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Buenos Aires

Health & safety

Dangers & annoyances

Buenos Aires has been getting a bad rap these past few years. Crime does exist (as it does in any big city) and you’ll notice that porteños are very security conscious, but in general BA is fairly safe.

You can comfortably walk around at all hours of the night in many places, even as a lone woman. People stay out very late, and there’s almost always somebody else walking on any one street at any hour of the night. Some neighborhoods where you should be careful at night, however, are Constitución (around the train station), the eastern border of San Telmo, and La Boca (where, outside tourist streets, you should be careful even during the day).

Crime against tourists is almost always of the petty sort, such as pickpockets in crowded markets or buses, or bag snatches when you’re not looking – things travelers can easily guard themselves against. Minor nuisances include lack of respect shown by cars toward pedestrians, lax pollution controls and high noise levels. There’s also a tourist police that can help.

Remember that using your head is good advice anywhere: don’t flash any wealth, don’t stagger around drunk, always be aware of your surroundings and look like you know exactly where you’re going (even if you don’t). And realize that if you’re reasonably careful, the closest thing to annoyance you’ll experience is being shortchanged, tripping on loose sidewalk tiles, stepping on the ubiquitous dog pile or getting flattened by a crazy bus driver. Watch your step.

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While you're there

Medical services

Highly regarded hospitals include Hospital Italiano (4959-0800; www.hospitalitaliano.org.ar; Gascón 450) and Hospital Británico (4304-1081; www.hospitalbritanico.org.ar; Perdriel 74). The latter has a more central clinic for consultations only in Barrio Norte (4812-0040; MT de Alvear 1573); call for an appointment. Another popular medical facility is Swiss Medical (4824-7777; www.swissmedical.com; cnr Santa Fe & Scalabrini Ortiz), with various branches around town.

For more personalized medical care with English-speaking doctors and dentists, contact Blue Care (4822-7244; 15-4165-0024; www.bluecare.com.ar). It’s open 24 hours and makes house (or hotel) calls. Dental Argentina (4828-0821; Av Santa Fe 2227, 12th fl, suite G) provides modern facilities and good dental services with English-speaking professionals.

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Pharmacies are common in Buenos Aires. The biggest chain is Farmacity (www.farmacity.com), with dozens of branches throughout the city; they’re modern, bright and well stocked with sundries. They have a prescription counter and are often open 24 hours. It’s hard to miss their blue-and-orange color theme.

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