DISCOVER SAN ISIDRO BY BIKE

Bike in San Isidro

Take a peek at its colonial, imperial and current side

If you like biking, you can take the train from downtown up to La Lucila station and the street Diaz Velez all the way to the river. It is quite nice and easy ride as there is a bike-path bordering the riverside.

When I was young I felt a little bit uncomfortable saying I lived in San Isidro, a residential area located 20km north of the city of Buenos Aires, due to its posh connotation amongst porteños. In the course of time, I sort of reconciled with my neighborhood and today it is one of the first places I take foreigners when they come visit me.

I still remember the day I made peace with San Isidro, it was during a gym class. I had moved back home after living abroad for almost 8 years. While I was living in San Francisco I used to exercise at lunchtime. The class was mostly made up of 40 year old males, perfectionist and competitive who challenged themselves from burpee to burpee. But I was, well, mostly interested in breaking up my work-day. Then I moved to Paris. I signed up for a step class that required a lot more coordination than energy. I found myself trying very hard in a sea of graceful parisiennes, when the teacher spotted me making some very awkward movements, and scolded at me! So when I moved back home I returned to my good old habits and signed up at the gym closest to my parents’ house. As the weather was nice the class was outside by the riverside. I wasn’t trying hard to be the Incredible Hulk nor a graceful swan and suddenly I felt like myself. That’s when I thought to myself how crazy it is that when you live abroad even the gym feels different.

When I travel I enjoy meeting locals because it is in everyday moments that you get the real sense of what life is like where you are. This is why I like taking tourists to San Isidro and I showing them around its colonial, imperial and more current side.

COLONIAL SAN ISIDRO

PUEYRREDÓN MUSEUM (free entrance) @ Rivera Indarte 48, Acassuso

This 1790’s house is one of the best examples of Spanish colonial architecture. It used to be the residence of Juan Martin de Pueyrredón a general who fought at the British invasions of the river plate. With its thick walls and paintings of Spanish ladies wearing hoop-skirts you will connect to the roots of Argentina.

QUINTA LOS OMBÚES (free entrance, as well!) @ Adrián Beccar Varela 774, San Isidro

Located in the historical center of San Isidro, this house is another reference of Spanish colonial architecture. It used to be the residence of Mariquita Sánchez de Thompson a patriotic figure remembered for having hosted a party during which the national hymn was played for the first time.

It was also the residence of another well-known family, the Beccar Varela who donated it to the municipality to transform it into the museum that you can visit today.

IMPERIAL SAN ISIDRO

VILLA OCAMPO (entrance costs approximately $4 USD) @ Elortondo 1837, Béccar

I love saying I am related to Victoria Ocampo, even though the family connection is quite far fetched. My grandmother used to go there to play and my godmother helped redesign the park after a fire destroyed most of the house causing it to be shut down for decades. Victoria Ocampo was one of the most influential Argentinean intellectuals of the last century. Albert Camus and Graham Greene lived at her summer residence at least three times. As for the people who visited it the list is extensive: Le Corbusier, Gropius, Ortega y Gasset, Saint Exupéry, Neruda, André Malraux and Indira Gandhi just to name a few.

Nowadays it belongs to the Unesco and can be visited as a museum. It is a quiet and lovely spot to enjoy a cup of tea or an afternoon snack.

CURRENT SAN ISIDRO

MALLOY’S BAR Y FEDRA’S GARDEN @ Sebastián Elcano 1718, B1641 Martínez

Nowadays the magic of San Isidro lies in its proximity to the water. So before leaving you should stop at Perú Beach, where you can take KiteSurf, Windsurf or Stand Up Paddle lessons. There’s also a small half-pipe for skate boarding and a field for roller hockey. Try avoiding going on weekends as it gets quite crowded.

To have a beer or a smoothie I recommend Malloy’s, it has a nice river view and a little sandy beach that will really make you feel “far away from it all”! Fedra’s Garden is accessible through the same parking lot, it does not has a river view but it does have a fun and relax atmosphere to have a drink or grab a bite.