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activetraveller Apr 24th, 2008 07:33 PM

Be Careful in San Telmo
I want to warn fellow travellers if you go to the San Telmo fair and walk from Plaza de Mayo, make sure you take Defensa St.

We made the mistake of walking down Bolivar, I think, and had a camera stolen right out of our hands! Unfortunately, there really weren't any other people around to help us out, so I suggest sticking to more crowded streets. We've travelled to many countries around the world and have pretty good street smarts. This is the first time anything like this has happened. And unfortunately our spirts were down by the time we got to the market, so didn't get to really appreciate it. But it really is wonderful! So hopefully you have a good experience!

avrooster Apr 25th, 2008 02:44 AM

I wrote this a couple of years ago, after a visit to San Telmo:

"I believe that place must be teeming with pickpockets, so I would advise using more caution than normal, particularly when standing among a crowd. I kept my hand on my wallet during all the time I was there. On the plus side, police presence is quite significant.

This is a link to the whole thread:

You should also remember that first daughter Barbara Bush's purse was stolen from her in San Telmo, under the nose of the Secret Service.

This is a link to a thread about that:

San Telmo on a Sunday is great, but, as said above, I suggest more caution than normal, safely carrying your cash and credit cards and taking only a small camera kept out of sight.

It is usually quite crowded, which is the reason why these extra precautions are required.

misterfuss Apr 27th, 2008 02:33 PM

We encountered three pickpocket attempts in BA on our trip a few weeks ago. Once was in San Telmo, once in Microcentro, and once on the subte.

I carried a small black Victorinox travel shoulder bag (10x8x3" or 25x20x8cm) that I believed was less conspicuous than a backpack or fanny pack. At no time did I carry valuables in it. I used it for my guide book, water bottle, umbrella, unwritten postcards, and the zip off legs from my trousers.

While in San Telmo, I felt two light bumps and noticed a woman that was unneccessarily close behind me. I saw that the zipper was open halfway and I turned to face the woman behind me. I glared at her and she pretended to look at a menu posted in a restaurant window.

In microcentro, I again felt a couple of light bumps and I turned to face a woman that turned her face away to look as if she were waiting for a bus. Again, my zipper was halfway opened. I went and stood closely behind her. She turned to me and checked out her own backpack.

Although I had nothing of value in my travel pack, I then looped the zipper pulls through a carabiner clip to make it more awkward to open.

The last attempt was on a very crowded subway car. We boarded at the rear of the car and made our way to the front of the car. An older man that was at the rear of the car made his way towards the front as well. Although I tried to keep my bag in front of me, it got pushed to my side and rear at one of the stops when a lot of people were getting off and on. I noticed that another zipper was now opened. (One without the carabiner clip.) I turned to face the man who was now next to me, and he turned away and got off at the next stop.

Fortunately, I don't carry anything of value in that bag. For future trips though, I may consider using a drawstring sack as my partner had used since he didn't seem to attract any pickpockets.

Perhaps it wasn't my bag that was as conspicuous as me being 6'4" (193cm) with blond hair, blue eyes and zip off pants! ;)

julie_Colorado May 1st, 2008 09:59 AM

My husband and I were sprayed with bird poop on Defensa, and the 2 women that helped us... grabbed my husband's wallet. So be careful, if someone finds a reason to touch you... they are likely robbing you. A friend of mine came to BA and was robbed the same way.

alan64 May 1st, 2008 03:29 PM

"My husband and I were sprayed with bird poop on Defensa..."

I mentioned this style of theft-attempt that occured to us near the rear of the Casa Rosada in my April 2008 B.A. trip report. I recognized the scam pretty quickly and we didn't let the people get anywhere near us.

TracyB May 2nd, 2008 06:13 AM

Well i guess we were lucky, as we walked everywhere for 3 full days and didn't have not even 1 incident....infact i was expecting something to happen, but nothing did (thank god).

Although we werre ripped off from the Taxi driver...

Scarlett May 2nd, 2008 12:07 PM

I don't think they actually spray you with "bird poop" but spray you with something that they pretend is "bird poop", so they can get their hands on you.

I can only say I am so sorry for the unfortunate events that have happened to anyone visiting BA .

I always feel that we are extremely lucky , having lived here a year now and not been robbed or suffered an attempt at robbery.

I have hopes that as Buenos Aires continues to host so many visitors, the people here will be more aware of making sure that visitors are not subjected to petty crimes such as these.
Of course, it can happen in NY or Paris but one hates to hear of it happening where they live.

Just remember, don't walk around with your camera in your hand or hanging around your neck..or standing out in the middle of the street/sidewalk taking a photo...keep a wall, something / someone at your back.
We just came back from the Park with the dog and there were 3 sets of people taking photos, 2 with tri-pods and one without. They may have been Porteños or not, but the cameras were major sorts of cameras and no one bothered please don't feel that you should not bring a camera or use just have to have eyes in the back of your head :)

In defense of San Telmo..we are there all the time, wandering down all the streets, not just the main street of tourist shops/antiques etc...families live there, expats live there, it is just another neighborhood..with a big touristy attraction in the middle. So don't think that only one street in the area is safe..most of them are safe...especially in the daytime.
A great books store is on one of those side streets, English the whole area is worth wandering.

julie_Colorado May 8th, 2008 03:28 AM

Tx Scarlett ... I was hoping it was synthetic bird poop... but they did a great job on the texture and the smell!...

I always hesitate to tell that story... but I come frequently for work - and a peer of mine came down. I didn't share the story, and then the same thing happened to him.

All that said, I love Defensa (I really love the little bar on the corner by the square in San Telmo).. .and I've walked down Defensa many times since - both with my husband and alone. I always eat once in Des Nivel (sp?).

The last time I was there (last month), my husband walked down Defensa with his painfully expensive camera swinging around his neck (some people neither listen or learn)...

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