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Question about safety in BsAs

New York NY
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Question about safety in BsAs

I've been to Buenos Aires once before - about five years ago. So, I've been reading the forum and it seems like street crime may have increased in the past few years (otherwise I was just blissfully ignorant five years ago). I hope my question about safety doesn't offend anybody as I know that BsAs is generally pretty good.

I'm hopeful the weather will have warmed up nicely by the time I visit in late November and I'll be wearing cargo shorts, tee shirts and sneakers.

Living in New York City I like to think I know a thing or two about "street smarts."

The watch I'll be wearing is clearly worth less than $100. USD. I don't wear any jewelry at all. My wallet is in my front pocket and I'll typically have one or two credit cards in my pocket (with a back-up buried in my bag back at the hotel). I carry very little cash and I use credit cards for almost everything. From that perspective I don't think I have anything to worry about however I have a Blackberry addiction.

I can't manage without my Blackberry in my hand. I love to follow along with google maps on the screen. Are Blackberries a popular item for thieves or is it primarily excellent watches and jewelry (neither of which I own)?

I haven't decided on a hotel yet (it'll be one of the major int'l chain hotels where I can earn and redeem points) however I expect nice dinners will be a core part of my trip. I'm hoping to eat out every evening and typically I walk home from restaurants (two guys in our 30's) after a bottle of wine with dinner. Are there any areas near the major hotels to avoid? I prefer to walk however I will consider a taxi if that is the advice.

Thanks very much for the contributions to the forum. All the advice is very much appreciated. I'm very excited to start researching restaurants and potential day trips from BsAs to places like Mar del Plata and others I don't yet know about.

Buenos Aires...
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1. Re: Question about safety in BsAs

Petty crime ( according to statistics published in La Nacion) are up, violent crime , I think, is not.

Late November is a beautiful time of year.

OK... not everywhere accepts credit cards so be sure you can get cash from an ATM for daily spending.. taxi drivers, feria vendors and some places just don't take anything but cash.

My friend had his iPhone and money removed from his pocket, while walking from a store to his apt .. he has no idea when the thief struck .. any high end electronic is definitely a popular item for a thief.

The Four Seasons and the Hyatt are in safe areas, I don't know about the big ones like the Sheraton etc.

But I know people have been robbed coming out of a posh restaurant in a very safe part of town.. you can't really rely on the location .

Everyone here walks all the time everywhere.

I have been out with my dog at 3 am and couples are still walking around, friends go home from milongas at sunrise, people are still out .. take a taxi late at night .. but otherwise, you, especially being a NYer, will walk and enjoy it.

I will give you a couple of lists for you to look at hotels..

Just read the boards, there will be info for you on many threads...

Good luck with the planning,

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Brisbane
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2. Re: Question about safety in BsAs

I can't answer your questions about blackberries as popular items to steal, but I may not think it wise to be walking around the streets with one in hand.

As for watches, although it was a little inconvenient from time to time, we didn't take one. There is usually someone around who can tell you the time.

Apart from that it's sounds to me like your taking all the sensible precautions, just make sure you only take enough money out with you that you think you will use at the time. We always split the cash between the 2 of us and then split that up into different pockets. Socks were also a good place to hide some money. I didn't take my wallet out with me as it bulges out and is quite visible to pick pockets.

I never felt anything less than safe in BA. We stayed in San Telmo and often walked back to our hostel in the early hours of the morning from the bar.

You would know, look like a potential victim and your more likely to become one. Best to have confident attitde and always look like you know where you are going and what your doing(even if you don't).

I'm not sure much has changed in BA in 5 years, it's just natural as you get older to become more cautious. There are thousands of travellers that go there and as in most places it is only the unfortunate few who have a bad experience with crime. I have had things stolen in a few countires on my travels, I don't then turn around and warn people not to go there. It was just bad luck.

Omaha, Nebraska
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3. Re: Question about safety in BsAs

You seem sensible--that is good. Try not to get paranoid since looking for thieves at every step could ruin a great vacation. Suerte!

Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: Question about safety in BsAs

I spent 3 months in BA recently and it was fine. Usual precautions you would take in any big city apply. Only once did a couple of young women try the old 'you've got sunscreen on you let me wipe it off and suddenly there's hands everywhere' scam. They got a hell of a shock when this gringo swore at them in Spanish, and they bolted. Just keep a firm grip on your possessions and your wits about you. Mostly its just a lovely city full of people going about their daily lives.

Mendoza, Argentina
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5. Re: Question about safety in BsAs

I've lived in Argentina for 11 years (8 of them in BA) and the only thing that has happened to me is that I was twice given false 50 peso bills as change, only to find out about it later when I went to use them. I'm careful when I receive change now. My husband, who is Argentine, was once scammed into buying a digital camera which turned out to be a bar of soap. After he got over being miffed, we had a good laugh over it.

