Things To Do In San Rafael
A lovely city in the southern region of Mendoza Province in Argentina, it is the largest city and also the seat of the Department for the San Rafael. This city is filled with attractions to keep the tourists happy and some of the natural attractions include the chilling Diamante River which gloriously flows through the city and the Ateul River which has rapids strewn all over it. The rapids gushing up and low make this river a perfect place for river rafting and also ensures that people have a brilliant time river rafting in it. This area was first found in 1551 by a survey in what we now call Chile. The construction of the Fort San Rafael Del Diamante and the completion in 1805 is what marked the formal initiation of this city in Argentina. Even though it was independent in 1816, it remained isolated from the rest of the country and the area’s huge agricultural potential and a very strategic location was eventually brought to the federal governments notice, thereby making the beginning of the formal annexation plans.
A civil engineer was then commissioned to see the development of San Rafael and he centered all his works around the much needed public amenities and works wherein he constructed most of the schools, plazas and hospitals. He also paid prime focus to the well-developed irrigation system which is majorly attributed to the presence of two major rivers in the city. The city then got its irrigation networks, along with a he agricultural research laboratory and by 1990’s the city was a huge agricultural hub of the state. This is what led to the subsequent settlements and attraction to much French and Italian immigration, thereby increasing the population by manifold. The setting up of an extensive irrigation system lead to the development of many Food processing units and industries that relied on this mode of transport for procurement and supplies. The two rivers have been also laden with many hydroelectric power units, which have made this city self-sufficient for the generation of power and electricity. A huge reservoir of 9000 hectares was also constructed of a water reservoir, thereby increasing the tourism of the city. And so now, San Rafael is a huge tourist hub in the province of Mendoza and the city has hosted many auto racing competitions at La Paredes Autodrome including the prestigious TC 200 touring car racing. Apart from this, the tourists are also hugely attracted to the wine making industry and the beautiful wineries here which also do crash courses on wine tasting. Apart from that, the entire city is well equipped for handling tourists in large numbers. This means that you will never have a problem in finding eating and lodging options no matter what part of the year you are visiting it.
When To Go:
The hottest months here start from October till January. It is best advisable to visit San Rafael from February till September to beat the heat. Too much heat can spoil the outdoor tours and the wine tasting sessions. Also, check the calendar for any upcoming racing competitions and plan your trip accordingly. February till September, the place has a good, clear climate making it easy to lounge outside and go for long walks through the city while you are trying to connect with the local life and understand the local traditions and cultures.
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Canon Del Atuel
A private Day trip booked along this gorgeous canyon is just what you need on the first day of your tour. Not only does the natural canyon amaze you with its magnificent stature, it also makes you wonder on how symmetrical nature can be in its landforms. Having a great guide, a local who is well versed with the history of the area is also recommended. The sun needs to be bright and the atmosphere clears for you to enjoy this place. There are many dams that have been built over this Canyon and the capacity to generate over needed electricity is displayed to the people. The best parts about the dams that have been constructed here is that have been made keeping in mind the advances towards nature and the repercussions later.
None of the dams or the electricity generating processes harms nature. A beautiful spot for picnics, you will be able to spot many people here, who come in with their home made snacks and spend quality time with their families. The guides and the locals here follow the tradition of pouring a small glass of wine on the ground, dedicating it to mother earth and thanking her for the blessings she endows us with. This canyon is also called the MiNi Grand Canyon and is deep enough for the origins of the earth to be visible to the naked eye. A mineral and geological reserve, at the Canon Del Atuel there are some very interesting geographic scriptures also, that have been named as the lizard, the monk, the hanging gardens and the enchanted city, the rains pouring in their glory have also marked their territories and carved beautiful designs over the ground.
Winery La Abeja
If you have time then to take a public bus or to hire a bicycle and that is the best way to enjoy your stay in this city. San Rafael is very friendly and welcoming and what makes it special is the ease with which you would be able to maneuver your ways in this city. Enough signage and markings in English make sure that you do not lose your way. One such tour that you can plan for yourself if the tour to the Winery La Alba. Call it modern and yet traditional, this winery is the classic example of standards that have been maintained for decades.
This is why being one of the oldest Wineries; it still is fresh and has a new feel about it. The great part is that this winery has a system of extracting wine which is traditional yet modernized. They have not incorporated the complete use of the machinery, but the process has been enhanced to meet the growing demands of production. It is a delight to spend the hour which is included in the local tours. If you have gone at your own will, you can also spend a day happily. The casks and the wine cellars are amazing and ho what it takes to keep the wine in place. There are many wineries in the area but what makes the Winery La Abeja very special is its skilled staff, and the warmth with which you would be welcomed here.
Los Reyunos Dam
Though there are many dams in the area, The Los Reyunos Dam is classic and gigantic. Considered to be one of the best tourist spots, this dam is a national pride. Though right before the location of the dam, there is a spot for all fun activities like kayaking, swimming and diving, the best activity to enjoy here is the Tiro Bangi which can be roughly translated to a Tirolesa from one side of the lake to the other. And on this you have to return in a boat. You can even carry your children along on this one. People try it out with toddlers.
