"Best of BA" Florida-Recoleta private walk

The ultra-rich ranchers: The Anchorena's Palace --Paris in South America

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Description: Private tour (2 ppl. min. --or slight surcharge) Scroll (way) down for extensive details!

When: Recommended at 9:30am or 2:00pm (or ask!) daily 365 days/year, rain or shine

Duration: 3 hours (approximately)

Price: Price for 2 people, $90 each. Click 'Book Now' for single-walker and small-groups. Contact us for large group pricing.

Meet: Your guide will wait for you at the door outside the 'Florida Garden' cafe, corner of 899 Florida St (with Paraguay St) on the main pedestrian street, downtown. He or she will be holding a small 'BA-Walking-Tours' sign. Hotel pickup is available for an additional $20 at central downtown hotels (for private walks only) if you let us know with at least 24hs advance notice (be ready 30mins. before walk). You can get printable, bilingual ('good-for-taxi' or asking) directions here, or see map here.

Note: After this ultra-enjoyable walk you will understand Buenos Aires (and Argentina!!) much better. It includes over 25 main city landmarks (different from our other walks). This is not a strenuous walk. At some point (time permitting) we may stop for coffee or refreshments at some emblematic cafe of cultural or historical value. Snacks, drinks, hotel pickup, transportation, foot massage, mid-life-counseling, good sense of humour and gratuities are not included (actually massage, counseling and good sense of humour are not even available!).

Some key sights:

  • Florida St. --Bullfights & slaves: how Buenos Aires was born
  • Paz Palace--our Belle Epoque splendor (120 rooms for a family of 4!)
  • San Martin's Monument (here we explain how Argenina was born)
  • Kavanagh Building (architecture in BA explained)
  • Santísimo Sacramento Church (unusual and amazing church, explained)
  • British Clock Tower (here we explain past & present unsuspected presence of England in Argentina)
  • British Railroad Terminal Stations
  • Barrio Norte Neighbourhood (here we explain the strong influence of the French and Italian in Argentina)
  • Mihanovich & Strugamou Buildings (wealthy ranchers & immigrants change BA)
  • Arroyo Street and its Art Galleries (art & culture in BA)
  • Alvear St. & Palaces (Nunciature, Duhau, Hume, Casey and Lloubet's) (also here we explain the impact of immigration in Argentina)
  • Nuestra Senora del Pilar Church
  • Recoleta Neighbourhood (La Biela and surrounding parks)...and much more!

  • Optionals:Depending on availability, you can extend this walk to include our full 'BA-Recoleta' walk (top menu) or just the world-famous Recoleta cemetery alone, with tons of monuments explained--including all about Evita Peron! Ask your guide.

Tour Outline (abbreviated): (click on pictures to toggle size) In this walking tour where we show you the most glamorous 'Belle Epoque' areas that made our city famous, we will show you a small portion of all Buenos Aires can offer. Once you are familiar with these areas you will be able to access thousands (literally) of amazingly interesting and fun places and activities on your own and without any help.

As we walk towards Plaza San Martin Park, we see the footprint of the old bullfight arena which also doubled as a fort to defend the city. Next, we walk by the Plaza Hotel, built in 1909 by the german architect Alfred Zucker (he also built St. Patrick's cathedral in NY!!), this hotel (now run by the Marriot chain) hosted guests such as the Royal families of Spain, Belgium and Norway, Charles de Gaulle, Indira Ghandi, Nobel Prize Jonas Salk (of Polio vaccine fame), Nat King Cole, Nelson Rockefeller and many others. (top...)

Towering behind it (on the left of the picture) is the notorious Kavanagh Building we will explain in a few moments, but first we have to mention first one of the most beautiful churches in Buenos Aires: the Basilica del Santísimo Sacramento (Holy Sacrament Basilica). (top...)

This very beautiful romanic-neogothic church (ca. 1915), which though very large looks dwarfed by the neighbouring Kavanagh and Plaza Hotel Buildings, is considered to be an architectural jewel. Designed by french architects, it is composed of 5 towers (3 in the front) with beautiful white marble sculptures in its front. Inside it you can find beautiful wood carvings made by Flemish artisans (from Brugge, Belgium) and 2 world renowned organs which master organ players from around the world come to play and listen to (one is a 4800 pipe Mutin-Cavaille-Coll from France and the other a Merklin from Belgium, similar, but slightly smaller than the ones in Notre-Dame Cathedral and Sacre Coeur in Paris). Four meters below the base of the belfry is the cript of Mrs. Mercedes Castellanos de Anchorena who had this whole massive church built for her (as a cript for her family) between 1907 and 1915: She was inmensely rich and we will later see her family palace-like mansion, just across the Plaza San Martin park. It sets the tone for understanding the mindset of the families that shaped Buenos Aires. (top...)

