Gaucho Traditions Preserved in San Antonio de Areco

Buenos Aires Province, Argentina

Puenta Viejo---Old Bridge

Puenta Viejo—Old Bridge

By Roy Heale

Quite often visitors to Buenos Aires are looking for interesting escapes into the local countryside yet close to the city. Those seeking a real gaucho experience and a sample of local history often choose the quaint town of San Antonio de Areco founded in 1730 on the banks of the Areco River. Located about 110 km northwest of the city, the town dates back to the early 18th century and many of the original buildings are well preserved and function today as cafes, restaurants, and boutiques.

Iglesia Parroquial

Iglesia Parroquial

Residents of Buenos Aires often visit for the peaceful atmosphere and picturesque colonial streets. The traditions of the gaucho and criollo (people of pure Spanish descent born in the New World), are well preserved, especially among its artisans, who produce fine silverwork and saddlery. Gauchos from all over the pampas show up for November’s Día de la Tradición, where you can catch them in their traditional cowboy outfits astride their horses, strutting the cobbled streets.

Historic Buildings

Historic Buildings

The city is the home of the Museo Gauchesco Ricardo Güiraldes and has been declared a city of historic national interest by the Argentine Government.

San Antonio de Areco’s compact town center and quiet streets are very pedestrian friendly. Around the Plaza Ruiz de Arellano, named in honor of the town’s founding estanciero (ranch owner), are several historic buildings, including the Iglesia Parroquial (parish church) opened in 1780.

Parilla Delights

Parilla Delights

There is an abundance of great dining options with prices much more reasonable than those in the City of Buenos Aires. The local specialty is, of course, meats cooked on the parilla with fresh vegetables and salads.

Local Produce

Local Produce

If you prefer a longer visit than a one day excursion, there are a few small hotels around the town offering Bed&Breakfast plus the Hotel & Spa San Carlos on the riverbank park.

Like many other small towns in this part of Argentina, Areco shuts down during the afternoon siesta.

Hotel & Spa San Carlos

Hotel & Spa San Carlos

Regular bus service runs fro Retiro Omnibus Terminal and the journey is just under two hours depending on traffic.

 

Take a step back in time, relax and enjoy some Gaucho history in the pampas of Buenos Aires province.

 

 

Stunning Video of Buenos Aires

video shot of Baires Watch this video and see some great aerial shots of the city parks and buildings. Then come and visit and see for yourself!

http://www.bubblear.com/video-stunning-aerial-shots-buenos-aires

Lakeside Tourist Paradise, Villa Rumipal, Cordoba, Argentina

By Roy Heale

 

Tercero River Reservoir

Tercero River Reservoir

 

During the Argentine summer months of December, January, and February many tourists turn to the outdoors for leisure activities under the hot sun and during the warm days. The Calamuchita Valley in the Sierras of Cordoba Province is one of the most well known tourist destinations with those who enjoy lakeside outdoor activities.

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Villa Rumipal is one of the workers settlements established during the construction of the Tercero River dam during the first half of the twentieth century. The closest city is Santa Rosa de Calamuchita, located just seventeen kilometers away. The sleepy small town with tree-lined quiet streets is peaceful, relaxing, and offers a full range of activities in and around the lake.

 

Quiet Tree-Lined Streets

Quiet Tree-Lined Streets

Nestled on the shore of the very large Tercero River Reservoir and including several waterways which contribute to this vast lake, this is a place where boating, fishing, swimming, and more water sports prevail in the crystal clear waters. El Torreón and Corcovados Beaches are the most popular and offer a range of activities.

The climate is ideal for outdoor life, including events such as the Lake Provincial Festival and its traditional swim across the lake, the Criollo Holy Week, the endurance championships, plus model airplanes tournaments with radio controlled flights. These are all memorable events for visitors throughout the year.

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Villa Rumipal has a lakeside camping site, numerous cabin rentals, and two new hotels (Lago Hotel and Posada Chapaq Nan) near the waterfront plus several local cafes and restaurants offering Argentine specialty dishes. It is recommended to book early due to the immense popularity in the summer months and the limited number of accommodations available.

Lago Hotel

Lago Hotel

Posada Chapaq Nan

Posada Chapaq Nan

Local Restaurants

Local Restaurants

 

 

Enjoy this summer playground situated beside one of the regions largest lakes.

Oktoberfest Celebrations in Argentina?

Villa General Belgrano, Cordoba

 

Villa General Belgrano

Villa General Belgrano

By Roy Heale

Reputedly the third largest celebrations of Oktoberfest outside of Germany can be found in the small central Argentine town of Villa General Belgrano of the province of Cordoba.

