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There's no better place to experience traditional provincial life in the pampas than this well-to-do farming town off RN 8. Grand estancias (ranches) dot the land in and around San Antonio. Many of the families that own them, which form a sort of local aristocracy, mix lucrative soy farming with estancia tourism. The gauchos who were once ranch hands now cook up huge asados (barbecues)
and lead horseback expeditions for the ever-growing numbers of foreign tourists. You can visit one for a day—un día de campo—or immerse yourself with an overnight visit.Porteño visitors tend to base themselves in the town itself, which is becoming known for its B&Bs. The fiercely conservative inhabitants have done a good job of preserving the turn-of-the-20th-century Italianate buildings that fill the sleepy casco histórico (historic center). Many contain bars and general stores, which maintain their original fittings; others are the workshops of some of the best craftspeople in the country.