Let us now go back to the Kavanagh Building. It was built by architects Sanchez, Lagos and De la Torre for Corinna Kavanagh, a then 39 year old eccentric heiress of Irish ancestry who talked her father into building this huge skyscraper so she would have some comfortable rental income (actually 113 expensive rental units) to care for her future. It is on the records that to be able to complete the construction of this luxurious and groundbreaking rationalist (art Deco) building (at 36 stories, 13 elevators and 120 meters high, the tallest in South America at the time it was built, and the first building in the world with central air conditioning) she sold her two large "estancias" (estate ranches). She must be credited as a visionaire, for the building that is built over a slope, offers very luxurious appartments (the smallest is 1400 sq. ft.) with a common pattern which includes terrace gardens (see some trees halfways up there in the photo?) in one third of its still-very-coveted 113 units. Finally, she was forced (during President Peron's mandate) to sell all units, which she did along 16 years. Those who now own these very exclusive appartments (many are notorious politicians and tycoons) do not pay taxes, since the building was declared of UNESCO's interest in 1999 and are since tax exempt. Amongst other distinctions, in 1939 the building shared a technical award of the the American Society of Engineers together with the Eiffel Tower, the Aswan Dam and the Panama Canal. (top...)

Now here is the yellow-press, soap-opera side of the story: Corinna who was the daughter of a rich Irish immigrant, had fallen in love with one of the Anchorena heirs (a very old local patrician family) and though her love was corresponded by his, their marriage was rebuffed by the elder Anchorenas (remember Mercedes Anchorena?), possibly because the Anchorenas were catholic patricians and she was a non-catholic upstart foreigner. So they say she waited a few years till time was ripe and decided that she would kill to birds with one stone: she would make a dashing move to show her character & worth, out-shadowing the pretentious Anchorena church-building and obstructing forever the view that the Anchorena's had from their palace of their church and burial ground. She obviously succeeded. She lived until 1984 in her 7000 sq. ft. appartment in the 14th floor. (top...)

Since then, the ONLY way an Anchorena (or anyone else) can have a full view of the Anchorena's mausoleum church is to stand on Corinna Kavanagh back-alley!! (the short street -see photo- that separates her building from the Plaza Hotel and ends right across the church's door).

We will talk again about the Anchorenas later on, but now lets move to the Plaza San Martin park. After Plaza de Mayo, our next most important "Plaza" (park) from an historical point of view is Plaza San Martin, because it is here that the patriots fought and resisted the English invasion of 1807. Until 1819, Plaza San Martin was the Plaza de Toros (the bullfight ring) and part of this park still keeps that ancient footprint (the circular shape along Av. Santa Fe is due to that architectural fact). (top...)

The monument to those fallen in the Malvinas (Falkland) war (1982), ironically it is placed just across the British tower (donated by the UK in 1916), now called Monumental Tower. Since 1880, there had been a growth explosion in this area. The city became the capital as a consequence of Buenos Aires Federation. Railways grew and the port acquired a decisive importance both for commerce and to receive 3,300,000 immigrants in just three decades (1880-1914). During this period, public and private buildings were put up, parks and monuments radically changed the city profile. The new urban design highlights the europeization as essential part of the project of the governing class from the end of the XIXth. century. (top...)

In Plaza San Martin you can see the city-wide slope that surronds the city. Here, it looks over the lower Retiro area (railroad stations, English tower, Canada park -with a genuine Canadian 27m high totem-, Sheraton Hotel, port area etc.). As a matter of fact that same slope can be seen in many other points as we visit the city. It is interesting to note that before the early 19th century this area was the slave depot, owned and operated by the French Compagnie de la Guinee first (1690) and later by the English Southern Seas Company until 1830. The whole area was marginal and frowned upon, and it wasn't till later in the 19th century that the rich families moved to this area to build their palaces, fleeing from the yellow fever epidemic outbursts that made them move out of the southern area (i.e. San Telmo) where they used to live. (top...)

