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Gobernador Gregores

Gobernador Gregores is a small town of vast contrasts. Set in a river valley surrounded by mesetas and Patagonian steppe full of flora and fauna. The residents of this still-agricultural area have declared it a Municipio No Nuclear (Nuclear-free City), yet mining is gaining a strong foothold as the US company Coeur exploits Mina Martha for silver and gold.



For centuries, this fertile R铆o Chico valley was an aik, or indigenous A贸nikenk rest stop. By the late 19th century, horses and wagons plowed a rudimentary road from sheep ranches to the ports. Boliches (taverns) and inns appeared. In 1920 Jos茅 Kuney Posne set up a blacksmith forge, thus officially founding the town. His house, now a historic place, is next to the regional museum (open in summer only. Alberdi and Paseo 9 de Julio). The name of the village was changed in 1959 from Ca帽ad贸n Le贸n to Gobernador Gregores in honor of a Santa Cruz Territory governor.



Flat hills protect Gobernador Gregores from the cold winds barreling across the plains. In winter, it experiences some of Argentina鈥檚 coldest temperatures, to -20潞C (-4潞F). In summer, days are sunny and warm, reaching 14-30潞C (57-86潞F). Only 170 millimeters (7 in) of precipitation falls per year. Heavy snows fall in winter. January is the only frost-free month.



Visitors can take a break from the road to sample Gobernador Gregores鈥 simple life: Picnic on the R铆o Chico鈥檚 banks, visit the farm chacras on Isla Fea or tour the agricultural boarding school. A short hike up to the Punto Panor谩mico leads to excellent views of the town and valley, and a statue of the Virgen de Itat铆 (2 km / 1.2 mi along Ruta Provincial 25).



Another mini-trek is to Ca帽ad贸n de los Muertos, or Ravine of the Dead (7 km / 4.3 mi southwest). During the 1921-1922 strike, government forces killed over 200 workers holding Estancia Bella Vista. A monument marks the execution spot. On the other side of the knoll is the ranch. Old-timers say winds often uncovered the barely buried bodies. Like other strike-related places, commemorations were anonymously placed. The Ca帽ad贸n is the starting point for the human rights tour, Tras los Pasos de los Huelguistas.



Further from the city is Cerro Ventana, a 460-meter (1,509-foot) volcanic hill kilometers that may be climbed (Difficulty: medium, Duration: 4 hr) (Ruta Provincial 27, 50 km / 31 mi southeast). Lago Cardiel is a semi-circular lake with an arrow-shaped peninsula surrounded by hills and desert brush. Its milky-green, slightly brackish water attracts scores of waterfowl. It also has excellent for trout and salmon fishing (70 km / 44 mi south). Every Semana Santa is the Fiesta del Salm贸n. Parque Nacional Perito Moreno, one of Patagonia鈥檚 least visited national parks, has beech forests populated by South Andean deer (200 km / 124 mi west).



(Altitude: 287 m / 942ft, Population: 2519, Phone Code: 02962)

Services



Gobernador Gregores has Direcci贸n de Turismo (Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Isla Fea, Tel: 49-1259, E-mail: gregoresturismo@yahoo.com.ar), Parque Nacional Perito Moreno office (San Mart铆n 882, Tel: 49-1477, E-mail: peritomoreno@apn.gov.ar), Polic铆a (San Mart铆n 1087, Tel: 49-1088), bank (ATM), post office, several phone / internet centers, hospital (Paradelo 1025, Tel: 49-1027), one pharmacy.



Artesan铆a and Shopping



Konkashken (San Mart铆n 845, Tel.: 49-1102)鈥攋ams, cheese, other local products



Locutorio Lo Fa Lu (Belgrano 975, Tel.: 49-1425)鈥 fishing and camping supplies



Tours



Estancia Los Granaderos (Roca 1168, Tel.: 49-1163, E-mail: info@ealosgranaderos.com.ar, URL: www.ealosgranaderos.com.ar)鈥攃onducts 鈥淭ras los Pasos de los Huelguistas鈥 tour, beginning in Gobernador Gregores and following the footsteps of the 1920-1922 strikers



Hotels



Many of the cheaper hospedajes are permanently booked by mine workers.



Camping Municipal Mar铆a del Valle (Chile and Roca, Tel: 49-1259)鈥攇rills, bathrooms; rundown; free



Hospedaje La Flaca (Pejkovic 347, Tel: 49-12279)鈥攌itchenette, private bath; $20 per person



Hotel Ca帽ad贸n Le贸n (Roca 397, Tel: 49-1082)鈥攕ingle $40, double $57



Hoster铆a Lago Cardiel (Paradelo and Barrenechea, Tel: 49-1488)鈥攕ingle $54, double $71



Restaurants



Rotiser铆a Suyai (9 de Julio 1072, Tel: 49-1376)



Restaurant El Criollo (12 de Octubre 525, Tel: 49-1174)



Pizzar铆a El Chicho (Belgrano 319, Tel: 49-1376)

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Other places nearby Gobernador Gregores: Rio Turbio, Parque Nacional Perito Moreno , Los Antiguos , Lago Posadas, Perito Moreno, El Chalt茅n, Cueva De Las Manos and El Calafate.







By Lorraine Caputo

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

02 Dec 2010

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