latin america

Recoleta: Cemetery, Museums and More

Recoleta is the Buenos Aires neighborhood that’s most often described as Parisian.В Though I’ve yet to visit Paris, I could certainly understand the comparison. Buenos Aires has a bit of a European vibe, in general, and it’s even more pronounced in Recoleta, one of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods.

Since I was staying in Barrio Norte, a sub-neighborhood of Recoleta, I spent lots of time wandering around the area. It’s springtime in Buenos Aires and I was happy just walking the tree-lined streets, admiring the elegant stone homes with their tiny terraces.

In addition to having cafes and shops on every block, Recoleta is also home to a number of museums and public art installations. Within a short walk, you can get to the Floralis GenГ©rica, a giant metal flower sculpture…

floralis

…the Museum of Decorative Arts

museum of decorative arts

…and MALBA, the museum of Latin American art. (In case you’re wondering, I didn’t actually go into any of those museums—like I’ve mentioned, museums aren’t at the top of my travel must-dos!)

Despite those institutions, the neighborhood’s most famed spot is probably its graveyard.В The Recoleta Cemetery is the resting place of Eva PerГіn and numerous other distinguished BA figures: politicians, writers, Nobel prize winners and the like.

I actually wasn’t planning to go into the cemetery. But one afternoon, after walking by its walls a few times, I felt compelled to see why it attracts so many vistors.

Once inside, I understood. It’s undeniably beautiful: row after row of stately marble mausoleums and statues. Workers seemed to be everywhere, polishing and repairing things—it’s not a wonder the cemetery looks as pristine as it does!

recoleta cemetery 2

I didn’t stay too long. I sought out Evita (of course), along with everyone else in the cemetery. There was a small line to get to her spot—which is why my photos are especially bad!

Evita’s buried under her family name, Duarte.

evita 1

evita 2

Afterwards, I just walked up and down the rows, enjoying the warm weather and the peaceful setting.

recoleta cemetery 2
recoleta cemetery

recoleta cemetery

My Buenos Aires Apartment

I’m back from my quick trip to Argentina—a week in Buenos Aires and Iguazu—and had a fantastic time! It went by too quickly, as vacation always does, but I managed to see and do a ton. Over the next few days, I’ll be posting some highlights—starting with the cute place where I stayed:

For my six days in Buenos Aires, I decided to rent an apartment rather than stay in a hotel. I wanted to feel like I was living there, rather than just passing through.

As it turns out, the BAВ Airbnb market is booming. A search on the site turned up dozens of cute, modern and stylish apartments at very inexpensive prices. (Like this, this or this.) Many were in the most sought-after BA neighborhoods: Palmero and Recoleta. (More about them later.) Best of all, theyВ were usually В in the $40-90/night range—much cheaper than a hotel.

I chose this studio, in Barrio Norte, which is part of Recoleta and very close to Palmero. The rave reviews impressed me. Plus, many were from female travelers, so I assumed safety wouldn’t be an issue.

It turned out to be a great choice. When my cab dropped me off on the tree-lined street, I was happy to see that the building was nice and well-kept. A few minutes later, the owner’s husband arrived to check me in, carrying a big bag of medialunas (Argentinean croissants) as a welcome treat.

The apartment was just as advertised—bright, airy and clean.

BA studio: seating area

BA studio: bed

Little decorative touches made the apartment feel like home.

BA studio: view

BA studio: kitchen

I was lucky to have ended up in such a prime location. The streets of Barrio Norte and Recoleta are well-lit at night, and I felt safe walking by myself. It was also easy to hop a cab, bus or subway to get anywhere around the city.В 

barrio norte street

Every street had little cafes and shops. I started each morning at the cafe across the street from me. I tried to beef up my Spanish vocab by reading La Nacion…

la nacion

…over a typical Buenos Aires breakfast of a cafe con leche and three medialunas.

medialunas and cafe con leche

Off to Buenos Aires!

buenos aires

…thank god! To be honest, I’m feeling very much in need of a vacation. Life has been pretty nutty, and I haven’t had a full week off since January.

Which is why I haven’t scheduled too much to do, in Buenos Aires. Often, I’ll create detailed itineraries of everything I want to see and do in a place. But not this time. I figure I’ll pace myself leisurely and just wander around a little, each day. I’m hoping to discover places to see when I’m there, ideally from locals.

As it happens, the only set plans I have, so far, are all food-related—ones I had to make reservations for. Good thing I’ve been doing lots of ballet, and have a ton more to look forward to when I get back—because I’m really planning to indulge!

I won’t be posting while I’m away, but if you have any BA or Iguazu recommendations, please let me know. I’d love to hear!

(Photo of Avenida 9 de Julio, Buenos Aires via Image Juicy)