TAKING A BREAK FROM BUENOS AIRES
Whether you are working, studying Spanish or travelling through Argentina and decided to stay a bit longer in Buenos Aires, it is a fantastic idea to set your eyes upon some surrounding areas. Despite Buenos Aires being an amazing city, its craziness can sometimes make you feel the need to get away for a day, or even 5. Here I´ve put together a list of a few places that are all relatively easy to get from the capital. One or two these destinations you will see in every guide book (and they are there for good reason despite the large crowds) and some of them are a little off the beaten track. I have noted travel distances from BA-some being kind of long, that´s why I mentioned the possible 5-day break. Enjoy your travels!
SAN ANTONIO DE ARECO
Distance from Buenos Aires: 113km/70 miles approximately, 2 hour bus trip
Bus travel: From Retiro Station, take a bus (either Chevallier or Pullman General Belgrano). Buses run from 6.05am and 12.45am, with approximately 18 daily departures. The journey costs between Ar$29 and Ar$37 each way.
A very charming town of 22 000 people, I actually visited this lovely place in November last year for the annual Feria de los Gauchos (Gaucho Fair) which was just a stunning event. If you around during this time of year, you are in for a real treat as it is quite an historical event celebrating this patriotic cowboy tradition. This trip can easily be done in a day or two, but you may want to extend as the point of coming here is to visit, and if you wish, stay on an estancia.
Some popular estancias here include Estancia La Cinacina, El Rosario de Areco, El Ranchito de Areco, La Portena de Areco and Estancia El Ombu de Areco. These estancias vary in price range and can offer everything including animal demonstrations, traditional music/dance shows, horse riding and asados. If you don’t feel like planning your own itinerary, several tour and travel companies will coordinate your visit and arrange your estancia stay.
Distance from Buenos Aires: 309km/192 miles, 5 hour bus trip
Bus travel: (To Tandil, it is recommended to buy your tickets online via www.plataforma10.com) From Retiro Station take buses Rio Parana/Condor-Estrella/El Rapido. The journey costs approximately Ar$200 each way.
Tandil has the atmosphere of a village-pair this with a majestic landscape of mountain ranges, streams and forests and you have a perfect adventure destination. Here you can paraglide, hang glide, horse ride, hike, mountain bike, quad ride, mountaineer and kayak. Countless tourists visit the famous spot called “El Calvario” during the Easter holidays but it mostly a popular destination during the summer.
Distance from Buenos Aires: 350km, approximately 5 hours
Bus travel: From Retiro, take Plusmar or El Rapido. The journey costs approximately Ar$230 each way.
A beautiful seaside resort on the Atlantic coast, Villa Gesell has a slightly hippie feel to it. An outstanding forestation has managed to fix the dunes and turn the area into a wood where tamarinds, pine trees, acacias and eucalyptus tres grow abundantly.
The ´naturaleza´surrounding the beaches in Villa Gesell
Distance from Buenos Aires: 300km/185 miles, approximately 3-4 hours
Bus travel: From Retiro Station, take Chevallier or Flecha buses. The journey costs between Ar$50-70 each way.
Rosario, the 3rd most populated city in the country has so much to offer. Some of its main attractions include the neoclassical architecture, great nightlife (having a predominantly young population-perfect crowd for practicing your Spanish!), theaters and museums, and the city being the birthplace of famous people including Che Guevara and Lionel Messi. It is also reputed to be the home to the best looking girls in Argentina, what a call!
Distance from Buenos Aires: 606km/376 miles, approximately 10 hours
Bus travel: From Retiro Station take El Valle buses. The journey costs approximately Ar$400 which seems quite expensive so it would make sense to progressively travel down the coastline, possibly stopping in at Mar del Plata on the way.
The province of Buenos Aires is progressively becoming a big producer of wine. Located around the southern part of the province is Medranos, a surprisingly perfect location for growing grapes (is closet o the ocean) due to the sandy soil and the vineyards receiving long hours of sunlight. The most popular vineyard to visit here is Al Este Bodega y Viñedos, Km 732 on Ruta Nacional 22. Open to the public for visits on week days and weekends, including wine tastings at the cellars and an opportunity to buy wines at wholesale prices.