18 Y/o Girl Coming Alone To Ba, I Have Some Questions/fears

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newgirlnikki

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Hi all,

I am flying into Buenos Aires this week and am so nervous! I will be staying with a host family for my entire six weeks, in San Telmo. San Telmo is right by La Boca, which makes me nervous. I've heard La Boca is dangerous (even during the day). I will only go into La Boca with my host family or with a tour guide or at least a group of friends (that I will hopefully be able to make once I arrive). Now the following questions are all my worries; I am really excited to visit and don't want to give off the impression that I only see the negatives (because the positives are plentiful)

1. My first question... is San Telmo safe? Now I am a relatively smart girl, but I am an easy target (18 y/o, American girl, alone, not fluent in Spanish quite yet, etc). I won't be carrying around anything expensive but still, I will be coming back from places at like 5:30pm, is it safe to walk around in San Telmo at that time?

2. What type of phone should I use? People have told me that iPhones are rare here and will make me a target, so should I buy a burner flip phone or something? Let me know!

I will be at a Spanish school for my first week, but then I will be doing an internship for the next 5 weeks. I am concerned about making friends... so....

3. How can I make friends? I already know about Spanglish Exchange, does anybody have any else to refer me to?

4. NIGHTCLUBS... So, I'm a US Citizen, but I don't have a license. Aka I'm 18 without any realistic identification stating this. I think what I will do is take a photograph of my passport and take that to bars/clubs. Will that be sufficient? How often do they really check IDs in BA?

5. Coming back from a night out... are taxis truly as bad as everybody says they are? I will be researching currency and making sure I don't get scammed, but are they dangerous in the sense of getting robbed scammed excessively... etc.

6. Clothing. Any tips on how to blend in/ what is a necessity to bring that is often overlooked?

BY THE WAY-- If you are a girl in a similar age range <30 and are also lonely, message me if you want to meet up.
 

toongeorges

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1. San Telmo is safe
2. Use your Iphone
3. Talk to people
4. Should be ok.
5. It is a myth. The cars are bad, the drivers not.
6. Super short shorts and ugly platform shoes.

I would not call this good advice. The first time I came to Buenos Aires, without knowing anything, I stayed in San Telmo and the owners locked the door even during the day while they were in.

Be cautious, do not needlessly show off expensive items like a iphone, walk on the big streets at night, do not talk loud in English when alone, try to stay in company, use only radio taxis (with a sign on the roof), do not leave your items alone.

The biggest problem in Buenos Aires is theft. If you are cautious, you can avoid most of it.

The better neighbourhoods are to the north of Av Cordoba/Santa Fe and West of Callao. A lot of young people go out to Palermo. It had been said to me that people who go to clubs are looking for sex, so if you do not want to be bothered all the time by silly boys and go out to a club, it may be better to go out in company, so you are better shielded.

Ask your host family, they will give you advise.
 

Ceviche

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2. dont use your iphone on the streets especially if you dont know any any tactics how to defend against 'snatch and run'.

1. San telmo can v dodgy after 8 pm. BAd things can happen to you.

3. You can make friends here easily using popular social media. The city is literally swarming with American girls your age.

5. taxi drivers are probably the best I have encountered in my travels across 600 cities worldwide. But usually they dont speak English. Please be able to say some basic Spanish. Also feel free to use UBER. Buses run all night and are very safe. Students use buses here - NOT taxis! Use app "moovit". But again, be wary using cell phone on the streets.

6. Be nice to the locals. Learn and use your Spanish and dont talk anti Argentina while living here as it forms a very bad impression on locals..

4. Some night clubs are racial here. I am assuming you are white and slim. If you are a Afro American or fat or very obsese, some night clubs dont let you come in. So be wary of that. Regarding id, any form of id will do. Dont carry your passport in original ever with you, on the streets. Carry your drivers license or your id card from library etc? Yes, you can take a photocopy of your passport and get it notarised ( via escribano) and carry it with you.

