We took a three day horseback ride into the foothills of the Andes,..well, I guess 10,000ft is a little more than foothills, but this was incrediable. We crossed over a river several times with the current so strong the horses went sideways. We ate a lunch at 10,000 ft, proscuito and vino tinto (red malbec wine). We spent a day in Los Campitos where we brought food stores (beef, sugar, flour ect) and they cookded us a dinner. this little village had no electricity, running water and about 6 hours from the nearest road by horseback. It was very interesting speaking to them and to eat the dinner (according to our friend, very traditional and "expensive" for them,...lamb, wine, soup (with a goat's head!)) The next day, the eldest man of the village took me up into the mountains to herd back the sheep and we picked out a sheep to butcher (told them the night before that we wanted to buy one - 60 pesos - and we took it to La Hoyada where a family made us dinner. we wandered over to the school house and I asked if we could take pictures and the the teachers said OK. the children where a blast "Como se dice en english" as they would point to something. I showed them photos from my digital camera of Buenas Aires and Minnesota in the winter. The three teachers wanted us to stay overnight,...they said they would cook for us, they had wine and were very lonely,...if you know what I mean,...tempting,...but we had to head out and cross over the next pass, a big storm was coming in. By the time we were done, my ass was pretty sore and my innner thighs were just becoming used to spending 6-8 hours in that little andean saddle,..I am stilling pulling my junk out of my butt!!!!!
Parque Nueve de Julio is the largest park in the city (or at least the largest we saw), and is a good place to relax in the afternoon heat if you've nowhere to go for a siesta. It's located to the east of the city, close to the bus terminal, and contains some nice walks, a couple of lakes, and some much needed shade! We spent about 2 hours here, reading and relaxing, during our day in Tucuman - it's a lovely spot.
Tucuman's main square, Plaza Independencia, is a great place to hide from the heat in the afternoon, or to sample the buzz of the city in the evenings once siesta is over. It's a very large square, surrounded by many of the city's prominent buildings, including the cathedral and the San Francisco church, as well as some nice cafes and ice-cream shops. There are plenty of seats in the leafy centre of the square but you'll find it difficult to see a space in the evenings when everyone descends upon the square.
The most important and visited area in the city is Independence Square. The square is surrounded by some of the most important civic buildings in the city following the typical Spanish Colonial grid urban design. Formerly known as Liberty Square, it has remained in the same place since 1685, the year of Tucuman City’s second foundation. For more than one and a half century, it was just an open field with an only tree where criminals were executed. Throughout its history, several monuments have occupied the place where now lies the Statue of Liberty, a Carrara marble sculpture made by Lola Mora. The first one was the Federal Pyramid, an obelisk that was built around 1841. The first orange trees were planted at the same time. 23 years later, the obelisk was replaced by a cylindrical column honoring the Declaration of Independence. In 1883, a bust representing Gen. Belgrano replaced the column, and its sidewalks were covered with flagstones brought from Hamburg, Germany. There’s a story about a man who caused some damage to the chain surrounding the current statue. He confessed he had broken it because it was paradoxical that “Liberty” was “chained”. He wasn’t that crazy, was he? The damage can still be seen.
The oldest church in town, its construction dates back to the XVI Century. However, the current basilica was built between 1879 and 1885. Besides its fine architectural style, other attractions are the first national flag in Tucumán (1814), the magnificent altar (partly gold laminated) made by indians under the command of the Jesuits, and the table where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1816. The adjacent Franciscan monastery (no visitors allowed) is the place where national hero Gen. Manuel Belgrano and his troops stayed and received medical attention after the Battle of Tucumán. It is also an important archeological site. In the late 1980s, a series of underground tunnels connecting the monastery to other parts in the city were found.
This art-nouveau, Italian-and-French-style palace was built between 1908 and 1910 where the former “Cabildo” was located. Guided tours in English from 8:00am to 9:00pm in groups or individually (Contact Azucena Haddad, the official interpreter). Two outstanding attractions inside the palace are the White Room and Juan Bautista Alberdi’s tomb. The White Room is the place where most official ceremonies are held and has an exquisite decoration. Juan Bautista Alberdi (1810-1884) was a jurist, politician and writer. He is the author of “Bases and Points of Departure for the Political Organization of the Argentine Republic”, one of the basis for the Argentine Constitution written in 1853.
This is maybe the most important spot for tourists in the city. On July 9th 1816, a group of congressmen declared the independence of Argentina from Spain. The house is now a museum where you can see furniture, garments and objects of that time (Entrance: 3 pesos (US$ 1) The museum opens Mon-Fri 10:00am-6:00pm and Sat-Sun and public holidays 1:00pm-7:00pm)
In the evenings, there's a show called "luz y sonido" (light & sound) which offers a reenactment of the historical events during and around July 9. (in Spanish; every day at 8:00pm except Thursdays; ticket: 4 pesos, sold at the tourist office across from Independencia Square)
The "Casa Historica" as it is known here is located on Congreso Street, one and a half blocks from the main square.
If you want to see people, go to the "peatonales" (pedestrian streets). There are two streets with these characteristics: Muñecas and Mendoza. This is where the most important stores and office buildings are located, and it's the place where most Tucumanos go shopping.
You can also visit several shopping arcades which interconnect the main streets, and where you'll find a wide range of stores, cafés, and bars, and are specilly suitable on cold, rainy or hot days.
The blocks surrounding Independencia Square boast some of the most important and outstanding buildings in the city.
Most of them are located on San Martin Street, where you'll find the "Plaza" (a former movie theater now transformed into an Evangelic Church temple), then the Caja Popular de Ahorros building. Next, The French-style Jockey Club, followed by the Italian-style Plaza Hotel (now closed) and finally the Spanish-style Federación Economica bldg.
Designed by famours French architect Charles Thays, this 100-hectare park is city's main green area.
Among the attractions you can visit are the San Miguel Lake, The "Flower" Clock, the "Rosedal" (Rose garden) and Bishop Colombre's House. However, the best thing is to walk along its avenues and see its trees, plants, flowers, monuments and statues. You can also enjoy the many bars and cafés located in the central area.
Warning: Try to avoid those areas where you don't see many people, specially at night.