Buenos Aires, despite its important port history, is better recognized for its big city nightlife, emblematic yellow and black taxis, and Parisian architecture. Over time, the importance of the Rio de la Plata both culturally and economically has receded with only slightly more elevated interest recently with the redevelopment of Puerto Madero, the port area, into high-end condos. And naturally-speaking, while Buenos Aires has expansive green spaces, these are urban parks where you are more likely to go people watching than bird watching.This week I discovered a gem of a park right on the Rio de la Plata in the nearby suburb of San Isidro. With a historic center, cobblestone streets, and a sleepy afternoon atmosphere, the town, while completely integrated with the capital, feels a little like a fishing village – only with mansions instead of fishing shacks! Similar to Buenos Aires, San Isidro also has a riverside location. A key difference though, is the connectivity between the residential area and the open spaces that line the water. (In Buenos Aires, the autopista cuts off access in most parts of the capital.) Called the “Reserva Ecologica Municipal”, this San Isidro ecological reserve describes itself as one of the last possibilities to get to know the original landscape of the Rio de la Plata coast. Its 10 hectares boasts over 200 species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and insects. It was incredible! I’ve included some pictures here to illustrate the biodiversity and amazing setting. When: The Reserve is open every day of the week from approximately 9am to 5pm. Call ahead of time for specific information: (54) 4512-3125. Coming from Buenos Aires, this makes for a perfect day trip to combine with seeing some of the sites in San Isidro. How: Argentina boasts great (and cheap!) public transportation so there are a number of ways to get here. I recommend the route that I took. Take the Mitre Train line from Retiro train station to San Isidro Station. The train runs about every 10 minutes during the week, less than USD $0.50 one way, and takes about 40 minutes. San Isidro Station is located in San Isidro’s commercial center. Wind your way towards Plaza Mitre, the heart of San Isidro’s historic district, and then make your way towards the river (see map). Walking from the station should take between 30-45 minutes depending on speed and the number of photos you take.
Ease:If you like walking, this is a great touristic outing for you. The actual reserve is free, and since transportation costs are so low, this is a great outing if you’re a student or don’t want to spend a lot of money. The trail in the reserve can be a bit muddy so I would recommend avoiding this trip if it rained the previous day. Worth It: Definitely! I saw so much wildlife within the first 5 minutes. The only drawback to this trip was that I also saw a lot of garbage. Still, when the reeds opened up and I could experience the Rio de la Plata up close, I knew this place was worth the trip.