One thing that often holds tangueros back from visiting Buenos Aires is the safety concern. Indeed, many people would hear stories of theft and someone losing their phone or wallet during their tango trips. However, many of these unfortunate events are avoidable by being watchful all the time and being in the knows. In this blog post we have compiled 7 tips for you to stay safe, plus some essential Spanish phrases that you would need.
1. Choose a safe neighborhood for your accommodation
First rule of thumb to ensure your safety is to choose a good neighborhood for your tango house/hotel/apartment. In general you should avoid San Telmo and La Boca areas. Many first-time tango tourists would choose to stay in Palermo area which is a middle-class and relatively safe area and close to 2 famous milongas: Salón Canning and La Viruta.
2. Take a taxi when you are going/leaving a milonga late at night
Always take a taxi and avoid walking on quiet streets at night. You may call a uber or radio taxi before leaving your home. When you are leaving the milonga, go to a main avenue to get one, or you may ask the organizer to help you to call one.
“¿Pódes llamarme un taxi, por favor?”
Would you call a taxi for me, please?
3. Put your tango shoes in your own bag
Many tango shoes would come with a shoe bag with the brand name, and some people may carry them on their shoulders after leaving a tango shoe shop or on the way to a milonga/class. Don’t do this when you are in Buenos Aires, as you would be seen as a rich tango tourist and would easily become a target for criminals. Putting your shoes inside your own bag would also help you not to leave it behind in places like cafes.
4. Take only the money that you need for the day
Before you go out each day, make an estimation of the money that you’d need to spend (e.g. for the tango class, milonga, taxi, etc.) and take just a bit more of that amount of money for covering your expenses, so that if you unfortunately lose it you’d still have the big part at home.
5. Be alert when using your cell phone on the street
Recently there have been incidents of people getting their cell phones robbed when using them on the street. When you are using your phone you are also less alert to the surroundings and become an easy target for criminals. To avoid this situation you should minimize the use of your phone on the street as much as possible. If you need to check your phone, do it near a cafe or a shop. You can also reduce the need of checking directions on your phone by copying the information onto a sheet of paper before going out.
6. Beware of pickpockets
Apart from the cell phone your wallet is a sure target for thieves! Always keep your wallet close to you. Some people use a secret wallet which can be hidden underneath clothes. Some locals do without a wallet and put the money in the pocket of their clothes. When you are in a milonga, it’s best to put your bag under the table or chair when you go out to dance. During your mealtime in a restaurant, keep your bag close to you and do not hang it on the chair. If you are in a crowded place, carry your backpack at the front instead of at the back.
7. Buy a good travel insurance
Before getting on your flight to Buenos Aires, make sure you are covered by a travel insurance! If your valuables are being stolen or robbed, report to a police office (Comisaría) within 24 hours and get a report. Report to your insurance agency as soon as possible once you have returned to your home country or online.
Some spanish phrases you might need:
Me han robado mi cartera/móvil.
My wallet/cell phone is being stolen.
I have been robbed.
Quiero hacer un denuncia.
I would like to make a (crime) report.
Necesito un informe de policía para reclamar el seguro.
I need a police report for claiming insurance.
Traveling to Buenos Aires soon? Book a class with our Argentine Spanish teachers who are tangueras to help you to learn more Spanish and get more insider tips for the Buenos Aires tango scene!
Also read our book “Tango Spanish and Buenos Aires tips”!