Unsafe areas in Buenos Aires City

Buenos Aires safety,Unsafe areas in Buenos Aires,Retiro in Buenos Aires,La Boca in Buenos Aires

Unsafe areas in Buenos Aires and place to avoid.

Buenos Aires Capital (city) is in general is not a dangerous city to explore, either by day or by night. Like any big city, some places are not safe and criminals are lurking around every corner to mug the unsuspected tourist.

These guys are professionals, operate in groups of 2 and more and are preying on people not paying attention to their surroundings.

These dangerous places are normally surrounded by poverty stricken areas where there is a lot of crime, like the area surrounding “Retiro”.


This is a very popular and busy place with a lot of people and situated next to one of the poorest areas in Buenos Aires. It is very unsafe! Changes are very good that you will be taking a train to visit Tigre or the long distance busses from the bus terminal. You might be carrying luggage and valuables. With so many people you tend to forget to pay attention to the people around you. But these criminals know your every movement.

One of the things criminals do to target tourists is by squirting a liquid (mosquito repellent or vinegar mix) on your clothes or suitcase. They are always operating in a pairs. One person will be approaching from the front and a 2nd person will be standing close by to help you clean the mess. At first you are so shocked and then grateful for this kind person to be helping you. But in this moment they mug you.

Tip: You might want to safe a couple of pesos and walk from Retiro to the city centre but it is much safer to take the taxi immediately when you exit the terminal.

There are always young people or children who are looking for coins “Una moneda”. These youngsters can get quite aggressive if you don’t give them something. This is quite common around the city but especially around “Retiro”.

Tip: If you spot a group of teenagers hanging around and watching people walk by, try to avoid them. Even locals are affected by these crimes such as muggings and theft.

Buenos Aires safety,Unsafe areas in Buenos Aires,Retiro in Buenos Aires,La Boca in Buenos Aires
Retiro Train Terminal in Buenos Aires.


This area is a very popular tourist attraction and famous for the tango shows. It is a beautiful place to visit and I guarantee you will enjoy it if you exercise care. This whole section has been cordoned off and if you stay inside these barriers and take care of your personal belongings you should be fine. Never leave any cameras, bags or personal belongings for 1 second out of your sight.

There are always a lot of people over weekends and this is when the criminals are watching. Because there is so much do to and see you get distracted and that is the moment when they steal your things. This area is considered extremely dangerous at night. When the shops close up, you should head out. There is also no subway access to La Boca.

La Boca is another poor neighbourhood in Buenos Aires and children are always looking for coins.

Tip: Never go outside of the barriers. Always watch your personal belongings when watching a tango show at one of the restaurants. Tie your bag to the chair.


Is not unsafe but it’s very crowded by day with shoppers and businesspeople. At night, sidewalk shows by performance artists draws a big crowd and pick-pocketing incidents do occur.
Tip: Take care not to walk around Avenida Colon at night.


Soccer is extremely popular in Argentina and you will always find live football at one of the stadiums. But when River and Boca are playing people go absolutely crazy. These fans are fanatics. Now the football match in itself is not dangerous. I am also certain you will not get robbed. But if you are unaware of the competition between the two teams you will certainly get beaten up if you sit amongst the opposition and support your team.
Tip: If you support Boca sit with the Boca supporters etc. If you don’t know which team to support enjoy the match but try to say as little as possible, if possible!


During peak hours the Metro is very crowded. Most of the times you will be standing until you reach your destination. Pick pocketing are common crimes in the Metro or Subte. But a little more dangerous is when you get followed by a group of people. Normally they have watched you and want some personal belonging especially your camera, cell phone, jewellery or bag.

Tip: Always look around especially at night if you are being followed.


Constitucion is a very dangerous place,  especially at night. Try to void it.

Don’t be paranoid in Buenos Aires. There is no need. Police are always present in and around touristy places like Puerto Madero. You are safe in the well-known areas. Be on the lookout for people watching you or hanging around in groups. Always take care of your personal belongings and don’t get distracted.

If you find yourself in a area that you don’t know, walk fast as if you know where you are going. Trust your instincts and you will be fine.

