Capital of its namesake province and an important commercial centre for the surrounding agricultural region, SANTA FE lies 475km north of Buenos Aires, along the banks of the Río Paraná. A sizeable city of about 400,000 inhabitants, Santa Fe is of interest mainly as a stopover – although even on those terms the city loses out to the nearby and more appealing cities of Rosario and Paraná. Apart from a particularly hot and humid climate in summer, owing to its low-lying riverside location, Santa Fe’s main handicap is a rather sprawling and disjointed layout that makes getting to and from the city’s modest attractions a bit of a slog.
Though Santa Fe is one of Argentina’s oldest settlements – it was founded in 1573 by Juan de Garay in Cayastá, 80km north, and then moved to its current site in 1660 after repeated Indian attacks – careless development has made for a rather scruffy city in which unremarkable modern buildings largely overshadow the few remnants of a fine architectural heritage. What is left is largely grouped around the city’s centro histórico, where there are a handful of sights worth visiting, notably the seventeenth-century Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco. The city’s port area has been given a smart revamp, with a hotel in a converted grain silo, casino, shops and boat trips attracting visitors.
Santa Fe is linked to Entre Ríos’ provincial capital, Paraná, by the Túnel Subfluvial Uranga-Sylvestre Begnis, better known as “Hernandarias”, which runs for nearly 3km under the Río Paraná.Read More