Buenos Aires News Guides & Travel Information: Buenos Aires Province Coastal Vacations
Buenos Aires Province is Argentina’s largest and most populous province, or state, and takes its name from the city of Buenos Aires (which means “good airs”). Buenos Aires is an idyllic destination for visitors offering something for everyone, particularly along its Atlantic coast.
Buenos Aires’ coastline begins after the Samborombon Bay some 150 miles south of the City of Buenos Aires and extends southward beyond the border of the province. There are many cities and towns along the coastline that are ideal travel destinations. Among them, the biggest and most important is Mar del Plata which offers the area’s most important summer-related event, the National Sea Festival which is held annually in February.
Buenos Aires saw its beginnings with the foundation of Santa Maria del Buen Ayre in 1536 by Pedro de Mendoza. However, due to hostilities with local aboriginal tribes this outpost was abandoned in 1541 and it was not until 1580 that the city was re-established by Juan de Garay and renamed as Santisima Trinidad y Puerto Santa Maria de los Buenos Aires.
Shortly thereafter, expansion into what would later become the Province of Buenos Aires began amid constant aboriginal conflict. Later, cattle farms grew from the city and the establishment of the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata at the end of the 18th Century making Buenos Aires the capital, the exportation of meat and leather and their derivatives through the port of Buenos Aires became the foundation of the economic development of the area shifting power from other provinces; a shift in power that would cause war and division for many years to come.
For a while the Jesuits tried to peacefully assimilate the aboriginal peoples into the European culture that was expanding in the region, but those efforts ultimately proved unsuccessful. In 1879 then General Roca (later President Roca) began his Conquest of the Desert Campaign (Conquista del Desierto) which ultimately led to the near extermination of all indigenous persons not only in the region, but nationwide.
Territorial issues involving control continued throughout the 19th Century with the city and province of Buenos Aires allied in confrontation with the other provinces. The 1859 Pact of San Jose de Flores put an end to secessionist thoughts of the time but instability remained until 1880, at which time the city became federalized and removed from the province and in 1994 a constitutional amendment made it autonomous leading to its formal name: Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires (the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires in English).
By the latter part of the 19th Century the province has around half a million inhabitants, constituting around one fourth of the country’s entire population. In 1882 La Plata was founded for the purpose of becoming the province’s capital city. At about the same time nearly a billion dollars were invested by British and coupled with the implementation of pro-development, education and immigration policies administered at the national level, the population of the area doubled by 1895 and again by 1914. Also, at the same time the railroads were developed which connected nearly every town and village in the province and as in other nations, many new towns were later developed around those new railway lines themselves.
Development of the area was cut short by the Wall Street Crash of 1929 which led to dramatic drops in commodity prices which constituted 99% of Argentine exports at the time. This also led to a halt of the flow of investments between nations. Like in the United States, Argentina began pursuing ambitious lending and public works programs throughout Buenos Aires Province to include the development of clinics, municipal buildings, paved roadways, power plants, regional hospitals, schools and water works systems.
Buenos Aires Province Today
Since that time, the areas outside of the City of Buenos Aires began to develop disproportionately quickly particularly in the suburban areas and includes around 10 million people constituting two-thirds of the total population of Buenos Aires Province today.
Today the province also finds itself in the midst of a great paradox. While it enjoys vast agricultural and industrial production, its economy nevertheless strains to find the means to provide for its nearly 15 million inhabitants which constitutes nearly 40% of the nation’s total population of which 9.7 million live in Greater Buenos Aires and 5 million in the rest of the province.
The province’s economy has long been the largest in Argentina. Its manufacturing accounts for about 40% of the country’s total production and its agriculture is renowned around the world for its level of production. Cattle have historically provided the main animal husbandry activity but the province is also the country’s top producer of chicken, pork and sheep. Of equal importance is the province’s dairy industry and in recent decades crop harvests have become vital to include flax, maize, soybean, sunflower and wheat.
Buenos Aires Province has many tourist attractions to offer visitors. The many cities and towns along the coast line are increasingly popular with Mar del Plata being the most popular followed by Miramar, Necochea, Pinamar and Villa Gesell. The most important summer even is the National Sea Festival held annually in Mar del Plata in February.
Just to the north of the City of Buenos Aires, Tigre is a popular “not to be missed” destination. The name Tigre itself refers to tigres or jaguars that were hunted there in its early years. Tigre’s main attraction is the “Puerto de Frutos” (fruit port) which is now home to a magical crafts market by the riverside. The market also includes rustic fabric, furniture and accessories made of cane and willow, delicious jams and honey, brilliant flowers, and of course, a wide variety of local fruits. Tigre is also home to a variety of antique shops, riverside restaurants and pubs. There is also a great casino nearby (Casino de Tigre) as well as the Naval Museum and Parque de la Costa, an amusement park.
