Health & SafetyPrint
Argentina is a safe place, by South American standards. Since the economic crisis of 2001 spawned a wave of budget conscious tourists, a strong tourism infrastructure has developed. Argentinians are used to seeing foreigners, which is both a blessing and a curse, and the country is well-equipped to handle the growing tourist and expat population.
Argentines say that Buenos Aires is a world apart from the rest of Argentina, and in terms of culture and security, it is. Like all large cities, BA harbors sharply contrasting suburbs, an immense disparity between socioeconomic levels, constant public security concerns, and a criticized government both at a local and national scale. However, at the same time, with its parks and colonial buildings, it is aesthetically beautiful, is rich in culture and cultural opportunities, and offers everything to the consumer of every type. Most Argentines living in Buenos Aires who survived the turbulent economic crisis several years ago complain that the city is much more insecure than before, since, as a friend argued, “the middle class became lower-middle class; the lower class became even lower, and the poor became more numerous.” One has to remember that Buenos Aires is immense, with over thirteen million people in the federal district alone.
Many well-seasoned travellers are heard saying that they feel safer in Buenos Aires than in other big cities of the world, such as London or Paris. This sentiment could be attributed to the gregarious lifestyle of the Argentine people (I prefer to regard to the people of Buenos Aires as Argentines rather than Porteños as they are officially called, since there are so many people from all over the country living, studying and residing in the capital), who prefer to make the most of what lies beyond the confines of their apartments by walking the streets, going to cafes and going out until the early hours all days of the week.
Buenos Aires also instills a false sense of security because of the constant movement in the streets and strong police presence. Indeed, if you stick to the main tourist areas as most people passing by understandably do, you will be fine. The problem is that due to this, many visitors become too complacent. I must reiterate: for a city of its size and stature, Buenos Aires is safe. But by observing how the locals manage themselves in the city demonstrates the simple measures one can make to avoid any mishaps. This information mostly applies to the more curious travelers with more time on their hands in Buenos Aires; for example, it took me months getting to know the center until I started to want to explore more out-of-the way places in the city. Once you start to converse with the locals, engaging in conversation about urban insecurity, you will always hear the comment “anything can happen anywhere.” but in other areas it is hard to get about inconspicuously, and for a country still recovering from the economic blow, tourists, no matter their profile, mean wealth.
We think you might also like: