Checked Off My Bucket List: La Recoleta Cemetery


I’ll start by busting another myth: the streets of Buenos Aires are crowded with hot Latin-American women with model looks and explosive tempers, who would make a certain lonely foreigner lose his mind, ship his child back to the USA and make his home in Argentina, earning a meager living by playing guitar on a busy intersection and singing off-key. Let’s just say that I am writing this from home and the country of Argentina will never hear me sing. While it’s true that most Argentinians are in good physical shape, the looks of men and women you see on the street are pretty average, far from what my wild imagination led me to believe.

La Recoleta Cemetery is a world-famous Buenos Aires landmark and we visited it on our very first day in town. While being buried in a crypt (or mausoleum) is not a preferred way of getting rid of my body, the cemetery is fascinating to see for many reasons like architecture, sculpture, artwork, sheer amount of marble and granite, amount of religious imagery per square foot, record number of tourists looking for the Evita’s grave and a visual history of the Argentinian facial hair fashions. Over the period of almost 200 years the Argentinian upper crust invested untold amounts of money into placing their likenesses in a variety of Biblical, Roman, Egyptian and whatever else-inspired imagery. There is a mind-boggling number of mourning virgins, sad Jesus’s, Roman Emperors and weeping angels, portrayed in sculpture, portraits, engravings and stained glass. We took our time taking these pictures, but I will try to limit the number to a few that I like.

This is the grave everyone wants to see – Eva Perón is buried here. I’d venture to say that most of non-Argentinian visitors don’t know why they want to see it, besides having something to do with Madonna.

Caskets are visible from outside, some mausoleums have gates or glass doors but in many places the glass is broken.

The cemetery is laid out with its own streets and blocks.

Despite the inscription Mötley Crüe is not buried here.

Some crypts look abandoned…

…but most of them are well taken care of.

The handrail on the bottom of the photo is for the access of the underground vault. Most of these have stairs that lead below.

Speaking about the facial hair…

Here you can see how additional space is added for the future funerals. There were two funerals while we were at the cemetery.

The church next to the cemetery.

If, for some unknown reason, you feel you need more photos, just let me know; I have more where these came from.

To be continued…

  • DLavenburg

    This is amazing.  I was about to ask if they still have funerals there and found that answered in one of the last photos.  This may be a morbid question, but isn’t there an “odor” about the cemetery?  Are they still burying the folk in the open so to speak so you can see the caskets, and if so, how can there not be an odor?  

    • I don’t know how they avoid the odor and leakage. Some caskets had lids knocked off and you could see another sealed casket inside. There was not a hint of smell. I’ve been told that their regular cemeteries where they just shove caskets into a cell in a wall do smell and leak.They also have cemeteries where they bury people in the ground but they told me they are more expensive and fairly recent.

  • Rick in PV

    Great pix! Did you have a guide, and get a discourse on the gruesome fate of the Perons’ bodies, post-mortem? I gather that Juan Peron is buried elsewhere.

    • My friends were helping us with sightseeing and arranging trips.We did take a local tour guided by a British ex-pat, which was really good.
      Not sure where Peron is buried, but Evita’s body traveled around before being stuck in that vault. After watching “Evita” last week I found plenty of videos on youtube with photos of her corpse which wasn’t buried for many years. You can tell how it was slowly deteriorating from a life-like state to a wax doll condition. The whole story is creepy.