Tigre is also the beginning point of the Rio de la Plata Delta, otherwise known as the Parana Delta. Mahogany commuter launches and motorboats are favorites of locals and tourist alike who enjoy traveling the maze of interconnecting rivers, streams and islands that make up the delta. Visitors can also enjoy countless marinas, English-style rowing clubs, restaurants, teahouses, picnic areas as well as many upscale lodges and hotels, humble dwelling and elegant mansions.
Located about 75 miles from Buenos Aires, Chascomus is a wonderful oasis in the Pampa Plains. Situated on the edge of the Chascomus Lagoon it offers a variety of water sports to include: canoeing, jet skiing, windsurfing as well as fishing. If you wish to take out your own boat, there is a yacht club offering ramps. The area also has sports centers, the Pampas Museum and a variety of agri-tours for persons interested in enjoying the local estancias and nearby rural areas. At night Chascomus offers a wide variety of restaurants, pubs and discos.
Tandil, Sierra de la Ventana and Balcarce all offer adventure travel opportunities. Located in the southeast portion of the province, Tandil offers wild and untamed scenery outlined by the Pampa Mountains, streams and ancient forests. Paragliding, hang gliding, horseback trekking, mountain biking, mountaineering and kayaking are just a few of its attractions.
Sierra de la Ventana is located in the southwest portion of the province in one of the most attractive parts of the Pampa Mountains, providing an ideal environment for mountain activities. Mountain climbing and biking, nature trekking and horseback rides are but a few of the area’s many offerings. Fans of sports fishing can spend the day at the Sauce Grande Stream or at one of its tributaries where they may also swim and refresh themselves in their crystal clear waters. Local excursions include trips to Ernesto Torquinst Park and to Hueco de la Venta with its waterfalls, cave paintings and beautiful views. Other area attractions include visits to Cerro de la Cruz (the Hill of the Cross), Cerro Tres Picos (Three Peaked Hill), La Fuente del Bautismo (The Baptismal Fountain) or Paso de las Piedras Dam. Sierra de la Ventana is an excellent location for those wanting a relaxing vacation in a magical mountain environment.
Balcarce lies on the southeastern bank of Buenos Aires Provinces about 250 miles from the City of Buenos Aires and offers a diverse scene of mountains, lagoons, creeks and fertile valleys. Founded in 1876 and with a current population of nearly 42,000 people, Balcarce still maintains the charm of a provincial village complete with tree lined streets, statues and a wealth of public buildings. Outdoor activities include mountain climbing, fishing, hand gliding, hiking, mountain biking, paragliding and tandem skydiving. Balcarce is also home to a motor raceway and the Juan Manuel Fangio Automobile Museum, which pays tribute to Fangio a five time Formula 1 world champion who was born in Balcarce. Other attractions include: the Cerro el Triunfo Municipal Park, the Brava Lagoon and the San Jose Church, one of the area’s most valuable resources of a rich architectural heritage.
San Antonio de Areco is located 70 miles from the City of Buenos Aires next to the Pampa Mountains and the Areco stream. This quaint village is one of Argentina’s most ancient and traditional settlements in the province and dates back to the early 18th century when a chapel was built there to honor San Antonio de Padua. San Antonio de Areco has now become synonymous with traditional gaucho culture and every year hosts a large gaucho celebration known as the Dia de la Tradicion (Day of Tradition) which takes place every November. The town hosts countless regional workshops and shops selling rope and leather crafts where the ancient art is still taught and performed as it was centuries ago. Lovers of sports fishing will have a chance to practice their techniques along the entire Areco River course, using the local Fisherman’s Club as a base of operations. Agri-tourism and rural tourism abounds in the area along with regional dish tasting, horseback riding and games, and of course the traditional asado criollo (Argentine cookout) at one of several estancias. An almost endless list of attractions makes San Antonio de Areco a unique place worth visiting.
Pros and Cons
There are no real cons to planning a vacation to Buenos Aires Province, however one of its strongest points is its ease of access to international travelers as many of its more entertaining destinations are within a short distance from the City of Buenos Aires, the port of entry for international travelers.
Buenos Aires Province Links
Province of Buenos Aires Official Website: http://www.gba.gov.ar/
Secretary of Tourism, Buenos Aires Province: http://www.buenosaires.tur.ar/inicio/index.php
Events and Meetings (English): http://www.mice.turismo.gba.gov.ar/cd_ingles/reuniones/indexen.html
Encyclopedia Britannica Online Article (English): http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/83532/Buenos-Aires
Tigre Official Site: http://www.tigre.com.ar/web/home/Default.aspx
Mar del Plata Official Site: http://www.mardelplata.gov.ar/Index00.asp
Tandil Official Website: http://www.tandil.gov.ar/
Museo Fangio (Fangio Automobile Museum): http://www.museofangio.com/
San Antonio de Areco Day of Tradition Festival Event Schedule: http://www.sanantoniodeareco.com/turismo/fiestadelatradicion/tradition_festival.htm
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