One of the most spectacular views of the city can be found at the ecologic reserve behind Puerto Madero. This spot of nature in the city has a curious story that began with humans taking over the river´s shore.
At first, from 1918-1950 the area was used for bathing. There was not much more than the river and its banks. Then, the water became contaminated and it could no longer be used for freshening up in the summer so, in the 70´s, it was decided that it would be conditioned to build the city´s administrative center. To do so, the land was reclaimed from the river. The project was abandoned in the 80´s and when nature realized humans had no use for it, it decided to colonize the rubble filled banks that regularly flooded. The area became covered in water hyacinths and soon birds and other wildlife made it their home. In 1989 it was finally declared an ecologic reserve.
Nowadays the ecologic reserve is open to visitors from Tuesday to Sunday and can be toured on weekends from 9.30am-4pm. One Friday a month, the closest to a full moon, a nocturnal tour of the reserve is organized. To participate you must call to sign up on the previous Monday. Below is the list of the remaining scheduled nocturnal tours for 2012.
Between Argentina and Uruguay, in the middle of the Rio de la Plata is a scantly populated island called Martín García, one of Buenos Aires´ natural reserves and historical landmarks.
The island, which was discovered by the expedition of Juan Díaz de Solís in 1516 was initially used as a prison 1765 until 1886 since it was very difficult to escape from due to the turbulent waters around it. Later on it was also used as a political prison and military garrison and some of the country’s most important and controversial political figures such as Marcelo Alvear, Hipolito Yrigoyen, Juan Domingo Peron and Arturo Frondizi served time there.
Now a days the island functions as a tourist destination and ecological reserve with over 800 species of plants, and more than 250 species of birds. Historical sites include a museum, a lighthouse, the prisons and a cemetery amongst others. The island is also famous for its Panettone.
How to get there
There are only two ways to get to the island, one is by a light aircraft which takes approximately 20 minutes from the city, and the other is by the Cacciola boat company in Tigre which offers day trip excursions including snacks and lunch and also overnight excursions with lodging at the only hostel in the Island. Aircraft information here. La Cacciola here.