Local Beer Halls

Local Beer Halls

This small mountain hamlet of approximately six thousand residents is named after Manuel Belgrano, the creator of the National flag,  and is perched on a hillside of the Sierras of Córdoba. Founded in 1930, by two German land speculators, the Alpine quality of the village attracted immigrants from Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Austria.

Newcomers to the village, along with the original settlers, landscaped the mountain ranges with red-roofed, wood-frame homes, microbreweries, pastry and chocolate shops imparting that unique Bavarian style which distinguishes it today.  Now pedestrians enjoy the magical Bavarian atmosphere as they stroll around the scenic townsite.

The village economy flourishes on a year round steady flow of tourists (peaking in October) with an appetite for German delicacies like apple strudel, leberwurst and spätzle plus of course local brewed beer.

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Newsstands sell the German language weekly Argentinisches Tageblatt among other German newspapers, and some of the churches offer Sunday services in German and Spanish. Like many isolated immigrant communities, Villa General Belgrano has respected traditions that fell out of favor in Germany long ago, however even though the mother tongue can still be heard, it is being lost with the passage of time.

 

Entrance To Festival Grounds

Entrance To Festival Grounds

For more than fifty years Argentina’s National Beer Festival has been held in the district of Villa General Belgrano, thus commemorating the German celebration of Oktoberfest. This event is celebrated during eleven intense days in the Beer Park—a central venue especially designed for the occasion. The attendants drink several liters of beer, which are served in giant German mugs. The main beer brands, both national and international, take part in this traditional festival, in which their premium, regular and special products are promoted at various stands. At certain times, the celebration moves into the center of the city, where there is a parade of the communities that have contributed to the formation of the present European identity of Villa General Belgrano. Thus, delegations from Germany, Denmark, Scotland, Spain, the Canary Islands, Yugoslavia, Sweden, Portugal, Brazil, Greece, Italy, Armenia and Ukraine show off their traditional costumes, expanding the cultural spectrum of the festival.

 

In the afternoons, the simultaneous opening of the beer barrels is carried out. People gather with their mugs held out trying to get some of the free spurts of beer. According to tradition, drinking the beer from those barrels is supposed to bring people good luck.

Ceremonial Opening of the Kegs

Ceremonial Opening of the Kegs

 

The pagan ritual which became known as Oktoberfest originated in Munich, Germany, five centuries ago, in which worshipers believe in the sparkling goddess that enters the body like an icy stream as she takes hold of the spirit. Argentina welcomes the continuance of this long standing German tradition upheld in the natural beauty of the Sierras de Cordoba.

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Find some lederhosen and head to Villa General Belgrano in October for a traditional beer festival and fun times in a European atmosphere.

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Outdoor Vacation Paradise of Santa Rosa de Calamuchita, Cordoba, Argentina

Santa Rosa River Valley

Santa Rosa River Valley

 

By Roy Heale

Hidden discreetly on the banks of the Santa Rosa River is the small vacation town of Santa Rosa de Calamuchita. Known mostly to local Argentine tourists, this small town is a popular, authentic local vacation playground for outdoor activities. Off the beaten track of most foreigners, don’t expect to find a Starbucks, McDonalds, or Burger King here, but you will be treated to real Argentine cuisine in local cafes and restaurants especially the renowned parillas. Dine along the riverbank or choose an historic restaurant in the village with great food and low prices. Although it is extremely busy during the summer months, a relaxed and tranquil atmosphere prevails.

Dinner by the River

Dinner by the River

This small village in the province of Córdoba, Argentina is located in the center of the Calamuchita Valley, in the heart of a landscape that includes hills (the Sierras) as well as rivers and lakes. Located between the Sierras Grandes and the Sierras Chicas in the very middle of the river valley this tourist center is 96 km away from Cordoba Capital City and is a good choice to relax in any season. It attracts numerous visitors to enjoy the beaches and rivers with clear water surrounded by mountainous relief.

Accommodations include a range of hotel options plus numerous cabaña (cabin) rentals for extended stay vacations. Prices are quite modest and many bargains can be found all year round. The local tourist information bureau keeps a daily list of availability and prices.

Cabaña Resort

Cabaña Resort

At 615 meters above sea level there is almost no wind with ideal temperatures to enjoy outdoor activities year round. This historic region with architecture that goes back to 1575 and the arrival of the Spanish Jesuits is steeped in local culture.

Historic Architecture

Historic Architecture

Close to the Champaquí mountain range (2884 meters high), hiking or mountain biking are popular activities plus photo safaris to enjoy the natural environment. The Santa Rosa River is an ideal place for sport fishing or to discover pools of calm water with white sandy beaches amidst the riverbank parklands.

