Friday, April 8, 2016

Gaucho Traditions Preserved in San Antonio de Areco

Buenos Aires Province, Argentina

Historic Buildings

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.

Unique Cafes

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.

Puenta Viejo---Old Bridge

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.

Iglesia Parroquial

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.

Parilla Delights

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.

Hotel & Spa San Carlos

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

Local Produce

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.

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