All the information below is provided by Pink Pangea community members based on their experiences abroad. Add your voice!
Feminine Hygienic Products
Torie says: All feminine hygiene products are legal and readily available at local drugstores or large supermarkets. Farmacity (the Argentine equivalent of Walgreens) stocks the shelves with familiar brands such as Tampax and Always.
Nicole says: I brought with me a large supply of tampons, but feminine hygiene products are easy to find in Argentina. There is less variety on the tampon front, with mainly o.b. on offer. In Buenos Aires, everything is legal and available at pharmacies and supermarkets.
Torie says: Condoms (preservadores) are easily available at any local Farmacity or supermarket. You do not need a prescription to buy birth control pills here. You can buy birth control at the counter at any pharmacy. Ask for Pastillas Anticonceptivas. They may not have your specific brand though, so check with your health care provider.
Nicole says: Luckily you can buy the pill easily over the counter here, no prescription needed. Just be aware that Argentina has harsh import laws which affect the types of medication you find here. It’s a good idea to check beforehand.
Other forms of birth control are also readily available. You can find condoms in any supermarket, pharmacy or kiosk.
Recommended Gyncologists and Doctors
Torie says: If you don’t speak Spanish, I recommend finding an English speaking doctor. Some quick online research should yield plenty of results. Some doctors here work out of small apartments rather than in offices or hospitals, which might be a little off-putting at first.
Nicole says: I haven’t had to go through this yet. With a bit of research, you can easily find English speaking doctors in Buenos Aires.
Nicole says: Society is much more accepting of breastfeeding in public here than at home in South Africa. I have seen many women breastfeed in public, with no coverings, and no one blinks an eyelid.
Torie says: It is very typical for first dates to involve drinks at a bar late at night, meaning 11 p.m. or later. If you are not completely comfortable with that person, organize a group hangout instead of going out on your own. Most young adults live with their parents throughout university and oftentimes until they start a family of their own. Going out for dates is much more common than having someone over.
Nicole says: Be aware that people have a much more fluid notion of relationships here. It is quite common for people who have been in relationships for years, and are even living together, to be quite casual about it and hook up with other people. So if monogamy is important to you, check that the guy (or girl) you have your eye on is in fact single (by your definition, not his).
Types of Men
Torie says: Men in Argentina are very forward, especially at nightclubs or in social settings. It’s not uncommon to be whistled at on the street no matter what you’re wearing. As always, pretend you don’t hear them. Most men will stop after being ignored or getting a dirty look.
Nicole says: Here are a few types:
The smooth-talker. Men in Argentina know how to charm the socks off women, especially if you have a weakness for brooding Latino types.
The football obsessed. This might describe the majority of the population, but this man lives and breathes his football team. He will get into a fight with a fan of his team’s rival.
The handsy guy at the club. They will skip the conversation and go straight in at a club. If you respond firmly, they will back off.
Torie says: Same sex marriage (including full federal and adoption rights) has been legal in Argentina since 2010. Although Argentina is one of the most advanced Latin American countries with regards to LGBTQ rights, discrimination is still prevalent and there are no specific legal protections for discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Nicole says: In Buenos Aires, like most cosmopolitan big cities, I would say definitely yes. Argentina, in fact, is quite progressive in comparison to the rest of the continent when it comes to gay rights. People are generally tolerant and I have seen many openly gay or lesbian couples.
Torie says: Women, especially in Buenos Aires, are afforded most of the same educational and professional benefits as men. Although the female president is not a strong supporter of the feminist movement, women maintain a relatively equal position in society.
Nicole says: Generally I would say yes. The city is very progressive, education is equal, there are plenty of women in the workplace, plus Argentina’s president is female! However, there is still a lingering machista culture, so while legally women are on equal footing, in practice and socially this is not always this case. I would say it is pretty on par with many western nations in that regard.
Torie says: Argentine women are very confident and often seem aloof. It is not common to smile at strangers on the street or pay attention to men when they whistle or make comments on the street.
Nicole says: I have been taken aback by the amount of similarities between my own culture and the culture here. I would say that differences are more of a class issue than a cultural one, especially because the cultural heritage in the city is extremely diverse.
Torie says: I haven’t come across any in Buenos Aires.
Perception of Foreign Women
Torie says: Foreign women, and American women in particular, are seen as more open and flirtatious than their Argentine counterparts. While it is great to be friendly, just be aware that even a simple smile or laugh can be perceived as something flirty because of your nationality.
Nicole says: Buenos Aires is a big melting pot of cultures, with most people claiming a link to European countries. That and a large expat presence means that locals are well accustomed to foreigners and don’t have any ideas about foreign women being “loose”. In my experience, saying where you’re from prompts great interest, as people generally want to know what you’re doing here. I have yet to experience any animosity (although saying I’m from South Africa is outlandish enough for them not to have too many preconceptions!)
Torie says: Buses and the subway (El Subte) are generally safe unless you get lost. Buses are probably the safest form of public transportation. It’s very rare to be on a bus alone and bus drivers are always very helpful, plus you don’t have to worry about walking through the underground alone. Taxis are also very safe. Just make sure the taxi is Radio Taxi brand and not an unmarked Taxi (Radio Taxis generally have a light up sign on top of the car).
Nicole says: I have always felt safe on all forms of transportation in Buenos Aires. Keep a close eye on your possessions. If you’re taking a bus late at night (the buses run 24/7), be aware of your surroundings while waiting at the bus stop.
Shady Areas for Women
Torie says: There are no areas in Buenos Aires that are specifically dangerous for women. Buenos Aires is a massive city and there are obviously areas that you would not want to walk around alone at night. Boca and other neighborhoods around that area in particular are not safe at night. Use your best judgment and always be aware of your surroundings.
Nicole says: Like any big city, Buenos Aires has its more dangerous areas, although I wouldn’t say they are gender based. Palermo, Recoleta and Belgrano are safe areas, whereas San Telmo and the Centro can get a bit more dodgy at night. Areas like La Boca are best avoided at night. I feel very safe here, but I do take cautions, especially when walking home at night. Stick to busy and well-lit avenues, and don’t flash your cash.
Torie says: There is no specific type of clothing that women are not allowed to wear. In general women dress slightly more conservatively here, especially in clothing worn at nightclubs or bars. Showing a lot of cleavage and skin is uncommon, but it is still allowed.
Nicole says: Buenos Aires is very relaxed when it comes to dress and there are no real restrictions. If you own a pair of brightly patterned leggings which you wear as pants, you’ll fit right in!