Capital of its province, the city of Santa Fe plays second fiddle to youthful Rosario in economics and culture, but it has a core of colonial monuments that no other nearby place can match. It also enjoys easy access to the middle Paraná islands, thanks to a series of bridges across the river’s tributaries to the city of Paraná, Entre Ríos.
The river, though, is a mixed blessing, as Santa Fe is vulnerable to floods—in May 2003 an inundation by the Río Salado killed dozens and displaced thousands, causing millions of dollars in damage—and even to desiccation, as shallow Laguna Setúbal nearly evaporated in 1964 for lack of rainfall in the upper Paraná. The summer heat and humidity can make Santa Fe a sweat lodge of a city.
Sited 10 kilometers east of the Paraná’s main channel, Santa Fe (pop. about 500,000) is 167 kilometers north of Rosario and 475 kilometers north of Buenos Aires via RN 11 and the autopista A-008. It is 25 kilometers west of the Entre Ríos provincial capital of Paraná via RN 168 and a subfluvial tunnel, and 544 kilometers south of Resistencia via RN 11.
Getting to Santa Fe
Santa Fe has air links to Buenos Aires and bus connections around the country.
Aerolíneas Argentinas (25 de Mayo 2287, tel. 0342/452-5959) flies daily to Buenos Aires’s Aeroparque, in early morning or early evening. Sol Líneas Aéreas (tel. 0810/444-4765, www.sol.com.ar) is a budget carrier serving Rosario and Aeroparque.
The Estación Terminal de Ómnibus (Belgrano 2940) is four blocks west of San Martín. Its Oficina de Informes (tel. 0342/454-7124, www.terminalsantafe.com) conspicuously lists destinations and updated fares.
Typical domestic destinations, times, and fares include Paraná (45 minutes, US$1), Rosario (2 hours, US$9), Córdoba (5 hours, US$19), Corrientes (7.5 hours, US$29), Resistencia (7 hours, US$26),Buenos Aires (6 hours, US$23), Posadas (11 hours, US$41), Mendoza (12 hours, US$48), and Puerto Iguazú (15 hours, US$60).
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition