Safety and Security Advice in Argentina

Taking a vacation to Argentina? Before you go get some handy tips and advice on safety and security in Argentina.

Argentina is one of the safest countries in South America and consequently the following safety / security tips would apply to any major city and not just to the major cities in Argentina.

a) Safety / Security – Rape:

The doctor for any type of sexual assault should be the first person with whom you may contact. Thereafter you should contact your respective embassy in Argentina, who will provide you with relevant support and also the police.

b) Safety / Security – Non Prescription Drugs:

You should be particularly careful in any country when using non prescription drugs and the advice is not to use them at all under any circumstances as the penalties in some countries can even include execution and long prison sentences.

In Argentina, it is advisable to only smoke commercial brands of cigarettes as individuals smoking roll-ups are often searched as they are suspected of carrying / smoking drugs.

c) Safety / Security – Con Artists:

There is a common trick in Argentina which involves a con man / woman squirting mustard or tomato ketchup onto your clothes. His / her accomplice will then attempt to remove the stain whilst the other individual makes aim for your wallet or other valuables.

d) Safety / Security – Plain Clothes Police:

Whilst in Argentina, if you are approached by someone claiming to be a plain clothes policeman then insist on seeing their identification. If you are required to accompany them to the police station then insist on taking major roads and not taking any backstreets. Go with them via foot and do not get into their car. If they ask you for identification then be sure not to hand over your passport or any other items of personal identification. If they are genuine, then they will happily accept this documentation once you have arrived at the police station.

e) Safety / Security – Pickpockets and Thieves:

Do not leave any of your personal belongings on display. Ensure that your money and key personal documentation (such as passport) are strapped to you via a body belt. Only keep small change / notes at hand.

Do not wear expensive jewelry as this may make you a target for thieves and ensure that valuable equipment such as camera / video camera / mobile are kept in a bag.

When you are waiting at a train or a bus station in Argentina then keep your bags within your sight at all time. If you are due to be waiting for a considerable period of time, then it is advisable to lock all of your luggage together using a chain and padlock or, strap which can be secured.

When getting into a taxi, ensure that there are handles on the inside which enable you to make a quick exit if required. Do not give the driver payment for any journey until you have gotten out of the car with all your luggage intact.

Never accept food or drink from individuals whom you do not know as it is possible that they may contain drugs, in which case, you may wake up hours later having had your belongings stolen.

f) Dealing with the Police in Argentina:

If ever you are arrested during your time in Argentina then it will be necessary for your fellow travelers to bring you food every day. This will be particularly important if you have diet related restrictions such as diabetes or food allergies.

If you are involved in a car accident in Argentina then both drivers are routinely arrested and held at the police station until circumstances and responsibility have been established. It is rare that this process would take less than two weeks.

Never offer a bribe to a policeman whilst in Argentina. If they tout for one, then do not overtly discuss the matter of bribes. Instead, it is suggested that you make reference to something such as “in my country we are issued with on the spot fines” etc.

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