Buenos Aires Getaways
San Antonio de Areco
It is hard to believe that San Antonio de Areco is just 90 short minutes from the hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires. The most impressive first impression upon stepping into this town is the sheer tranquility and peace. The only noise one really experiences walking the mostly-cobbled streets are those of friendly saludos and the spitting of grilling meat. This is the town to visit to get out of the city and back to the Argentine basics: grilling, gauchos, and the great outdoors.
Visitors spend solitary and peaceful weekends wandering the precariously narrow calles lined with orange trees, sharing maté by the meandering river, marveling at the kindness and confidence of a local population that never locks its bicycles, and visiting Argentina’s most famed silversmiths, leather workers, and artisans. San Antonio de Areco is a gateway between the big city life and the Argentina of centuries ago and it is in and around here where one can properly imagine the bygone world of Don Segundo Sombra.
Visitors looking for a truly unique experience can spend a weekend at one of the many estancias (or working ranches) around the town. Prices for a weekend estancia stay are into the hundreds of dollars range but include the best asados Argentina has to offer, horse riding, storytelling and other activities such as leather work and cow branding varying from place to place. Equally enjoyable to shoe-stringers is camping next to the river just 2 kilometers past the gorgeous old bridge next to the tourist office. Naturally, the office of tourism can direct you to any of a number of charming and inexpensive lodging options right in the center of town.
Fiesta de la Tradición
Those lucky enough to be in Argentina in November should make a point of spending the weekend in San Antonio de Areco for the Fiesta de la Tradición, which is by far the greatest reason to visit. The celebration of gaucho tradition and culture takes place every November in the Parque Criollo (where the local gaucho museum is also located). About $12AR will buy you 2 days of incredible exposure to modern and traditional gaucho culture including games, races, incredible riding expeditions, and unbeatable barbequed red meat. For souvenir enthusiasts, the festival attracts silversmiths and leather workers selling everything from bombachos to boleadores and gorgeous, intricate knives (the main gaucho feature). The festival is a must-do for visitors interested in getting a taste of the lifestyle of the pampas.
Whether visitors can make it to the festival or not, San Antonio de Areco is a sleepy, tranquil contrast to Buenos Aires and an inspirational place to while away a few days just writing, reflecting or catching up some well-needed rest.
Bus: Buses leave hourly from the Terminal at Retiro. The companies with service to San Antonio de Areco are General Belgrano and Chevallier. Cost is about $18AR one-way. Trip is 90 minutes.
Director of Tourism: Patricio Santos Ortega