Recoleta – the most Parisian neighborhood in Buenos Aires

Tied with San Telmo, Recoleta is my favorite neighborhood in Buenos Aires (“BA”). Recoleta is an upscale neighborhood, very reminiscent of a European city, particularly Paris.  For example:089

The streets and buildings are very Parisian, and the area is inhabited by lots of business people and stay-at-home moms. All the big name luxury brands have shops here, and there are many upscale hotels, coffee shops and restaurants. Its a beautiful part of BA. Lots of flowers, cool, European architecture. This is a great area to view the gorgeous Jarcaranda trees when in bloom!

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This is the part of town to find the Parisian flower stands and dog walkers.


It also has a lot of parks and quaint streets for strolling.

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What To Do in Recoleta?


Recoleta Cemetery – One can not visit Recoleta without stopping into its most famous (and free) attraction – Recoleta Cemetery. I was not too keen on centering a sightseeing day around a cemetery, but I was pleasantly surprised. Recoleta Cemetery is not your average cemetery; it is really beautiful, well-kept and a joy to walk through.  It contains the final resting places of Eva Perón (Evita!), Nobel prize winners and former Argentinian presidents.  You can take a tour or stroll around on your own. We walked around on our own and found Eva Perón’s tomb without much trouble with directions from the internet. Entrance is free and we spent about an hour. A muse-see in BA, as its one of the few internationally-renowned tourist attractions.

Heres walking up and the main entrance:

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Very pretty on the inside:


And the Evita tomb, Fámilia Duarte:

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Basilica Nuestra Señora del Pilar – This is an adorable little white church next to Recoleta Cemetery.  It is really cute and free to enter. Stop in to check out the ornate interior.

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Floralis Genérica -Not too far from Recoleta Cemetery is Floralis Genéria, which is a large steel flower. It used to bloom in the day and close at night, but its since broken and remains “in bloom” all the time. Its located in Plaza de las Naciones Unidas, Avenida Figueora Alcorta.  We did not go right up to the flower, just photographed it from afar.


Shopping – There is tons of shopping in Recoleta, including a few malls and a lot of design shops, and shopping should be an activity on your list! There is a shopping mall directly across the street from Recoleta Cemerery and a design mall just a bit down from Basilica Nuestra Señora del Pilar. The luxury shops are located along the streets near Prato y Neptuno (see below). You can really spend all day shopping here. My favorite shop was the leather store Uru Recoleta. It is right across from Recoleta Cemetery one block down from the shopping mall referenced above. Uru Recoleta sells Argentinian leather jackets in a variety of styles and colors. The factory is directly above the shop and they will custom make a leather jacket to suit you with just 24 hours notice. I ended up with a FABULOUS brown, sheep leather bomber jacket at $450 US (blue rate exchange). The same jacket in cow leather would have been about $200 US (blue rate exchange). There is a discount for paying in US cash, but you must ask.

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Prado y Neptuno – Dan really loves cigar bars and wanted to visit one in Argentina for a Cuban. I did some online research and found Prado y Neptuno to be one of the best rated. We visited twice on our trip (that says a lot) and had a relaxing break each time. The door is always locked (standard in BA) so if someone does not come to let you in, ring the bell. Once inside, go into the humidor room and choose your cigar. Someone should come help you out. After, enjoy your cigar in the lounge, which also sells, coffee, desserts, wine and cocktails. Perfect for the ladies. Recommended if you like cigars!

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Where To Eat In Recoleta?

Café Biela – Just across from Recoleta Cemetery, Café Biela is an old school coffee shop serving pretty good coffee and lunch-type food. Café Biela is iconic in the Recoleta neighborhood and worth a stop for at least coffee. It has lots of outdoor and indoor seating and certainly makes for a nice break.


Café Biela Bonus – There is a huge Rubber Tree directly in front of Café Biela in Plaza Francia.

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Los Immortales – BA is known to have excellent pizza, and one of the highest ranked pizzerias is in Recoleta – Los Immortales. We ate here for lunch one weekday afternoon. It had a steady crowd, but we got an outside table with no problem. Dan ordered the famous fugazzeta (pizza with onions) and I choose the cheese (plain, I know!). The pizzas were fine, but unfortunately I learned that I do not like Argentinian pizza (see my San Telmo post with the same result at another famous pizzeria, Sr. Telmo). Aside from my dislike of Argentinian pizza, the restaurant was characteristic and the service was good. If you are looking for a traditional pizzeria on your way to Recoleta Cemetery, this is a good bet.  Outdoor seating has good local people watching, as the restaurant is not in a terribly touristy area. About a 15 minute, pleasant walk from Recoleta Cemetery.


Buller Brewing Company – Doing research on Recoleta, I discovered that there is a brew pub in Recoleta, so you know I had to check it out. We stopped at Buller Brewing Company for drinks and appetizers one weekday afternoon. Buller is located across the street from Recoleta Cemetery. This prime tourist real estate, so don’t expect to see many locals. There’s lots out outdoor seating for people watching and making friends. We ordered samplers and their fried cheese (I can never resist fried cheese). The beer was pretty good, although none of it stands out in my mind today. Another spot in Recoleta for a break.

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Hard Rock Café – For die-hard Hard Rock fans, the BA Hard Rock Café is located in Recoleta on the roof of the above-referenced design mall.  We stopped by to pick up a shirt for Dan’s aunt. Here is picture of Dan voluntarily entering a Hard Rock. I had to post because he hates these so.