Calamuchita

At night, Calamuchita invites young people, adults and all visitors to join the locals at discos, bowling alleys and video games arcades on the bustling main street.

Taking The FerroCentral Train From Buenos Aires to Cordoba Capital, Argentina

By Roy Heale

FerroCentral Train

FerroCentral Train

Sadly over the years most of the trans-continental trains in South America have vanished from service.
However, in Argentina there is still train availability from Buenos Aires to Tucamen with several stops along the way. Operated by FerroCentral this journey is longer than traveling by road, but for those who enjoy train trips it is a very inexpensive way to make this journey. Used mostly by locals, this requires considerable advance booking—often several months—-as there is limited frequency of only twice per week with a small passenger capacity. Tickets can be purchased at the FerroCentral offices at Retiro train station in Buenos Aires and several classes of service are offered ranging from economy seats to small private cabins.

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Recently we chose to experience this train journey for our vacation in the Sierras of Cordoba, taking the long twenty-two hour trip to Cordoba Capital from Retiro. Costing just around US$30 round-trip for two persons we reserved a sleeping cabin (camarote) for comfort and sightseeing pleasure. With this class of ticket a complimentary breakfast for two is included and a simple, adequate dinner is available for an extra US$6 per person including a main course, dessert pastry and beverage. Although the train departed exactly on schedule we encountered problems on the tracks about half-way through the journey close to Rosario and ended up with a seven hour diversion.

Dining Car

Dining Car

Our sleeping compartment was cozy and comfortable so we were able to enjoy the exceptionally long trip. The dining car offered reasonably good, simple meals at exceptionally low prices, but no alcoholic beverages.

Dinner Main Course

Dinner Main Course

Dessert

Dessert

We opted to get off the train early in Villa Maria and finish the journey to our final destination of Santa Rosa de Calamuchita by bus, which proved to be more efficient whilst still allowing us to enjoy the scenery.

One week after we returned to Buenos Aires in early March, 2015 the Federal Government replaced all the FerroCentral train carriages with brand new equipment and we just missed experiencing this upgraded service.

Overall, if you have the time for the journey and can plan your trip far in advance, this is a unique Argentine experience and the cheapest way to travel to the North West regions of this vast country.

For More Information Visit:
www.sateliteferroviario.com.ar
www.sateliteferroviario.com.ar/horarios/tucuman.htm

A New Shopping Addition To Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires

Distrito Arcos—The Arches District

Paraguay Main entrance to Distrito Arcos

Paraguay Main entrance to Distrito Arcos

 

By Roy Heale

 

The first day of summer in Buenos Aires heralded the opening of the new Distrito Arcos outdoor shopping district. After just over one year of protracted court proceedings regarding the environmental impact of the new shops and parking the new mall has finally opened.

Bounded by Juan B Justo, Santa Fe Avenida, Godoy Cruz, and Paraguay streets, it is close to the new Science Center and the Metrobus or Palermo Subway stations. The developers have recovered the old railway viaduct arches of the San Martin train line for boutique shops and created new retail shops and lush green spaces.

 

Green Spaces

Green Spaces

The shops open inwards onto roofed spaces and the common areas are almost all outdoors. The building’s main feature is the brick construction of the railway viaduct that defines both the inner walls and the façade. Outside, the focus is placed mainly on the green spaces. The commercial promenade is landscaped with green areas that provide the design’s motif. Street benches and other urban features are strategically placed all along, together with terraces, benches, and also a special area for holding events. The building is ornamented with a series of canopies along the arches that convey a rhythmic perspective to the overall construction design.

 

Unique Design

Unique Design

Distrito Aros is an urban commercial concept with original and unique features that set it apart from traditional shopping centers. Imbued by the premium outlet spirit, it offers a unique shopping experience in the city, combining the best brands with an outlet concept, an interesting range of products, gastronomic options, and the best prices in a unique environment.

 

Boutiques In The Arches

Boutiques In The Arches

There are sixty-five local shops, twenty kiosk market stalls, 450 underground parking spaces, a room for artistic activities, and space for art exhibitions. Green areas were planted with over 200 trees and lush tropical plants. It will function as a clothing outlet with known premium brands, more dining options, a fitness center, and other services. It is estimated that would create about 1,200 full time jobs.

 

Incorporating New Architecture

Incorporating New Architecture

Familiar names like Starbucks, Adidas, and Levis are present along with local brand name chain stores like Wanama, Rapsodia Vintage, and of course the popular Argentine Freddo ice cream chain. The complex exudes a relaxing, tranquil shopping atmosphere and is sure to prove popular with tourists and locals alike.

