Enchanting Cemeteries of Chile & Argentina

Posted on June 18, 2009 by

This week’s guest blogger is another friend of mine in the travel writing world, Keith Jenkins. A fellow Asian writer, Keith has called Amsterdam home for 18 years, and documents his extensive travels on his blog Velvet Escape. With an exceptionally interesting piece on visiting the enchanting cemeteries of Chile and Argentina, be sure to get spooked!

Recoleta Cemetery Photo by Fedepo18

Cemeteries do not often come to mind as a tourist attraction when one travels. It certainly didn’t occur to me! That all changed when I travelled through South America recently. The tombs in the cemeteries in this part of the world are often elaborate, sometimes even pompous, and amazing works of art.

Of the various cemeteries that I visited, the two that absolutely impressed were the ones in Punta Arenas, Chile and the Recoleta cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Punta Arenas

Punta Arenas Cemetery by nielsvk. Photo by Nielsvk

Pta Arenas cem2I’d just completed an exhausting but mind-blowing trip across Patagonia and ended up in Punta Arenas, the southernmost city on the American continent. I had some reservations when the receptionist at the hotel suggested a visit to the cemetery. I wasn’t sure what to expect but when I arrived at its gates, I thought, “Morbid, no. Stunning, yes!”

The cemetery was opened in the late 19th century by one of the city’s richest citizens, a wool baroness by the name of Sara Braun. Her tomb and that of her husband’s are absolutely impressive. The other tombs (little houses where whole families are laid to rest) were really beautiful. One of the main features of the cemetery are the beautifully manicured trees that carve the cemetery into various sections.

Pta Arenas cem3

Buenos Aires

Recoleta cemetery Photo by Matt Hintsa

Recoleta cem2 After that Punta Arenas experience, I visited various other cemeteries. When I arrived in Buenos Aires and heard about the famous Recoleta cemetery, I had no second thought. The cemetery is located in the upscale neighbourhood of Recoleta and is the resting place of many famous Argentines including ex-presidents and yes, Evita Peron.

The cemetery is just awesome. It’s a huge maze of grand mausoleums and chapels that are decorated with impressive statues and busts in stone and bronze. Compared to some of the other mausoleums, I thought Evita’s tomb was like a simple hut! You could easily spend half a day just strolling by the amazing stonework and bronze sculptures. It’s a breathtaking experience.

Recoleta cem3



Keith Jenkins lives in Amsterdam, and travel is his biggest passion. He has travelled through 60-odd countries across 6 continents. Read about his extensive travels at Velvet Escape.

Don’t forget to check out my contribution on Keith’s ‘A World of Inspiration’ series – A Familiar Face in a Foreign Land.’


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About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

8 Responses to “Enchanting Cemeteries of Chile & Argentina”

  1. Catherine Bardrick June 19, 2009 2:28 am

    I love visiting cemeteries too!! In Latin cultures they are something really special…I have been several times to Recoleta but not to that amazing one in punta arenas..thanks for the stunning pix..I posted this week about a beautiful cemetery here in Mexico City…to add to your collection..

  2. jen Laceda June 20, 2009 4:44 pm

    Oh my gosh…you guys should visit the Chinese cemetery in the Philippines! Some of the mausoleums are bigger than living homes! It's one of the off-the-beaten-track things to do in Manila! I love macabre! :) Great post, Keith!

  3. Matt June 21, 2009 2:34 pm

    I'd never thought I'd say it but those are cool cemeteries. very interesting mausoleums.

  4. Gary December 1, 2009 12:56 pm

    Fantastic collection of amazing photos Keith! How did you collect them, are they from friends or other bloggers? Doesn't matter I suppose, just glad to see so many outstanding pictures on one page. Was thinking about visiting on Day of the Dead myself to get some photos, now you've strengthened my resolve! Thanks!

  5. M40354 July 23, 2013 4:39 pm

    Maduro says: “we told the young man, ‘you are persecuted by the empire (United States), come here


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