A Natural Oasis Within the City
With temperatures well over 100 degrees, we were desperate to find some way to cool off. The first place we checked out was a public swimming pool we'd heard about in Belgrano where supposedly nurses inspect swimmers for lice and athlete's foot before declaring them healthy enough to enter. We made the trek there and prepared ourselves to be 'inspected', only to turn right around after seeing swarms of kids on Summer vacation waiting outside. Despite the heat, this was clearly not going to work for us.
Another guidebook suggested buying a day pass for the pool at the lavish Faena Hotel. We thought it sounded fun and relaxing, but were completely shocked to find that a day pass to use the pool and towels cost a staggering $300 US per person! Onto plan C...
Since it was a close walk from the Faena hotel, we decided to head down to the Reserva Ecologica Costanera Sur where we could at least lie out by the water's edge and catch some coastal breezes to cool us down.
At the Southern entrance to the Reserve, we were greeted by a sculpture depicting the birth of Venus. It had originally been placed at the Avenida de Mayo early in the 20th century but was moved to its current location for being too risqué.
The Reserve itself is bicyclist-friendly and on the weekends bikes are available right outside the South entrance to the park. During the week, though, the closest place to rent a bike is in neighboring San Telmo. Most bike rentals we saw cost about $6-$12 pesos/hour.
We preferred to take our time and walked through the Reserve instead. Just a few hundred feet in, surrounded by trees and cat-tails, the noise and chaos of the city faded away behind us. Through breaks in the surrounding landscape we caught glimpses of Puerto Madero's towering skyscrapers and cranes and were reminded that, yes, we were still in Buenos Aires.
About halfway through our walk, the path wound down to the ocean's edge which was swarming with sunbathers, kids playing on the rocky beach, families picnicking and drinking mate. All around it was a fabulous place to 'people watch' and sunbathe ourselves.
We recommend stopping at the beach spot to check it out, but then continuing on to one of the smaller, quieter 'vistas' nearby. These outlets have grassy places to picnic, ocean views, and benches too, but they're a little more private and quiet.
Starving from a day in the sun, we visited one of the many Parillas (Argentine grill/BBQ) just outside the Reserve offering refreshments and delicious sandwiches. It was one of our best meals yet and only cost us $23 pesos ($6 US) for a hamburguesa completa (hamburger with ham, egg and all the fixin's), chori (sausage sandwich with all the fixin's) and a coke.
We ended the day sufficiently refreshed from the cool, serene water and stuffed from the savory meal.