Santa Fe (city, Argentina)
Santa Fe is a city in Argentina.
From Buenos Aires (Retiro) there are plenty of bus companies that will take you there. Some of them are FlechaBus, Basa and Pulqui. The trip is 6 hours long or a bit less, so many people travel by night. The last bus in the night leaves from Buenos Aires at 0:30, or from Santa Fe to Buenos Aires at 1:50 AM. Some of the services include meals, most of them have very comfortable seats.
On Santa Fe's bus terminal (4 streets from center town) you will find many bars and fast food restaurants. There are personal pay-per-view television screens and free WiFi service.
Santa Fe's airport is in the near location of Sauce Viejo and its international code is SAAV (local code SFN).
Aerolíneas Argentinas flies daily (except Saturday), with a trip time of 50 minutes, departing from Buenos Aires domestic airport (Aeroparque). It is said the new airline named "SOL" will have two or three daily services starting August 2006.
Being a middle size town, avid pedestrians are to have a good time in Santa Fe. Still, when extending the tour outside downtown and the south area ("barrio sur") distances and with of the streets suits better a car or motorcicle. Beware of the traffic wich can get heavy around downtown on week days and the sudden lane switching. Most of the points of interest (that is Historical and Architectural landmarks) are on the southern end of town, pretty close to downtown, very well within walking distance. The other grand attraction Santa Fe offers is its shore on the east side of town. The "Laguna Setúbal" is rated among the biggest in the world and is absolutely lovely. Grab a patio chair, cold beberages and just relax. Although stay away of it on Sunday's and holidays since it get really crowded.
Santa Fe is a small firepot of cultural activity. On a bi-anual basis, the National University (Universidad Nacional del Litoral) hosts a week long music and arts festival wich is very well known and appreciated among the youth. Other week-long events are hosted around the year, specially in theater, poetry, dances and choirs. It's really astonishing the amount of cultural events happening on a daily basis for such a small town. The local rock music scene is quite restless also, despite the scarsity of stages. It is also very rich as it spans almost any sub-genre of the rock music, from completely ethnical (or Folclore-like rock music) to heavy and even trendy or experimental. Other genres of music are of course to be found and "peñas folkclóricas" are a must if you come across one. They are basically one of the truest form of local culture: "empanadas" and wine, music (Zambas, Chacareras, Gatos, Cielitos, Pericón, etc.) and dancing. Standar package of museums is to be found as in any major city: Rosa Galisteo, Etnográfico are the 2 biggest, both in the southern area.
As almost everywhere in Argentina, grilled meat or barbeque (also known as "asado") is a must; always joined with assorted salads and red wine. The local specialty must be the fish, caught fresh from the sorrounding rivers. There's a large number of species in the area but due to depredation issues, only a few seem to be available in a given season. It's specially good the "chupín", a sort of soup of fish with potatos and tomatoes, do try it! Otherwise, the Italian and Spanish roots among the locals take special place in the menu of every restaurant, with minor aditions of almost every european culture (from Greek to Armenian and French to German). Hindu and Japaneese dishes are actually very hard to find, if at all.
Beer (cerveza) is considered the most popular drink in the area. In fact, the city has one of the biggest brewers in the country (chilenean owned Cervecerías Unidas) producing the Santa Fe, Schneider, Budweiser and Heineken brands. Allegedly, the local brewer produces a over million liters daily and a good portion of that production is consumed within the city. One of the best ways of enjoy such goods is out of a straight glass (called "liso") while sitting at a table in any of the many bars in the city, preferably outdoors in the hot days of January and February. Locals prefer to have the beer cold (within 0ºC and 5ºC).
There's a wide range of Hotels, starting from very cheap but comfortable accommodations around the bus station to the Holiday Inn, Río Grande, Hostal and Conquistador hotels (all 4 stars) in center town, a Holiday's Inn (5 stars) and a new one in the harbor area (Los Silos, 5 stars), right next to the Casino. A small number of appart hotels exists and campers have some camping areas within few minutes of the city, but accomodations and the quality of the services might vary.
At the bus terminal there is a free wireless Internet connection at the restaurant. This kind of services is to be found commonly in many restaurants and coffee houses. Local Energy Network is 220v so many appliances brought from Europe might work. Apliances brought from USA won't. Check before plug in.
There are direct buses to Paraná (Entre Ríos), Córdoba, Posadas (Misiones), Corrientes, Resistencia (Chaco) and many other provincial capitals, as well as to other interesting cities in the province like Rafaela, Esperanza, San Carlos, San Javier, San Justo.