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Paulchili

Worrisome level of petty crime in S.A.

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This will hardly come as breaking or shocking news to most travelers but I think it's worth reiterating for future travelers. It obviously was news to the current victims.

We have traveled in S.A. before, both on land trips and cruises, but have not witnessed this degree of criminal activity as we have on our current cruise. The numbers are not official as they are not published or announced by the cruise staff but it is beyond any doubt that many (as in very many) people have been robbed/pick pocketed on this trip.

Most of the incidents were in Buenos Aires (no surprise there) but there were incidents in Montevideo and Rio Grande as well.

These incidents included the theft of a Rolex watch from a woman as she exited Evita's museum (on a ship's tour!), theft of an iPad while someone was taking a picture, a removal and replacement!!!!! of a man's valet (sans the cash) while this person had no idea, a hold up of people in a taxi and numerous other stories.

The reason I am posting this is not to discourage people from traveling to S.A. but to be more vigilant. Anyone who thinks they are better or are immune from these "street artists" is only fooling themselves. If they have not been robbed it is most likely because they had nothing on them or were lucky enough not to be targeted. Some of these people could make David Copperfield look like an amateur.

The best advice (seems so obvious) is not to wear ANY jewelry, cheap watches and no valet in ANY pockets (back or front) - at least while visiting BA and some other places.

Please be warned and be careful - that way you will enjoy the sights without worrying too much (or worse).

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Also be very vigilant with cameras. Keep your Nikon around your neck and use a bag that does not resemble a camera case

 

Taxi drivers run a well known scam with large bills so always have small bills for taxis. If u give them a large bill they take it, examine it and tell u it's no good, give it back to u and ask for another. Each time they are taking ur good bill and giving u back a counterfeit

 

We love buenos aires and are returning next year to take tango lessons before our Antarctic cruise. The petty crime does not deter us but we do not give the thieves any opportunity

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This will hardly come as breaking or shocking news to most travelers but I think it's worth reiterating for future travelers. It obviously was news to the current victims.

We have traveled in S.A. before, both on land trips and cruises, but have not witnessed this degree of criminal activity as we have on our current cruise. The numbers are not official as they are not published or announced by the cruise staff but it is beyond any doubt that many (as in very many) people have been robbed/pick pocketed on this trip.

Most of the incidents were in Buenos Aires (no surprise there) but there were incidents in Montevideo and Rio Grande as well.

These incidents included the theft of a Rolex watch from a woman as she exited Evita's museum (on a ship's tour!), theft of an iPad while someone was taking a picture, a removal and replacement!!!!! of a man's valet (sans the cash) while this person had no idea, a hold up of people in a taxi and numerous other stories.

The reason I am posting this is not to discourage people from traveling to S.A. but to be more vigilant. Anyone who thinks they are better or are immune from these "street artists" is only fooling themselves. If they have not been robbed it is most likely because they had nothing on them or were lucky enough not to be targeted. Some of these people could make David Copperfield look like an amateur.

The best advice (seems so obvious) is not to wear ANY jewelry, cheap watches and no valet in ANY pockets (back or front) - at least while visiting BA and some other places.

Please be warned and be careful - that way you will enjoy the sights without worrying too much (or worse).

I hate when people steal my VALET, how I am going to get Jim dressed without him:D Sorry Paul...just couldn't resist.

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I hate when people steal my VALET, how I am going to get Jim dressed without him:D Sorry Paul...just couldn't resist.

 

That is a good one. It would be even tougher to put him back in your pocket, especially unnoticed :D

The "conveniences" of iPads - they sometines put in words for you they think you mean and I don't always catch it - or was it a brain f**t :)

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Thanks Paul for your comments

 

I am always amazed that people will wear expensive watches & jewelry ashore:eek:

I know it is there to be worn but

 

We take a cheap watch for our travels

costume jewelry to wear on the ship

 

Lyn

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When we were in Brazil this last November (I don't remember which port), I was waiting for the Shuttle to take me out of the port area. Another couple was waiting as well. The wife told me that earlier, while they were waiting, someone grabbed the gold chain around her husband's neck. The clasp broke, but they were able to retreve the chain. She just said they got it back. I don't know exactly how. And this was before even leaving the port.

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Even folks vigilant about street crime can find themselves victims. When we were in St. Petersburg Russia in 2005, the ship offered a special lecture about staying safe (by a professor whose specialty was the architecture of St. Petersburg).

 

On a small cruise (less than 300 passengers IIRC), there were several incidents over 2 days - including the professor (!). One kid bumped into him on a skate board, another "helped" him up, and before you knew it they were gone & so was his wallet.

 

At least when traveling by ship, it is easy to take almost nothing ashore with you :) That way even if you are targeted, you have little to lose.

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At least when traveling by ship, it is easy to take almost nothing ashore with you :) That way even if you are targeted, you have little to lose.

 

That is really the key - have only some much on you with which you are willing to part (if you must); and have in such place (not in your pockets) that you will be free to enjoy the sightseeing and not worry every second about your few possessions.

