Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve

A quiet nature reserve just steps from the city

The hustle and bustle of the City Center are lost in the relaxed atmosphere of the only ecological reserve in the city, the Reserva Ecologica Costanera Sur. A stone’s throw away from the slick, modern neighborhood of Puerto Madero and you find yourself walking along the park’s boardwalk littered with nuzzling couples, parillas (steakhouses), and more pigeons than you can throw a stick at.

The Costanera Sur’s walkway borders the front of the reserve and from there you can see the greater landscape that opens up into the park. The boardwalk itself is entertaining, with beautiful architecture and sculptures, casual eateries and dozens of pickup games of futbol. Your initial examination of the swampy marshland is only an introduction to the many more birds and interesting views that await you upon entering.

Buenos Aires grows its own ecological reserve

The city of Buenos Aires has seen its fair share of change over the years, and the history of the reserve is part of this constant transformation. During the city’s modernization in the mid-20th century, remnants of demolished buildings and construction debris were discarded into the Rio de la Plata. Gradually the debris, mixed with sand from the river began to create the marshy foundation for what is now the reserve. Soon, the plants began to grow, and not long after the birds followed. The ecological park is the result of this interesting history, and a great location for observing that fascinating border where city and country convene.

Rent a bike to help explore the nature reserve

The park has two entrances. The main entrance is located on the southern side of the boardwalk. The entire walk around the reserve will take you more than an hour and that’s without stopping to peer through the reeds and to try and identify birds. The reserve offers several viewpoint stops that allow you a moment to pull out your binoculars and scan over the marshes that navigate through the wetlands.

The reserve is also a great place for a cycle. You can rent a bike from BA Bikes or download the BA Ecobici app (for android or iphone) to use the city bike share scheme. However, on certain occasions (usually after heavy rain or on very busy days) cycling within the reserve is not permitted; look for signs at the entrance.

Spectacular views with interesting backdrops

The views in the reserve are spectacularly endless. From the park’s entrance a quick look back gives you a different view of the boardwalk with the city stretching up behind it. All along the dirt paths are benches that offer a brief rest while you take in the peaceful rest you’ve earned from your walk. From the central path, several stilted boardwalk trails extend out over the marshes, offering a closer look at the reserve’s fascinating flora and fauna.

Perhaps most breathtaking are the views on the eastern side of the park. The Rio de la Plata borders this edge of the reserve and boats can be seen sailing in the distance. The air here is cooler and cleaner than in the busy city and the grassy areas for sitting are a great place to settle down for a relaxing view…

This side of the reserve not only boasts amazing views of the river, but one of the best of the city. As you’ve chosen an afternoon away from the crazy downtown streets, it’s more than rewarding to see the city settled in the distance among a foreground of reeds and cattails.

Hide away from busy Buenos Aires down by the river

If you’ve entered the park from the south your walk continues past more scenes of the city and river. The river offers a true boardwalk where with some innovation and a keen eye you can find the entrance from inside the reserve and walk out along the river. On a hot day, or if you’re looking for a truer sense of solitude, this is one of the best hiding places in the city.

The end of a relaxing day at the Costanera Sur, Buenos Aires

From here, you’ve almost completed your circle. Your choices of return are to take the northern exit and walk back along the broad sidewalk, stopping for any number of snacks along the way (sure to be meat). Or, heading back from inside the park instead gives you a chance to prolong your time in the oasis and take in more of the reserve.

When you do in fact decide to head on out of the nature reserve, Puerto Madero and the water diques (canals) are your transition home. You’ve probably found yourself hours later and the countless restaurants and bars located here are a perfect way to end your afternoon, or begin your evening. Whether you’re a Buenos Aires native or first time visitor, the Reserva Ecologica Costanera Sur is an ideal way to escape from the city without the headache of organizing day trips or the burden of their cost. Whether you’re a country mouse stuck in the city, or simply looking for an afternoon off, put this attraction near the top of your list.

Location of Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve

Av. Tristán A Rodríguez 1550, near Padre M Migone, Puerto Madero

Reader interactions

9 Replies to “Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve”

  1. I must have been to Puerto Madero 50 times, but never once to the ecological reserve. Now I have to go. Great pics Kim; thanks for the tip!


  2. Elissa Harrington October 15, 2007 at 7:48 pm

    Cool! I was in just in BA but never heard about this. Great tip Kim! You’re an expert!!


  3. […] President, Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado of Japan, today officially designated the Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur in central Buenos Aires, Argentina, an Important Bird Area. At the ceremony, with the Buenos Aires […]


  4. […] … and snakes and toads at Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve. Embrace your inner twitcher with some innocent bird-watching. For a more porteño activity, […]


  5. […] also went to a nature preserve in Buenos Aires called the Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve. Here are some photos from […]


  6. marcia lazzarini January 17, 2014 at 8:30 am

    amo la reserva ecológica, es el lugar donde descanso mi mente, camino y hablo conmigo misma. El rio me pasa una energia positiva y tranquilidad.


  7. […] Argentina from their neighbor Uruguay. Costanera is divided into two parts: Costanera Norte and Costanera Sur or North Costanera and South Costanera. Today I’m going to be focusing on Costanera Sur. […]


  8. […] if not overtly touristy area and up through to one of the cities only concrete jungle escapes, Constanera Sur Ecological Reserve. There are plentiful places to hire bikes, our hostel had their own to hire – pretty simple […]


  9. […] particularly in the summer time; good thing then that there's so much open space so close by. The Reserva Ecologica is nearly 1,000 acres of rather wild territory atop a major dumping ground; today, it buffers the […]


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