.

If you bring US dollars into the country, take normal precautions and try not to be a target. Specifically, find a safe and discreet place to exchange your dollars (your hotel or apartment host can help you with this), and don’t carry US dollars regularly around the city with you.

Argentinians are considered very friendly and I know from experience that they will look out for you. However, throughout the world, female travelers have to take extra precautions to stay safe.

Buenos Aires, and Argentina in general, are no different. Here are some key annoyances to be aware of:

  • Argentina has a ‘machismo’ culture. Because of this, some catcalling or over-interested advances can occur. Remember, it is not impolite to say “no” or lie if you have to in order to stay safe.
  • Go out at night with friends or fellow travelers. There is always safety in numbers.
  • Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t seem right, get away and move toward populated places. If a taxi driver seems sketchy, don’t get in, or get out before your stop.
  • Walk with a purpose and never look lost or vulnerable, especially if you are alone at night. 

Argentina is considered by many as the most LGBTQ+-friendly country in South America. In 2010, Argentina legalized same-sex marriages and has since gone on to pass significant legislation to protect civil rights in the LGBTQ+ community, as well as recognize and pay for the medical needs of trans people.

Travelers seeking gay-friendly hotels and bars will be welcome all over the city, but the neighborhoods of Palermo and San Telmo are considered by many as the most popular gay areas.

Throughout the year, Buenos Aires plays host to many events promoting diversity and a huge week of Pride festivities occurs throughout the city every November.

Common Safety Concerns

Baggage theft and crime

As in any big city around the world, crime does happen in Buenos Aires. Your phone can be swiped from your hand, and your expensive watches and jewelry can be ripped from your body. There are also a number of scams that are common in Buenos Aires:

A night shot of the Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires. This is a chic area of walkways and restaurants along the marina and Río Dique.
A night shot of the Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires. This is a chic area of walkways and restaurants along the marina and Río Dique and is popular with tourists and locals alike.
  • Two people approach you in tandem, one distracts you, often by spilling something on you, while the other relieves you of your valuables.
  • Someone entices you into a bar with a flyer for a shopping discount or free show. Once inside, you may not be allowed to leave until you agree to pay an exorbitant amount for a drink.
  • Some people in the street hand out small cards with horoscopes, lottery numbers, or pictures of saints. If you take the card, you are expected to pay for it. It is best practice to never touch a flyer or piece of paper a stranger hands you on the street.
  • Taxi drivers and street vendors sometimes pretend to help you review the authenticity of your pesos, then they trade counterfeit bills for good ones. Don’t fall for this. 

If someone does try to rob you, don’t resist. Buenos Aires is filled with many street police who can come to your assistance, or at the very least, help you file a report. Most travel insurance does cover theft, so it is important to file a police report and take photos of your surroundings.

Protests

Protests demanding better wages, an improved economy, and human rights do occur in Buenos Aires. They generally occur around the Plaza de Mayo or Congress. They are never targeted at tourists. It is advised to avoid the protests and go about your day.

The Obelisk is the center-point of all roads and celebrations in this part of the city - and is a perfect meeting-place. Definitely add a visit to your Buenos Aires itinerary
The Obelisk is the center-point of all roads and celebrations in Buenos Aires. The Global Peace Index, which ranks countries according to security and safety, designated Argentina as the 54th most peaceful country out of 163 countries worldwide in 2023.

Natural disasters

Buenos Aires is generally a very safe location to live and travel. Heatwaves and high humidity can cause health problems during the summer months of January and February, and the high frequency of rain during these same summer months can cause coastal flooding.

Health considerations

Covid-19

As of August 2022, it is no longer necessary to provide proof of Covid-19 vaccinations upon entering Argentina. However, it is still a good idea to take safety precautions when inside a confined space with large crowds.

Traveler’s diarrhea

Food is generally safe to eat in Buenos Aires. Take normal precautions by washing your hands, and washing your fruit and vegetables well before eating.

Eat at restaurants or food carts that are popular and have good reviews, and watch how the chefs and servers handle food and money – the latter can be unsanitary.

Colorful building in La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires. It's essential to take common sense precautions when visiting Buenos Aires, but on the whole, it's certainly safe for tourists.
Just like any city around the world, it’s essential to take common-sense precautions when visiting Buenos Aires. Tourists are not advised to walk around the colorful neighborhood of La Boca at night.

Water is safe to drink in Buenos Aires and throughout most of Argentina. If you are worried, bottled water is commonly available or you can bring a portable water filter.

Food allergies

If you have an allergy to food, make sure you have a list of those ingredients in Spanish to be able to show servers or chefs. Keep in mind, they may not always be familiar with the allergens.

Celiac disease is commonly understood in Buenos Aires and there are many stores and restaurants that offer gluten-free options. 

Insect-borne diseases

There is a low risk of vector-borne diseases in Buenos Aires. As of July 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Protection declared Argentina a “Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions” against mosquito bites and the possibility of Dengue Fever.

Rabies

Argentina is free of rabies from dogs, but rabies can still be contracted from wildlife. The CDC encourages those who are directly working with wildlife in Argentina to have the rabies vaccine.


Ready for your trip to Argentina? Plan your time in Buenos Aires with this expert-written itinerary for Argentina’s capital, check out the most unmissable places to go in Argentina, and plan your trip to southern Argentina and the region of Patagonia.