The Culture

Indian communities from different parts of the Province, still work the vertical loom science of the «mapuches». They make «ponchos» and decorated sashes with mysterious drawings and colours whose meaning has disappeared, and also can be found on stones of two or three thousands years old.
Beautiful snuffboxes, with brilliant coloured motives, are made by women with the ostriches craw.
Men work the «caldén» wood with a chisel and a hammer. With a forge, an anvil, a hammer and their ability they make wrought iron spurs. They also make knives, «mates», loops, whips, hobbling straps, key rings, counting devices, textures with braids of ten or twelve thin strips of leather which they sell in the «Mercado Artesanal» of the pampean capital, placed in Luro and San Martín Avenue.
The pampean culture has a vast and varied activity developed by Governmental and non Governmental Organisms giving birth to expressive and creative initiatives and potentialities reflected in expositions, theatrical representations, cinematographic projections, choral encounters, parties, craftsmanship fairs, and concerts among other activities. The National Cinema Festival, The International Traditional Jazz Festival, The National Immigrant Party, and the Provincial Tourism Party, are the most remarkable manifestations.
Artistic expressions develop all through the year in the capital’s main lounges and also in the rest of the province. Santa Rosa has an Art Provincial Museum, where works and collective expositions of national and international recognition can be appreciated.
The Santa Rosa Cultural center is located in the ancient «Mercado Municipal» building, which was recently restored and adapted to the multiple activities demanded. Art expositions, craftsmanship fairs, musical encounters, lectures, projections in the comfortable auditorium are most habitual activities.
The Provincial Museum of Natural History develops the pampean natural and anthropological sciences , and it is located al Santa Rosa’s downtown near «Español» theatre and the Justice Court, -three jewels of the historical events that keep the architectural shapes of the first decade-.
The rescue of the historical-architectural patrimony has among its exposures the «Pulpería de Feito», situated in the urban part of Chacharramendi, where you can also visit the «Viejo Almacén» property of Feito family, still working as it did a century ago.

The Landscape

Lihué-Calel Sierra

A province to keep on discovering
The Landscape: The tourist who arrive at La Pampa will notice other features which are not precisely the ones of a plain. It is true that a fifth part of the territory is an extension of the «pampa húmeda bonaerense», but it is also true that in the remaining four fifth parts appear other physical features.
Beyond the eastern border of the province, we find the pampean valleys, geographical accidents unparalleled in Argentina and reminding a hand with its fingers extended, which are: «Chillihué o Argentino, Nerecó del Tigre, Chapalcó, Colú Lauquén, Daza, Quehué, Utracán, Maracó Grande y Hucal».
There is also a mountain range called «Las Mahuidas» that is part of a very old geological formation which time has worn away. They enhance the august desert view in the center of the province, flanking the «Salado-Chadileuvú-Curacó» river, that flows into the great «Colorado». The most important range is the «Lihué-Calel Sierra».
Leaving the big «Salado-Chadileuvú» valley to the west, the basaltic tableland that covers almost the west side of La Pampa, comes into sight, it is called the «Payunia» because of the old geological volcanism that resulted from «Payún and Payún Matrú» volcanoes. Among the magnificence of the wide black basalt formations, appears springs of water: «Agua Mora, El Copel, Puelén, Agua de los Pajaritos», maybe one of the first stages of the man’s passage through deserts in America. In the North head of the landtable, just in the curious shape that acquires the North limit of the Province called «Martillo de la Escondida», the landscape is similar to that of Cuyo’ s. There , near the wonder of the «Agua de Torres» spring, raises the «Negro» hill, 1.188 meters high, the highest elevation in the Province.
«Mamull Mapú», so called by the «Mapuche» indians -old pampean settlers- is the wide stripe that arises from the limit with San Luis and runs through the territory transversely with it’s green and spiny distinguishing mark. «Mamull-Mapú» means mount, wood region. This unique formation in the country is known as the «Caldenar» and it is formed by «caldenes», «chañares» and «algarrobos». There are a dozen of places in La Pampa where the trees that stand there were old when America was discovered and their magnificence is full of legends and indian or christian traditions that can only be appreciated when you are in front of them in the solemn loneliness of the woods. Further more, as a result of the low level of rainfall, the wood turns into a lower and shrubby vegetation, till it disappears and gives place to the wood of «jarillas», a shrub that symbolizes the american deserts.
Anciently, when the man’s hand hadn’t yet altered the splendid ecology that its waters generated, the «Salado-Chadileuvú» river was the effluent of all courses coming down the cordillera. A succession of lagoons, marsh-lands and inlets covered thousand of square kilometers of surface, and today only with the swelling of the river, the region recovers its old aspect. This system forms the big lagoons of the center of La Pampa, next to «Lihué-Calel Sierra».
When the water overflows the lagoons, it comes through the «Curacó» gap, directly flowing into the «Colorado», which joins this valley of about a quarter of a million square kilometers surface with the sea.
On the South, the «Colorado» shares its waters with Provinces of Mendoza, Neuquén, Río Negro and Buenos Aires, conforming in its way beautiful views; and also in its length, engineering works had been constructed modifying the deserts aspects. With the unpredictable changes of the «Colorado», a regulating dam was built serving as a reservoir for the periods of drought or as a tempering factor for the great affluence of water in the flood period. The place is a spot of deep prehistoric significance, right in the middle course of the river. By the incredible geology of «Casa de Piedra», were signs of the most antique presence of the man in La Pampa : an indian cemetery dating from eight thousands years old.
By the dam’s wall, -the longest one in the country extending itself 11 kilometers-, the construction created an artificial lake of 35 thousand hectares, which soon in the future will be a place for fishing and nautical activities.

