No trip to Buenos Aires is complete without visiting the Cementerio de la Recoleta, one of the most famous cemeteries in the world. The cemetery opened in 1822 and has some of the most beautiful tombs on the planet.
The entrance to the cemetery is through a gate with Doric columns. No admission is charged and guides wait just inside the entrance offering free tours. I didn’t do the tour but my friends did and they said it was very informative.
I decided to wander around the cemetery on my own. I noticed that while it lacks the prominent burials on an international level, trees, and open space like Père Lachaise in Paris, the tombs are just as magnificent. Its grid system creates an incredible “city of the dead”.
The 14 acre cemetery contains almost 4,700 vaults all above ground. Each vault has its own unique architectural design and a range of styles can be found. Many of the vaults are well-maintained but others have sadly fallen into disrepair.
There are several writers, presidents of Argentina, military figures, and other high society Argentinians buried here, but by far the most famous person interred in La Recoleta is Eva Perón (1919-1952). Tourists and Argentinians alike flock to her relatively simple family tomb. The tomb is adorned with plaques dedicated by different organizations.
Among the presidents buried in the cemetery include Bartolomé Mitre (b. 1821 d. 1906, served 1862-1868), Julio Argentino Roca (b. 1843 d. 1914, served 1880-1886, 1898-1904), Domino Faustino Sarmiento (b. 1811 d. 1888, served 1868-1874), and Carlos Pellegrini (b. 1846 d. 1906, served 1890-1892).
The rest of the cemetery is worth wandering through. I spent a good two hours strolling up and down the lanes looking at the graves of the Argentinian elite before heading out to explore the rest of the Recoleta area.