Balcarce, the land of Fangio

If you are looking for a destination to spend an amazing weekend quite near the Federal Capital, you must read this post. I’m sharing with you one of the best kept secrets about the Buenos Aires province. Only 248 miles away there is a spot yet to be found.

Balcarce, the land of Fangio

The name, San José de Balcarce is homage to the winner of the Suipacha Battle and head of the San Martín army in Chile… although we just call it affectionately Balcarce.

A quiet city that sets aside sacred time for the siesta and its wide boulevards, that charms us with its mountains and the endless green hues of the Plaza Libertad, and that has much more to offer than we can imagine.

Its population, around 41.560 inhabitants, no doubt maintains the charm of provincial towns, with streets lined with leafy trees, public statues and buildings. A destination that offers a lot of outdoor activities, such as fishing, mountain biking, trekking, climbing, paragliding and hang gliding tandem.

Local parties and celebrations happen all year round. One of the most important ones is the Fiesta Nacional del Automovilismo (Motor Racing National Party), held in February along with another national motor racing date (TC, TC2000). In July is held the Fiesta Nacional del Postre (Dessert National Party), and each year (between September and October) is held “The Balcarce Expo”, a Livestock, Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial exposition, prepared and organized by the Balcarce Rural Society, one of the most important ones in Southeastern Balcarce.

On June 24th 1922 Balcarce witnessed the birth of the quintuple Formula 1 world champion, Juan Manuel Fangio. Downtown the Racetrack and the Museo del Automovilismo (Motor Race Museum) are named after him. It houses the sport asset of the racer: around 52 cars, more than 500 trophies, medals and images from his career produced between 1936 and 1958. All that displayed in six areas of exhibition in different floors. In the small theater of the museum one can relive from his first races up to the Sudamericanas, when he began turning into a legend.


In order to feel the real atmosphere, get involved and in tune with the essence of this destination one cannot choose a better place than this: La Estancia Fangio By Esplendor Hoteles.

It’s the ideal thing to do if you want to break the routine, and experience absolute relaxation and rest surrounded by beauty, the countryside tranquility, the mountains, its intense sunsets (my favorite) and to know the history of an idol as if we were the protagonists.

The birds chirping, the grove, the pleasant heated swimming-pool and knowing that we can have breakfast in the same place that Fangio shared with his friends and family, all that creates a magic atmosphere.

Besides it all, let me give you some more information you will enjoy and that will make a difference when choosing a place to stay.

They offer Pet friendly free rooms so that you don’t need to worry about your pet.

Free ticket to the JM Fangio Museum.

There is no mobile phone signal, but the internet connection is excellent.

Gastronomy in Balcarce

Balcarce is the ideal spot to enjoy gastronomic tourism. It is known for being the main potato producer of Buenos Aires, and also for being the cradle of the most famous dessert in the province, the Balcarce dessert. Did you know it used to be named “Imperial”?

It started in the Paris bakery in the city of Balcarce, owned by Guillermo Talou, who created the dessert in 1950. Then the recipe was sold to a Mar del Plata firm, where it was renamed Balcarce due to its origin.

One of the gastronomic places recommended by the locals is “Ruta 55”, a parilla place with striking atmosphere that sports bright-colored walls covered with hundreds of hats and ties, many of which autographed by celebrities. The hat collection mounts to about 300 items, and is related to car races and especially to Road Tourism. It is located on the corner of Av. Centenario and Calle 43. In spite of the large variety of dishes in the menu, the clients follow a ritual, accepting the recommendations of the owner that suggests either truly homemade pasta, or exquisite barbecue with a wide range of cuts.

For dessert, the so called “Lorenzo” (named after a frequent guest), is the house favorite for its particular combination: a serving of the Balcarce dessert plus a scoop of cream and raspberries icecream – a temptation hard to resist.

Next time you travel, cheer up discovering and contemplating this great destination for car, nature and good food lovers!

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