Possibly Argentina’s most underrated city, the economic powerhouse of Rosario is an industrial city and a major port for grains from the pampa gringa, but it also boasts one of the country’s liveliest cultural scenes, with first-rate museums, art, theater, and live music. Among its many creative artists have been comedian Alberto Olmedo, actress Libertad Lamarque, actor Darío Grandinetti, and pop musician Fito Páez.
For nationalists, Rosario is the “Cuna de la Bandera” (Cradle of the Flag), where General Manuel Belgrano designed and first displayed the colors that still wave over the republic today. For Rosarinos themselves, it’s the country’s “second city,” though they have to argue the point with residents of Córdoba.
Sensibly sited Rosario mostly occupies high ground above the Paraná floodplain; when it rains heavily, though, many intersections and even sidewalks can flood, and residents remove their shoes and roll up their trouser legs to get around. Beyond the densely built downtown, tree-lined streets and open spaces like Parque Independencia are the rule. On the floodplain itself, most structures are port facilities or recycled port facilities set among open green spaces.
On the Paraná’s west bank, Rosario (pop. about 960,000) is 320 kilometers northwest of Buenos Aires via RN 9, a four-lane toll road that also leads west to Córdoba (as a two-lane highway). It is 167 kilometers south of Santa Fe via A-008, another four-lane toll road, and now linked to the nearby city of Victoria, Entre Ríos, via a 57-kilometer series of bridges and causeways across the Paraná Delta.
Rosario is a city of monuments and museums, ranging from utterly unassuming to pompously patriotic. Most are in and around several attractive parks, both along the waterfront and its bluffs, and farther inland. A handful of sights are scattered elsewhere downtown.
Getting to Rosario
Rosario has air connections to Buenos Aires, other northern Argentine destinations, and Santiago, Chile; bus connections almost everywhere; and cheap but slow trains to Buenos Aires, Córdoba, and Tucumán.
Aerolíneas Argentinas (Córdoba 852, tel. 0341/420-8138); Sol Líneas Aéreas (tel. 0341/452-0526 at the airport, www.sol.com.ar); and Gol (Santa Fe 1515, tel. 0341/530-1150, www.voegol.com) carriers all offer regular service.
Rosario is a major overland transport hub for domestic and international destinations from the Estación Terminal de Ómnibus Mariano Moreno (Cafferata 702, tel. 0341/437-2384, www.terminalrosario.com.ar), about 15 blocks west of Plaza San Martín.
Typical domestic destinations, times, and fares include Santa Fe (2 hours, US$6), Buenos Aires (4 hours, US$15–20), Córdoba (6 hours, US$23–29), Mendoza (11–14 hours, US$47–55), Salta (15 hours, US$57–69), Puerto Iguazú (17 hours, US$58–71), and Bariloche (22 hours, US$81).
Ferrocentral trains to Buenos Aires (5.5 hours, US$5.50–14) leave Monday at 12:46 a.m. and Wednesday at 5:38 p.m. from Estación Rosario Norte (Avenida del Valle and Avenida Ovidio Lagos, tel. 0341/436-1661). Trains from Buenos Aires continue to Córdoba or Tucumán, passing Rosario Norte at 2:53 a.m. Monday and Friday. There are also trains north to Tucumán, but this long trip is far less comfortable than comparable buses.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition