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Concordia

At Concordia, the sun rises over the Río Uruguay like a giant mandarin. Soon the first launch to Salto, Uruguay, will slice the clear water. Concordia’s wealth began as a port town. This was as far north as boats could come, as rapids make the river impassable upstream. Cattle came here to be salted down in meat packing plants, and then hauled to Buenos Aires and Montevideo. With new preservation technology and the introduction of the mandarin orange (thanks to a sack that fell off a wagon), Concordia’s economic base shifted to citrus fruit, helping to make Argentina the world’s seventh largest producer.

During the 1880s-1920s, when Concordia was a booming port city, many beautiful buildings were erected downtown. A brilliant example is the home of the Arruabarrena family, who owned extensive cattle ranches in the region. This mansion is now the Museo Regional, displaying the high fashion and other riches of Concordia’s elite (Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-7 p.m., weekends 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Entre Ríos 952, Tel: 421-1883. Entry: by donation). At this time, many Jews immigrated to the province. Museo Judío de Entre Ríos recounts their journey and culture (Sunday-Friday 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Entre Ríos 746, Tel: 421-4088, E-mail: museojudioentrerios@fibertel.com.ar, URL:www.museojudioer.org.ar Entry: free). Other museums in the city are Museo de Antropología y Ciencias Naturales (Rivadavia and Carriego, Tel: 421-3149) and Museo de Artes Visuales (Pellegrini and Mitre, Tel: 422-8588).

The costanera promenade stretches along the riverfront for several kilometers south of the port. A wide green space backdrops broad, fine-sand beaches like Playa Los Sauces. This is also a popular area for fishing dorado, suribĂ­ and boga.

On Concordia’s northeast edge is Parque San Carlos (Parque Rivadavía), an oasis for Concordienses who come to jog and picnic on this hilly, jungle-patched 70-hectare (173-ac) expanse along the river. Here is another fine home from long-ago, Castillo San Carlos, built in 1888 by Frenchman Edouard Demachy, who owned the major saladero (meat salting plant) in town. For a while Antoine de Saint-Exupéry lived there and found inspiration for the “Oasis” chapter of Wind, Sand and Stars. A statue of El Principito, Saint-Exupéry’s most famous work, is near the ruined castle. From the heights, the several-kilometer-long Salto Chico rapids are seen. Another attraction in Parque San Carlos is the Jardín Botánico (Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; weekends 8 a.m.-noon, 2-6 p.m. Entry: free).

Twelve kilometers (7.2 mi) north of Concordia is the Vertientes de la Concordia. These hot springs have seven pools with 36-43ºC (97-109ºF) waters, surrounded by pine and eucalyptus forest. The complex also has lodging (daily 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Av. Monseñor Rösch and Ruta Provincial 015, Tel: 425-1126, URL: www.termasconcordia.com.ar. Entry: $14).

Ruta Provincial 015 heads eastward to the Salto Grande hydroelectric plant, which also serves as the international bridge to Salto, Uruguay. Before the bridge is Museo de la Represa, which has free guided tours of the installations (daily 7 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Tel: 421-6612).

Also several kilometers before the dam is a northward road to Lago Salto Grande (78,000 hc / 192,742 ac), Latin America’s largest man-made lake. The scalloped coast is fringed with Playa Sol, Palmeras, Perdices and other golden sand and pebble beaches surrounded by groves of citrus, eucalyptus and pine. In summer, this is a popular place for fishing, camping and kayaking.

Concordia is an Argentine summer-vacation hotspot. In February, the town shimmies to Carnaval. During Semana Santa is the National Boga Fishing Festival. The year closes with the National Citrus Festival in December.

(Altitude: 21 m / 69 ft, Population: 141,971, Phone Code: 0345)

Services

The helpful tourism office has maps and good information on lodging and camping (daily 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Pellgrini and Mitre, Tel: 421-3905, E-mail: turismo@concordia.gov.ar, URL: www.concordia.gov.ar). Banks (ATMs) are clustered around the main plaza and along San Martín. Change Uruguayan pesos and other currencies at Casa Julio and Oro Mayo (Monday-Saturday. First block of 1º de Mayo). Some businesses accept Uruguayan pesos. Other services include police (Castelli 98, Tel: 421-8100), ACA (Pellegrini and Corrients); post office (H Yrigoyen 577), phone and internet centers; Hospital Delicia C Masvernat (Monseñor Tavella 2445, Tel: 425-0976), Hospital de Niños Ramón Carrillo (Isthilart and Cabral, Tel: 421-2607), phamacies and laundries.

Shopping

La Nativa (Av Independencia and Alvear)—regional crafts

Armería El Cazador (Entre Ríos 888, Tel: 422-0790)—camping, fishing gear

Guides

Asociación de Guías de Pesca de Concordia (Tel: 421-6528 / 154-034-220)—fishing

Fabián Rivero (Tel: 154-030-455)—fishing

Hotels

Concordia has 10 campgrounds; most are at Lago Salto Grande and are open year-round. In town is Club Pesca (Av Gastelacoto and RĂ­o Uruguay, Tel: 421-0524; per day: tent $4.25 plus $0.80 per person).

Hotel Doña Ledia (Av San Lorenzo and La Rioja)—single $12-17, double $20-26

Hotel Concordia (La Rioja 515, Tel: 421-6869)—single $24, double $43

Hotel Salto Grande (Urquiza 581, Tel: 421-0034, URL:www.hotelsaltogrande.net single $57, double $71

Restaurants

RotiserĂ­a Vegetariana (Entre RĂ­os 467)

Restaurante Matés (Urquiza 1282, Tel: 421-5660)

RestoBar Malaika (1Âş de Mayo 59, Tel: 422-4867)

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Other places nearby Concordia: ConcepciĂłn Del Uruguay , GualeguaychĂş , YapeyĂş and ColĂłn.







By Lorraine Caputo

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

03 Aug 2011

Mapa
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