Named for its defiance of indigenous assaults after its settlement as the Jesuit mission of San Fernando del Río Negro in 1750, Resistencia owes its growth to the tannin industry and the westward-advancing agricultural frontier that spurred construction of a trans-Chaco railroad to Salta. The “city of sculptures” has a rich cultural life, though, reflected in its abundant but original public art—plus a major university, several significant museums, and a smattering of cultural centers.
Resistencia (pop. about 350,000), with nearly 500,000 in a metropolitan area that includes the port of Barranqueras, is 995 kilometers north of Buenos Aires via RN 11 through Rosario and Santa Fe, 810 kilometers east of Salta via RN 16, and only 19 kilometers west of Corrientes via the Belgrano bridge over the Paraná. Filling four entire blocks, palm-studded Plaza 25 de Mayo is the city’s geographical center.
Resistencia prides itself on the hundreds of sculptures in and on its parks, plazas, sidewalks, and boulevards. The highest concentration is found in the Parque de las Esculturas Aldo y Efraín Boglietti (Avenida Laprida and Sarmiento), an open-air display at the former Estación Ferrocarril Santa Fe (1907), the city’s only national historical monument.
The Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes René Bruseau (Mitre 163, tel. 03722/45-3007, 8 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and 3:30–8:30 p.m. weekdays, free) focuses on sculpture but also hosts traveling exhibitions.
Much of the momentum behind Resistencia’s reputation as a visual-arts mecca comes from El Fogón de los Arrieros (Brown 350, tel. 03722/42-6418, elfogondelosarrieros [at] hotmail [dot] com, 8 a.m.–noon and 9–11 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–noon Sat., US$1.25), a local institution that blends artistic miscellanea from the province, the country, and the globe into a casual, bar-style atmosphere. The trustees—a nonprofit foundation runs El Fogón—go out of their way to make visitors feel welcome, but the exterior is worth a look even outside the operating hours, when there may be tango lessons.
In new quarters, the Museo del Hombre Chaqueño Profesor Ertivio Acosta (J. B. Justo 280, tel. 03722/45-3145, cultura [at] ecomchaco [dot] com [dot] ar, 8 a.m.–noon and 5–8 p.m. weekdays, 5–8 p.m. Sat., free) recounts the Chaco’s settlement and transformation from the perspective of its aboriginal Toba, Mocoví, and Wichí peoples, the development of criollo culture, and early-20th-century European immigration.
Entertainment and Events
In even-numbered years, in the last fortnight of July, on Plaza de Mayo, the Fundación Urunday (Avenida de los Inmigrantes 1001, tel. 03722/41-5020, www.bienaldelchaco.com) sponsors the competitive Concurso Nacional e Internacional de Escultura y Madera, in which contestants sculpt the reddish tree trunk of the native urunday into a work of art.
The Peña Nativa Martín Fierro (Avenida 9 de Julio 695, tel. 03772/42-3167) showcases folk music such as Mesopotamian chamamé, as well as the occasional tango, in the context of a parrilla restaurant.
The Complejo Cultural Provincial Guido Miranda (Colón 164, tel. 03722/42-5421) seats more than 500 spectators for current movies, theater productions, and concerts.
Alfonso (Avenida Sarmiento 408, tel. 03722/44-4000) is a popular bar.
Dating from 1927 but now modernized, Hotel Marconi (Perón 352, tel. 03722/42-1978, hotelmarconi [at] yahoo [dot] com [dot] ar, US$27 s, US$34 d) is one of Resistencia’s better values.
Hotel Colón (Santa María de Oro 143, tel. 03722/42-2863, hotelcolon [at] gigared [dot] com, US$28 s, US$41 d) is another respectable no-frills choice.
Undergoing an expansion, the Gran Hotel Royal (José M. Paz 297, tel. 03722/44-4466, www.granhotelroyal.com.ar, US$30 s, US$42 d) has been showing wear and tear, but when the work is completed it will be worth a look again. At present, Wi-Fi is available only in the noisy café.
The nearly new, business-oriented Atrium Hotel (Hernandarias 249, tel. 03722/42-9094, www.hotelatrium.com.ar, US$37 s, US$45 d) adds some much-needed contemporary style to the scene. Its more-than-reasonable rates include access to gym facilities and a tennis court.
Just a block off Plaza 25 de Mayo, the renovated Hotel Covadonga (Güemes 200, tel. 03722/44-4444, www.hotelcovadonga.com.ar, US$63 s, US$67 d) offers amenities including a pool and Wi-Fi, with one drawback: On weekends, the pub scene along Güemes can get noisy. In this case, choose an interior room or turn up the air-conditioning.
Café de la Ciudad (Pellegrini 109, tel. 03722/42-0214), one of the best examples of the new wave confiterías, is an exceptional breakfast choice but also keeps late pub hours, especially on weekends.
Barrilito (Avenida Lavalle 289, tel. 03722/44-4081) is a beer-garden restaurant.
At the expanded Kebón (Don Bosco 120, tel. 03722/42-2385), whose menu includes upscale versions of Argentine standards, the kitchen seems to have its ups and downs. If the prices seem over the top, try its adjacent (but more economical) rotisería for food to go.
Helados San José (Pellegrini 582, tel. 03722/42-7008) produces Resistencia’s best ice cream.
Getting to Resistencia
Aerolíneas Argentinas (J. B. Justo 184, tel. 03722/44-5550) flies frequently to Aeroparque (Buenos Aires), but there are also flights from nearby Corrientes. Aerochaco (Avenida Sarmiento 615, tel. 03722/43-2772, www.aerochaco.net) flies to Buenos Aires and Córdoba.
A hub for provincial and long-distance buses, the spacious, gleaming Estación Terminal de Ómnibus (Avenida MacLean and Islas Malvinas, tel. 03772/46-1098) is about four kilometers west of Plaza 25 de Mayo.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition