Ah, November in Buenos Aires. The dreary drizzle of winter a distant memory, all of the fair weather expats make their inglorious return back to the city, just in time for peak rooftop season. The main attraction, of course, is the dazzling spectacle of the thousands of jacarandá trees that drape what feels like every square inch of Buenos Aires in violet blooms; for a moment, we forget about things like inflation, the IMF, and baldosas flojas. This unique season is but a brief blip on the radar before the swampy summer heat and humidity take over and make us want to die every single day.
In Buenos Aires alone there are 14,301 jacarandá trees. The iconic landscape architect Carlos Thays is responsible for bringing them to the city in the 19th century; they’re tolerant of the pollution generated by urban life and since their root systems aren’t too invasive, they don’t affect the sidewalks. Thays envisioned “green tunnels” throughout Buenos Aires, planting species such as the lapacho and tipa whose canopies come together, providing verdant share across the city.
According to Facundo Carrillo from the City Government of Buenos Aires, even more trees will planted in the future. “We have a strategic plan in place and hope to plant 100,000 new [jacarandá] trees between 2020-2023. The species we choose bring important benefits to the residents of Buenos Aires, but the jacarandás in particular stand out because of the beauty they generate and that is photographed every November when they bloom.”
So without further ado, here’s a quick guide to the jacarandas around Buenos Aires so you can get out there, camera in hand, and capture the purple haze in all its porteño glory. Take note – they only last a few ephemeral weeks, so don’t miss out!
We know, you just haaaaaaaate having to leave your Palermo bubble because god forbid you actually discover the city where you live. Well, downtown isn’t just trámites and piquetes, boo. There’s loads of jacarandás around Monserrat, San Nicolás, and Retiro! If you get your start in Plaza de Mayo, Avenidas Roque Saenz Peña and Julio Argentino Roca are lined with them; Av. 9 de Julio remains the star of the show with its dozens and dozens of purple blooms along its trajectory. If you’re closer to Retiro, Plaza San Martín offers you a killer combo: the iconic Kavanagh building set against the backdrop of tons of jacarandás. Oh, and there’s a great Rapa Rui right there. You’re welcome.
Stroll along the main drag of this mini Miami, taking in the modern skyscrapers, densely packed downtown across the way, and sailboats in the marina, all through the lilac tint provided by the jacarandás along the waterway. On the weekends it grows particularly crowded – no surprise there – so if you can manage a mid-week visit, it will almost seem like you have the place to yourself. Since you’re in the area, pop into the Ecological Reserve located at the far end of the barrio and really immerse yourself in some greenery. Once you round the bend and make it out to the river’s edge, for a minute you’ll forget that you’re in Buenos Aires.
Recoleta & Palermo
Nothing beats coasting up and down Av. del Libertador and Figueroa Alcorta and gazing up at the what seems like millions of violet flowers for ages. If you want to soak up a peaceful and mega #grammable afternoon, this is where you should hang out. Enjoy the parks and plazas of Buenos Aires as you snap away, taking a break at any of the museums in the area if the sun gets to be too much. Our suggestion is to start out near Av. Pueyrredón and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, working your way up toward MALBA and Parque 3 de Febrero. Be sure to cross over the bridge near the Facultad de Derecho for an aerial view of the jacarandás in action. Oh, and for an extra special dose of #aesthetic insanity, spend extra time around Barrio Parque (Palermo Chico), where there embassies, diplomatic residents, and palatial townhouses add an extra layer of beauty to it all.
Sometimes I fantasize about being a millionaire and owning one of those drop-dead gorgeous mansions in Belgrano R. Then I realize I earn approximately US $10 a month and am condemned to underemployment. Le sigh. Anyway, what a great barrio no? Trot along Av. Cabildo or Luis María Campos for a dose of purple perfection, but don’t miss Plaza Manuel Belgrano or Barrancas de Belgrano to up the green quotient. If you’re keen to keep strolling, enjoy the residential tranquility of the surrounding areas and walk up toward Nuñéz; there’s loads of jacarandá in bloom there, as well.
Don’t sleep on Parque los Andes. Though it borders the always-busy Av. Corrientes, this utterly darling patch of green in one of the most classic barrios of Buenos Aires – currently undergoing a bit of a foodie renaissance, by the way – hosts a string of jacarandás along its central corridor. It’s a quick stroll from Palermo, Villa Crespo, and Colegiales, but you can even hop there on the Subte B if you’re traveling from a bit further afield. But in reality, Chacarita is closer than you think – and absolutely lovely.