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Los Antiguos, Santa Cruz, Patagonia
In the northeast corner of the Santa Cruz province, on the shores of the vast Lago Buenos Aires, the city of Los Antiguos complements the landscape with its colorful trees and pleasant farms. Picturesque may be an understatement, and this delightful city will hold your attention for as long as you choose to spend there. The area is extremely fertile, which can be attributed to the usually agreeable climate.
A product of the nearby cordillera, Los Antiguos’ microclimate is rather peculiar, combining the normal steppe vegetation with wooded areas, while playing home to the Los Antiguos and Jeinimeni rivers. These two currents feed into the largest body of water in Patagonia — Lago Buenos Aires. With such variation, no gaze will ever find boredom, looking over the natural beauty that is Los Antiguos.
One of the best places to appreciate the variety of views in the area is Monte Zeballos. Winding up the highest path in the entire province, the entire route is 160 kilometers long, bordering the Chilean perimeter. Just traveling the length of this road will provide you with ample views of the stunning countryside, although the best of it is probably the peak, at 1500 meters above sea level. To top it all off, the descent includes passing by Columna, Posadas and Pueyrredón lakes, with many more viewpoints on the way down.
The chacras, or farms, of the area, may be the shining point. Over a dozen farms dot the countryside, elaborating everything from artisan pastries and pies to marmalades to smoked ham and salmon. Liquors, chocolates, and fresh fruits and vegetables are also among the products offered. Most chacras offer tours and tastings, allowing you to get an insider’s look at how the products are made. Cherries are a regional specialty, so don’t forget to take some for the road. In fact, this zone is considered the Cherry Capital. And participation in some rural chores is also available for those who would like to get their hands dirty.
Bird watching is a particularly popular activity here, as the avian wildlife is nothing short of thriving. Even taking a hike through the lands will give you a glimpse of ducks, flamingos and black-neck swans, just to name a few. The photos you will take from Los Antiguos will be a long-lasting reminder of the beauty that lives day-to-day in this Patagonian paradise. Hiking, trekking, 4×4 excursions and horseback riding are all among the activities offered here.
Another of the most important sights in town is the Parque Municipal Los Antiguos. Since 1985, this park has protected a variety of flora and fauna that continue to thrive in their natural environment. Alongside the coast of Lago Buenos Aires, it protects not only mammals and birds, but fish, as well. Here, you can bring your camera and stroll through the protected countryside, enjoying nature’s wonder.
Los Antiguos is located along RN 43, and is about 1000 kilometers from the provincial capital Río Gallegos, in Santa Cruz. There are hotels and cabins in town; booking ahead may be a good idea in the busier summer months. For more information about traveling in Patagonia, see this Argentina Travel Guide.