7 Tourist Scams to Avoid in Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires, Argentina | © Hernán Piñera / Flickr
Sorcha O'Higgins

Argentina, by all accounts, is relatively safe in comparison to other South American countries. However, no one is exempt from the possibility of falling into a tourist trap. Here are the scams you should be looking out for on your trip to Argentina.

Loved by over 40s

The mustard trick

Don’t get caught out by the mustard trick

An oldie but a goodie, this one never fails to catch tourists unawares when they are traveling in Argentina. This scam usually involves a tap on the shoulder from a stranger who seems to be doing their civic duty in informing you that you have a strange substance on your shirt, usually mustard. While you are distracted, an accomplice will try to sneakily pickpocket you, so if this happens, don’t think that someone is doing you a kind service, because you are probably getting robbed.


One of the craftiest methods of robbery in Argentina is by a tag team on a motorbike. Motochorros, or motorcycle thieves, as they are called, work in twos, and usually speed up on a sidewalk to steal a handbag, briefcase or cellphone. Keep your ears peeled for fast approaching motorcycles, as they are well seasoned in the art of grab and go.

Taxi hustles

A taxi in Buenos Aires

Locals will tell you to use radio taxis to ensure that you are traveling in safety, but the reality is that if a taxi driver wants to rob you, it doesn’t matter whether they are a radio taxi or not. If you want to avoid getting scammed by a taxi driver, which usually just involves them taking you on the scenic route to your destination, use the Uber app or order a remis, or driver, from a reputable agency.

Tourist bars

Most travelers like to get off the beaten path, but sometimes you just need a beer after a long day pounding the pavements on the tourist beat. It can be easy to duck into a tourist bar or restaurant located near the biggest attractions in Argentina, but be warned that these venues jack up the prices, so you’re better off walking a few blocks away from whatever sight you’re visiting and finding a bar where the prices won’t hurt your wallet so much.


Visitors to Argentina may want to leave their diamonds in the hotel safe. Locals do not go out sporting expensive jewellery, meaning tourists who want to wear their wedding rings or show off a new pair of luxury earrings are more of a target. Go for the low maintenance look while you’re out and about to avoid any unpleasant scenarios.

Counterfeit bills

Beware counterfeit bills!

Anyone who has done their homework before their visit to Argentina will know that the economy is volatile and that the peso is not worth very much. So, people often change money upon arrival in the local cuevas, or black market money exchange houses, to get the best rate. Be careful when you do this, and make sure you are getting legitimate peso bills in your conversion.

Using ATMs

It may seem like no big thing to use the ATMs when you travel, but it is unwise to rely on this in Argentina. You will get a much better rate if you exchange US dollars in cash in the cuevas, so try and bring as much cash with you as you can. ATMs in Argentina have very low limits and very high charges, so you are getting very little cash and spending a lot doing so. It may seem strange to be using cash, but that is the best way to get the most bang for your buck in Argentina.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.