The most common crimes are distraction theft, bag snatching and armed robberies. Thefts from unattended vehicles, especially hire-cars are common. Take particular care in restaurants and internet cafes, on public transport and in the Buenos Aires tourist areas of San Telmo, La Boca and Retiro. Keep a close eye on your personal possessions at all times. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or wearing jewellery. Avoid isolated or poorly lit areas at night.
Conmen have been known to rob tourists while an accomplice pretends to help remove ketchup or mustard that has been ‘accidentally’ sprayed on them. There have also been reports of thieves posing as hotel guests and snatching bags while tourists are checking into hotels or hostels. Another common tactic is slitting handbags in crowded places and snatching mobile phones while they are being used.
Passport thefts are common especially in Buenos Aires and Mendoza. Leave your passport in a hotel safe or security box and keep a photocopy of the details page with you at all times.
Thefts from unattended vehicles, especially hire-cars are common.
Kidnappings and so called ‘express kidnappings’ occur in Argentina. Victims are normally held while criminals empty their bank accounts with cash cards. Once the ransom is paid the victim is usually quickly released. It is common for thefts to take place when withdrawing cash from ATMs.
If possible, book taxis in advance. If you hail a taxi in the street, only use a ‘radio taxi’. These have a clearly visible company logo on the rear passenger doors. If you are being met at the airport and you don’t know your greeter, confirm their identity before setting off. Alternatively use a ‘remise’ service from the official stand in the centre of the arrivals concourse.
If you are a victim of crime, you should inform the local police and get a police report.
In Buenos Aires, a 24-hour police helpline in English is available on telephone number 101. There is also a new multi-lingual free phone number for tourist assistance: 0800 999 5000. This goes through to the tourist police station at Corrientes 436, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. In Mendoza, contact the Tourist Police at San Martin 1143, tel: (0261) 413 2135, email: email@example.com.
Extreme and adventure sports
If you take part in extreme or adventure sports (including paragliding, climbing, off-road driving and hot air ballooning), make sure adequate safety precautions are in place. Only use reputable operators and insist on training. Make sure your travel insurance covers all the activities you want to undertake.
Political demonstrations and picketing are more common in Argentina than in the UK. They can take place at many public locations throughout Argentina. Some demonstrations attract large numbers of people. There have been cases of demonstrations turning violent. You should monitor the media and avoid demonstrations.
There have been occasional Falklands-related protests including outside the British Embassy and British affiliated businesses in Argentina.
Groups of demonstrators (piqueteros) sometimes block major roads into and out of Buenos Aires during times of social unrest. This can cause significant delays.
The departure of flights from airports in Argentina can be unreliable and susceptible to delays and cancellations. Check with your airline or travel company before travelling to the airport.
We cannot offer advice on the safety of individual airlines, but the International Air Transport Association publishes a list of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices. This list is not exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list does not necessarily mean that it is unsafe.
A list of recent incidents and accidents can be found on the website of the Aviation Safety network.
You will need an International Driving Permit to drive in Argentina.
Driving and road safety standards vary. Respect for speed limits and traffic signals is patchy, and other road users can make unexpected manoeuvres. Crime against car users, particularly when stationary at traffic lights, is a problem. Keep windows closed and doors locked at all times in major cities.
Take care when driving in the Province of Misiones close to the borders with Paraguay and Brazil; the area is used to smuggle goods. Seek local advice if you intend to drive in this area.
There have been cases of disruption by activist groups and unions against British flagged shipping, and shipping involved in hydrocarbons or fishing activity in the Falkland Islands . If you are in charge of a vessel, make contact with your agent or the local authorities before travelling. Most cruise ships and visiting tourists should not be affected.