The train stations (and the railways) where built and run by the English, and are built on land gained to the river. The oldest is the farthest one from our viewpoint and it is called San Martin (1886), because these tracks lead across the country to Mendoza and the Andes (the route San Martin followed). The one in the middle is called General Belgrano, because it follows the route to the territories where this General's campaigns took place towards the center and north of our country (Cordoba Province, etc.), and same thing with the first and largest station General Mitre whose farthest tracks go south to Bariloche (in Patagonia) and beyond. By the way, the name Retiro (retiro=to withdraw, be alone) comes from the fact this area was initially in the early 1700's given to the San Sebastian monastery where spiritual seclusion was performed. (top...)

Still talking about the Plaza San Martin, there are several statues and monuments in it, namely the Statue of San Martin himself (inaug. 1862) by french sculptor Louis Joseph Daumes and technically remarkable because of the fact that the whole weight of the statue is supported by the horse's hind legs. The hero's finger is actually pointing towards the Andes, where he achieved one of the major feats of the independence war to free Argentina, Chile and Bolivia. The pedestal structure was added by the german sculptor Gustaf Eberlein 50 years later (1910). Don Jose de San Martin was a truly great man, a liberator and a man of virtue and integrity. He was born in Argentina, studied in Spain where he achieved a brilliant military career, and came back to his native land to help free the whole region, assembling an army and crossing the Andes with his army in just a few days in conditions of extreme difficulty. He was a caring family man and rejected the power he was offered, to take care of his daughter and grandchildren (he exiled himself in France, as we will see later). (top...)

Jose de San Martin was born on February 25, 1778 in Yapeyu, located in the viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata', which is now known as eastern Argentina. In 1784, when San Martin was six years old, the family returned to Spain, where he was educated at the "Seminario de Nobles". He started his military career early serving as an army officer against the forces of Napoleon between 1808 and 1811. Even though San Martin was loyal towards his mother country (Spain) when he fought against Napoleon, he disliked the traditional absolute monarchy and the existing colonial system. In 1811, he decided to resign from Spanish service. After meeting revolutionary Spanish Americans in London, England, he sailed for Buenos Aires, and was almost immediately taken into service in the revolutionary regime. As a very experienced soldier, he was a great asset in the revolutionary movement in South America. (top...)

Upon his arrival in Buenos Aires in March 1812, he was given the task of organizing an armed force to be used against the Spanish royalists in Peru. He married Maria de los Remedios Escalada in September, 1812. Maria came from an Argentine upper-class family of Spanish blood. He became more involved in internal politics of the area by helping to form the "Lautaro Lodge", which was an underground movement which later aligned itself with the opposition to the government that was in power. In February 3, 1813, San Martin entered his first battle in South America, and managed to defeat a royalist force that came up the "Parana River". In the middle of 1814, he had to briefly retire because of weakening health. He believed that the best way to accomplish his plans was to enter Peru through the mountains of Upper Peru. This was the most direct way, but also the most difficult, due to the physical structure of the Andes. Another, a perhaps more promising route would be to move towards the west, from Argentina to Chile, and by sea to the "Peruvian coast". San Martin started to prepare his plans, and by asking for reassignment to the governor-ship of Cuyo, which was located at the foot of the Andes in western Argentina, he was able to design his plans. (top...)

In January 1817, he started to cross the Andes. He led his army 15,000 feet above sea level, a feat that has been compared to Hannibal's crossing of the Alps. His force consisted of about 3,000 infantry soldiers, and 250 artillery troops. By winning the battle of Maipu in April 5, 1818, royalists in Chile were defeated. Later that year, San Martin was offered the supreme dictatorship of Chile, but he did not accept it in favor of his friend O'Higgins. Chilean, Bernado O'Higgins, became a close partner to San Martin in their struggle of creating independent American kingdoms. Tired of the use of military force, he proposed that Peru should be converted into an independent monarchy. The negotiations led to nothing. The use of military force was now inevitable, and instead of attacking Peru by land, he devised a sea strike, coordinated with rebel Chilean troops. With control of the seas, his army easily conquered Peru, and entered Lima in 1821. San Martin formally declared the independence of Peru on July 28, 1821, and became the "Protector of Peru". He did not take power, instead he met with fellow liberator Simon Bolivar at Guayquil in 1822, and Bolivar persuaded him to withdraw from Peru. He disagreed with the ideas of the new leaders so went into voluntary exile in Europe. In 1824, a year after that his wife died, he took off for Europe with his daughter. In the end of 1828, he decided to go back to America. He wanted to see if he had anything to contribute to the internal peace between the new nations, but returned to Europe in 1829, after that he decided that he would not be to much help. After this, he lived as a retired man mainly in France. Jose de San Martin died in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France on August 17, 1850. (top...)

