Buenos Aires Travel Planet

Buenos Aires visitor’s guide

Tips and Dangers in Buenos Aires

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Buenos Aires, while one of the safest major cities in South America, is generally a very comfortable place to be. Violent crimes are minimal, especially concerning foreigners, and one can realistically expect to visit the city without encountering any major problems. However, it is always important to remember that Buenos Aires is a large city, and, as in any large city, there are certain things to be aware of, and certain things to keep in mind that will make your stay here much more comfortable.

Tips and Dangers in Buenos Aires

The moment you arrive in Buenos Aires, whether you come by land, air or sea, you will probably need to take a taxi to your accommodations. Buenos Aires is full of good, reputable taxis, and they all work under the name Radio Taxi. Their fares are regulated and their drivers are identified. It is still recommended that you double check to make sure the taxi is with Radio Taxi before getting in.

In addition, it helps to have some idea of where you are going, which will only come with time spent in the city, as taxi drivers can take you the “long way” to your destination if they suspect they can get away with it, although it tends to be the exception more than the rule.

As with any big city, it is also important to be aware of the different neighborhoods, and the level of general security within each neighborhood, both at night and during the day. For example, La Boca, while beautiful in its colors and character, should definitely only be visited during the day. Furthermore, it is highly recommended that visitors not stray away from the main Caminito area, as other parts of that neighborhood can be dangerous at any given time.

Other, more affluent areas, such as Recoleta and Palermo, are generally very safe, but it is important to not get too comfortable, as the reality is that Buenos Aires is a large city, and large cities always carry some degree of risk. It is recommended that women do not walk around alone late at night, and it is important for all foreigners to keep a somewhat low profile when walking the streets — in any neighborhood — late at night. Unfortunately, being a foreigner also means being an easier target. This is not to say you should be scared to be on the streets at night, far from it, merely that you must be more aware of your surroundings at that specific time. And whether walking around by day or by night, walking with confidence and purpose is sure to give the signal that you’re not one to be messed with.

That having been said, it is essential to point out the lack of violent crime in Buenos Aires. Yes, muggings do happen, but the majority of crime is much more inconspicuous: pick-pocketing. The amount of people crammed onto the city’s major transportation systems provides prime opportunities for pick-pocketers to make a living. Never carry anything invaluable with you, and be sure to always have one hand on your valuables, especially when sandwiched between other travelers.

Crime aside, there are other slight annoyances to expect, although they are hardly severe, and are generally accepted as a part of life in Buenos Aires. One unique attribute Buenos Aires has is the regular strikes. They are unique in that they are groups of people who are paid to strike on behalf of different causes or companies. And they do this by disrupting the transportation, often camping out on major avenues to prevent passing traffic. This only affects people when they’re trying to travel throughout the city, as it can often delay traffic.

Another slight annoyance is the coin, or moneda, situation. The country is extremely lacking in a sufficient amount of change, which becomes a problem in many situations. If you plan on riding the bus, you will need change, which means you need to hang onto it when you receive it from small purchases. Also you can check the transportation system in this Buenos Aires travel guide.Unfortunately, the rest of the city is trying to hang onto their change, as well, so don’t be surprised if the man at the kiosko gives you pieces of candy instead of that 30 centavos he owes you. Many people handle this by lying and saying they don’t have any monedas when inevitably asked by the cashier; how you choose to retain your coins is up to you.

Finally, the most trivial “annoyance” of all, which some might simply find amusing, are the piropos, or pick-up lines or catcalls delivered to women on a regular basis. It is very common for men — regardless of age or marital status — to tell women walking down the street just how beautiful, or delicious, or amazing (or any other of a number of flattering terms) they are. While many women might find it demeaning or annoying, after a while it simply becomes a way of life, and it is amusing more than anything to hear the creative things these men have to say.

Buenos Aires, though it has its fair share of risks, is generally a safe city, especially for its size. With a healthy dose of awareness, you are certain to enjoy your time in the grand capital without any unwanted experiences.

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