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Is it safe to take iphone to Buenos Aires?

Dec 11th, 2018, 07:59 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2011
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Is it safe to take iphone to Buenos Aires?

This sounds like a silly question but after booking my first trip ever to Latin America (I've been to many other places around the world) I was surprised to read online about how "dangerous" Buenos Aires is. Iphones cost twice as much in BA as they do in the US and so some thieves would do anything to take it from you even by force.

1. Is it safe to walk around and occasionally take pictures with an iphone? should I dare bringing my bigger camera and expose myself as a tourist? imagine no using it to take pictures in Patagonia or Iguazu!
2. I wonder how safe it is to leave valuables at the hotel because I read that some people have had their hotel safes broken into. At least I could try to be very careful and watch my passport etc at all times if I just carry it along with all my cash while making sure to hide them properly from plain sight.

Any advice regarding safety is highly appreciated! It looks so beautiful there I am going anyway
chillout is offline  
Dec 11th, 2018, 09:01 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2004
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We have spent a fair amount of time in BA and elsewhere in Argentina and have never experienced any problems or felt in the least unsafe. That’s not to say that problems don’t occur, they do, but no more than any other large city anywhere else in the world.

Take the usual precautions you would in any large city and the chances are you will be fine.

Personally, I never use hotel safes, not because I have had any problems with theft but simply because it is easier just to lock anything of value in my bag. I always carry a photocopy of my passport in my wallet and save a copy in the cloud and leave the original in my hotel.
crellston is offline  
Dec 12th, 2018, 09:57 PM
  #3  
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Thank you crellston! It seems like taking normal precautionary measures that one would take in any big city would suffice for the most part.

Anyone used an iphone or camera in public and had no issues?
chillout is offline  
Dec 13th, 2018, 05:25 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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I took an Android phone and a camera to BA. While I didn't lose any valuables (I wore my usual money belt) I was hit with the "noxious substance" attack in the metro. Someone squirted yellow goo onto my coat and someone else offered to wipe it off. Since I had nothing in my pockets and kept a death grip on my day bag (worn in front on the metro) I let them clean it off and they got nothing for their pains. However, I also ran into a woman who had her neck pouch stolen outside the Recoleta cemetery.
thursdaysd is offline  
Dec 13th, 2018, 06:20 AM
  #5  
 
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I used an iPhone and camera to take photos all over BA on our last trip a couple of years ago and experienced no issues.

It is not that I am especially lucky, I am not! I had a suit pocket slashed on my way to the office on London’s underground, attempts to pick my pocket in Barcelona, Spain and La Paz Bolivia (by a sweet little old cholita lady!) and a slightly more violent attempt to steal my camera in Bo City, Sierra Leone.
Problems can occur anywhere and, having spent a fair amount of time in BA, I really don’t think it is any worse than many European cities (can’t speak for the US as it is years since I have visited). I am sure it is purely coincidence that all of these places begin with a B!


I have heard tell of a couple of people being caught by the noxious substance on the jacket ruse, Thursdaysd being one. Not a lot you can do except ignore all attempts at help and move on. In fact, I tend to ignore all attempts at interaction from complete strangers in the street anywhere I go, a sad reflection upon the state of the world perhaps, but better safe than sorry.

As I precaution, I have my iPhone set up so I can remotely erase it in case of theft or loss and all data it automatically backed up to iCloud. Even if I lose the phone, which is replaceable, I won’t lose the photos.
crellston is offline  
Dec 16th, 2018, 04:53 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
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My DH and I both (together and separately) use I Phones and Androids in BsAs. We try to be a bit discrete when using them to take photos or as maps. and we have not had any problems. I did have my passport stolen in Paris...but I was younger then In BsAs, follow all the cautions and enjoy your visit.
MarnieWDC is offline  
Dec 16th, 2018, 05:07 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
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Just to add to above: we use hotel safes in most countries we visit - including Argentina. We have never had a problem except for the time we couldn't open the room safe (in Patagonia) and the hotel had to call a locksmith - but no vandalism involved at all.
MarnieWDC is offline  
Dec 16th, 2018, 08:22 AM
  #8  
mjs
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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We just returned from BA last Sunday and had no problems. Its a city and I believe that as long as you use reasonable care and stay in reasonable areas that the odds of a problem are small. Ditto for room safes.
mjs is offline  
Dec 17th, 2018, 03:56 AM
  #9  
 
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As an about-to-visit person (to BA) I would be very interested in knowing exactly how somebody finds out what the so-called "reasonable areas" of that city are and how one is defining the term "reasonable."
Dukey1 is offline  
Dec 17th, 2018, 08:04 AM
  #10  
mjs
 
