Reserva Ecológ­ica Costan­era Sur, Buenos Aires

The Guardian - Travel - - Globespotting - • reser­va­costan­era.com.ar Jea­nine Barone

Min­utes from the car-choked streets of Buenos Aires lies an oa­sis of tall grasses, la­goons, soar­ing trees and myr­iad bird species. The 360-hectare Reserva Ecológ­ica Costan­era Sur – a wet­land be­tween Rio de la Plata and the Puerto Madero district – is the only place in the city in­hab­ited by wild, na­tive plants and an­i­mals.

With so much of the coun­try farmed and de­vel­oped, the re­serve rep­re­sents the orig­i­nal Ar­gen­tine land­scape. It looked dif­fer­ent in the early 20th cen­tury, when the wa­ter­front was a pop­u­lar spot for strolling and bathing. But by the 1950s, the wa­ter qual­ity had de­te­ri­o­rated and porteños – as the city’s res­i­dents call them­selves – turned away from this play­ground.

Later, af­ter the city aban­doned a huge land­fill site in 1984, na­ture took over, trans­form­ing the area into a lux­u­ri­ant Eden. Now, its cooler tem­per­a­tures, fresh air and a bu­colic vibe are a draw for cy­clists, walk­ers, jog­gers, bird­ers, pic­nick­ers and yoga prac­ti­tion­ers. Some­times giant Ar­gen­tine tegu lizards and var­i­ous tur­tles sun them­selves be­side the trails – hap­pily obliv­i­ous to the sky­scrapers vis­i­ble in the dis­tance.

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