As we move on across the Plaza San Martin we can see two Palaces: the smaller one with triangluar footprint belonged to the Haedo family and is now site to the National Park Administration entity. It was built in the 1880's, being amongst the first in the upcoming elegant neighbourhood but was then dwarved by the neighbouring mansions, like the magnificent one which is now the social headquarters for the military. It was built in the 1900's by the rich landlord and newspaper owner Jose C. Paz (he founded "La Prensa" newspaper, a major player until not long ago, whose magnificent building you can view near Plaza de Mayo). The palace was totally designed and imported from France and took 12 years to complete. Mr. Paz' goals were not only a beautiful house, but one that would be suitable for a Presidential Palace, as he was running for president, but unfortunately he died a year before its completion. His widow and two children enjoyed this magnificent versaillesque palace, full of marble, silk, wood carvings and boiseries till 1939 when it was sold to the military. It also hosts the interesting and quite complete National Museum of Arms with weapons of all ages, including a thorough oriental / Japanese arms collection. (top...)

We should also mention that around the corner (Maipu St.) used to live Jorge L. Borges the world famous Argentine writer, and that in the short Sargento Cabral alley you can find the Second Christian Cientific Church building as founded by Mary Baker Eddy, the editor of the renowned The Christian Science Monitor newspaper. (top...)

By now we should be standing in front of the Anchorena Palace (now called Palacio San Martin and used for the Ministry of External Affairs). Anchorena Palace was built in 1906 by Alejandro Cristophersen ( 1866-1946). It is a unique complex of three private houses, (the floor plans are harmonized and there are two common rooms, yet basically no house repeats features of the two others), their construction was inspired in French neo-classic architecture of the XVIII th. century. It originally belonged to Anchorena family, built on the very heart of the most elegant residential area between 1906 and 1909 by architect Alejandro Christophersen, who was commissioned by Mrs. Mercedes Castellanos de Anchorena and her two sons, Aaron and Emilio. It is a single building containing three separate residences encircling a large central patio. Its structure brings together elements from French academicism and from the Borbonic style. Major features are the iron and glass balcony overlooking Basavilbaso Street, and the facade's iron gates, highlighting the importance of the residence from its access point. The Anchorena Palace was the setting for major social events, such as the Ball held for the Independence Centennial in 1916. In 1936, it was purchased by the Argentine State to become the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Relations. Nowadays, it has become the protocol quarters of the Ministry, since the offices have been moved to the new building in Arenales and Esmeralda, built by architects Aizenstat and Rajlin, whose architecture seems to converse with the monumental masterpiece by Christophersen. The San Martin Palace is a national historic monument and holds a vast library specializing in international law and the history of international relations. It stands as a valuable testimony of the heights reached by French classicism architecture and by the adaptation of certain kinds of 18-century French residences to the local media. The Anchorenas would have had a direct view of the magnificent church Mercedes Anchorena had built, not far across the park, amidst her wealthy neighbours palaces, had it not been for Corinna Kavanagh's mix of revenge, whim and daring vision. (top...)

Now we walk down to Arroyo St., but first we glance at the large Strugamou Palace (1924). In this case it is not really a palace but a strata building, though it is nicknamed this way because of its beauty and quality. Arroyo St. has an european flair to it because of the style of its buildings and because it is a rather narrow, winding street as opposed to the rest of the city. It is lined with art galleries and expensive antique shops, and once a month the whole street is closed to traffic, the street is filled with music, and art galleries offer champagne and hors-de-oeuvres to the public till late at night (usually the last friday of each month, except for January and February, in which most people who can leave the city for the holidays at the beaches). This monthly event is called "Gallery Nights". As we walk down Arroyo (brook) street, we should look up at the entrance of the Sofitel Hotel, and see the Mihanovich/Bencich Tower: the first freestanding (tower-like) building erected in BA (1920s) whose top imitates the tomb of greek King Mausolo (hence Mausoleum) built around bc377, now recycled into a fashionable Hotel. (top...)

