Buenos Aires ’s second cemetery may be more affordable than Recoleta , but eternity at the Cementerio de la Chacarita can still mean notoriety. Its residents include high-profile Argentines in fields ranging from entertainment to religion and politics—and the lines between these categories are not always obvious.
The most beloved is tango singer Carlos Gardel, who died in a plane crash in Colombia in 1935. Hundreds of admirers from around the globe have left plaques on the tomb, many thanking him for miracles, and every June 26 they jam the cemetery’s city-like streets to pay homage. As often as not, the right hand of his bronze statue holds a lighted cigarette, and a red carnation adorns his lapel.
In terms of devotion, only Spanish-born faith-healer-to-the-aristocracy Madre María Salomé comes close to Gardel; on the 2nd of most months—she died October 2, 1928—white carnations cover her tomb. Other famous figures include aviator Jorge Newbery, for whom the city airport is named, killed in a plane crash in 1914; tango musicians Aníbal “Pichuco” Troilo and Osvaldo Pugliese; poet Alfonsina Storni; La Boca  painter Benito Quinquela Martín; and theater and film comedian Luis Sandrini.
Certainly the most famous, though, was Juan Domingo Perón, who was recently moved to a new mausoleum at his San Vicente country house. In June 1987, stealthy vandals entered the family’s Chacarita crypt, amputating and stealing the caudillo’s hands in a crime since linked to Italian financier Lucio Gelli. Anti-Peronists speculated, despite lack of evidence, that the thieves sought Perón’s fingerprints for access to supposed Swiss bank accounts.
Only a short walk from the Subte Línea B’s Estación Federico Lacroze, the Cementerio de la Chacarita (Guzmán 680, tel. 011/4553-9338, www.cementeriochacarita.com.ar , 7 a.m.–6 p.m. daily) covers 95 blocks with a total of 12,000 burial vaults, 100,000 gravesites, and 350,000 niches. The website is unofficial but useful.
In addition to Chacarita, there are two contiguous but formally separate cemeteries: the Cementerio Alemán (German Cemetery, Avenida Elcano 4530, www.cementerioaleman.org.ar , tel. 011/4553-3206) and the Cementerio Británico (British Cemetery, Avenida Elcano 4568, tel. 011/4554-0092, www.cementeriobritanico.org.ar ). Both are open 7 a.m.–6 p.m. daily.
The Británico is more diverse, with tombs showing Armenian, Greek, Irish, Jewish, and many other immigrant nationalities. The Anglo-Argentine Lucas Bridges, son of Anglican missionaries in Tierra del Fuego and author of the memoir The Uttermost Part of the Earth, was buried here after dying at sea en route from Ushuaia  to Buenos Aires . The Alemán features a large but politically neutral monument to Germany’s World War II dead—no German or German-Argentine wants to be publicly associated with the Third Reich.