Reserva Provincial Parque Luro

Nature Reserve in Southern Pampas

Home to a mix of introduced and native species, as well as over 150 species of birds, this 76-sq-km reserve is a delightful spot to while away some easy hours. It’s more peaceful on weekdays: the picnicking masses from Santa Rosa descend en masse at the weekends.

At the turn of the 20th century, Pedro Luro, a French-Basque immigrant who fashioned himself into one of Argentina's more important landowners, created the country’s first hunting preserve here. He imported exotic game species, such as red deer and European boar, and built an enormous French-style mansion to accommodate his European guests. He later abandoned it as sport hunting fell out of vogue and the European aristocracy suffered the upheavals of WWI and the Great Depression. The reserve was sold, then neglected, its animals escaping through the fence or falling victim to poachers.

Since its acquisition by the province in 1965, Parque Luro has served as a refuge for native species such as puma and wild fox, along with exotic migratory birds including flamingo. One of the park’s biggest draws, however, is during the fall mating season of the red deer. In March and April the males bellow loudly (called ‘la Brama’) to attract female harems, while scuffling among themselves.

Hourly tours of the Museo El Castillo, Luro’s opulent château-style mansion, offer insight into the luxurious eccentricities that Argentine landowners could once indulge. As the story goes, Luro was only able to obtain the gorgeous walnut fireplace by purchasing an entire Parisian restaurant. Besides the museum, there’s the Museo San Huberto with its interesting collection of early-20th-century horse-drawn carriages and Museo El Caserío, where the French painter Tristán Lacroix lived and worked in 1911.