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 THE PAMPAS

 

 

What to see 

 

These immense green,  mostly flat plains, lately partially flooded area of the pampas,   Argentina´s agricultural heartland and the home of the gaucho.  The area  covers the provinces of Buenos Aires and most of  La Pampa,  and  the southern parts of Santa Fe and Cordoba. 

BUENOS AIRES  Argentina´s capital and largest city is a world class sophisticated city,  located in the province of the same name.  Main  attractions beyond suburban Buenos Aires city lines are:

The city of La Plata, (59 kms from Buenos Aires) with its  University, is the capital of the Province of Buenos Aires,  also called a garden city for its squares and parks lined with different species of trees.  Important points are the neogothic Cathedral,  recently refurbished,   the Astronomical Observatory and the Natural Science Museum, with one of the world´s most important paleonthological collections,  and also the  nearby Kids Republic with a reproduction of a city in miniature inspired in Andersen´s and Grimm´s tales.  

The estancias comfortable and peaceful residences  show  typical Argentine farming activities and  exhibitions of gaucho skills and offer tasting  Argentine typical barbecues.  But if what you pursue is savouring really pristine authentic farm activity (not only that for tourists)  you will have to choose  those places farthest from BA city. If you plan to be in Buenos Aires in November do not miss the exciting gaucho parades held in San Antonio de Areco (115 kms from BA) for the Fiesta de la Tradición on 10th Nov (make reservations in time) , where the most genuine gaucho atmosphere has been preserved, with its museum and ranches. 

The Delta is an ideal option for short nature outings with its  with sailing tours from Tigre along the Paraná river and its islands covered with  lush vegetation and populated varied fauna (if no time for the Delta, I recommend visiting the BA city Reserva Ecologica to get an idea about the Delta´s riches. And also San Isidro and Acassuso (Refugio Natural Educativo de la Ribera Norte) reserves. Bird lovers do not miss them.

Relatively close to Buenos Aires there are several lagoons Chascomus, Lobos, Junin and Monte (during summer  swallows southern  homeland)  mostly catering for domestic tourism.) 

Hilly areas lies in the central part and you can go hiking and horse riding along the Sierras of Tandil and La Ventana 

In coastal tourist centers the outstanding city is Mar del Plata,  the natural capital of the coast (404 kms from Buenos Aires - 8 kms of beaches)  and the country´s main fishing port,  more exclusive Atlantic bathing spas are  Cariló and Pinamar.  (see under The Coast)   

Carmen de Patagones in the extreme south  is Buenos Aires door to Patagonia.

LA PAMPA (143.440 km2) shares with Buenos Aires the greener and richer portion of Argentina´s agricultural plains. Santa Rosa is its capital.   35 kms away is the Luro Park provincial reserve  with flamingos, sea gulls,  parrots,  partridges and foxes, American ostriches and woods of caldenes. This is the place where Pedro Olegario  Luro bult the largest haunt reserve in the world in the middle of the pampean mount.   The old part of town has been turned into a regional museum. From Santa Rosa you can get to the Lilhué  Calel National Park,  with dense wildlife including puma, guanaco, rhea, native hares and a variety of wild chinchilla called "vizcacha". . and  typical flora of the steppes. 

CORDOBA, 710 kms from Buenos Aires, is  Argentina´s second city and one of the oldest (Santiago del Estero being the oldest, founded in 1553)   in this part of the continent,  and first Argentinian university city.  This modern and vital  city has preserved its historic center with churches convents and mansoins form 17th to 19th centuries. The Cathedral, the Jesuit administrative quarters, the Santa Teresa and Santa Catalina convents, the Marquis of Sobremonte´s residence and others.  The "Block of Enlightment"  extending into the  Camino de las Estancias (The road of the Jesuit Estancias),and including beautiful Santa Catalina Jesuit ranch chapel and the church of St Isidore at Jesus Maria in northern Cordoba, have  recently  been included in the list of the World Heritage by the Unesco. 

SANTA FE, 475 kms from Buenos Aires)  was the birthplace of Argentine constitution (1853).  Its main attractions are its historical monuments. The Convent of San Francisco, The Cathedral, The Church of La Merced, several old  houses, the  Santo Domingo Church, the Government House.  In Rosario, one of the main industrial cities in the country,  has the National monument to the Flag, and the pioneering Universidad Nacional de Educacion a distancia (Distance Education)..