Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur, Buenos Aires
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.