Buenos Aires, Argentina

In the Footsteps of Dictators

with Elisa D.

60 reviews

Elisa D.

“Become an eyewitness to an obscure period of our history and have a unique experience with the dark side of Argentina”

You will explore the following:

An ex-Clandestine Center, often called the Auschwitz of Argentina.

Memorial plaques of the disappeared people.

Incredible murals (paintings & graffiti) on the topic. The individuals, history, and struggles they represent.

A Clandestine Center of Detention, Torture and Annihilation was a place dedicated to the kidnapping and torture of suspected dissidents. They functioned during the last military dictatorship that took place in Argentina from 1976 to 1983.

This massive complex contained areas where political prisoners were detained and barbarously tortured. We are not going inside the place.You won’t be touring the areas that are closed while archaeological techniques of restoration, conservation, and evidence-gathering work proceeds. But the most interesting things, for the most part, are easily seen from the outside.

These terrible places are important for understanding Argentina, and are a visceral depiction of the wide reach of the military dictatorship in its ability to terrorize the local population. The kidnapped people were systematically dehumanized; they experienced atrocities and lived in terrible conditions. All the while, they dreaded the infamous "transfer" - military speak for execution; some of them were then dumped into the ocean from airplanes.

As I am a living history, I will tell you the interesting facts you need to know to understand the worst, most brutal and most violent dictatorship in Argentinean history. We will also talk about one of the worst aspects of the dictatorship: the babies stolen from their imprisoned mothers and raised by military families. And, finally, you will hear some testimonies.

FOR: Intellectually curious travelers. Not for children.

Availability: Tours run everyday. Please message me before booking to confirm availability.

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per person
for 2 hours

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Your Insider
Elisa D.

I am a Buenos Aires native who loves interacting with people and sharing my deep knowledge and passion for this city: its history, art, architecture, food, literature etc. The tours I offer are meant for people who love to explore places off the beaten track, and for those who enjoy discovering hidden gems. My Past and Present occupations: I was a bilingual assistant for a medical tourism company, history research assistant, and an adviser to a travel magazine about places and activities in Argentina. I have taken classes in Argentine literature and history, tourism, History of Art, Latin American Art, architecture and the history of Buenos Aires and its neighborhoods. Each of my tours lasts around 3 hours. We could take longer, as I am flexible to accommodate the needs and questions you might have. And if you want to linger a while, don't worry -- this is your tour and, because I only book small parties, you can linger all you want. This is not your typical "hurry-hurry" tour. Full profile

60 Reviews

Jonathan L.

I am a student from the United States studying human rights so I am specifically interested in history related to dictators. Elisa is very knowledgeable about Jorge Rafael Videla and the atrocities he committed in Argentina. I recommend this tour not only because she is professional, kind, and educated on the topic, but also because it is beneficial to go beyond the class room to see first hand where these human rights violations took place. By doing so I have become more passionate about human rights. Cheers. Jonathan Lampe

Daniel M.

So pleased I did this interesting experience! Highly recommended!!!! Elisa is really nice, friendly, personable and wonderful guide who really loves her job and obviously enjoys it. She is the kind of guide who really knows what a tourist wants. Her reputation is 100% deserved. Her interpersonal skills work superbly well in providing a tour which is educational, informative and enjoyable. Her extensive knowledge of the historical site (which had the greatest impact on me) and its amazing history was second to none. She provided enough information without overload. She led me around this eerie place, giving me details I couldn't have known had I visited on my own. She was always pointing out all interesting things along the way and on the murals. The whole tour was full of emotion and awe and I was under no pressure to 'move on'. This gave me plenty of time space to absorb everything and thought gathering, which was important; whilst also leaving enough time for reflecting upon the site and the situation. What is especially good is that you can feel Elisa's genuine pride and interest in helping her customers enjoy their tour. I can say I learned a lot from her. She was also very well versed on local information. . Her knowledge about the city and its attractions is superb. I spent the morning trying to get some understanding of the horrors of the dictatorships while Elisa professionally answered any questions that I asked, providing great information, context and history of both the dictatorships and history of Argentina in general. She told me interesting stories and her personal anecdotes about the time of the last military dictatorship that made the tour very personal and unique. All this means that you learn so, so much more than you could possible imagine. (And there's not a lot of walking!). I have done extensive travelling and I can tell that if you like history and if you want someone who really "knows her stuff" no other experience would be as good as this one. I took another tour with Elisa which I also wouldn't hesitate to recommend (and I have already done so) if you are planning a trip to Buenos Aires. Both tours are really fantastic and very good value for money. Her tours will be the highlight of your trip of Argentina and definitely the best choices you can make. There is no way I would have had the experiences that I did without Elisa! I can only say great things about her and the service she offers....Book her unique tours you will not regret it. They are absolutely first class!

Jim M.

Over the years, I have been fortunate to have traveled to many places in the world and have had my share of tours. I have always looked for those chances to get a better understanding of the country I am visiting, its people and culture. So, I seek out Off the Beaten Path opportunities ....not the obvious tourist attractions. And, as the former President & CEO of a small company in the US, I understand the importance of customer service, knowledge and respect. My tour, "In the Footsteps of Dictators" was led by Elisa who was not only professional and personable, but someone who shared what it was like to live thru that dark period in Argentina's history. More importantly, I found out that she leads other Off the Beaten Path tours sharing the hidden gems of Buenos Aires, places you would never see on a generic tour and stories you might never hear. She is the Go To person for those who are looking to experience the real Buenos Aires.

Mia H.

This is my second trip to Buenos Aires and this tour has been by far the most memorable, worthwhile activity I've done. I can't speak highly enough of Elisa. Many people here won't, or can't, talk about the dictatorship, but Elisa told me incredible and harrowing stories about her own life, family and friends as well as explaining the backdrop of Buenos Aires in the late seventies/early eighties. Elisa brought photos, documents, audio testimonies, explained the murals on Olimpo and answered any question I had. For anyone who is interested in history, politics, culture, or or for those who want to learn about the darker, hidden side of Buenos Aires, or for an 'off the beaten track' activity, this tour is unmissable, and is a lot more personal and informative than a visit to the ex-ESMA. 10/10 - Brilliant.

Patricia G.

Unforgettable experience! My experience with Elisa was incredible! And I couldn’t have asked for anything more. She shared some of her personal experiences as a local Argentine, making the trip even more insightful. She was amazing, really professional and knew a lot about the dictatorships in Latin America as well as all the ex-clandestine centers in Argentina. I had a great tour and I learned a lot. I have a much deeper sense of the character of Buenos Aires and its inhabitants both present and past. This tour is also for people who like art because the paintings are amazing! Her interest and love of Argentine history and its culture brings to light interesting stories that have long since been forgotten. She explained the history of all the stops by giving a detailed background to what was happening in Buenos Aires at the time. I think this tour is a must in Buenos Aires and I would definitely recommend it.

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