At the end of the short Arroyo St. we find the impront on the wall, of what used to be a small peautiful palace-like building, demolished by a single bomb blast on the morning of March 17 1992: these are the remains of the embassy of Israel, where 22 people died. The naighbouring buildings were shattered to pieces and glass windows were broken around the block. The glass-covered high-rise building right across had to be evacuated and repaired and scaffolding was withdrawn only recently. (top...)

A few meters down Suipacha St. we find the Hispanoamerican Art Museum (Isaac Fernandez Blanco) with interesting collections of regional and colonial artifacts, like a collection of silver mates (mate tea gourds, etc.) and beautiful gardens. Across the street we catch a glimpse of exclusive modern high-rise bldgs. These are large flats (usually 6000 sq. ft.) coveted for their proximity to downtown and panoramic views on the river, and they have amenities like tennis courts and swimming pools we can peek as we walk. As we reach the level of Av. Libertador we can see the dome of the railroad station which was totally built in England and assembled here (across the street there's the entrance to the Railroad Museum. (top...)

We now walk to the end of Carlos Pellegrini St. where we find a modern toll circular building and we walk under the highway across an area of high-quality restaurants and by the Hyatt hotel (the balcony you see wa used by Madonna when she rented two full floors of the hotel while she was filming the musical Evita in our town). A block away we see the awnings af the beautiful Patio Bullrich mall (a recicled old auctioneer's warehouse turned into an exclusive mall, with fashinable stores and 6 excellent cinemas and food-court open from 10am until well past midnight) as we pass across the Alzaga Unzue Palace, which is at the base of the Hyatt Hotel (this palace is considered National Heritage, so the hotel could only be built if the palace was preserved). A few meters more and we arrive at Alvear St., renowned for its palaces, embassies and expensive stores. (top...)

The Dr. Arturo Illia highway we just walked under was one of the several megalomaniac monumental constructions developed under the recent military dictatorships, and though it may look like positive in some ways, they actually destroyed lots of beautiful heritage buildings and palaces for the relative benefit few cars use. Many people believe there were hidden interests in making those huge expenditures, but in the case of the beautiful Ortiz Basualdo Palace we were lucky. Built in 1912 by the french architect Mr. Pater, the Ortiz-Basualdos had some very important guests, like Edward Windsor, Prince of Wales (later King Edward the VIII) who stayed here during his 1925 visit to Argentina. The dining-room boiserie is a replica of the one in the royal castle of Oslo in Norway. In 1939 it was bought by the government of France to be used for their Embassy seat. When the military requested the French govt. to surrender the building to be demolished for the construction of the Illia highway, the french simply said no, as embassies are protected territory for life. At the door you will find a list of fifteen French citizens (including two nuns) who dissapeared during the recent military dictatorships. (top...)

As we walk across the Cepeda Palace we will see (opposite) the Jockey Club of Buenos Aires, founded on 1882 by Argenitne President Dr. Carlos Pellegrini, (monument across the street) as a social center and as an institution that would seek to improve horse breeds. The institution should serve as a top level social center, paramount to the best European clubs these gentlemen had visited in their trips to France and England. The Pereda Palace, across the street was built in 1936 for Celedonio Pereda, a landowner who owned around 1928 some 122,000 hectares making him the fourth largest landowner in his time. His palace was full of works of art and had its own chapel. The house had 40,000 sq. ft. for the use of the family. The then Brazilian ambassador (and later president of Brasil) Dr. Getulio Vargas stayed there as a guest in 1938, and later bought the palace in 1944 to use it as Brasilian embassy. (top...)

Now we will walk into the start of the Barrio Norte (Northern Neighbourhood). Generally speaking BA is invisibly divided by Av. Sta fe (which later continues for several miles, though its name changes several times) into a Northern strip (between Santa Fe. and the River)... and the rest. So to speak, the northern strip is coveted, nice and fancier... whilst the rest is not. This is not "official" and at first hard to perceive (unless you have lived here many years), but it is reflected in property prizes and demand. In the area we will visit now, you will notice the atmosphere is not of a city or village in south america, or even in the states: it feels a bit like Europe (some say it is actually nicer). There are lots of nice fashionable stores (and regular stores too), boutiques, galleries and cafes. And lots of high-rise buildings, whose quality you can tell by the amount of appartments per story as reflected in the buzzers by the door: an expensive, high-category appartment building will only have one (or two at the most) appartments per story. One interesting fact that emphasizes the rich-like lifestyle of these vast neighbourhoods is that since BA was developed and to this day, practically the majority of the apartments ("flats") in these vast city neighbourhoods have rooms for live-in maid-servants designed and built into them (large apartments or even medium-sized ones in the poshiest areas have rooms and bathrooms for several live-in maids). See this for yourselves if we stop by any realty shop's window. And you will probably see these maids walking in the streets (doing their grocery shopping duties) in their uniforms as we walk. Most tourists never get to fully understand the flair and debonnair of Buenos Aires, basically because it is one of those things where you need someone to take you by the hand and patiently show you around and tell you details like these, which nobody will mention because they seem natural to a BA citizen who doesn't realize that regular Americans or Europeans do not have live-in maid service at their homes. You tourist, might think it not right, but that is the usual right thing around here, and if you were to live in Buenos Aires (actually, it happens in other South American cities too) you would probably have at least one maid-servant at home, or most-likely at least a temporary (live-out) one. (top...)

