Introducing San Antonio de Areco
Nestled among lush farmlands, San Antonio de Areco (commonly known as Areco) is one of the prettiest towns in the pampas. About 115km northwest of Buenos Aires, it welcomes many day-tripping porteños (residents of Buenos Aires) who come for the peaceful atmosphere and picturesque colonial streets. The town dates from the early 18th century and preserves a great deal of criollo (people of pure Spanish descent born in the New World) and gaucho traditions, especially among its artisans, who produce very fine silverwork and saddlery. Gauchos from all over the pampas show up for November’s Día de la Tradición, where you can catch them and their horses strutting the cobbled streets in all their finery.
San Antonio de Areco’s compact town center and quiet streets are very walkable. Around the Plaza Ruiz de Arellano, named in honor of the town’s founding estanciero (ranch owner), are several historic buildings, including the iglesia parroquial (parish church).
The puente viejo (old bridge; 1857), across the Río Areco, follows the original cart road to northern Argentina. Once a toll crossing, it’s now a pedestrian bridge leading to San Antonio de Areco’s main attraction, the Museo Gauchesco Ricardo Güiraldes.
Areco shuts down during siesta time in the afternoon.