Urban Traits of Libertador San Martín
As low houses prevail and there are no tall buildings, the only constructions that rise to touch the sky are the big chimneys of the sugar production venues.
Visitors may certainly tour around downtown Libertador General San Martín on foot. The main attractions in town are immersed in jacarandás and other native species. Not only did we visit the most common sights but we also got deep into the many and highly densely populated surrounding neighborhoods.
The town revolves around San Martín Square, its park and monument that pays tribute to the great liberator. Featuring a large size, it is the seat of official acts and it becomes a protagonist on August 17, when the passing of our national hero is commemorated. Its shady trees have turned this into the typical meeting point in the hot summer afternoons and evenings for neighbors.
Banco de la Nación Argentina, Our Lady of Miracles Church, restaurants and stores are located around the square and in the nearby blocks.
A big cross with a crucified Christ is nestled at the square known as Plaza de la Hermandad. It is visited by believers during religious festivals and Holy Week. As we moved on, we discovered the regional market, where fruit and vegetables grown in nearby estates are sold. We also tasted delicious homemade cheese and dishes.
Fountain Plaza San Martin
Old locomotive for transporting sugar cane
Sacred Heart Parish
Typical construction between rail and jungle
Monument to the Liberator Gral. San Martin
Museum of the City
Having been founded over a century ago, Libertador San Martín is essentially a city of workers. Its economy has been based on the cultivation of sugar cane and its industrialization. Along with Ledesma, it makes up an urban conglomerate where the sugar creativity and the agricultural-industrial complex are located. The first Lebanese settlers who came to stay and granted this place their own identity became established in Ledesma.
We soon recognized its tourist aspect, as the presence of hotels, campsites and restaurants gives evidence of the number of visitors that find lodging there year round. Travelers from other cities in Argentina and also from other countries are welcomed at this destination, which represents the starting point for tours around the area and towards Calilegua National Park, the yunga and the hot spring resorts known as Aguas Calientes and El Caimancito.
The proximity to charming scenes fosters ecological tourism as well as outings of different kinds and levels of difficulty. It is usual to see backpackers, hikers and shuttles, especially in the early morning heading for various locations. Some of the options include mountaineering, mountain biking, photographic safaris and the like.
Libertador General San Martín is an active city but it still preserves the habit of making silence in the early afternoon when it is time for a nap.
Mónica Pons / Sebastián Vázquez Zarzoso