Junín Buenos Aires: an escape to enjoy the lagoon where the sun sets

"How to distinguish a Junínense from a tourist in the Laguna de Gómez? Easy: the tourist looks towards the lagoon and the Juninense looks towards the road, to see who is coming", jokes Luis Bortolato, director of Tourism and Culture of this city, an important lake destination in the province of Buenos Aires.

Laguna de Gómez in Junín in the Buenos Aires Province. Photo: Taringa
Laguna de Gómez in Junín in the Buenos Aires Province. Photo: Taringa

260 kilometers from Buenos Aires, Junín integrates different lagoons of the Salado River basin, such as Mar Chiquita, Gómez Lagoon, Carpincho, and Los Patos, which then continues to Chacabuco where the Rocha Lagoon is formed, and outside the district, it extends to Chascomús. However, in spite of surpassing the 90.000 inhabitants, its village imprint remains intact, with the streets tree-lined and covered with cobblestones; the benches in the sidewalks, the return of the dog in the evening and, of course, the siesta that is respected to the letter.

The origin of the city goes back to the creation of the old Federation Fort, around 1827, around which the historic center was erected. Its boom was marked by the arrival of the Railway with its workshops, which to this day occupy 150 hectares in the center. Although some of them were recycled to house universities or museums, most of them remain intact.

A few kilometers from downtown, Junín's greatest attraction is the Laguna de Gómez Natural Park, 200 hectares of wooded land on the edge of the lagoon, where there is a vast recreational and service area, including a tourist village, three spas with sandy beaches, restaurants (María María, Pochi and Malabar Costero), a public descent for boats, the nautical club, a windsurfing club and another for kitesurfing; carts, grills, camping, groceries and cabins.

The first beach extends over the Camino de los Pescadores; the second, towards the Club Náutico, by the Camino de los Navegantes and the third, in full development, by the Camino Costero, where you access the public descent of boats and has its headquarters the Junín Paragliding Association, which in 2013 achieved the Guinness record by bringing together 224 paramotors in the air.

They say the lagoon is very Sunday. Every week it summons thousands of Juninenses. There are 4,000 hectares divided into two parts, on one side and the other of RP 188, with an average depth of one meter. An ideal environment for water sports such as jet skis, kayaks, boats, sailboats, windsurfing or kitesurfing. But above all, the Juninenses boast of the sunset over the lagoon. "It's not that we're proud, it's that we're very big, but we've got what. The sunset with that intense red reflected on the water is a fantastic experience," says Bortolato. He's not exaggerating.

The silver arrow

Just as summer is pure sun and beach, in winter sports fishing is the great vedette of the lagoon, and pejerrey, its most representative species. Even on the Fishermen's Way you can visit the breeding station and visit a laboratory with different aquariums and native species, such as bagarito, carp, sardine, and tararira, as well as tanks with reproductive pejerrey. They also advise on the regulations in force regarding sport fishing.

"The golden rule is not to take out pejerreyes below the minimum size of 25 centimeters, nor more than the permitted pieces, 25 per person. Fishing is allowed all year round: the high season is in winter and from September 1st to December 1st there is a partial ban since you can only fish on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays", says Marcelo Rossetti, in charge of guided tours. To fish is also required to carry a fishing permit that is managed from the website of the Ministry of Agroindustry, National Directorate of Fisheries.

Evita, Gardel, and Perón

Declared a city in 1906, Junín grew up in the shadow of the Fort Federation. The tour through the historic center begins on the outskirts of the old site, in the current Plaza 9 de Julio, and continues along 20 de Septiembre Street, the old entrance to the fort, until 25 de Mayo Plaza. In its surroundings a tour of historic buildings such as the old Post Office building, the Municipal Palace, the San Ignacio de Loyola Church, the National Bank, the Courts Palace and School No. 1, where Eva Perón studied between 1930 and 1934. A plaque remembers her with the phrase The only privileged are the children. A little further on, the itinerary is completed with the Social Club, the Ranchería Theater, the Xul Solar Art School and the Municipal Market, where the Municipal Art Museum currently operates.

"Although there are other versions, the most accepted one says that Eva was born in Los Toldos and in 1930 she came to live in Junín where she studied between the ages of 11 and 15 and then left with her family for Buenos Aires in January 1935. Also here, on October 22, 1945, she married Juan Domingo Perón, in the old Ordiales notary's office on Ingeniero Arias y Quintana Street. The desk where they signed the marriage certificate is preserved in the Historical Museum with a copy of the certificate," explains local guide Sabina Giménez.

Perón, Evita and... Gardel. They say that El Morocho del Abasto also knew how to wander these cobbled streets and sang in the Crystal Palace Theater, on Roque Saénz Peña Avenue, which is now a clothing store.

The ombú of Atahualpa

15 minutes from Junín, Agustín Roca is a small rural town of twelve blocks and a little more than 1000 inhabitants, which arose around the railway station.

On the first weekend of November, the village celebrates the Fiesta del Fiambre Casero, with horse parades, a fair of artisans and local products. The rest of the year, the inevitable is the Casona del Fiambre, of the Picchi family, to taste delicacies such as salami, bondiola (pork filet), cheese, black pudding, hams, pasta, meat and more.

Before or after lunch you can visit the station where Atahualpa Yupanqui lived in his childhood, between 5 and 9 years old, because his father was a railroader, and visit the ombu where he studied guitar, at the entrance to the village.

Useful information

How to get there

By car: From Buenos Aires, there are 260 kilometers by Acceso Oeste / RN 7. Today the highway is finished and operative until San Andrés de Giles. By train. Ferrocarril San Martín: leaves Retiro on Friday afternoons and returns every Monday at dawn.

Where to sleep

Hotel Cerrito Colorado RP 65, Km79. The double room costs 2200 pesos, with breakfast in the field. Reservations: (0236) 4433672 / 44444104 or by mail: cerritocoloradohotel@hotmail.com More info: cerritohoteldecampo.com.ar

Where to eat

La Casona del Fiambre. In front of the Agustín Roca railway station (Roca). El Boliche de los Pobres (25 May 77); Club Los Indios (Borges 174); Restaurante Andy (Remedios de Escalada de San Martín 13), María María (Paseo de los Pescadores s/n - Laguna); Parrilla La Cantina (Mitre and 9 de Julio).

Source: La Nacion

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