Latin America is one of the world’s most fascinating subcontinents, best known for the warmth of its people, the biodiversity, and its plurality of cultures.
Regrettably, it is not well-reputed for being exactly safe, or in the very least, stable.
Several countries in the Global South are still plagued by soaring crime rates, including Brazil and Colombia, two of the most popular tourist destinations, while Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and the like still suffer from severe political instability.
As a result, a majority of LatAm countries are not considered ‘safe’ by U.S. authorities, featuring on the State Department’s ‘exercise caution when visiting’ list. Interestingly, one country in particular has escaped this classification, being awarded the title of safest in the group.
This fall, Argentina is where you should be headed to avoid the rising crime in LatAm:
Argentina Stays At Level 1 This Fall
Believe it or not, Argentina is considered the safest destination in Latin America, listed by the U.S. Department of State as a Level 1 destination – but what does this even mean?
To those of you who are not familiar with the States’ travel advisories, different territories are ranked based on their risk level, with low-risk, traditionally safe destinations added to Level 1, countries where crime is present, and thus more caution is urged featuring on Level 2, and then finally, Levels 3 and 4.
At Level 3, Americans are advised to reconsider travel, either due to ongoing unrest at the destination in question or the fact that criminal gangs will see them as easy targets for being tourists. The highest alert level (4) usually refers to unfriendly states, such as Russia and North Korea.
Perhaps surprisingly, Argentina is a Level 1 destination, meaning it is as safe as a number of European countries traditionally perceived as perfectly safe, namely Iceland, Finland, Slovenia, and Croatia.
Some may feel inclined to dispute this claim, as Argentina has been stuck in a crippling recession for years now, the politics are unstable, and unemployment rates are high, a dangerous combination that often results in chaos, as seen recently in neighboring countries.
While the Argentine economy has indeed seen better days, the country’s economic downfall has not necessarily translated into civil unrest.
Buenos Aires Is Incredibly Safe
At a time when Peru enforces nationwide lockdowns due to disruptive protests and political opponents turn up dead in Ecuador, Argentina has remained largely unaffected by the bloc’s surging crime rates.
According to Buenos Aires mayor Horacio Laretta, ‘crime rates are at their historical lowest’, with Buenos Aires ranking as the safest capital city in Latin America and the safest in the entire Americas, behind only Ottawa in Canada.
In 2022, it registered a total of 88 murders, 14% lower than in 2019 and the lowest figure in nearly three decades. Car thefts, armed robberies, and petty crimes have decreased as well.
As Laretta added’, ‘everyone who lives in and visits Buenos Aires can be calmer than ever‘. Locals continue expressing their concern, mostly due to the politicization of the topic, but there’s no denying Argentina is in a better position than its neighbors, especially Brazil.
Robberies and theft remain the most common crimes reported in the capital city, with over 55,000 each in 2022, and this number may sound alarming, but we must take into account Buenos Aires is a huge metropolis, home to over 15 million inhabitants and the crime rate per 100,000 is still very low.
Safe Does Not Mean Crime-Free
With that being said, it’s important not to let your guard down, as individuals with malicious intent can be present even in the safest of countries.
When walking in Buenos Aires, make sure you do not display unnecessary signs of wealth, avoid deserted areas after dark, and keep a low profile.
You are highly unlikely to be approached by criminals or have personal items stolen in any case, but general safety advice will help you maximize your protection, even though the State Department clearly states that Americans should exercise ‘normal precautions’ in Argentina.
Crime in Argentina most often refers to bag snatching in public spaces, such as crowded squares or public transport, so make sure you keep a close eye on your belongings and do not leave them on table tops when dining alfresco, nor unattended.
Then again, this same advice would apply to first-time visitors to any other large city, like New York or Paris.
Why Visit Argentina
Other than being extremely safe, Argentina is one of the most fascinating countries in Latin America, as the birthplace of tango and the world capital of football.
Buenos Aires is perhaps the prettiest Latin American capital, what with its wide boulevards, evocative of Europe’s most stately cities, and Haussman-inspired architecture.
The Bohemian, cobblestone-laden ‘Caminito’ district is popular for its public tango performances and colorful murals, while the trendy Palermo, named after the capital of Sicily, is the go-to foodie hotspot in the city, boasting a high concentration of churrasquerias and Italian-owned restaurants.
Away from the capital, other popular destinations include Mendoza, at the heart of Argentina’s wine country, notorious for its art deco building sand charming European-style plazas, the underrated Cordoba, jam-packed with 17th-century colonial gems, and Bariloche, a budget ski destination.
Argentina is also incredibly affordable for U.S. tourists due to the devalued national currency – the Argentine peso is a lot weaker than the American dollar – and the lower cost of living compared to most of the U.S.
Though you can go well above that, particularly if you’re eating exclusively at Michelin-star restaurants and sojourning in five-star rooms with a view, popular travel website BudgetYourTrip estimates that $26 per day is enough to get by in Argentina, based on the average daily expenses of visitors.
Argentina Is Easy To Travel To
Finally, Argentina is easy to travel to, with nonstop flights linking a number of U.S. cities to Buenos Aires, with Miami, New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, Orlando, Chicago, and Phoenix, to name a few, and relaxed entry requirements.
Unlike their larger neighbor Brazil, Argentina does not require tourist visas of Americans, allowing them to stay for an initial 90 uninterrupted days without applying for a travel permit in advance.
↓ Join Our Community ↓
The Travel Off Path Community FB group has all the latest reopening news, conversations, and Q&A’s happening daily!
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR LATEST POSTS
Enter your email address to subscribe to Travel Off Path’s latest breaking travel news, straight to your inbox.
This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com