Now we are back in Alvear street to see Hume Residence, Duhau Palace and Fernandez-Anchorena Mansion (now Vatican Embassy). The Duhau's neoclassic french residence was built in 1932 for the wealthy and aristocratic Duhau brothers, whilst the Hume/McGuire Residence is one of the first and oldest buildings in this old residential state area (1890). It is in this palace that the first private collection art exhibitions took place in BA. There were more palaces here when I was a boy (like the DeRidder Family one, which always had a live pair of sheep, one white and one black pasturing freely along the front garden!), but they have been turned into the large building at the back of the Caesars Park hotel which faces the Patio Bullrich mall on the opposite side of the block). In the corner you can appreciate the Nunciature Palace (Vatican Embassy), which originally was the house of Mrs. Rosa Anchorena and Juan A. Fernandez built in 1909 and never used, for they decided to move to Europe and never came back. While the Argentine President Maximo Torcuato de Alvear (this street is named after him) was in charge of the presidency (1922-1928) he lived here and then in 1930 it was sold to Mrs. Adelia Harilaos de Olmos who would finally donate it to the Vatican in 1949 (Popes stay here when they visit). Mrs. Olmos got knighted a Pontifical Marchioness (femenine for Marquise) by the Vatican for her piousness (she had been awarded her pontifical title after donating to the Argentinian Curia her luxurious mansion in Recoleta where Pope Pius XII -still a cardinal by then- had lodged during the International Eucharistic Congress in 1934). Moreover, the magnanimous Marchioness -also benefactress of the Basilica of the Miraculous Medal in Parque Chacabuco- had even sold the couple's ranch called "La Sofia" to finance the Eucharistic Congress to be held in Buenos Aires). The inside and gardens (still here) were so luxurious, legend has it that some church authorities refused to stay here, for he thought it would be too ostentatious. Mrs. Olmos was also famous for having several unfriendly political run-ins with evita Peron between 1945 and 1950. (top...)

Let's move on along Alvear Av. and as we cross Callao Av. it is funny to realize this was once the city limit (now replaced by the Av. General Paz, ring road, almost 6 miles away, in this same direction). There are many nice shops in this neighbourhood too (this part of the Barrio Norte is currrently called Recoleta). Recoleta gets its name from the Convento of the Recoletos friars, who got their land from a couple of landowners (Don Fernando de Valdez e Inclan and Dona Guerrero y Hurtado) who got it (they paid it with clothes!) from Don Rodrigo Ortiz de Zarate who was under the orders of Don Juan de Garay, the city's founder in 1537. Around 1725 Don Juan de Narvona offered to finance and complete the construction of the church, and he --a notorious businessman, developer and smuggler-- did that and more: he had himself built a 14 room mansion and a few tunnels under the church which led towards other points in the city and the river shore (this city was --and still is-- packed with colonial tunnels connecting Plaza de Mayo, Retiro, the churches and the river shore). (top...)

We walk one street (Ayacucho) to Quintana Av., and here we are approaching the core of Recoleta with its streetside cafes, its huge (60 mtr span) bicentenary gum trees, the Pilar church and its neighbouring posh-city-of-the-elegant-dead: The world famous Recoleta cemetery, where it is very hard to be accepted and Evita Peron is an unwanted illustrious parvenu (social upstart) sleeping forever amongst the people she hated --and hated her-- (we explain all about her story along the Afternoon Walk). Although it may seem unusual, the 4 acre cemetery area is also surrounded by elegant restaurants, bars, discos, outdoor shows, a cinema complex and even a great handicrafts fair that opens on weekends.(top...)


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