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Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve

A quiet nature reserve just steps from the city

Viewpoint in the Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve

The hustle and bustle of the City Center are lost in the cooling mood of the only ecological reserve in the city, the Reserva Ecologica Costanera Sur. A stone’s throw away from the trendy, 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 [1] 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.

Patio area in the Costanera Sur nature reserve

Buenos Aires grows its own ecological reserve

The city of Buenos Aires [2] 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.

So although you may see more than a few empty bottles and wrappers that have been thrown all over the small concrete divider at the start of the boardwalk, just remember that debris and waste is the reason you’re there in the first place! And don’t worry, once inside, the heart of the park is much cleaner and well kept.

Nature consuming the city at the Costanera Sur?
[Photo Credit: jmpznz [3], under this CC licence [4]]

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 and is an excellent place to rent a bicycle for the afternoon. This isn’t a bad way to go if you want to maximize your time bouncing around from view to view.

The entire walk [5] 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. If you forget to bring your own, a few monedas (coins) will allow you a peek through the public binoculars that are placed along decks that skirt out over the marshlands.

Spectacular views with interesting backdrops

The views in the reserve are spectacularly endless. From the parks entrance a quick look back gives you a different view of the boardwalk with the city stretching up behind it. Wandering through the dirt laid paths are benches that offer a brief rest while you take in the quiet escape you’ve earned from your walk.

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…

Costanera Sur View in Buenos Aires

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.

A closer look at the passing barges and water below will bring you even further away from the demanding pace of downtown. The northern side of the park offers many other surprises for those with a sharp eye. If you’re riding your rented bicycle too fast you may miss the small veterinary clinic and adoption center at the northern entrance of the park. Designed to offer veterinary assistance to the many birds that inhabit the reserve, you can see hawks and larger birds of prey that may usually be flying too high overhead for such a close examination. The small building also houses some wayward dogs that are now up for adoption; probably a better bet if you’re a Buenos Aires inhabitant rather than a traveler.

The Rio de la Plata as viewed from the Costanera Sur

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 using the footpath, stopping for any number of snacks along the way (sure to be meat [6]). Or, heading back from inside the park instead gives you a chance to prolong your afternoon 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 [7] near the top of your list.

Location of Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve

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

9 Comments (Open | Close)

9 Comments To "Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve"

#1 Comment By Cesar On October 10, 2007 @ 11:40 am

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!

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#2 Comment By Elissa Harrington On October 15, 2007 @ 7:48 pm

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

[ [9]]

#3 Pingback By Dear Kitty. Some blog :: Buenos Aires’ Costanera Sur nature reserve :: September :: 2008 On September 26, 2008 @ 12:17 pm

[…] 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 Pingback By 20 Things You Would Not Expect to do in Buenos Aires « GOLDAPPLE: STRANGE FRUIT On August 21, 2012 @ 4:07 am

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

#5 Pingback By Buenos Aires Botanical Gardens | Diary of a Smart Chick On December 29, 2012 @ 10:22 am

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

#6 Comment By marcia lazzarini On January 17, 2014 @ 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.

[ [9]]

#7 Pingback By Steak Buenos Aires: Choripan and Bondiola | Steak Buenos Aires On January 31, 2014 @ 3:38 pm

[…] 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 Pingback By 9 City Activities Not to Miss When in Buenos Aires – Genies Out the Bottle On February 20, 2017 @ 3:43 pm

[…] 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 Pingback By It's summer in Buenos Aires! Why go now (and what to do there) | Airfarewatchdog Blog On September 14, 2020 @ 10:24 pm

[…] 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 […]