Sensual, sultry, subtropical and sitting on a bend in the Río Paraná, CORRIENTES is one of the region’s oldest and most attractive cities, founded in 1588 as an intermediary port along the river route between Buenos Aires and Asunción. Its charm is derived largely from the number of traditional correntino buildings in its crumbling – but very handsome – centre, based around the Plaza 25 de Mayo. These Neocolonial edifices, with overhanging roofs supported on wooden posts, are interspersed with more elaborate late nineteenth-century Italianate architecture. Corrientes’ modest museums, most notably the original Museo de Artesanía, where you can see fine examples of the province’s distinctive crafts, are given added appeal by being housed in these traditional buildings, and its central streets make it a pleasant place to just wander around for a day or two. If you visit from November to February, though, be aware that both temperatures and humidity can be very high. As a result, locals take the siesta very seriously, not emerging from indoors until dusk on the hottest days: if you must hit the streets on a summer afternoon, head for Corrientes’ attractive Costanera, curving for 2.5km around the northwest of the city centre where native lapacho trees, with exquisite pink blossom in spring, provide a welcome bit of shade – though mosquitoes like it here, too.
Corrientes is linked to Resistencia, the capital of Chaco Province, 20km to the west, via the Puente General M. Belgrano, a suspension bridge across the Río Paraná. Like many other cities in the region, Corrientes has an important carnival, held throughout January and February until Mardi Gras in the Corsódromo – a kind of open-air stadium specially constructed for the festival. A more locally authentic affair, though, is the Festival del Chamamé, a celebration of the region’s most popular folk music with plenty of live music and dancing, held on the second weekend in December.Read More
Estancias of Corrientes Province
Estancias of Corrientes Province
En route between Paraná and Corrientes are a couple of outstanding estancias that take in guests – often providing horse rides or hands-on experiences of genuine ranch life. You cannot just turn up on spec but must book ahead; sometimes they will arrange for you to be picked up at the nearest town, airport or bus terminal, even if you have your own car – often the lengthy approach roads are impassable other than by 4WD.
Near the small town of Esquina some 250 km north of Paraná, Estancia La Rosita (t011/4312-6448, wwww.estancialarosita.com.ar; $601 and over full board), lies among huge pastures dotted with ever-changing lakes and marshes, and is very much a working estancia, with lots of cattle and horses – galloping is a definite option. The house is an agreeable low-rise farmstead, with shady galleries and a noble dining room, while the guest rooms are simple and homely. Alicia Cometta de Landgraf runs the place with her sons, who are avid polo players – take a look at the impressive pitch even if you never get to see or participate in a game. An Australian tank swimming pool and barbecue facilities are added attractions; the food is authentic criollo.
A few kilometres north of Esquina, off the road to Corrientes, Estancia Buena Vista (t011/4815-9305, wwww.estanciabuenavista.com.ar; $401-600 full board, 20 percent discount for Rough Guide readers) is another traditional working estancia, with large numbers of cattle and sheep but specializing in game, which can be sampled here at dinner. Run by a Swiss Argentine, Sara Röhner, and her German-born husband, the estancia combines a high level of comfort with old-fashioned correntino hospitality. The German-style teas are memorable.