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I just came back from a month cruising and in Montivedo and Buenos Aires we were in port with several ships, Regent Seven Seas, Holland Veendam and Infinnity.

As passengeres mingled from the various ships the hot topic each group tried to warn to others about was about all the robberies and"situations" that many people on their specific cruise had experiened. There were dozens. Heck on a ships tour at 9am on a sunday we whitnessed a purse snatching in front of the cathedral.

 

People in Montivedo even had their shoes stolen off their feet. If they can do that what else can they do?

Now with the Official State Dept warning against travel to Machu Picchu and Cuszo because of terrorist kidnapping of Americans it makes one take a hard look at most all South America

 

Most all of Chile except Valpariso seemed very safe Usahuea, Puerto Mott, Falklands, Puntas Arenas were all very safe. Buenos Aires however is in the scary catgory ( and I say this having worked in public safety for 25 years and am no stranger to crime) The economy and politics is turning large portions of the population into hustlers, con-artists, thives and gangs.

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Curious about Valparaiso--I have a friend flying to Santiago in a couple of weeks, then on to Vaparaiso for a cruise. What should they watch out for? I believe that in Santiago they'll be doing a private tour, so perhaps that's the thing to do.

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I found the area in Rio where we stayed was quite safe, although after everything we'd heard, we were super cautious. We stayedin Ipanema, which has tourists, but is an upper middle-class area. All apartment buildings had iron gates with electronic locking systems. Very much in control. Out in the city, at the tourist sites, we were with a private guide. He knew where to take us and made sure we were protect. There is violent crime in Rio (muggings), but as I said, in Ipanema we felt safe--even walking around at night, although we were told to keep away from the beaches at night.

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We were in Santiago and Valparaiso pre-cruise last Christmas, and were a little apprehensive. I had experience in Rio and my wife was born in Caracas, so both of us expected something similar. However, we were pleasantly surprised with the friendliness of the Chileans and the sense of personal safety in both cities.

 

We wandered on our own in Santiago, using the subway system and then walking. In Valparaiso, we used a guide for a walking tour. We felt safe at all times. So, not all of South America is like Rio, which struck me as one of the most dangerous places I have ever traveled.

 

So, Chile may be different from the neighboring countries.

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I agree that Chile seemed safest on our cruise and Buenos Aires, Montevideo the worst. Can't comment on Rio as we flew home but I would put it similar to BA (based on past experiences).

While Chile in general is safest, it doesn't mean that things cannot happen there as well and that one should not be vigilant (but perhaps not as apprehensive as in those other places)

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I am always amazed that people will wear expensive watches & jewelry ashore:eek:

I know it is there to be worn but

 

We take a cheap watch for our travels

costume jewelry to wear on the ship

 

Lyn

 

Lyn

 

They never learn .

 

A cheap wallet with the bare minimum of credit cards etc

 

ie Have 2 Wallets / purses

 

Still times are changing

 

When I was sailing before the mast we used to have to be careful

in Singers , Honkers ,Manilla , Thailand etc and even Redfern and

the Western Suburbs in OZ.

 

20 years later you had to be careful in some of the above and New York

(Bronx Area where we came up out of the Subway by mistake)

San Fran ,LA , Houston Suburbs, Up near where Natl Geo were in

Washington etc.

China was very safe then.

 

Now Singers and Honkers would hardly have any petty Crime and from

all reports China is extremely safe. Manilla and Bangkok are still basket

cases along with Russia and Africa and South America .

 

Scandinavia and Japan have always been safe. Australia is still safe though

I would not go to far of the beaten track in Sydney any more.

 

The above is in regards to Tourists .not all of the other nasty stuff going on

in the World

 

.

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Look at the people going ashore - lots of jewellery, too smart clothes - THE THE THIEVES KNOW THE SHIP IS GOING TO SAIL - get some nice comfy going ashore clothes that are nondescript - don't wear expensive stuff that make you or your traveling companions targets. If you have to take lots of cash or cards - not those silly travel pouches - sew a pocket into bras and knickers ($10 in your sock - YES wear shoes or better yet sneakers - you can run in those)

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Whilst on the subject of personal security does one leave their

Cabin Key on board or carry it with you :confused:

 

.

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We just came off the same cruise that PaulChili was on. We were independent tourists in many of the ports. In speaking with the locals we found out that no matter what we do to look like locals they can tell by our attire that we are affluent travelers. We took cooking classes in both B.A. Argentina and Rio. We took cabs, public transportation and walked. Here are some hints, Never, never wear white sneakers anywhere in the world except the USA, wear local foot wear-do your research. Flip flops in Rio are a must, sandals with straps like Teva's are a no, no giveaway. They will never steal beads but will zoom in on anything that looks like gold or silver. Cheap plastic watches, no look alike Rolex's they will go after them. Never carry a purse if you can't secure it close to your body. A few bills and back up credit card is all you need ashore not the twenty cards in the big wallet you use at home. Carry only things you can easily replace. Never take your money or wallet out in clear view in the street or stores do it very discreetly. Pay your cab in the car not in the street. Only use cabs with meters. Stay clear of groups of local people waiting to trying to be "helpful" in the event of tripping, or other event that slows your progress. They will only fleece you of your stuff.

