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Ingeniero Juárez

After Las Lomitas, Ruta Nacional 81 is now obviously cutting through Dry Chaco lands. Low, thorny shrub brush and small-leafed palo borracho and guayacán trees hem the highway. Marshes now only intermittently disrupt the landscape. Cotton plantations and grazing goats add variety.

The Vía Crucis Formoseña’s 13th cross marks Ingeniero Juárez, portal to Reserva Nacional Formosa. The turn-off, Avenida Salta, passes by Plaza Juan D. Perón and a 100-meter (328-foot) long mural relating the region’s history. Along the avenue are the bank, city hall and the two nondescript churches dedicated to Ingeniero Juárez’ patron saint, Nuestra Señora de la Merced. Finally the road meets Avenida Juan Degen, the other main drag. To the left is a railroad graveyard of tanker cars and the road that heads to Reserva Nacional Formosa.

Ingeniero Juárez was founded when the Formosa-Embarcación rail line spike was driven here on July 21, 1930. The town was named for railroad director Ingeniero (Engineer) Guillermo Nicasio Juárez. It grew considerably during the Bolivia-Paraguay Chaco War (1932-35). The greatest economic leap, though, came with the discovery of petroleum.

Ingeniero Juárez is a drab town. It’s a place to pick up on food and other supplies before arranging a ride down to Reserva Nacional Formosa. The village does have celebrations worth checking out, like its founding day July 21, its patron saint’s day September 29 and the Festival del Petróleo October 2. Almost half of the population is made up by Wichí and Q’om indigenous peoples. Just on the outskirts are neighborhoods where crafts may be purchased direct from the artisans. Ingeniero Juárez has a hot, dry climate. The best months are August-November when northern winds bring some relief. The rainiest months are December-April, when the road to the reserve is difficult to traverse.


(Altitude: 155 m / 509 ft, Population: 10,357, Phone Code: 03711)

Services

The first place to drop by when getting into Ingeniero Juárez is the administration office (intendente) of Reserva Nacional Formosa (Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Av. Degen and Tucumán, Tel: 42-0049, E-mail: rnformosa@apn.gov.ar. URL: www.parquesnacionales.gov.ar). The municipalidad (city hall) has a somewhat useful website (Salta s/n, Tel: 42-0140, E-mail: portal@ingenierojuarez.gov.ar, URL: www.ingenierojuarez.gob.ar). Other services include ACA (Ruta Nacional 81, Mk 484, Tel: 42-0060), Banco de Formosa (Av Salta, 1 block north of city hall; ATM), police (Av Salta), Hospital Eva Perón (Av Degen and Anaquín), pharmacies and one internet café.

Fundación Niwok works with Wichí communities in El Protillo, north of Ingeniero Juárez, near the Paraguayan border (Revistería Torres, Av Degen s/n, Tel: 03711-1561-4187 / 1541-5556, E-mail: fund.niwok@yahoo.com.ar).

Hotels

Norte Hogar (Tucumán, 1 block south of Av Degen)—single $11, double $17; accepts credit cards

Hospedaje Automóvil Club Argentino (Km 484, Ruta Nacional 81, Tel: 42-0060)—single $17, double $26, includes breakfast; also camping; accepts credit cards

Hotel Carfa (Salta and Urquiza, Tel: 42-0113)—single $23, double $29; no credit cards

Restaurants

Confitería-Restaurant Karen (1 block from Bus terminal)

Confitería La Terraza (Salta and Degen)

Pizzaría y Rotisería El Salteño (Av Degen, 2 blocks east of Salta


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Other places nearby Ingeniero Juárez : Parque Nacional Chaco, Clorinda, Laguna Blanca, Parque Provincial Pampa Del Indio, Reserva Nacional Formosa, Villa Río Bermejito , Resistencia, Parque Nacional Río Pilcomayo, Misión Nueva Pompeya and Fuerte Esperanza.







By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

05 Jul 2010

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