Safety in Buenos Aires is one of the top issues spoken of amongst foreigners intending to visit, or who have already visited, our city. While we would never want to question some of the unfortunate experiences that some tourists encounter, what we can say with certainty is that most visitors come and go through Buenos Aires without a hitch! And like any metropolis on earth, there’s a way to make sure you’re part of the rule and not the exception.

1. Take easy precautions!

Tourist photographer in Buenos Aires — © Elebaires.
Tourist photographer in Buenos Aires — © Elebaires.

The irony of tourism is that those tourists who try to be cautious often end up drawing more attention on themselves than they otherwise would have if they weren’t — let’s say — walking around with padlocks on their backpacks. Easy precautions that won’t make you look like a tourist include stepping into shops to ask for directions, doing research about a place before you leave your accommodation, and keeping items like your camera in your backpack when you’re not using them.

2. Be a social butterfly!

Mafalda statue with Spanish language student — © Elebaires.
Mafalda statue with Spanish language student — © Elebaires.

Even locals will tell you — do things in pairs, especially at night! While most of the time you’ll have nothing to worry about in Buenos Aires, walking around the city in pairs or in groups takes a bit of stress off those nervous visitors amongst us. Again, nervousness and excessive cautiousness can raise attention. So let yourself get used to the city in good company!

3. Find your taxi driver!

Taxis in Buenos Aires — © Alisa Spiteri.
Taxis in Buenos Aires — © Alisa Spiteri.

Again, it’s about doing things the way a local would! Many Porteños have their own trusted taxi contact, whose cell phone number they keep in their phones. You can ask about for a number (of course from someone that you trust) or start off by relying on radio taxis, which you can call and request the operator send a driver to pick you up from your accommodation at anytime of the day or not, and with a slightly higher fee than roaming taxis.

4. Learn to be a lightweight!

No, this is not some sort of boxing analogy and we certainly don’t recommend fighting as a means of protection (although the logic is there!). Instead, we suggest you move about Buenos Aires with as little as possible to ensure the extent of any petty theft that might happen is minimal. Always be aware of the activities you have planned and how much you might end up spending. This way you can get by with just your SUBE card, your phone and a bit of cash.

5. Consider a tour!

El Caminito in La Boca — © Elebaires.
El Caminito in La Boca — © Elebaires.

Must-see tourist destinations like El Caminito in the neighborhood of La Boca are perfect examples of why you should take us up on one of our free activity options or otherwise sign up for a private tour of the city. To get to El Caminito you’ll have to walk through some often-shady parts of La Boca, where petty crime is occasional. If you’ve got doubts about the safety of other neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, just consult one of our staff members for advice.

6. Watch out for scams!

Private taxis in Buenos Aires — © Philip Schilling.
Private taxis in Buenos Aires — © Philip Schilling.

Starting from the biggest no-no down, do not get a taxi from Ezeiza airport! Instead, we suggest you opt for our transfer or another option like a private remis with Taxi Ezeiza or with a trusted transfer company, all of which can be found when stepping into the arrivals area. Other scams in Buenos Aires include purposeful distractions like having a liquid spilled on your back, for which a potential thief might offer to help you. Whatever the potential distraction, keep walking and deal with the issue by yourself at your accommodation.

7. Call us!

Students at our Spanish school in Buenos Aires have access to our 24-hour emergency hotline, which gets you through to our school’s director or one of our trusted staff members, whom you’ll see on a daily basis and get to know while you study with us in Monserrat. What’s more, if you’re staying with a host family, you’ll have the support of even more locals.

If you’ve got more questions about life at our Spanish school and issues about safety in Buenos Aires while you study with us, reach out to one of our staff members today!

Originally published on Ailola by Jayson McNamara on June 29, 2015.