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I follow of advice of locals. My travel agent, Isabel in particular. The Recoleta and the Palermo are
the only areas I visited on my last trip and I think they are fine. Would take more caution with San Telmo and Boca.
mjs is offline  
Dec 17th, 2018, 12:14 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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I usually ask the hotel desk staff before I head out, and would also ask if there have been any recent incidents. They are more likely to be up to date IMO. Regardless, I tend NOT to take an expensive cellphone out in public anywhere I am alone (or in a couple) especially where I may be viewed as a walking ATM in a city with known petty street crime, such as Buenos Aires (or Paris for that matter). In those cases, I'd rather use a small paper map than my phone's GPS. And I'd rather lose an inexpensive point and shoot camera than the phone. I also have asked if it's okay to carry around my camera in certain areas. The answer isn't always "yes". If I don't know a city I'll do a Hop On Hop Off bus first and take photos when on the top level of the bus. Or I'll do a group walking tour where I feel like the guide keeps an eye on "situations" and use the cell phone then. The graffiti tours can be a good way to do city photography.

My cellphone is only worth about $150. Even so, it would be a major PITA to lose it on a trip.

I'm still regretting the loss of my $20 flip phone in Colombia (probably in a bus station) this year. The only consolation is that it was a Tracfone and the unlucky recipient won't be able to use it there.

Last edited by mlgb; Dec 17th, 2018 at 12:22 PM.
mlgb is offline  
Dec 17th, 2018, 02:33 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Our hotel was in Recoleta, a lovely area and the staff were adamant that we only use a taxi that had been called for us. One time we didn't and the driver headed in the wrong direction, down a lonely street, so we got out at a traffic light stop and ran.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Dec 17th, 2018, 08:08 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by HappyTrvlr View Post
Our hotel was in Recoleta, a lovely area and the staff were adamant that we only use a taxi that had been called for us. One time we didn't and the driver headed in the wrong direction, down a lonely street, so we got out at a traffic light stop and ran.
See that's the kind of situation you are highly unlikely to face in Western Europe or Japan or Canada. My concern with South America is the potential use of violence. On the other hand, Paris/Barcelona etc certainly have their share of dodgy characters but you almost certainly won't be robbed at gun point over there.

I usually keep my hands on my prized possessions at all times and that's why I've never had any problems during years of travel and living in mainly European cities among other places.

You guys have been so helpful- many thanks! The trip isn't until February and I'll be sure to let you know how it goes!
chillout is offline  
Dec 18th, 2018, 06:04 AM
  #14  
 
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Sometimes a taxi seems to be going the wrong way but could be maneuvering the one-way street system, e.g. in trying to make a left turn. If you are already paranoid and don't know the city or language it can be disconcerting. But using a known driver or radio taxi can be a good idea.
mlgb is offline  
Dec 18th, 2018, 11:18 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
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MLGB beat me to the punch...the taxi drivers are sometimes accused of 'cheating the route' when they are actually following one way streets that change with the hours. They are mostly decent, hardworking and helpful people. Just don't hand them, or anyone in business, a much larger bill than required unless you make note of the number on the largest bills and indicate that you have done so. But again,do not assume that everyone is out to cheat you - it is simply not so.

Dukey, I hope you have an even-free and wonderful visit. To answer your above question - I would ask what areas to avoid (e.g. = La Boca off the beaten paths; Palermo Hollywood near the tracks; around the main bus station at night; and various streets that, as above, your lodging or agent can advise against.)
By now, there should be many hours of daylight in BsAs, and that always makes one feel more comfortable in an unknown city: but even in the night, there will be people about in so many areas. Still, at least at first, I would consider having a restaurant or event call a Radio Taxi to take you back to your lodging late at night - especially to avoid those taxis just waiting outside of tourist venues.
MarnieWDC is offline  
Dec 19th, 2018, 01:51 AM
  #16  
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Thank you for the info regarding safe areas to stay. my hotel is at the corner of Avenida Cordoba and Florida. Looks like it's located in the commercial center of town so I'm assuming it's quite safe!

Who knows what the real intention was of the taxi driver that drove down a dark ally, but I wouldn't blame them because it is better to be safe than sorry. Perhaps the driver looked a bit druggy and mean or gave them a interesting look or flashed a broken gold tooth and bared old deep scars.
chillout is offline  
Dec 19th, 2018, 01:39 PM
  #17  
 
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If the driver looked in any way questionable, I would not have gotten into the cab in the first place.
mlgb is offline  
Feb 20th, 2019, 01:09 AM
  #18  
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Update- I had an amazing time in Argentina and Iím now relaxing in Punta Cana. Buenos Aires didnít really feel very different from major European cities where being aware of your surroundings and keeping an eye on your belonging is all you need to be safe. Never once did I feel unsafe and I had a great time. Thanks eveyone, and happy travels : )
chillout is offline  
Feb 20th, 2019, 07:16 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: May 2004
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Good to hear you had a great time in Argentina. Thank you for reporting back
crellston is offline  
Feb 20th, 2019, 08:09 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
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Ditto what chillout said. We also just returned from BA (one week ago).
sf7307 is offline  

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