At one-hour drive from Buenos Aires along the National Road “number 8” (Ruta 8), the vast plains of the Pampas make an appearance and show us their vastness. When we arrive in San Antonio de Areco, we have arrived at the centre of Gaucho culture.
Surrounded by wild and pristine landscapes, we are far from everything and ready to immerse ourselves in the Argentinian Gaucho culture.
The writer Ricardo Güiraldes lived there for a long period of time, and a museum dedicated to the Gaucho culture bears his name. In his novel Don Segundo Sombra, he portrays a poor man’s situation, who is richer than anyone else because he owns nothing nor wants for more.
This idealized vision now belongs to history, as the Gauchos have settled down and raise livestock on the Estancia owners’ land. Nevertheless, meeting these centaurs of the Pampas is a unique experience as their culture and traditions are alive and well.
Wandering along the colonial streets, time seems to have stopped. All you have to do is sit at a table in a pulperia (old bar) to be convinced. The decor hasn’t changed since last century and no one seems at all interested in altering it. The Gaucho, never without his beret, likes to spend his spare time with a glass of wine in hand partaking in vigorous discussions!
The Estancias (old working ranches) and the small rural towns surrounding the San Antonio de Areco; Villa Lia, Duggan and Vagues, also offer a warm welcome to curious visitors. Traditions are respected and upheld with taste and refinement: each meal is an opportunity to enjoy a delicious asado, the renowned Argentine barbecue.
The artisans of San Antonio de Areco are another major attraction of the town. Dedicated to the equestrian world and more particularly to the gauchos, they create, with unparalleled expertise, must-have accessories for horse riders. For example; typical belts decorated with coins (rastra), silver knives (facón), leather boots and mate gourds. Depending on their mood, you may see them at work in their workshops, but even in this milieu, the artisans have the “Gaucho mentality”: nothing should ever be rushed and the work must be carried out with passion. These men are not only artisans but true artists.
Every year during the week of November 10th, San Antonio de Areco celebrates the Fiesta de la Tradición (Festival of Tradition), the official event for the Argentine gauchos. It is a fantastic opportunity to discover various equestrian Gaucho demonstrations.
Make sure you also watch our slideshow of San Antonio de Areco!