I would love to visit Buenos Aires, iguazu Falls and Rio but am nervous about travelling on our own there. We're a fit 70 year old couple who have toured Europe's several times on our own but I've read that especially Rio can be dangerous and I'd be more comfortable on a tour in this case. Can anyone recommend a reputable tour operator?
Hopefully someone can give you a recommendation for an operator but if you have traveled independently before then you will likely be able to handle Rio. I visited Brazil for the first time in December 2019 (our last trip before COVID) and started in Rio. I did not feel unsafe and took the usual precautions. One great thing is that Uber is widely available and we took it all over the place. Almost every ride was under $3. Hence, didn’t have to mess with local transport or the language barrier.
Buenos Aires also has it’s challenges but by staying in a safer neighborhood such as Recoleta you would be OK.
We went to South America independently but have taken two tours with Odysseys Unlimited( Japan, Egypt) that were excellent, very well done, and recommend that you take a look at their tours.
Thoroughly enjoyed Buenos Aires and we went independently. We stayed at the Scala Hotel in the San Telmo part of town. It’s in a working class neighborhood, not upscale like the Recoleta area, but we felt perfectly safe and walked most places. There is a metro stop right by the hotel. The hotel was very nice. We did use the metro a few times and took the local bus when we went to La Boca area. The only entrance we needed to purchase prior to the trip was for the Casa Rosada and that was only because we wanted an English tour. The other thing you need to ensure you pay for beforehand is the reciprocity fee to enter and depart the country. In 2016 it cost $160 per person and is valid for 10 years. I assume it must still be purchased. Photos from that trip are at: http://jaimeelsabio.com/vac_pages/2016vac2.html if you wanted some ideas of things to see. You might also consider taking a day trip over to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay if you have the time.
Haven’t been to Iguazu falls and it’s a distance from Buenos Aires, so not a day trip. I’ve been told that other than the falls, there is little else there.
I went to Argentina independently - it was not difficult at the time although there were currency shortages and the country was still feeling the effects of the last debt default (there have been about 10 so far). A trip to Iguazu Falls required an internal flight from Buenos Aires to the nearest airport by the falls - that's how spread out everything is. I loved Argentina but would not go there now, or anywhere else in South America (especailly Brazil) because Latin America has suffered greatly from covid and I don't think they have a handle on it. I'm sure thousands of new Argentines and Brazilians have been plunged into poverty now than ever before, and (more) petty crime is going to result if they can't sustain themselves. Rio has always been somewhat (probably more than somewhat) dangerous and it's no better now.
I've looked into this tour company (Southern Explorations) many times in the past since they specialize in South America (I would at least check them out for future travel, whenever that is....): https://www.southernexplorations.com/argentina-travel
This tour looks like it covers the places you are interested in: