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Roque Sáenz Peña

(Altitude: 90 m / 295 ft, Population: 76,794, Phone Code: 03732)

From Resistencia, Ruta Nacional 16 forms part of the Bi-Oceanic Corredor, integrating trade among South American countries. Forests of small-leafed trees and caranday palm (wax palm, Copernicia alba) cover the savannah dotted with marshes and lagoons, and lined by thin creeks. There are a few villages along the highway. Several, like Presidencia de la Plaza, Machagai and Quitilipi, are known for their Carnaval Chaqueño in January and February, when comparsas, or Brazilian-style dance and drum troupes, compete. Quitilipi is also celebrated for its Feria de Artesanía Aborigen Chaqueño, a massive gathering of Q’om, Wichí and Moqoit craftspeople the first weekend of December. Museo René James Sotelo exhibits and sells local indigenous creations (Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-noon, 3-7 p.m. Ex Estación Ferrocarril, Av. 25 de Mayo 514, Tel: 54-3732-1561-1181. Entry: free).

Presidencia Roque Sáenz Peña, called just Sáenz Peña for short, is 25 kilometers (16 mi) past Quitilipi. This surprisingly large city is a jewel hidden in the center of Chaco Province. It has first-rate medicinal hot springs and one of Argentina’s most important zoos. Amazingly, it is barely on Argentine vacationers’ radar screen, let alone that of international travelers.

Roque Sáenz Peña, the Chaco’s second-largest city, was officially founded March 1, 1912, at Km 173 of the new railroad line. Cotton became a major crop. That and other economic opportunities drew immigrants, mostly from Eastern Europe. Their influence continues to be present throughout town. In the center of Avenida Yrigoyen are plazoleta parks honoring each of the communities. Six blocks south of Plaza San Martín is the Ukrainian church, composed of two adjoining octagons topped with silver onion domes. The Czech community has its museum to compliment the Museo de la Ciudad, a joint effort of the Sáenz Peña’s residents.

The city’s cathedral also reflects Eastern European elements. Facing the east side of Plaza San Martín, the plain, concrete temple has a large rose window above the front doors. Above this is a gold-background, mosaic of the Virgen de la Concepción Inmaculada, Jesus and San Roque, the church’s patron saint. Along either wall of the nave are smaller rose windows. The apse is crowned with a lemon-slice dome.

Thirty minutes from Roque Sáenz Peña is Estancia Las Curiosas, a private ranch-spa that combines health and rural tourism. It offers sauna, yoga classes, mud therapy and massages, alongside birdwatching and other outdoor activities (Km 212, Ruta Provincial 94, Tel: 54-3732-1541-7932, E-mail:, URL:

Presidencia Roque Sáenz Peña is a major transportation and commercial hub for central Chaco Province. Cotton continues to play a role in its economy, though soybean is becoming more important.


Other places nearby Roque Sáenz Peña: Bañado La Estrella, Las Lomitas , Parque Nacional Chaco, Parque Nacional Río Pilcomayo, Misión Nueva Pompeya, Ingeniero Juárez , Reserva Nacional Formosa, Clorinda, El Sauzalito 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...

07 Jun 2010

Things to do in Roque Sáenz Peña

Complejo Termal

139621In the heart of Sáenz Peña are the thermal baths of Complejo Termal, considered by the Sociedad Argentina de Estudios Termales to be one of the best medicinal springs in the country. The waters ...
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Roque Sáenz Peña, Argentina

Complejo Ecológico Municipal

139622Sáenz Peña’s 25-hectare (61.7-ac) Complejo Ecológico Municipal is a place to learn about the Chaco’s flora and fauna. Considered to be one of Argentina’s top three zoos, it is home to 214 ...
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Roque Sáenz Peña, Argentina

Museums In Roque Sáenz Peña

139623If you’re looking for a reason to hang out in Sáenz Peña a few more days so you can soak some more in the hot springs come evening, then make it a mission to check out its museums. The Museo de ...
Roque Sáenz Peña, Argentina

Campo Del Cielo

Campo del Cielo, also called Parque Provincial Piguen N’Onaxa, owes its name to the meteorites strewn across the countryside near the border of Santiago del Estero Province. Scientists believe they ...
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Roque Sáenz Peña, Argentina
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