With 400 years of history and abundance of architectural delights, Buenos Aires is a city packed with alluring sights. There are so many attractions in South America’s most European capital that it can be difficult for visitors to prioritize if they have a finite time frame to explore the city. This is where a professional tour can help visitors get a handle on the highlights.
Eternautas, established in 1999 by University of Buenos Aires professors Ricardo Watson, Lucas Rentero and Gabriel Di Meglio are the tour guides of choice for educational institutions such as Harvard and NYU, many of the city’s embassies and its best hotels, including the Alvear Palace and Home.
These aren’t your grandma’s corny loudspeaker tours on a double decker bus, but handcrafted excursions that illustrate the city through the eyes of some of the city’s brightest academics.
Only two years after opening, the homegrown tour group received the coveted ‘cultural interest’ seal of approval from the city of Buenos Aires and the department of tourism. Named after a 1950’s Argentine science fiction comic, Eternautas has since grown into a diverse multilingual group of historians, architects, social scientists, anthropologists and geographers.
In 2006, the history buffs hosted Queen Beatrice of the Netherlands. Rock and roll royalty, the New York Dolls also sought out the Eternautas’ Buenos Aires run-down when they played here in 2009.
Eternauta Walking tours
Eternautas has more traditional sightseeing and custom excursions, but the most enjoyable are their walking tours. The strolls through the city are an entertaining and relaxed way to discover some of the city’s most interesting nooks and crannies.
Architect and historian, Eduardo Masollorens leads the popular Palermo Viejo tour. The circuit starts at Plaza Italia, where the group learns how this area was developed from the palatial rural estates that once dominated the area.
It then wanders up Jorge Luis Borges Street (formerly Serrano). The group passes the first art deco style home in Buenos Aires and hears about the scandal that developed around its 1928 construction. Other architectural curiosities include the neighborhood’s ornate electric transformer facility.
At the childhood home of Louis Jorge Borges, tour participants hear how the neighborhood of his era is reflected in his work.
The tour also passes Guatemala, one of the city’s oldest streets, lined with century-old trees and El Preferido, a popular restaurant in a historic 1885 building. This area, once known as ‘lower Belgrano,’ was the site of ‘Creole duels’ among the gauchos who came here to blend in when they were wanted by the law out on the pampas.
The Palermo tour ends at lovely Pasaje Russel, where you can see some of the city’s best street art and peak over a gate to see the Italian villa-style mansion of gorgeous Uruguayan actress and singer, Natalia Oreiro.
As with all the Eternautas tour guides, if you can corner Masollorens for a coffee, you can mine him for insider information. He’ll recount his early childhood during the Perón years and hand out advice about the best restaurants and places to golf in Buenos Aires.
‘The Paris of South America’ is another popular circuit through Retiro and Recoleta, the areas where the urban design and architecture of the city are most reminiscent of the French capital. Eternautas also do an informative Recoleta Cemetery tour called ‘Between Heroes and Tombs’ and a Jewish Buenos Aires tour.
In 2008 the Eternautas group published a book based on their tours called, ‘Buenos Aires tiene historia: Once itinerarios guiados por la ciudad’ (Buenos Aires Has History: Eleven Guided Itineraries Around the City). The English edition is expected out soon.
Eternautas has Spanish-language tours every weekend and on national holidays. To see which tours are coming up, or to schedule a private English-language tour, write firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via our contact form below.