La Recoleta Cemetery

La Recoleta Cemetery's most famous resident is Eva Peron. But her plain burial site might just be the least ostentatious in the whole cemetery.

In terms of luxury accommodations for the dearly departed, Recoleta’s cemetery ranks pretty highly. You would never call it plain. It’s not a field with rows of rectangular marble headstones. Instead, it has hundreds of ornate crypts crowding over each other for attention. It’s not every cemetery that has streets and avenues. Most of the crypts are above ground, but some have small stairwells leading to underground basements.

A few of the tombs are old and unkempt, well on the way to looking like an abandoned pile of rocks. But most of the tombs are much more lavish and could easily qualify as mini-temples. Gleaming glass and marble enclosures. Ornate wrought-iron gates open to small stairwells leading underground. Marble statues of angels and saints guard the entrances.

Recoleta sits on top of a hill in Buenos Aires next to Our Lady of Pilar Basilica on ground that was once the church’s orchard. It gets its name from the neighborhood, traditionally a wealthy one.

La Recoleta Cemetery’s most famous resident is Eva Peron, best known in the west as Evita. Her home since 1952 has been a small panel on a family crypt. Befitting her popular appeal, it just might be the least ostentatious place of rest in the whole of La Recoleta cemetery.

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