I have been fortunate to have done quite a bit of travelling over the last 10 years. By heart I am an adventurer and I love exploring new places, cultures and food. Travelling can become stressful and expensive. Over the years I have learnt to travel as cost effective as possible, simply by travelling more clever. Nelmitravel.com is a Adventure and Budget Travel site where I review Airlines, Accommodation, Transport, Restaurants and give helpful travel information.


  1. Lol, I think I have been to most of these places! I love Buenos Aires, but Retiro is really awful. I tried my best looking and acting as a local to reduce the risk of being assaulted. But in the end I was pretty adventurous, I took the metro from my hotel at Av. de Mayo, and headed to retiro carrying all my luggage and two laptop computers!! Everything was well disguised anyway! And nothing happened, thank God 🙂 And I was asked for money when I was in Plaza San Martín… they guy spotted I was a tourist from the first moment (and I tried not to act touristy in any way), and when he heard me speak he confirmed I wasn't argentinian… he asked me for money, and all I had was a $20 pesos bill. He said it was ok, but he needed $50 (!) to which I replied in the kindest manner, that I would love to be able to provide him with that amount, but all I had left was some change to take the subway back to the hotel xD He smiled and went away 🙂

    1. Lol…50 pesos! This guy was not cheap…luckily he walked away. You were very lucky. But you know that is the thing about these areas, some people are lucky and nothing ever happens to them and then you find the unlucky ones! Like me!Andrey and I have been targeted so many times. We look like foreigners!!! Once in retiro I got squirted with the mosquito repellent and 2 guys were already close to me. Andrey grabbed my luggage and we quickly crossed the road into a taxi. The other time was walking in San Telmo but this time it was vinegar! They tried to rob us (my cell phone) in Luna Park! Andrey grabbed the man`s hand, forced it open and I took my cellphone..I was so upset I didn`t even want to watch the show anymore!It all happened because we spoke in English and not in Spanish. These things happen to a lot of people 🙁

  2. Yeah that mosquito thing was scary! I will take it into account if I am ever back there. But I guess it could happen in other places also.I know, an american friend of mine also got robbed in B.A… I guess that like in every big city one must be careful, but yeah, when they spot you are not a local you are easier to be victimized 🙁

    1. You are right, there are unsafe places in every big city. As long as you keep your eyes and ears open, you will be fine I decided to write this review after a conversation I had with a German girl on an exchange student program. Her friend got robbed twice in Bs As. She told me that if they knew which places are not very safe they would have been more careful.I hope this review creates an awareness

  3. I think every major city is not devoid of criminal elements. Utmost care, vigilance, and awareness are needed when visiting any tourist spot. But of course, we must not stop ourselves from enjoying the sights. Buenos Aires is one of the most interesting places, notably for its heritage and culture. Just don't go there without a life insurance.

  4. Thank you very much for sharing this information! It is so important to know about the unsafe areas in a city especially if you haven`t been there before.

  5. Hi,

    I’m researching about areas to stay in BA, and I keep coming across the refrain that Retiro is a bad neighbourhood. We have booked a hotel in the Av. Santa Fe/Esmeralda intersection, and I am wondering if this is considered as part of the bad barrio of Retiro? The reviews for the hotel all rate it as a good neighbourhood. Some of the other hotels we are looking at are also along Av. Santa Fe, but to the west of Av de 9 Julio, and so are labelled as Recolleta (which has many more reviews as a safe neighbourhood). Do those 3-4 blocks really make a substantial difference? Is the part of Retiro where we are staying considered unsafe?

    1. Hi Jack, thank you for your message. The area where you have booked a hotel (Av Santa Fe/Esmeralda) is close to the microcentro and is safe. Retiro (Main Bus Station and Train Station) is close to Plaza San Martin and that area is not safe. Recolleta is a very expensive area and safe. You also cannot go wrong if you are looking for hotels in San Telmo or Palermo neighbourhoods. Retiro is more than 3 or 4 blocks from where you will be staying. Like I say, it is only the areas close to the Retiro stations, Plaza San Martin and at the back of the Stations close to Villa 31 that are very unsafe. The micro centro is safe and you shouldn`t have any problems staying there. If you need any other help, please let me know.

Thank you for visiting. Have a fabulous day!

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