Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos_Aires-tourist_scamsBuenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and one of the country’s most popular cities for tourists. The millions of tourists every year are attracted by the good food, the large selection of shops and the famous Plaza de Mayo where the revolution for the independence of Argentina took place in 1810, and which is a popular tourist destination today. The colorful “Barrio” La Boca is also an attraction on its own, and not only because it’s the neighborhood where Diego Maradonna played football at the Boca Juniors.

But Argentina has also suffered from a major financial crisis, bringing the government on the brink of bankruptcy and causing huge inflation, which means the Argentinian currency, the Peso, devaluates at 20-30% per year. That means the Dollars and Euros the tourists bring in are very welcome, but not everybody tries to earn them honestly.

Buenos Aires tourist scams


As in every tourist hotspot, tourists need to be aware of people trying to take advantage of the “all is well” holiday atmosphere which causes the traveler to be off guard when it comes to being tricked or scammed. The differences in culture and habits can be a bit confusing, even to the experienced traveler, and that gives those with dishonest intentions an advantage, especially with travelers who have just arrived after a long and exhausting flight.

  • There are two money-changing systems in Argentina: the regular system of banks and money changers, and the black-market system on the streets. Knowing where to go and what to look out for can not only save you from getting scammed, but it even can make the smart traveler some pocket money.
  • Be watchful for counterfeit money in Buenos Aires, not only of the local currency the Argentinian Peso, of which fake 50 Peso and 100 Peso bills are widespread, but also when changing back to Dollars at the end of your trip, as counterfeit US Dollars are also very common in Argentina.

tourist_scams-Buenos_AiresMost of these scams are pretty harmless and won’t cost you more than a handful of Pesos, but they could still make you feel like an idiot as soon as you realize you’ve been tricked.

Be on guard for these known scams and variations to them. If you happen to run into a new kind of scam, or if you have a story about how the swindlers work, make sure you tell us about it. That’s the best way to warn other travelers and to prevent them from falling into the same traps.

And most importantly: just enjoy your vacation. Don’t be discouraged by these stories, they don’t happen to everyone, and they don’t mean Buenos Aires is unsafe. On the contrary, 99.9 percent of the people are incredibly friendly, sincere and honest, and Argentina is still a major destination to spend your holiday.

  • Counterfeit money scam


    Many tourists in Buenos Aires or other parts of Argentina are unaware of the widespread availability of fake Peso bills in the country. They usually won’t find out until one of their notes is declined as payment in a store, restaurant or coffeeshop. By that time, they likely won’t remember where they got that specific […]

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  • Black market currency


    Argentina has been in a financial crisis in for years and the government has been on the brink of bankruptcy for several times. As a result, the local currency has seen very high inflation. The value of the Argentinian Peso drops by about 20-30 percent annually, which makes savings in Pesos worthless. Because of this, […]

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