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Main Entrance: Paraguay 4979

For More Information:

www.facebook.com/distritoarcos

www.distritoarcos.com

Hotel Urbano—Vacation on the River at Carmelo, Uruguay

Hotel Urbano

Hotel Urbano

 

By Roy Heale

 

Nestled along the banks of the Arroyo de las Vacas river creek, Carmelo is a small town located in western Uruguay, noted for its wineries, beaches, and laid back lifestyle. The river runs along the east and south part of the city and serves as a port for the town. On its north bank there is the Puerto Carmelo-Tigre, where small catamaran boats carry passengers across the Río de la Plata to Argentina.

Puente Giratorio de Carmelo

Puente Giratorio de Carmelo

 

A swing bridge, the Puente Giratorio de Carmelo, which opened on May 1st 1912, passes over the river joining the north part of the city with its small southern community. Here another port along the southern banks of the river hosts a marina for private boats plus the CarmeloYacht Club. Along the coast there is the extensive white sandy beach Playa Seré, a large green space park with picnic areas and parillas (BBQs) for public use, a small zoological garden, and a Casino Hotel. It is here where every day the locals enjoy long sessions of drinking mate while sport fishing in order to catch bogas and pejerreyes from some of the breakwaters which go hundreds of meters deep into the waters.

 

Playa Seré Beach

Playa Seré Beach

 

Another attraction is the mouth of the Las Vacas waterway where numerous sports watercrafts and sailing boats traverse the area to enter Carmelo. The yacht pier and the nautical campsite, where it is possible to camp by the river, are distinctive and popular.

 

Plaza Indepencia

Plaza Indepencia

There are two main plazas in the city. One is Plaza Artigas, with a monument to the foundation of the city in 1816, the church Templo Histórico del Carmen plus the city museum and archive. The other, more central, Independence Square—also known as Sculptures Square—is the commercial hub of the city. The main business street is 19 de Avril, which connects at the south end with the bridge to the southern shores.

 

Hotel Urbano Second Floor Terrace

Hotel Urbano Second Floor Terrace

In this small resort town there are two choices for your accommodations. One is in the resort community by the river beaches and the other is in the heart of the small downtown. The Hotel Urbano is the perfect choice on a quiet side street in the downtown area. It is just a couple of blocks from the Main Plaza Indepencia which is the heart of the city. This modern, bright and clean hotel offers almost twenty spacious rooms in different sizes and sleeping configurations. There are singles, doubles, triples, superiors, and suites to select the ideal size for your own requirements. On the second level there is a large outdoor patio and sun deck to spend those quiet moments. The main floor lobby café/bar offers a complete buffet breakfast with pastries, breads, fruits, juices, coffee, tea, ham, cheeses and more. There is also a relaxing street level outdoor patio for those who like to dine or sit outside. Rooms are reasonably priced and the buffet breakfast is included. This ideal hotel is a great home away from home when visiting the beautiful and historic town of Carmelo.

Bright Spacious Rooms

Bright Spacious Rooms

 

Buffet Breakfast

Buffet Breakfast

During the summer months this is a very popular outdoor destination for Argentines and Uruguayans who want to escape the big city heat and bustle to relax in the tranquil country atmosphere. Inexpensive catamaran ferries operate daily by Cacciola from Tigre, Argentina to Carmelo and provide an extremely enjoyable 2.5 hours passage through the Rio de la Plata Delta islands.

 

 

Cacciola Ferry

Cacciola Ferry

For More Information:

http://www.carmelohotelurbano.com

www.cacciolaviajes.com

www.welcomeuruguay.com/carmelo/index_i.html

 

 

My Favorite Place to Dine and Stay in Vaqueros, Salta

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By Roy Heale

The small village of Vaqueros is just outside the Salta city limits and offers a wonderful Argentine country experience. The town is full of small stores, parkland, and of course the riverbank outdoor activities. Located in the foothills of the Andes at 4000′above sea level, with a resident population of about 4000 persons, here you will see traditional Argentina Gauchos (cowboys) on horseback making their way around the hamlet. Enjoy the small town atmosphere and great low prices in restaurants or local shops.
Visitors can experience horseback riding on the mountain trails, hiking around the hillsides, or take a guided quadricycle tour. Or you can stroll along the trail of the Artisans, a circuit to appreciate popular local arts and crafts fabricated in wood, leather, clay and wool.