Welcome to Argentina. Be safe. All the best.
 

MikeB12

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Everyone is going to have slightly differing opinions, but here is my take...

1. San Telmo is relatively safe, I wouldn't be overly worried about living there. There are lots of tourists and foreigners there, so you're not going to stick out. Certain streets can be sketchy late at night. 5.30pm is fine, people are all over the place at that time.

2. You can bring your iPhone here, just be cautious when using it on the street, subway, bus, etc.

3. On Facebook you can find lots of groups and events, maybe couch surfing events, language exchange. You'll probably make some friends at your school and internship.

4. Unless you look a lot younger than 18, I don't think you're going to be ID'd all that often. I'd just make a photocopy of your passport to show just in case. I guess in most cases that will be fine.

5. Most taxis are safe/honest. I'd be careful with taxis waiting near tourist attractions or waiting outside nightclubs. Just walk a block away and hail one from the street. Uber, Cabify, and Easy Taxi also works pretty well here too. Easy Taxi orders a regular taxi for you, but you get the drivers name, license plate, etc on your phone.

6. Clothing...bring what you need because clothing is much more expensive here.
 

Girino

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Some areas of San Telmo are populated by drug addicts/drunk people even during the day. The general rule is to not venture into an empty street. Look at the other people around you - if you do not see people like you venturing somewhere DO NOT go there.
Some areas of San Telmo are very touristy and safe, but others are not. Unfortunately there is no map to share telling you where to go and where not to go. I am still amazed by the number of tourist who choose to stay in San Telmo during their stay.
Be very aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to standbyers, people sitting on the floor, etc.

Do not wear flashy clothes or fancy accessories, do not display electronics in public. Wear only shoulder bags that run across your chest. Avoid using netbook backpacks or big bagpacks. Wear bagpacks on your front.

You will look like a foreigner, no matter what. Some people do not like Americans - nothing personal, just politics. Try not to be arrogant but also don't let people run over you because of this.
People is in general very good with foreigners, but on this forum the worst things happened always to people from the EEUU. Some of them hate Brits, as well, so nothing personal. :D
 

Churchill

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Yes, dont flaunt your iphone, yes, be careful, but dont be too paranoid either this isnt Iraq.
 

davidtarbuck

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1. San Telmo is safe
2. Use your Iphone
3. Talk to people
4. Should be ok.
5. It is a myth. The cars are bad, the drivers not.
6. Super short shorts and ugly platform shoes.

You obviously have not spent any time in San Telmo after dark! It is not very safe to walk around at night, especially not as a young woman alone. I have heard tourists say things like have confidence and look like you live here and you'll be fine. This is dangerous advice as I know many locals who have been robbed and others that ran away from young guys in hoodies who approached them.

My wife was recently robbed at gun point and she is a native. All they took was her phone and purse but the gun terrified her. I have been approached by young hoodies and ran to the other side of the road.

My advice is to not walk around solo at night time. If you are out at night, walk with a friend. Stay in the streets with strong lighting (which is part of the problem in San Telmo). And don't walk around with your iPhone out - it is an invitation to the chorros who will be waiting for the next victim.

Sorry to sound negative but this is the reality of living in BA.
 

Silvie

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Don't display jewellery, smartphone or camera. Be discreet and alert AT ALL TIMES. Even if you are in a group, try not to stay at the end of the group by yourself taking photos in places like La Boca or isolated places. Blend in with the crowd. It isn't that bad after all, but being always aware of your surroundings is a very good idea.
 

mulderfox

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be aware of your surroundings

no jewellery. the cheap phone is not a bad idea but if you are carefull you can bring your iphone.

if you wanna try to blend in don't bring cargo pants!. and no hiking boots! also dont bring a huge backpack. blue jeans and yes those hateful platform shoes are ok here. also its winter over here and even if its not cold enough for you, don't dress like its summer that a big give away right there. girls arround you will be wearing trousers and jackets and scarfs
 
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