On Saturday 11 th, we met at 8:30 am to go to know Buenos Aires Â´ surroundings.
70 Km north of Buenos Aires city taking national route 9, we arrived at a town called ‘Ingeniero Romulo Otamendi’. This town lies between the cities of Escobar and Campana. We visited its national reserve Otamendi, the National Parks site closest to Buenos Aires.Â
The reserve Otamendi covers 3000 ha of freshwater lagoons, marshes and woodland.
Â Ed, Marina (teacher), Leslie, Jennifer, Claire, Alex, Adrian and Luis at the entry of the park
At the entry, we were able to see a â€œceiboâ€, the national tree of Argentina which has red flowers.Â
Here, you can see the national tree with their red flowers.
Â Reserve Otamendi has a great variety of habitats sustain important groups of native species, especially birds and small mammals. Bird species recorded total 282, which represent approximately 85 percent of the total number of species recorded for the region. Among these are eight species currently facing conservation problems in Argentina and on a global scale. For that reason, it is listed as an Important Bird Area.
This reserve also has populations of interesting mammals such as the carpincho or capybara and the river otter and is frequently visited by marsh deer that are the most southerly population of this threatened species.
Enjoying Reserva Otamendi with our guide…
Â After walking for 2 hours in Reserva Otamendi, we went to EscobarÂ´s town, located 60 km north of Buenos Aires city.
With almost 400 floral establishments, this little city is the main producer of flowers in the province. The numerous nurseries, with a huge offer in plants and flowers, have become a permanent attraction, especially during weekends.
We visited General San Martin Park. It is the main plaza in Belen de Escobar, and the bust of Liberator General San Martin stands in the middle of the park, while that of Remedios de Escalada is on one of its sides. On one of its extreme sides there is a replica of the Mayo Pyramid, and on the other the bust of the founder of the city: DoÃ±a Eugenia Tapia de Cruz. Its great variety of flowers and tree species make of this park an ideal place for resting and gathering.
We also visited the main church, of Romn style situated in fron of this park. The main altar is made of marble from Carrara, and there are two altars dedicated to the Purest Conception and the Holiest Virgin of LujÃ¡n rise on the sides.
The church fromÂ General San MartÃnÂ park
The town is sitting on discreet slopes alternated with bogs and hillocks in wetlands with the shape of washbasins along the Parana River, composing the typical landscape of the isles. The highest point is located in the barrio neighbourhood of Parque El Cazador. In its early years El Cazador neighbourhood was an estancia where deer hunting was practiced; though little by little those looking for a peaceful place to dwell established themselves in these lands where the ravines dominate the valley. Most of the houses show a construction of country style, and there is a huge 63-metre high chimney standing out amongst them, inheritance of an alcohol distillery that worked in the place.
Â Monument to “El cazador” (the hunter)
We had lunch in a restaurant ofÂ El CazadorÂ´sÂ neighbourhood.
Â Â Having lunch
Â After lunch we went to sail in ParanÃ¡ de las Palmas river.
The Parana is the 13th-longest river in the world. The Parana River delta is also considered one of the world’s greatest bird-watching destinations. There are a several lines of motorboats for public service with itineraries across these rivers that transport local villagers and tourists and we took one of these.
It is very good for nautical and aquatic sports and fishing of the “dorado”, “the pejerrey” and the “surubÃ”. In the islands, the houses are built on piles, which raise the constructions and stand out between the leafy vegetation. There is a great variety of trees like ceibos, caÃ±as, pines, poplars, laurel, willow, wickers, eucalyptuses, diverse fruit-trees, ferns and lilies of the field, together with magnificent “camalotes” that weave entangled floating islands; also flowers like azaleas and hydrangeas, among others. Among the local fauna there are amphibious mammals like the Carpincho, the otter and aquatic birds like coots or white herons.
This part of ParanÃ¡ river owes their name (ParanÃ¡ de las Palmas) to the quantity of palms that are found in the area. We recommend a visit to “El TropezÃ³n “, a country house built in 1928 with local style architecture. Argentine writer Leopoldo Lugones, well known for having received the National Prize of Literature in 1926, took his life at this place and is remembered by a granite monolith and a museum.
How to get Reserva Otamendi?
By car from Buenos Aires, take “Panamericana” highway and turn off at 67.5 Km milestone. Follow signposts: backtrack on sideroad for 200m, then left for 1.5Km passing Otamendi town. On this stretch take special care with several extra-high speed bumps that are not always easy to see. Entry is on the right.
Opening times: 9am to 7pm. Wardens on duty. Visitor’s Center, toilets, pleasant picnic area with tables & benches under huge trees. Interesting nature trail with many native plants and animals. Native tree nursery. Entry is free.
TIP Extended 3-hour guided walk to the lagoon on Sundays. A per-person fee is charged. Departs aprox. 3 pm (please check). Walk may be suspended or delayed if few people show up. Or can be requested for you if you cover cost of guide.
How to get Escobar?
It is connected with Buenos Aires city through the Sol Highway (Pan American Route) and Routes 25 and 26 that in turn connect it with other roads. Belen de Escobar can be accessed by train, on the Mitre Railroad (branch-lines Villa Ballester and Tigre); by T. A. Chevallier, from Once; by Parana Express, from Saavedra Bridge; by Line 60, from Constitution, Congress and Plaza Italia. Other firms connect travellers with Pilar, LujÃ¡n, San Miguel, and other localities in the Province of Buenos Aires.
TIP Flower’s National Feast. The Flower’s National Feast takes place between the last week of September and the first fortnight of October; besides the floral exhibition, there are car parades and the election of the Flower’s National Queen.