Off the Beaten Path: Rural Towns in the Buenos Aires Province

(Photo by Facundo Prámparo)

Argentina is a vast country with many very different places to visit. Traveling to Buenos Aires usually means staying in Capital Federal, undoubtedly, the city has a unique magnetic pull; it is after all the country’s stunning capital. However, the province of Buenos Aires has charming towns that are well worth visiting to get the feel of the rural aspect of Argentine living. Many of these places are close to the city so they make great quick getaways. Below are some of our picks:

San Antonio de Areco:  This gaucho town, just 113 Km’s away North West from the city centre, is the perfect place to find typical customs, native silverwork and to enjoy nature. Some of the recommended places to visit include the Museo Gauchesco y Parque Criollo Ricardo Guiraldes, the Museo Taller Draghi, and La Olla de Cobre for fantastic homemade chocolate and alfajores. Getting there takes two hours approximately by bus to Retiro.

Where to stay: There are various estancias, inns and Bed & Breakfasts to choose from. Some of the more known options are Estancia La Porteña de Areco, and El Ombu de Areco.

San Pedro: A little further up North, on the banks of the Paraná river is this small town that was founded in 1907, surrounding a Franciscan convent. Now a day it is a one of the most important fruit ports in the country. Places to visit include La Campiña, a fragrant orange farm open to the public, the Plazoleta Fray Cayetano, and the Fernando Garcia Curten art museum. It is also a great place for fishing and other aquatic activities.

Where to stay: Hotel San Pedro Palace, the oldest hotel in the town which dates back to 1898 and is spick and span due to recent renovations.

Lobos: This small town just 100km to the south west of Capital Federal is famous for its estancias, lake and outdoor life. It is also a historical town where both gaucho and indigenous culture clashed and where General Peron was born. Attractions include the Laguna de Lobos, the Peron museum, a museum of natural sciences and various estancias.

Where to stay: Estancia la Candelaria-A top-notch estancia offering everything from gaucho shows to parachuting and massages in a gorgeous French style chateau surrounded by fragrant nature.

Tandil: Further down south, the town of Tandil sits on the edge of the Sierras de Tandil providing a rugged terrain, perfect for rock climbing and trekking. It is also an important historical landmark as it was a big military fort where important battles were fought. The biggest attractions are natural landmarks such as the Cerro Centinela, Monte Calvario and Piedra Movediza amongst others. Tandil is also a special place for cured meats and cheeses.

Where to stay: Posada de los Pajaros is set in the middle of the sierras providing for a tranquil atmosphere surrounded by nature. Otherwise stay at the Altos Avenida in the town center.

We Recommend: San Antonio de Areco

(Photo by Eduardo Amorim)

To the North of Buenos Aires province, just 113 Km’s away from the city, lies a little town abuzz with visitors looking for a bit of history and a taste of gaucho life. The homeland of Segundo Ramirez, a local gaucho who poet and novelist Ricardo Güiraldes was inspired by when writing Don Segundo Sombra, one of the pillars of Argentine literature, is the perfect place to catch a glimpse of the typical countryside  gaucho life, to find native silverwork and traditional crafts, and explore historic landmarks.

 

Our suggestions:

Check out historic Gaucho artifacts and learn more about this Argentine archetype at the beautiful Museo Gauchesco y Parque Criollo Ricardo Güiraldes which is structured like an eighteenth century hacienda.

The Pampa Indigenas were already adorning their wives with silver bracelets way before the Spanish colonized the area so it should come as no surprise that one of the local specialties should be silverwork.  The Centro Cultural and Museo Taller Draghi showcases some of the finest examples of the elaborate designs of renowned silversmith Juan José Draghi.

Visit the historic bridge (Puente Viejo) and the San Antonio de Padua church, two of the first constructions of the town.

Take a canoe down the river, ride a horse through the open fields or go sports fishing to enjoy the natural environment San Antonio de Areco has to offer. Contact services here.

Stop for a sweet treat at La Olla de Cobre, where Carlos and Teresita make their own chocolate starting from the processing of the cacao bean to the delicious end product. Don’t miss their fantastic alfajores!

 

How to get there?

Two options are available to get to San Antonio de Areco, one is by car, the other by bus.

By car take Ruta 8.

By bus: Head to the Retiro Bus Terminal where  bus companies are grouped together by region. Chevalier  has a bus to Areco that takes about two hours.  During the summer season it is advised to buy tickets ahead of time.

 

Where to stay?

There are various estancias, inns  and Bed & Breakfasts to choose from. Some of the more known options are  Estancia La Porteña de Areco, El Ombu de Areco, and Paradores Draghi.

 

Tips:

Go on a weekday to avoid crowds and if you’re traveling in November don’t miss Tradition Week where festivities and local customs are celebrated all month.