Exploring Retiro, Recoleta and Puerto Madero (with visit to 3 museums)

  • Bird’s eye view of Retiro neighborhood, with the British clock tower and Rio de la Plata in the back

On this day of city exploration, we'll first focus on the areas of Retiro and Recoleta, where Buenos Aires most clearly expresses its Parisian character, acquired in the early 20th century through its architectural styles and urban design. Plaza San Martin is one of the best examples of the belle epoque, being the place where the upper-class families settled and built their impressive residences at the turn of the century. We'll then visit other spots which also showcase the French influence in Buenos Aires: Alvear Avenue and Pellegrini square.

Next, we'll visit the "Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo"; (National Museum of Decorative art), which will give us an impressive glimpse into the opulence that was Argentina's upper classes in the early 20th century. In fact, the decorations alone in this neoclassical palace are a testimony to how luxuriously they lived.

The museum's permanent collection features European and oriental furniture, sculptures, porcelain, paintings, tapestries, ranging from the 14th to 20th century, including pieces by El Greco, Corot, Fragonard, Manet, Boudin, and Fantin Latour. The building was the residence of society couple Josefina de Alvear and her husband Matias Errazuriz Ortuzar, and was designed in 1911 by noted French architect Rene Sergent, who specialized in designing private residences in neoclassical style.

Finally, we'll visit the world-famous Recoleta Cemetery.Some of the tombs and crypts are so luxurious and ornate that the cemetery was listed by CNN as one of the 10 most beautiful cemeteries in the world! This was the city's first public cemetery, and within its grounds lie some of Argentina's most celebrated citizens including Eva Peron (the nation's beloved Evita). Also buried there is a granddaughter of Napoleon, as well as presidents and Nobel laureates alike.

We'll then enjoy a memorable lunch to refuel our energies and get ready for our afternoon of more intriguing city discoveries .

Now it's time to 'make our way to the Puerto Madero neighborhood, which displays the latest architectural trends in the city, and is a key area to understanding contemporary Buenos Aires. With its many modern and post-modern buildings, it's a relatively quiet, upper-class residential neighborhood with a charming promenade that guides you along the canal and the Puerto Madero port. Docks, cranes, bridges, silos and parks tell us the story from 1882 to the recovery of this once abandoned area.

We'll also visit the Fortabat Art Collection, which boasts a collection of 230 works of art, by both Argentine and international artists, examples of the latter being Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol. This museum was initiated by María Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat, the longtime Chairperson and chief stockholder of Loma Negra, the largest cement manufacturer in Argentina. She set aside a significant portion of her extensive art collection for this museum, designed by the internationally acclaimed, Uruguayan born architect Rafael Viñoly.

The building, a two-story modernist concrete, steel and glass structure, was built overlooking the northernmost dock in the Puerto Madero district, and among its highlights includes a roof with a system of mobile aluminum awnings that opens and closes with the sun's position. Mrs. Fortabat specifically requested this last design feature, remarking that "I've always wanted to look at pictures and the stars at the same time."

Lastly we'll visit and enjoy some free time at the Modern Art Museum of Buenos Aires, also located in Puerto Madero. This museum was founded in 1956, and right from the beginning, it has been an avant-garde museum. It's a genuine house of artists and a space dedicated to promoting the latest work from all the different artistic disciplines.

The morning private tour will be done from 9:30 AM to 1:30 PM. We'll then enjoy lunch (not included) in a suggested restaurant in the area, to then do the afternoon tour from 3 to 7 PM.

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Difficulty: none.

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Duration: 8 hours + lunch time (not included).

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Guide: private guide.

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Vehicle: private vehicle.

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Includes: Entrance tickets to visit museums and institutions where needed.