Visit the top places to rest in peace in Buenos Aires while guiding yourself around the tombs of the rich & infamous.
Recoleta Cemetery ranks as one of the main attractions in Buenos Aires & with good reason. Its list of occupants reads like a Who’s Who of Argentine history & society. The elite, aspiring middle class, friends, enemies & those who contributed to the general welfare of Argentina all share space in a miniature city of mausoleums & monuments. But it wasn’t always so grandiose…
Imagine Buenos Aires 200 years ago before growing into the metropolis it is today. 55,000 inhabitants lived without paved streets, green areas or basic public services. To improve city sanitation, burials inside or near churches were prohibited, & this cemetery—the first public burial ground in Buenos Aires—opened in 1822.
Recoleta Cemetery has changed as much as the city itself, & although unpopular at first the elite eventually adopted it as their own. Ornate family tombs reflect wealth & status. Stroll past Presidents & politicians (some naughty, some nice), Nobel Prize winners, literary great, entertainers, scientists, military leaders, sports figures & even some who died tragically.
Of course this guide includes the cemetery’s most famous resident. Eva María Duarte de Perón—simply Evita to her devotées—had a bizarre post-mortem journey which is described at length. Many other important tombs are included such as Rufina Cambacérès, Guerreros del Paraguay, Luis Ángel Firpo, & David Spinetto. The mix of architecture, historical figures & urban legends may maked you want to stay permanently!
For further information, refer to Robert’s blog: AfterLife. Documenting Recoleta Cemetery since 2007, almost 500 posts mix family histories with current events affecting the cemetery today. Robert was even asked to guide for the GlobeTrekker television series! Topics discussed include the foundation of Recoleta Cemetery, details of its current operation, symbolism to be found inside, plus the most accurate map available.
Covering 70 tombs & mausoleums, this walk is divided into easy-to-navigate sections of 10 tombs each. Titles marked with a diamond (◊) in the blog AfterLife are included in this PDF.
Price: US $7.99 via PayPal. A link to download the PDF will appear after payment is confirmed. It’s a simple process, but be sure to hit the “Complete Transaction” button after payment to see the download link. Use Adobe Acrobat Reader to open & print the file.
Duration: The route takes about 2 hours to walk at a leisurely pace. You may need extra time to gaze at all the architecture & take photos.
Format: A4 landscape, 22 pages. This guide may not be redistributed, resold or reprinted.
Release date: 08 Jan 2010, updated 22 Oct 2011.
- For a quicker walk, supplemental text can be saved for later… ideal reading for a coffee break at La Biela after finishing the route.
- Best times to visit are early morning to avoid large tour groups or late afternoon when sunset casts a nice glow over the cemetery.
- Avoid heavy rain due to lack of covered shelter, & especially avoid midday summer sun for the same reason.
- Have fun & enjoy the walk!
iPhone · iPod touch app
This app provides a great introduction to Recoleta Cemetery & presents all the information necessary to explore on your own. Containing similar content as the PDF guide mentioned above, the number of tombs has been reduced to 25. But the added bonus is a photo for every tomb discussed, making navigating the cemetery easy. And thanks to the quality photographs included, the app also makes a fantastic souvenir & can be used to show friends & family what a striking place Recoleta Cemetery is. Enjoy the walk!
What people are saying: a 5-star review in iTunes · “This was a fantastic way to learn about the history of not just the cemetery but Argentina itself, at our own pace and without a tour guide. Highly recommended.” + a mention in TimeOut: Buenos Aires (Spring Summer 2011/2012) as part of an article about internet start-ups. Angela at San Telmo Loft has been kind enough to recommend the app in TripAdvisor. In addition, two independent bloggers have written detailed reviews: Jonathan of Buenos Aires Local Tours & Katie at Seashells and Sunflowers. Their time & consideration is much appreciated!
Price: US $4.99.
Release date: 24 Aug 2011.