I have to admit, I was a little hesitant to visit this popular tourist attraction. Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires is known as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world, and every guidebook or article listing the top things to do in the city will mention it as a must-see destination.
But, I mean, it’s still a cemetery.
I know there are many cemeteries that are known as popular tourist attractions, and for good reason, but I’ve not been to any of them. However, after several locals told me that we had to go to Recoleta, I listened. I always trust the locals.
And yes, I have to admit it was beautiful, and unlike any other tourist site I’ve ever visited. With a mix of Baroque, Neo-Gothic, Art Deco and Art Nouveau architecture, the vaults and monuments inside this large cemetery really are captivating.
We didn’t find Evita’s grave, because I’m a bad traveler and all. I kind of figured it would be easy to locate and surrounded by people paying homage, but the cemetery was pretty quiet except for one tour being led in Spanish that we missed getting in on by a few minutes.
It was a sunny day, but the most of the vaults are tall enough that the majority of the cemetery was cast in shadow, rendering a rather melancholy feeling as we explored Recoleta’s spacious walkways. Appropriate, I suppose.
The cemetery feels like its own little town or village, preserved for posterity. Many of the vaults are true works of art, an incredibly lovely way to preserve the memory of lost loved ones.
Of course, some of the monuments and vaults are falling into disrepair, which was a sad sight to see but since the cemetery dates back to the 1800s, it’s not surprising.
We didn’t stay too long, but I’m glad we went. As we wandered the maze-like sidewalks of the cemetery, I couldn’t help but notice the beauty and peace that can come with the acceptance of our mortality.
That said, I was very happy to get back out into the sunshine and the busy streets of Buenos Aires once we were through.
Later this week I’ll be writing about one of my favorite Buenos Aires experiences at San Telmo Market.