San Antonio de Areco - Photos: 1 y 3 Pablo Etchevers / 2 Santiago Gaudio
Right in the center of the humid pampa, on the banks of the Areco stream, bordered by a lovely riverside promenade, there stands one of the most ancient and traditional settlements in the Province of Buenos Aires: San Antonio de Areco.
Located 113 km away from the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, this picturesque town is the best to convey the charm of gaucho life and customs. Founded under the protection of a chapel inaugurated by don José Ruiz de Arellano in 1730, it has had the wisdom to maintain the singular architectural lines of the colonial and Renaissance buildings of the XIX century, in spite of the passing of time.
The weather is humid and temperate in this area of the country. Maximum temperatures are recorded during January and February, whereas minimum temperatures are registered in June and July.
To get to San Antonio de Areco from Buenos Aires, the fastest and safest way is the Panamericana, National Route 9, turning into Acceso Norte in the second fork on the left, till you get to the city of Pilar. Once there, you must go along National Route 8 to final destination. Another choice is National Route 8 directly from the city of General San Martín, passing through the cities of San Miguel and José C.Paz, but being extremely careful, as the condition of the route is not very good in this section.
Apart from enjoying the warmth of its people, the visitor will manage to make contact with the gaucho life and get to know the Creole Park, the Ricardo Güiraldes Gaucho Museum, the Usina Vieja Cultural Center, the Puente Viejo and the Carlos Merti Flora and Fauna Park, among other attractions.
Going along the narrow sidewalks of San Antonio de Areco, it is possible to come across countless regional workshops and shops selling silverware, rope and leather crafts, where the ancient art of making crafts in leather and precious metals is both learnt and performed.
Lovers of sport fishing have a chance to practice interesting techniques along the whole Areco River course, making use of the local Fishermen Club as a base of operations.
The offer is completed by visits to farmhouses and ranches where agricultural and rural tourism is increasing considerably but carefully. Regional dish tasting, horse-riding and games, such as carreras de sortijas, can be enjoyed in such places.
During November, San Antonio de Areco is dressed up to celebrate the week of Argentine tradition. There is a parade showing horses, criollo skills, music and folkloric dances.
The endless list of attractions makes San Antonio de Areco a unique place worth visiting.