San Antonio de Areco – Argentinian Gaucho Country
While in Argentina, we could not pass up the chance to visit the famous gaucho country. San Antonio de Areco is considered the center of this expansive part of the country filled with ranches.
I was contemplating renting a car for the approximately 2-hour trip from Buenos Aires, but thankfully, I had a moment of clarity and hired a driver. At least I wasn’t behind the wheel stressing, but our guide/driver, Mari was completely insane, and we held our breath and prayed as she weaved in and out of the dense traffic leaving the city. From the interstate you really get a good look at all the slums around Buenos Aires; they are extensive. This is a poor country, yet full of riches, and a magnificent city that has been roiled by economic hardship, petty crime, and ugly politics for generations. It’s a shame because you get the feeling this beautiful city, once known as the Paris of South America, could be on the brink of greatness on the world stage.
We finally broke free of the city’s constraints and were soon blazing through some very lovely, tranquil landscapes. Many visitors to the area take in a gaucho show and meal, but we were not the least bit interested in seeing such a spectacle. If that’s your thing, there are plenty of options. Instead, we visited the small gaucho museum, walked around the charming town, spent some time at the Draghi silver factory/museum housed in a mansion that was part hotel, and enjoyed a wonderful lunch. We ate at Almacen de Rimas Generales on Zapiola, serving typical Parilla fare in an old general store setting. Our guide Mari was not only a frenetic driver but a real character, a flaky, blond, extrovert who kept us well entertained with stories and information.
After we recovered from the driving, it was a wonderful, cool, and tranquil visit to beautiful horse country.