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Playa Union

Playa Uni贸n is where the folks from Trelew and Rawson go for a bit of rest and relaxation. This small beach town on Bah铆a Enga帽o is hopping during the summer and on weekends when dance clubs throb until the wee hours. But once everyone heads back inland, the only sound heard in Playa Uni贸n is the wash of the sea against the long stretch of sand.



Where Avenida Juan M. de Rosas intersects with Avenida Rawson, a pod of concrete toninas overas leap from a fountain. Avenida Rawson, with a bicycle lane and pedestrian walkway, runs along the seafront to Puerto Rawson (2 km / 1.2 mi). Dotting the tree-lined beach are restaurants from where diners can watch for passing dolphins and whales. At Calle Vivaldi is the Centro Cultural which has art exhibits during the summer. Next door is Aquavida, an interpretive center about the region鈥檚 marine and coastal flora and fauna (Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m., weekends and holidays 12:30-5:30 p.m.; closed Saturday in the low season. Tel: 49-6887. Entry $0.60).



The Shipwrecks Monument at Avenida Rawson and Soldados de Malvinas marks the beginning of Puerto Rawson. A few blocks further, framing the mouth of the R铆o Chubut, are a pair of seawalls (escolleras) crowned with lighthouses. The northern wall has a walkway from where the many birds feeding in the low-tide tidal flats may be observed. Puerto Rawson is principally a fishing port. When the ships of the flota amarilla return, sea lions arrive to sample the day鈥檚 catch. Mostly merluza (hake), prawns, salmon and shrimp are netted.



Playa Uni贸n is best known for the excursions to see tonina overa (Commerson鈥檚 dolphin). These marine mammals, as well as elephant seal, South American sea lion and seabirds are sighted all year long. Bottle-nosed dolphins come December-March and Southern right whale June-December. Magellanic Penguin and occasionally orcas visit September-April. Although agencies in Trelew and Puerto Madryn offer tonina tours, travelers can easily arrange them cheaper at Puerto Rawson (1-2 daily at high tide; adults $34, children 4-12 years old $17).



When the large waves called gordas, swelling up to 1.5 meters (five ft) high, loom off this shore February-April, surfers hit the waters. Kite- and windsurfing are also practiced at this beach. Anglers will find fishing at Playa Uni贸n rewarding. Every February they can join in on the Fiesta de los Pescadores in Puerto Rawson. In January, Playa Uni贸n hosts the Fiesta del Atl谩ntico Sur, with concerts and other events.



(Altitude: 0 m / 0 ft, Population: 3187, Phone Code: 02965)



Services



Informes Tur铆sticos, the tourism office, is helpful (Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-8 p.m., weekends and holidays 10 .m.-8 p.m. Avenida Rawson and Rosas, Tel.: 49-6887, E-mail: turismoplayaunion@argentina.com, URL:www.argentinaturismo.com.ar/chubut/playa-union.html). Playa Uni贸n has limited services: police (Rosas and Rifleros, Tel.: 49-6354), ATMs, phone center, internet caf茅, health post (Rosas, between Planes and Carbonelli, Tel.: 49-6003) and pharmacy.



Artesan铆a



Artesan铆as Piedras Patag贸nicas (Aguaraguaz煤 and Andino, Tel.: 49-6113)



In summer, itinerant artisans line the costanera.



Tours



Coiron Viajes (Rifleros 493, Tel.: 1553-4853, E-mail: coironviajes@infovia.com.ar)鈥擯unta Tombo, minimum 2 persons



Toninas Adventure (Avenida M. Gonz谩lez, Puerto Rawson, Tel.: 1567-5741, E-mail: toninasadventure@msn.com, URL: www.enpuertorawson.com.ar)鈥攖onina boat tours



Estaci贸n Mar铆tima Commersoni (Avenida M. Gonz谩lez, Puerto Rawson, Tel.: 49-8508 / 1559-1514, E-mail. contacto@estacionmaritima.com.ar, URL: www.estacionmaritima.com.ar)鈥攖onina boat tours



Hotels



Playa Uni贸n has three campgrounds, all located on Cacique Nahuelpan: Camping Seros (Tel: 49-6982), Camping Policial (Tel: 1541-9115) and Camping Banco Provincia (Tel: 1567-0215). Grounds are open December-March.



Hoster铆a Le Bon (Rifleros 68, Tel: 49-6638)鈥攕ingle $28, double $40



Hotel Punta Le贸n (Piedra and Hern谩ndez, Tel: 49-8042)鈥攕ingle $54, double $60



All-equipped apartments (departamentos) are a cheaper alternative for groups and families. Check with the tourism office. Hotel prices increase in summer.



Restaurants



Supermarkets and produce stands are on Avenida Centenario. Many restaurants are along the seafront. Most are closed out of season.



Dinaldo (Avenida Rawson, Tel: 1569-6399)



Miguel 脕ngel (Avenida Rawson and Centenario, Tel: 49-6955)



Cantina Bogavente (Avenida M. Gonz谩lez, Puerto Rawson, Tel: 49-8286)

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Other places nearby Playa Union : Gaiman, Trelew, Rawson and Dolavon.







By Lorraine Caputo

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

28 Jul 2011

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