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joysav

You must take your World Card ( room key) with you. You swipe the card each time you leave the ship and when you return. This is a security measure and a way to have a passenger and crew count before sailing.

Cheers,

Don

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In speaking with the locals we found out that no matter what we do to look like locals they can tell by our attire that we are affluent travelers.... Here are some hints, Never, never wear white sneakers anywhere in the world except the USA, wear local foot wear-do your research. Flip flops in Rio are a must, sandals with straps like Teva's are a no, no giveaway.

 

[My emphasis added to the above quote]

 

There's a real disconnect between the first two sentences in the excerpt from your post. If the locals can tell we're tourists no matter what we wear, why make inappropriate clothing choices for other reasons? For example, I would never tour in flip flops. They have too little support for a long day of walking and no protection against toes getting stepped on in crowds or scraped on uneven surfaces (e.g. Pompeii).

 

As for the thought of packing local brands of footwear for each of several countries, my mind simply cannot comprehend why anyone would burden his/her suitcase that way. If you're suggesting that any dark leather oxford-style will do in a country where the locals wear dark leather oxfords, think again. Folks who are interested in crimes of opportunity can tell the difference between the local shoe and the bought-elsewhere-to-look-similar shoe. If you're suggesting that the first thing tourists should do when arriving in a new country is to go shoe shopping, well we'll have to agree to disagree on the best way to spend time when traveling.

 

Several posters have already detailed the kinds of jewelry or posessions to leave on the ship. After taking that step, situational awareness is probably our best protection.

 

Finally, don't be shy about yelling if you think something bad is happening to you! Don't yell "help!" Yell "pickpocket" or something along those lines. People looking at the scene may mistake the thieves for helpful bystanders if you yell "help."

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I felt totaly safe in Santiago..no problem. However, Valpariso felt and looked seedy and a bit scary. Its sort of a shanty seaport town and the feeling I got was not a good one. I did not feel at ease. I noticed security guards in the nicer stores entrances.

Friends of my wifes raved how quaint and safe it was, however they think Somalia and Ethiopia are wonderful and safe.

 

THe rest of Chile was fine, not at all like Argentina which in my opinion, except Ushaua, the could skip and do a rt from Santiago or Lima.

 

What worried me in Buenos Aires was the that the worst slums exist with in blocks of the nice places. Once was enough I took tours that went outside the city because of that.

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Whilst on the subject of personal security does one leave their

Cabin Key on board or carry it with you :confused:

 

.

 

sorry - already answered

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I've been wanting to take the Marina Transatlantic but my partner keeps telling me that Salvador and Rio are very dangerous and there is really nothing to see (compared to any ports in Europe). There is something exotic about traveling to Brazil....but if Recife, Salvador and Rio are unsafe, rundown with lots of crime and questionable people and neighborhoods then what's the point in going. I've heard Buenos Aires if fantastic but I'm learning from this thread that it's also questionable. Maybe I should just stick with Europe. Any thoughts?

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I've been wanting to take the Marina Transatlantic but my partner keeps telling me that Salvador and Rio are very dangerous and there is really nothing to see (compared to any ports in Europe). There is something exotic about traveling to Brazil....but if Recife, Salvador and Rio are unsafe, rundown with lots of crime and questionable people and neighborhoods then what's the point in going. I've heard Buenos Aires if fantastic but I'm learning from this thread that it's also questionable. Maybe I should just stick with Europe. Any thoughts?

 

There is nothing in Buenos Aires, in my opinion, that you cant see in 2 hours. Nothing "Iconic" like Rome, Paris, NY, London, Amsterdam. I found it and all the other Argentine ports except Ushuea, to be , well a waste of time to me..

Too the rising crime, poverity, political turmoil and terrorism ( Peru where this week the US issued a travel advisory against travel to Machu Picchu because of Kidnapping) make for a on the edge feel. South America has a sordid political history and It is good for one trip at least.

 

I took my cruise to see Chile Fijords, Falklands, Antarctica and Iguazu falls and could have cared less about the others. But that is me. Some are in love with Buenos Aires... great, I found nothing but just a big city with little charm

However, If you go for one the sights I mentioned then it will be good.. just stay on the ship when in questionable ports.;)

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I could not disagree more

Buenos aires is the Paris of South America

 

We spent 12 days there two years ago and we are returning to spend another full week next January.

 

Traveling is not about monuments and buildings. Buenos aires is made up of many fascinating neighborhoods. Each is unique. Each requires that you experience it as the portenos do. . Live the buenos aires life. Go to milongas. Dance tango. Stroll the wide boulevards. Sit at the famous cafes. Buenos aires is enchanting and must be experienced

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