Cozy Interior

Cozy Interior

The small and cozy Maurias bistro is a perfect place for dining. The food is home cooked to order with real country kitchen style and flavors. They are open for lunch and dinner offering empanadas, humitas, Spanish style potato tartas, a variety of main courses and traditional postrie deserts. The bife de lomo bordelaise (filet mignon) is a must for beef lovers or the roasted chicken breast Italian for lighter meat. Two people can easily dine here with a hearty meal accompanied by local wine for about US$15 and they have a cozy interior dining room or bright outdoor patio. This is my favorite place when I am at my country home in Vaqueros. This is off the beaten track for tourists but well worth a visit. Easily reached by taxi or city bus be sure to make this side trip if you are visiting the city of Salta.

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Generous Portions

Generous Portions

Gay-friendly accommodations are available located just 100 meters from the river and about the same distance from the village center. Luis Pezzini offers traditional Argentine cottages with all amenities from US$50 per night and they sleep up to four adults. With digital TV, WiFi, heating, and comfortable furnishings these living quarters are perfect for a country get-away and yet remain close to the city of Salta.

There is regular bus service (about every 15 minutes) to the city or a remise ride for about US$5.00 to downtown Salta. Your host is also very knowledgeable on the local area and can help with outdoor activities or tour advice.

For More Information:

http://www.parairnos.com/alquiler/vaqueros/alquiler-temporario-salta-vaqueros-los-sauces-25-5071.html

Fray Bentos Summer Vacations on the Banks of the Rio Uruguay

Park Along The Cliffs

Park Along The Cliffs

 

 

By Roy Heale

 

This small, sleepy town is one of Uruguay’s lesser known vacation spots. From green parks, dramatic cliffs along the river, historic architecture to splendid beaches, there exists a wide variety of outdoor activities for summer fun in and around Fray Bentos, Uruguay.

 

Recognised for “the romance of the sun, the cliffs and the river”, the town was conceived as a river port that still preserves its natural features with waters deep enough to allow large ocean going ships. This pleasant Uruguayan city is connected with the resort  town of Gualeguaychu in Argentina through the Libertador General San Martín international bridge. Here the climate is temperate and humid, ranging between 17° and 20° C in the summertime and dropping considerably during the winter.

Sunset Over The Uruguay River

Sunset Over The Uruguay River

 

The town of Fray Bentos provides “Old World” charm, historic architecture, beautiful parks and plazas. However, it does not offer many dining choices and opening hours vary. Young Theater, Constitución and Artigas Squares, the public amphitheater, and the Solari Museum are other sites of interest open to curious visitors in search of the region’s history.

Fray Bentos Central Plaza

Fray Bentos Central Plaza

 

There is a spectacular ten kilometer scenic drive along the riverside cliffs beginning in the center of the town and ending close to the beaches of Las Cañas bathing resort, renowned for its sandy beaches, nautical sports, and fishing. Along this route lies Barrio Anglo, declared a National Historical Monument, where a group of over one hundred  houses from the late XIX century with English and German characteristics surround the former Anglo meat slaughter house.  This historic community was once the heart of Fray Bentos. Today there is an Industrial Revolution Museum in the old meat processing plant and buildings, a monument, and historic buildings for visitors to enjoy a glimpse of the past. This area is just southwest of the town of Fray Bentos. Its natural harbor gave birth to the town around 1859 on the cliff coast of the River. It was a major port for the region and led to the development of the city. Guided tours are available and adjacent to the museum is a small restaurant offering local fare.

Entrance to Barrio Anglo

Entrance to Barrio Anglo

Industrial Revolution Museum

Industrial Revolution Museum

 

Hotel RR is a family run property close to the main highway from the International Bridge between Argentina and Uruguay. It is a motel style complex with fourteen chalets set amongst beautiful trees and floral gardens. There is a small swimming pool for the hot summer days and the main lodge has a very large verandah with seats to enjoy the view. It is set back from the road and is very quiet at night. The rooms are simple, clean, with air conditioning and heating plus satellite TV. It is a five minute drive to the center of Fray Bentos and a car is a must. The prices are economical and include a continental breakfast buffet. It is a great place for a short stay when travelling around by car in this beautiful part of Uruguay.

Entrance To RR Hotel

Entrance To RR Hotel

RR Hotel Swimming Pool

RR Hotel Swimming Pool

 

RR Hotel Veranda

RR Hotel Veranda

For those touring this part of the Uruguay countryside Fray Bentos and Las Canas are ideal places offering unique indoor and outdoor activities to unwind during the lazy summer days.

Las Canas Beaches

Las Canas Beaches

For More Information Visit:

http://www.welcomeuruguay.com/fraybentos/index_i.html