Officially the Argentine Republic, this vibrant country that dominates the southern half of South America is the largest Spanish-speaking nation in the world. It’s home to a notoriously friendly population but Latin America has a troubled reputation for violent crime, drug trafficking, and gang-related violence, so you might be wondering, is Argentina safe?
Known for its diverse geography and natural beauty, Argentina is home to mesmerizing waterfalls, picturesque coastline, breathtaking glaciers, and vast, arid desert. The appeal of South America is undoubted, but where Argentina diverges from its neighbors, is personal safety as the country is actually one of the least dangerous nations on the continent.
Petty crime is common as in any country but Argentina is less hectic than much of Latin America and there’s no reason that visitors shouldn’t feel safe. From tap water to solo travel, find out how to stay safe in Argentina in 2022 with our guide. Let’s get into it.
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Is Argentina safe to visit?
Although bordering Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay to the north, Uruguay to the northeast, and Chile to the west, Argentina boasts an expansive coastline and is known for its sweeping natural landscapes. Wetland, mountains, ice fields, and forests to take your breath away, topped off with vibrant city life in the capital, Argentina is a dreamy vacation hotspot and a real gem on the crown of South American travel.
It might be crawling with tourists and a diverse population of locals, but Argentina remains one of the safest countries in South America and most visits are trouble-free. This isn’t to say you should throw all caution to the wind as petty crime is still prevalent with tourists being prime targets. Still, use common sense and take general precautions and your trip should go smoothly.
Forget the rest of South America, Argentina even scores higher than North America in many areas when it comes to security. Violent crime and sexual assault reports are almost three times higher in Argentina than in the US, and total crime numbers come out as nine times higher in the states. That’s 35.63 per 1000 in Argentina and 42 in the United States.
Street crime and pickpocketings are high and actually, a constant risk in touristy areas. Opportunistic criminals and organized groups target crowded attractions and transport and cell phone snatching can happen at any time if you aren’t clever with your valuables. Avoid wearing purses with long straps, keep money and cards on your person, preferably hidden, and always be wary of people trying to distract you or getting too close.
It might be extremely safe when it comes to human dangers, but Argentina is also exposed to various natural disasters. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tropical storms, and torrential flooding can and does happen, with volcanic action being typical for the Andean highlands at the Chilean border and heavy rains often hitting the pampas and northeast. The Copahue volcano is still active and worries of eruption and gas explosions sometimes result in emergency evacuations. Your best bet is to stay up to date with national and external news and weather reports and choose the season and location you visit wisely.
Is Argentina safe for solo travelers?
Just as it goes for general travelers, Argentina is a safe place for solo visitors and you’re unlikely to face any issues navigating the country alone. It’s even largely safe for solo females and you shouldn’t attract undue attention as a foreign woman in any of the big cities.
The country has a modern culture and developed infrastructure and is one of the most progressive and liberal South American nations. Still, catcalling is a fact of life for females across the continent and it’s not uncommon in Argentina. Ignore it and it will become background noise. Unlike in neighboring countries, harassment is unlikely to go beyond a verbal nature in Argentina.
Solo women can try to dress like locals to fit in, especially at night, when walking alone in unlit areas is not advised. Still, it’s easy to meet people, and Argentina’s are known for being friendly and welcoming. People are spilling onto the streets from characteristically late dinners all night meaning it stays busy and lit in most cities. There’ll be a helpful local at every turn waiting to offer assistance and Argentina is considered as safe for solo women as Western Europe.
Is public transport safe in Argentina?
Argentina has a vast and budget-friendly public transport network. It’s easy to get around most cities with a SUBE card that can be purchased at train stations and lottery kiosks. Rechargeable and cheap, you can cover most urban areas and over 30 other smaller localities with the same pass which makes navigating Argentina safely all the easier.
Outside the capital, long-distance buses and the main means of transportation. Intercity trains have been sadly neglected and are known for being inefficient and more dangerous than local busses. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of the Ferrocarril line which connects 12 of Argentina’s 23 provinces. This can be a great way to reach more remote areas but they’re notoriously slow and uncomfortable.
Tourist areas are heavily patrolled and even remote bus stations are mostly safe for visitors. As with anywhere, pickpocketing can be higher on public transport but as long as you try not to stand out and take extra precautions to protect yourself, you can avoid being victim to petty theft.
Private minibusses are also a great way to tour the country and taxis are generally safe and cheap too. Calling a cab is easy and should be your chosen means of getting around at night, especially if traveling alone, just make sure your taxi is licensed and belongs to a “Radio Taxi” company. If the cab doesn’t display the company it belongs to on the roof, always ask to see the registration information inside before getting in an unbooked taxi.