Rural Tourism

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Tourism at farms or in country areas is a product demanded by the traveler seeking for a change of environment, something different, allowing him to recover strengths as well as to live real experiencies. This is the place for whoever looks for an exclusive time to be in contact with nature, traditional life styles and to meet country people.
For almost one decade, this program has been conducted to open the gates of 18 farms to the tourist. It is oriented to families and groups of national and international friends.
The basis of rural tourism: is the rural environment, the natural landscape, the traditions, the local history, the handicrafts, and the recreational activities.
Features: • Land extentions of over 5,000 hectares. • Mixed cattle breeding. • Plants far away from the city. • Guest lodging in the main farm house or a country house. • Personal service run by owners and country people. • Country taste attributable to customs and traditions, and to the everyday plain life of country people. • Affable relationship between host and guest. • Contact with country people.
Some details: in the vast geography of La Pampa, farms are located near organized communities (Municipality - Welfare associations). The farms, located in different natural environments, allow the participants of one activity to have different experiences. For instance, a ride in the woods or in the plain. When the premises are located in the same natural environment, you can participate in different activities like hunting game, fauna observation or photographic safaris.
Each place provides a unique offer, which constitutes a products itself. The difference lays in the surrounding landscape, the activities you can participate in, and the kind of production of that area in particular.
Regional dishes vary depending on the location, the natural environment surrounding it, the production and the traditional ways in which they are prepared. For example: the criollo barbecue prepared with piquillín (var. of tree) firewood; or roasted beef, lamb, goat or pig.
Within the gamut of recreational possibilities, the guest can choose his preferred activity. Examples: participating in the habitual country activities, visiting other premises located nearby, which offer different products like dairies or milk factories. You can also tour the nearest town, visit a museum or the culture house, observe the work of an artisan or participate in a traditional feast of a neighbor location.
The rural tourism of La Pampa Province offers:
• A real stage, where the plain life of countrymen and their families takes place. • A marvelous landscape to enjoy nature and breath pure air. • A stage plenty of starry nights, dawns and sunsets. • And you will go back home with the desire to return.
Information: Provincial Department of Tourism: Luro Ave. and San Martín St. (6300) Santa Rosa - La Pampa - Telephones: (02954) 42-5060 / 42-4404 - Telefax: (02954) 42-1817

Editor’s note:
Reservations: it is very important to make your reservation well in advance and to select the most suitable place to enjoy your leisure time. You should also consider the behavior of your family members: are they very active or quiet?, are they taking a pet?, does the health condition of any of your family members constitute a medical risk?, is he or she permanently or temporarily disabled?
Think about your tastes and preferences: do you practice any sport or use any firearm?, would you like to carry out rural tasks? May be you are looking for a sleep therapy or just want to portray nature. Perhaps you would like to read a book or enjoy swimming in a pool. You can also relax without watching TV or reading the papers. Every place is different; each one has its enchantment. They are not hotels run by managers; with more or less comfort, rural accommodations are unique places, one different from the other. We suggest that you should get as much information as possible before making any decision but, most of all, get ready to enjoy the healthy life of the country and its unpolluted nature, and the direct service of owners, a detail that really makes the difference.

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The Food

One of the most remarkable cultural characteristic is food. The pampean cook has as a first traditional course a barbecue called «asado criollo», done in it’s own skin and roasted with «piquillín» firewood. In the west you can taste liver roasted in it’s own fat. It is also common the Spanish meat stew, and the «pucheros». As Argentine people came from different parts of the country, so did flavors of «empanadas», which are prepared in various ways.
The Italian pasta influenced the pampean cooking tradition: spaghettis, cannelonis, raviolis, agnolottis are frequent and the diverse and tasty sauces make the difference with the original «dry pasta». German and Russian incorporated milk to the meat, noodles and flour, making food nutritious. According to historians, cold meats are the product of great hunger and express the principle of saving in abundance to have in scarcity. Another typical specialties are the «asado» of young mare, «piche» in hot ashes, marinaded «vizcacha».

The People

La Pampa’s history is scarcely known although it dates from remote times in prehistoric times. The first settlers from South America passed through La Pampa following the routes of water, and there lived different indian tribes: «mapuches», «salineros» and «ranqueles» who made and conditioned the Argentine history in the past century. After the war, there was a period of fifty years of settlement and colonization of «criollos» and «gringos» , heterogeneously reflected in the toponymy, surnames, in people’s hair colour. Then, German, Jewish, Italian, French, English, Irish, Spanish, Arabian came to the uninhabited pampas. Here they merged their beings, languages, customs, houses, foods, craftsmanship and works. They settled in three generations and soon the ones who lived in this land surprisingly saw that a culture had been created.


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