Completely safe, this is so much fun! This dam does not have water to the level of being dangerous and so you can go ahead and feel free in it. With lesser depths of water also, this dam offers a panoramic site. There are also lovely bar B Que pits for all individual places so that someone coming in can have their own personal space and enjoy a lovely Bar b Que while you laze around in the sun. Stop for a while and talk to the locals. Even with the broken impeccable English, they can very effectively communicate with the tourists and narrate legends of bravery and worship.
Once you have been satiated tasting wines, you can go ahead and try olive oil. This is not a factory but a huge gem of a reservoir of natural olive oil and also has a small museum which captures the history of olive oil in the country. The museum offers various tours for tasting and touring the place. Right from seeing the commercial production to the exclusive production, you can also get to enhance your knowledge on the different kinds of olive oils that can be made. The best product is the aromatic olive oil; there different types of fragrances are mixed with natural olive oil to lend a specific feel to it.
Textured and virgin, the list is endless! Definitely worth a visit if Italian Cooking is what you fancy. Though the machinery and the tools to extract, produce and preserve olive oil have changed considerably, the quality so far has been retained and a lot of effort goes to maintaining the levels of density and production. There is also a small shop here which will give you the shelves filled with many olive oils and sizes so that you can buy and pick up some of the best ones. The olives are harvested in May and June and processed after that. This particular Yancanelo was established in 1942 and shows both, an extensive tour of the museum as well as the interesting process. A must visit for those who love the wonderful olive oil.
Saint Joseph Turismo Aventura
Rafting- the lifelines of those who love wild waters. This tour will take you on a spree. Some people have been so impressed with the rafting here that they keep visiting this place again and again for just the rafting part. These rafters and instructors are always well disposed. Another great advantage is that they offer you very competitive rates in comparison to the warm and safe service that they provide. The rafting gear and equipment is included in the rafting fair and it does not even matter whether you know how to swim or not.
They will not let anything happen to you. Coming to the river, the stretch is wild. Literally! With huge rapids with more than half of them with a capacity to overturn the boat, the rafts go up and down the stream which has no rough stones to cause considerable damage. Rafting is a sport which is extensively enjoyed by people. But for children you can also request smaller boats and have them for it at a leveled stretch while the adults keep falling off the raft. Saint Joseph Tourismo Adventura takes care of all your individual needs.
Museo Historico Militar
There is nobody that has visited this place and is not impressed with it. This museum is quite old and represents the military part of San Mendoza. There is enough to see, right from the artifacts, to the uniforms, the paintings and the old photographs; everything that we talk of when it comes to military has been put on display. Even the guns were used when the war was fought, have been beautifully preserved and saved in this brilliant museum which itself is a piece of art.
There is a total of 15 rooms to see in Museo Historico Militar and a total of two or three hours is what you definitely need to enjoy this pace completely. The staff is well trained and informative. And you will also be able to find a good guide for yourself. One who is well acclaimed for his knowledge of history and the kids will surely love it. In fact some of the exhibits that have been placed look really lively and serene. Some paintings and photographs are of places that used to exist before they were either destroyed by humans or by natural disasters. Whatever it may be a visit to this place is a must.
Catedral San Rafael Arcangel
This is a beautiful church and displays a huge mix of styles as far as its construction is concerned. What do you normally expect when you enter the church? You expect the place to be peaceful, quiet and serene. But what if you get to know that this place is actually livelier than the entire city that is exactly what this cathedral is like! Alive and colorful, this view ignores the fact that this is a religious building and you may want to look at it simply for the sake of its mind blowing architecture and stunning simplicity.
The altar would invite you to come and relax and almost looks like one of those churches that are shown in movies. Huge and pristine, this church also has a rich collection of art which has been displayed for the people. The construction was started in 1935 and completed in 1952. If lucky enough, you may also be able to witness the signing if hymns by the locals here which are nothing less than divine. A visit to the Catedral San Rafael Arcangel will leave you amazed and surprised for the rest of the day and you would feel different sense of calm once you visit this place.
Museo de Ciencia Natural
A wonderful science museum, this Museo de Ciencia Natural has a great flora and fauna that has been exhibited here. Not too crowded this museum gives you ample time to explore and feel the best parts of the exhibits. The collection has permanent exhibits and the ones that are now in the making. That is just the best part. To be able to see how things are preserved and mummified in front of your eyes. Certain segments of technology and history are mind blowing. The displays and the signage is effective and has been effectively placed making it easy to understand the museum and the exhibits by your own understanding. Hiring a guide is not that important but having one would make your tour more informative and seeking. A huge collection of bones and fossils is what will keep the children occupied. A perfect way to spend half a day this museum is not to be just visited, it has to be explored!
San Rafael has also to treasures that it has to offer to those visiting it. Apart from the lovely things to see and the beautiful places to visit, the city is also known for its tours and outdoor activities, Not only does it have the terrain for it but extensive tourism to the area has made sure that this city gets better as afar as attracting tourism is concerned. Lovely and warm, San Rafael is the best in Argentina and you should plan a trip soon. It is not just about Argentina but the whole of the continent is clearly visible in this city. The presence of Italian And French Migrants in the area, had led to an amalgam of the various cultures making this city truly global. Try being here at the time of the Autodrome Racings. It is well worth the effort!
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