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I very much enjoyed Recoleta, and would certainly think of staying here next time.  Have you been to Recoleta? What did I miss? Tell me about it in the comments!

Buenos Aires – A South American Necessity

Dan and I spent 5 days in Buenos Aires (“BA”) as part of our Argentinian holiday in November 2014 – just in time for the gorgeous, purple Jacaranda flowers (seen above)!  Beautiful!

Dan had really wanted to visit BA for a long time.  I think its because he studied Spanish, some of his remote family immigrated to Argentina after Elis Island closed and BA is well-known to be cheap and super fun.  His desire to visit BA spurred our trip.  I, on the other hand, was much more iffy.  I never had a desire to visit BA, even though they call it the “Paris of South America.”  Other South American cities, sure.  But not BA, and I’m not sure why.  Maybe its because there is no “bucket list” site to see.  Maybe its because I know there is no substitute for Paris.  Well, we went because it is a huge player in South American tourism, and I really enjoyed it.  More-so than i thought.  BA is very Western, and not totally unlike being in a European capital.  (It, however, is no Paris).  It was also extremely cheap when we went (12.5 AR to 1 US blue rate), which made for a great vacation.  We lived like kings!  Also, there are a lot of world class destinations a short plane ride away (i.e. Iguazu Falls, see upcoming post!)

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In total, we were in BA for five days.  We could have spent much longer.  BA is huge and consists of a number of different neighborhoods, each with their own personality.  For tourist purposes, the most popular neighborhoods are Recoleta, Palermo, San Telmo, Microcentro, La Boca, Puerto Madero and Retiro.  I found it easiest to tackle the city neighborhood by neighborhood, and my favorites were San Telmo, where we stayed, and Recoleta.

San Telmo

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San Telmo is an old part of town. As with a lot of neighborhoods in big cities, it used to be upscale, then the wealthy relocated and the area went down hill, and now its coming back with a lot of hipsters.  A Brooklyn story.  I found San Telmo to be a little gritty on its face, but full of character, history, and great restaurants and bars. A more lengthy post will follow, as I loved San Telmo!



Recoleta is THE upscale neighborhood.  This area is really beautiful and is very reminiscent of a European capital.  Maybe even Paris.  Just maybe.  A separate posts will follow on Recoleta as well!


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As I mentioned, there is no big monument to see in BA.  I think a lot of people have a hard time with this.  Where do I take my picture?  What postcard to I send?  The closest big monument in BA is the Casa Rosada, the pink government house a/k/a the pink building Madonna sang from in Evita!. We saw Casa Rosada as part of a tour with BA Free Tour. The tour was free (tip expected) and went though Microcentro in about 3 hours and covered the main sites, giving interesting history along the way.  The sites included the exterior of Congresso, Plaza de Mayo, Obeilisco (a big monument for Argentinians, not so much for others (pic w/Dan above)), Calle Florida, Av. 9 de Julio, Palacio Barolo, Cafe Tortoni, the Pope’s soccer club and Catedral (among others).  A one-stop-shop!

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We also got to see some sweet (and somewhat scary-looking) Peruvian protestors…  Contrary to their masks and large sticks, they were pretty well-behaved.  Note – there are many protests in BA.  Don’t let them worry you.

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I enjoyed Microcentro, but I wouldn’t recommend staying here.  It closes down at night and can be a little scary.  However, it is great to see the main sites during the day!


I also wanted to visit the neighborhood of La Boca, rumored as a “must see,” but also known to be quite dangerous.  Some online posts would have you think you were entering a war zone.  Ultimately, we ended up taking a taxi to La Boca from San Telmo mid-afternoon on a Wednesday.  It was inexpensive, safe and dropped us off right at El Caminito, the main tourist area.  No problem.

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El Caminito consists of a few colorful blocks of buildings containing restaurants and shops just off the riverfront.  El Caminito was crowded with tourists and Porteños selling trinkets to eager tourists.  While El Caminito was safe enough, I found it to be extremely touristy and fake, and I wouldn’t return or recommend it.  I would only go back if I was with someone who was a fan of La Boca football and wanted to visit the stadium.


After walking around El Caminito for about 20 minutes, we stopped into Fundación Proa – La Boca’s modern art museum with rotating exhibits.  Unfortunately, they were between exhibits when we visited, but we did grab drinks and snacks on the rooftop, which has very pretty views.  The Proa is right at the beginning of El Caminito, is safe and has free, clean restrooms.

Pictures from the Proa – very nice space in an otherwise touristy area.

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NOTE – while we found El Caminito to be fine, some of the areas we drove through appeared desolate, shady and some downright dangerous.  Make sure you stay in El Caminito.  And watch your belongings.  There is a real risk of pickpocketing here.

In the end, I did like BA and I am glad that we visited!!  It had a lot of charm, was easy to navigate and the food and wine were delicious.  It is a great introduction to South America and not dangerous at all.  Any regrets?  We did not get to spend enough time in Palermo.  I would like to return and spend a few days in Palermo, and check out more of BA’s museums.

Have you been to BA?  What did you love about it?


Fundación Proa : Av. Pedro de Mendoza 1929, C1169AAD, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tel. [54-11] 4104-1000

BA Free Walking Tours