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Tips for Women Travelers in Argentina
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).
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.
Tips for Women Travelers in Argentina
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!
Tips for Women Travelers in Argentina by Jessica Festa
1. Sweets For Breakfast
While I’ve seen many interesting breakfasts throughout my travels — rice water in Ghana, soy-soaked tofu in Japan and toast with vegemite in Australia — none compare to the way locals in Argentina load up on sugar for breakfast. Chocolate, cake, cookies, alfajores, jelly beans – it’s all considered a great way to start the day.
Tips for Women Travelers in Argentina
Before backpacking South America, I was under the impression everywhere would be cheap. This was not the case in Argentina. The exchange rate to the U.S. dollar as of August 22, 2013, is 18 cents for every Argentine peso. Patagonia is especially pricey, with hostels charging about $18 per night, budget hotels around $40 per night and many of the typical excursions being over $100. I’m not saying it’s outrageous, but compared to many other destinations in South America, it’s much more expensive.
I’ve tried Malbac plenty of times from Australia, France and South Africa, never being particularly fond of the flavor; however, it’s completely different in Argentina. It seems to have a richer, fruitier flavor and velvety texture that my palate took well to (probably too well!). Sipping Malbec in Argentina is a quintessential travel experience I highly recommend.
One day trip from Mendoza that I took was to a lesser-known but worthwhile town called Potrerillos. Surrounded by the Andes Mountains, the quiet town is the perfect place to enjoy kayaking, rafting, hiking, biking and other adventure sports in a beautiful setting. Moreover, it’s virtually unknown, so you won’t be fighting the tourist crowds. For more on this, check out Off The Beaten Path Adventure In Argentina: Potrerillos.
5. Luxury Buses
I had always heard intimidating stories about the local buses in South America. While I had some story-worthy experiences throughout Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, the buses in Argentina were pretty luxurious. For example, when taking “Via Bariloche” from Buenos Aires to Bariloche, I was served snacks, a hot dinner, dessert and even midnight champagne. There were movies in English, blankets, pillows, seats that reclined far back and all around great service in the pristine bus.
Tips for Women Travelers in Argentina by Rebecca Murphy
In many ways, Argentina is a leading nation in equality, respect, and open-mindedness, and in other ways, it falls seriously behind. Women who travel here will have their eyes opened in so many ways, ultimately emerging more confident, inspired, and much more aware. For female travelers in particular, here are the top five reasons why you should visit Argentina.
1. The culture greatly appreciates women…
Until 2015, Argentina had a female president. Argentina actually has a long history of females in power, with Isabel Peron holding the title of first female president in the world. We can’t talk about strong females in Argentina without mentioning the beloved Eva Peron, commonly known as Evita, who championed women’s suffrage in Argentina and founded the nation’s first large-scale female political party.
Evita was loved by so many that, particularly in Buenos Aires, you can’t go anywherewithout seeing references to her. Upon entering the city, visitors are greeted by a huge portrait of her hanging from a skyscraper.
2. …but there are still strong gender disparities
At the same time, Argentina has some major sexism problems. Particularly in the more rural parts, there is still a fairly dominant machista culture, so even though women are legally equal to men, this is not always the case socially.
Argentine men can be very vocal about their feelings towards women, so it is not uncommon to hear them shout inappropriate things at you on the streets. Your eyes will definitely be opened to blatant sexism, and if you weren’t aware of gender disparities around the world before venturing here, you certainly will be after.
3. You will learn to embrace your sensuality
In many parts of the world, women are shamed for loving their bodies and being sensual in any way. In Argentina, the opposite is more true. As the home of the tango, most Argentine women are well-versed in how to move their bodies, and do not hesitate to really own themselves.
For many foreigners, this overtly sexual environment can be overwhelming, but locals typically do not understand why someone would be shy about something that is part of nature. Learning to embrace who you are and your own personal beauty is something that every woman should have the opportunity to do, and Argentina is the perfect place to boost your confidence.
4. You will feel safe
Many people assume that all of Latin America is “dirty and unsafe”, but this could not be further from the truth. Argentina has lower sexual assault rates than most Western countries, and the most common crime is petty theft. Female travelers should not think twice about traveling here.
Be wary of wearing large rings, though. People often give female travelers the advice of wearing a fake wedding ring to avoid unwanted attention, but this isn’t necessarily wise in Argentina. It is customary here for brides to wear a simple gold band, so donning a big rock instantly identifies you as a foreigner and makes you a potential target.
Better to leave the rings at home. Aside from this, just use basic safety measures to keep yourself safe. Avoid certain areas at night, use a taxi instead of walking by yourself at night, and do not flash expensive things in public. If you stay alert and use common sense, you should have no problems here, even as a solo female traveler.
5. You won’t encounter stereotypes about foreign women
Argentina is a huge melting pot of cultures, home to some of the largest European and Asian populations of any Latin American country. This large foreign presence means that locals are accustomed to interacting with people from all over the world, and don’t have any preconceived notions about women from particular areas, avoiding the typical “women from xxx are looser than women from xxx.”
Saying where you are from usually prompts genuine interest, and women are much more likely to encounter locals asking about who they are rather than who they are doing. Not having to deal with people automatically judging you means that you will have to break down fewer barriers, ultimately giving you an easier time and the ability to form meaningful connections with locals.
Argentina is one of the most highly regarded destinations in Latin America for female travelers, so women should embrace this country with open arms and not be afraid to travel somewhere a bit more off-the-beaten-path. Throw a pair of dancing shoes and some adventure gear in your backpack, and go embrace your awesome female self in Argentina!