El Carmen, Argentina - Polarsteps

El Carmen, Argentina, population: about 15,000, it was 12,000 in 2001, so has it grown that much in the intervening years? I don't know, but there you have it. The area where El Carmen sits had been occupied by various indigenous groups for many years before the Spanish arrived and conquered all of them in the mid-1500s. The town grew from a farm that originally belonged to a man named Estancia San Juan. By 1875 the farm had fallen into disrepair and Virgilio Figueroa and his wife took possession of the farm. It wasn't any small farm, it was 8000 hectares (about 19,800 acres). They rebuilt the farm and made it a successful and thriving ranch with crops and 7000 head of cattle. The farm had a store for the workers to buy the supplies they needed as well as a blacksmith shop. They had a sawmill which eventually served as both lumber production and a power plant after it was upgraded with a steam boiler. Many people started moving into the area and the farm grew into a town. El Carmen sits at the mouth of a valley extending into the mountains. There is a cienega nearby, about 3 kilometers from town, as well as a reservoir behind a dam. This allows for boating, skiing, swimming, fishing, etc. There are endless mountains and trails for mountain biking and hiking. Bird watching, horseback riding, and photo tours are also available. There's a campground with picnic areas, tent pads, and bungalows. And a restaurant alongside the reservoir serves fish caught in the lake. So, my impressions: El Carmen is a very small town yet it does have two cash machines and a supermarket, the parks are nice, and there are a couple of very nice restaurants, oh, and the streets are clean. The people were friendly, as have been my experiences in the few towns I have visited so far here in Argentina. But will I put it on my top 10 list? No, because the climate is a bit on the cool side for me—if I have to wear a jacket during the afternoon then it's too cold for me to live there. I'm a shorts-n-t-shirt guy.
  1. ChipW
  2. My South America Journey
  3. El Carmen