I’ll take the wide road…

Crossing the biggest avenue in the world is part of the daily danger of Buenos Aires. But in true Argentinian style, the avenue has become its own attraction.

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. He has been a journalist for more than 20 years and has travelled the world full time since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.

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Avenida 9 de Julio, Buenos Aires, Argentina

It was when I was about halfway across the road that the lights changed and the cars started to charge. Never mind that I was stuck in the middle of seven lanes of oncoming traffic.

This is Buenos Aires and if you’ve got two feet and no steering wheel, then you’ve got no right of way. That was how I learned the hard way to be careful when crossing the widest avenue in the world.

Widest avenue in the world, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Well, I say “the widest avenue in the world” because that’s what I’ve been told several times by local Argentinians.

They’re very proud of the girth of this road and you can sense that someone is about to tell you about it because their chest puffs up a little bit, the ends of their mouth curl with patriotism and their eyes deepen to stress the importance of the information you’re about to be given.

Widest avenue in the world, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The street is called “Avenida 9 de Julio”, which literally means “the 9th of July Avenue” – the date of the Argentina’s Independence Day.

At its widest, the avenue has twenty lanes of traffic if you include the side roads that ran parallel and also need to be crossed to make it safely to the other side.

Crossing, as I mentioned earlier, can be dangerous and a lot of pedestrians do it in two stages, taking refuge at the islands on the way.

Some brave souls choose to do the whole street in one go and sprint across, leaping from the footpath as though the green light was an Olympic starting gun.

Widest avenue in the world, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Thousands of cars rush down Avenida 9 de Julio every minute of the day, conjuring up images of a broad river of traffic cutting a swathe through the city. It is the Amazon of Buenos Aires. And, as is often the case with rivers, commerce has sprung up along the banks.

At most intersections, small economies now exist, with several mini enterprises touting for business from the drivers waiting at red lights.

Vendors sell water, food and snacks. But some also sell toys like kites and bubble-blowers.

Why someone would want a child blowing dozens of soapy bubbles in the back seat of a moving car, I’m not sure, but I assume there must be a market if they keep selling them every day.

Widest avenue in the world, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Widest avenue in the world, Buenos Aires, Argentina

There are also men who carry large advertising posters out onto the street every time there’s a red light and hold them in front of the cars.

It’s really quite a clever idea – it’s much more noticeable than a billboard, it’s obviously much cheaper, and there’s the flexibility to constantly change or update it.

Widest avenue in the world, Buenos Aires, Argentina

There’s one part of Avenida 9 de Julio where an outline of Eva Peron looks down at the traffic from the side of a building. The portrait of the former first lady is more than 30 metres tall and was unveiled earlier this year, after being commissioned by Argentina’s President.

Widest avenue in the world, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The building was chosen because it was where she delivered a historic speech sixty years earlier. It’s probably no coincidence, though, which street is below her.

Both Eva Peron and the avenue have something in common – they represent the endurance of this country on the path of patriotism.

THE BEST ACCOMMODATION IN BUENOS AIRES

If you stay close to the city centre of BA, you’ll be near many of the main sights and have easy access to other neighbourhoods.

BACKPACKER

For a backpacker option, Che Juan Hostel is modern and comfortable with good privacy.

BUDGET

With great value and a central location, River Hotel is a good option if you’re on a budget.

BOUTIQUE

For true style, I would recommend BE Jardin Escondido, which is where Francis Ford Coppola stays.

LUXURY

And when it comes to the top end, the Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt is the ultimate in luxury!

6 thoughts on “I’ll take the wide road…”

  1. Nice overview of what is really an unlovely and relatively unloved part of the city. Did you see the other Evita on the other side of the building as well? A useless fact about the building (currently the Ministry of Health and Social Development) is that it is the only building to have an address on the 9 de Julio. All the other buildings line the neighbouring streets (Cerrito, Lima etc), they’re not on the avenue itself.

    Reply
    • Yeah, the other Evita is probably a better image but I kind of like the microphone in this one. And that’s cool about the address – I didn’t know that! Useless, perhaps… interesting, yes 🙂

      Reply

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