The list of occupants of Recoleta Cemetery reads like a Who’s Who of Argentine history & society. The elite, an aspiring middle class, friends, enemies & those who contributed to the general welfare of Argentina all share space in a miniature city of mausoleums & monuments.
During a visit, you’ll stroll past Presidents & politicians (some naughty, some nice), Nobel Prize winners, literary greats, entertainers, scientists, military leaders, sports figures & even some who died tragically. The cemetery’s most famous resident, Eva María Duarte de Perón —simply Evita to her devotées— even had a bizarre post-mortem journey before finally resting in peace in Recoleta.
In 2015, we wrote about a possible entrance fee being established for Recoleta Cemetery. The idea was shelved, then COVID hit in 2020 & the cemetery closed to tourists for almost two years. But as of April 4th —with very little advance notice— the Buenos Aires city government will charge foreigners 1400 pesos (at this time almost 13 USD) to visit what is still declared by Law 4977 as a public space.
A Clarín article from 30 Mar 2022 by Karina Niebla states that income generated will be used for maintaining all cemeteries in Buenos Aires (for example: renovating the pantheon in Flores, restoring niches in Chacarita & reinforcing security in Recoleta). Let’s hope so. Still, we can’t help but wonder why is the entrance fee so expensive or why a public space is being privatized.
Another problem the city government failed to address is that tour operators that have already sold packages including a cemetery visit must absorb this extra cost until the fee can be incorporated into future services. This argument halted implementation of an entrance fee in 2015 & still remains valid. With no grace period or temporary exemption, tour companies must take yet another cut in income after two years of almost no clients at all. We’ll have to wait & see how the situation unfolds.
Residents of Argentina can enter for free, except if they visit on a guided tour… then they must pay 700 pesos (currently a bit over 6 USD). Guides are exempt from the entrance fee, but at some point all cemetery guides will have to participate in a training course given at the cemetery. We’re all for that!
The online ticketing system seems straightforward enough, but authorities have cut two hours from visiting time. Recoleta Cemetery opens at 07:00, but visitors cannot enter until 09:00. Sneaky & a shame since those early hours have incredible light from the sunrise. Clicking through various screens generates an electronic ticket as shown below:
Tickets are only available online. Our Recoleta Cemetery PDF guidebook will be updated soon with this new information & links to pre-purchase tickets.
Born in the western outskirts of Buenos Aires in 1902, Arturo Ossorio Arana embarked on a military career that would lead him to participate in several military coups. Staunchly anti-peronista, he would also be complicit in hiding Eva Perón’s embalmed corpse… proof that friends & enemies rest side by side in Recoleta Cemetery.
In 1951, the Minister of the Army blamed Ossorio Arana for leading a group of young officers in a revolt against the Perón government. Relieved from duty, he tried to oust Perón again in 1955 with help from Pedro Aramburu & Eduardo Lonardi. Resulting civilian casualties were high after rogue military planes bombed Plaza de Mayo. However, Perón had been tipped off & took refuge in army headquarters just in time. A few months later, the military finally succeeded in taking control & attempted to wipe all traces of Peronism from Argentina.
As part of that plan, Ossorio Arana held the deceased Eva Perón captive for a while… but you’ll have to get the map/guidebook for that story! In the end, Ossorio Arana was more known for re-establishing martial law as Commander-in-Chief under Aramburu’s de facto presidency. In 1956, he gave permission to execute by firing squad a group of young people who had opposed the military government. Seven of 12 people shot would survive & later become immortalized in Rodolfo Walsh’s Operación Massacre.
The tomb of Ossorio Arana is striking with its gigantic, oversized statue of Argentina. A brilliant work by sculptor José Fioravanti, she represents Liberty with her sword ready for action. Ossorio Arana died in Buenos Aires in 1967, but the place & date on his tomb —Córdoba, 16 Sep 1955— correspond to the revolution that forced Perón to flee Argentina. Engraved scales represent Ossorio Arana’s belief in military justice.
His funeral drew a large crowd, with a multitude of military speakers & a large escort. La Nación reported that a couple people were arrested for public disturbance… one even shouting “Long live democracy!” Big thanks to Nicolás Colombo for sending us the images below… he runs the Misterios de La Plata blog & Facebook group.
Given his control over national affairs, memorials (like the one shown below) were common for several years after Ossorio Arana’s death. On the first anniversary, former President Aramburu gave a speech that was later engraved on the left side of the tomb:
“…If you fear the risks of Liberty, If you find safety in the obedience that despots impose… Do not stand before the tomb of this soldier!”