Anyways, I think if you use those NY street smarts you should be fine. Have a great trip!

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6. Re: Question about safety in BsAs

Well, if you are going to insist on your BB, then you won't need your watch so I would let that go. Also, I do want to stress how credit cards are not really the norm in BA. Seriously, cash is king. If you want to spend all your time at Marriott or Hyatt bars, then ok. But the charming places that make BA BA just don't accept cards. And let me tell you how hard it is getting alot of money from the ATM's. Personally, I take a wad of peso's with me from the states and remis directly to my hotel safebox from the airport. Also, you get plenty of retail discounts if you pay cash as well. I bought some eyeglasses and the optician even struck a deal with me if I put the card away. I bought a suitcase too--same thing.

New York NY
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7. Re: Question about safety in BsAs

All sounds good. Thanks.

El Segundo...
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8. Re: Question about safety in BsAs

I am here from California and with a bit of street smarts, I think you will be fine. One caution I got from a tour guide we hired...that I had not thought about: When standing on the sidewalk - even when ready to cross the street - DO NOT STAND AT THE EDGE AS MOST PEOPLE DO - and esp NYers. Stands a couple of feet back - that way you would be less likely to be a victim of a motorcycle thief. I have really felt very safe here, but I wear a $15 watch, no jewelry and keep my money and credit cards very close and in many different locations. You will see many locals wearing their fanny packs with the pack part on their chest - diagonally - rather than around their waist (think girl/boy scout sash).

I do not know if after a week, I have let my guard down - I try to be vigilent - but I do not have any sense of fear. I would really watch that BB - using it would just bring attention to yourself. We check the map before we leave and if we really need to study a map again, we duck into a hotel, cafe or the like. We do not stand on the sidewalk acting as BAIT. We are loving it here and the weather has been beautiful. I am guessing that everything will be in bloom when you are here!

Buenos Aires
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9. Re: Question about safety in BsAs

Yes - a blackberry, iPhone or that Nokia touch pad thingy is a top target for thieves. Electronics are still very much more expensive here than elsewhere. Two friends of mine have had theirs stolen recently; one thinks she was followed into a restaurant after being seen using it in the street, the other was 'politely mugged' while consulting it on a bus. Both were devastated.

You may well be one of the millions of lucky people to whom nothing happens, let's hope so. If you really can't be weaned off the thing for the duration of your visit, make sure you back up all the information on it and delete anything that someone could use for identity theft, and make sure it's covered by your travel insurance.

Ottawa
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10. Re: Question about safety in BsAs

MoreFFmiles Under Buenos Aires Hotels, you may want to check my review of the Loi Suites Esmeralda Hotel to give you some idea of why we stayed there, and a bit of what we did.

In January of last year we spent 18 days.

SAFETY We never had a single problem/worry. Sometimes, when I took a short nap in the afternoon, the spouse went out shopping, alone. Anywhere we travel, we are always careful. If we feel that there could a slight risk, we forget about going there, or doing it. (We have been very lucky for 47 years). We have our money belts, and I carry just enough cash, in my shirt pocket, to pay for what we buy. If we run our of money, there is always a washroom somewhere. The spouse does not carry a purse, nor any jewelry(which is left at home). We like to walk, and I think we covered, on foot, practically all areas of the city.

If we walked to a restaurant during daylight, and came out when it was dark, we would take a taxi. For La Boca area , it is suggested that if you go to a restaurant, you should arrive and leave by taxi.

RESTAURANTS As I say in my review of our hotel, we went to "touristy' places. One night we decided to splurge(i.e. more than $15 for two), and walked to the Juana M restaurant, suggested by Frommer. It's on Carlos Pellegrini, across the autoroute(Autopista Arturo), from the Four Seasons Hotel. It's a good thing we went there before 7:30 pm, because soon after the place was totally full with locals. That I would suggest. I can't suggest others, as we would go into restaurants suggested by travel books, look at the prices, and walk out.

RESEARCH SUGGESTIONS

1. Check Frommer's website, and/or book. In the map of hotels, you notice that they are concentrated in 2 areas --microcentro and corrientes.

You may have to enlarge his map of restaurants, if you want to download it so it is readable, as his 2nd book edition omitted that map. We did all his "City Strolls" and enjoyed them. He has some suggestions for side trips. We went to Uruguay, but on that day, every thing in the historic neighborhood was closed.

2. An excellent travel book is "le guide du routard", but is in French.

3. Tripadvisor has over the past two months some trip reports, with some interesting comments.

4. Travel agents also can provide information.

I hope this helped. Happy trails to you..... Comaje.

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