Registered taxis have different colors across the country too, familiarise yourself with these to avoid confusion. They’re yellow and black in Buenos Aires but white in Córdoba. Don’t be fooled by the colors and also check for registration.
Is it safe to drink tap water in Argentina?
Unlike much of the rest of the continent, municipal water in Argentina is very safe to drink, as it is in most of the southern cone. High community health standards mean tap water is often treated and purified to the same degree, or better, than many North American states. In fact, the British first engineered Buenos Aires’s water system in 1869, although ironically, it’s now also better than much of the tap water in the UK.
Increasingly regulation of public waterways and sanitation standards has helped better the water quality in households, restaurants, and schools. However, all that said, outside major cities, you might want to give it a miss. Even clean tap water can contain a high mineral content that might cause stomach upset, especially if you’re not used to it. In rural areas, bottled water is a better option. Or, you can boil water to purify it or use it for cooking.
Safe water in the cities also means fresh produce tends to be clean too. You can wash fruit and vegetables under the tap just to be on the safe side, but you won’t need to buy disinfectant for fresh produce.
Is it safe to live in Argentina?
As one of the safest nations on the continent, Argentina is a great place to live and wildly popular with ex-pats. Ranking higher than the rest of South America, and much of the US, on peace, safety, and security, it’s an even better place to live than it is to visit. From the thriving cultural capital of Buenos Aires to the desert plains of Salta and Jujuy in the north, there’s something for everyone seeking a new way of life and it offers great visa opportunities for retirees and ex-pats.
There are no restrictions on foreigners buying property in Argentina, with the exception of homes along the border or in protected rural areas. You need to obtain a tax number with the help of a notary, but this means you can live in Argentina with the security of having money invested in property and the safety of a secure residence.
However, job opportunities for ex-pats are limited and local wages are low by western standards. You’ll find most job openings in the big cities in banking, IT, and oil, but most ex-pats are digital nomads or retirees which provides more security than relying on public employment.
Living in Argentina could also be even safer than visiting as a tourist as you’ll be less vulnerable to petty crime. Speaking the language, avoiding tourist traps, and bonding with locals halves your chances of being scammed and you’ll come to feel very comfortable wherever you go.
7 Safety Tips for Argentina
- Check local news ahead of your trip – Natural disasters are one of the biggest risks in this typographically diverse nation. Stay up to date with news reports before and during your visit to avoid getting stuck in an extreme situation.
- Carry what you need – If you don’t want to lose your belongings or get pickpocketed, the best thing to do is leave valuables at home or at your hotel where thieves can’t reach them. Where a body bag or money belt for that which you need to bring out with you.
- Don’t wear expensive jewelry in public – Flashing wealth makes you an instant target. Leave the bling at home.
- Know your limits – There’s a lot of fun to be had in Argentina, but you’re less responsible when inebriated. Know your limits when drinking alcohol, never leave drinks unattended, and don’t trust just anyone.
- Reduce using your phone in public – Robberies are no more common in Argentina than anywhere else in the world, but local thieves are known to grab phones from hands when you’re absentmindedly texting on a street corner. Keep all electronics concealed, especially when you’re on the street.
- Avoid isolated areas at night – Most major cities are buzzing until the early hours in Argentina, but poorly lit neighborhoods aren’t safe to wander alone and you can feel more vulnerable in rural areas at night, especially when road conditions are poor and the landscape varies so greatly. Always travel with friends or book a registered taxi.
- Only take registered cabs – On the topic of taxis, they’re actually a great way to get around Argentina in the cities and rural areas. But always check for registration or book through your hotel to avoid unlicensed trips. Ask your driver to put the meter on too if you don’t want to be victim to money scams.
Is Buenos Aires safe?
Like Argentina on the whole, Buenos Aires is a very safe city to visit and one of the most peaceful in South America. You should exercise standard safety precautions as in any major city, but Argentina’s capital is actually more peaceful than Los Angeles, Brussels, and New York. Tourists are unlikely to encounter much trouble beyond pickpocketing and it is even a great city for solo female travelers.
Is Argentina a poor country?
Argentina is a vast and densely populated country. It is a melting pot for cultures and ethnicities, perfectly blending Latin and European customs. However, the country still demonstrates high poverty rates despite good safety ratings, with low wages and poor job opportunities remaining a nationwide issue.
When is the best time to visit Argentina?
Argentina is an enormous country with so much to offer and something different for every time of year. December to February is the dry, summer season in most of the country and it can be very hot in the north, while June to August brings more forgiving and somewhat pleasant temperatures nationwide. Buenos Aires is popular year-round but the shoulder seasons from April to June and September to December bring fewer crowds, colorful foliage, and hotel discounts.