This is a average size town 2 hours south of Buenos Aires. It’s a very famous stop for people travelling from Buenos Aires to the beach at Mara Del Plata. It’s exactly halfway between the two so is the perfect place to stop for lunch. The town offers many asado grills at the side of the road as you enter Dolores from the highway. There are also lots of street vendors selling local products such as fruit, honey and cheese in this part of town to cater for the many tourist who are passing through.
The highlights for us were;
Parque libres del Sur
This local park is well designed with plenty of seating areas. It has a 1k track where the locals go to walk, jog, run and cycle round. The park was full of huge beautiful trees and had a pond with some islands that had bridges connecting them to the walkway. We cycled to the park on bikes that were over 40 years old and went round 10 times. The area is so flat it is perfect for cycling and the vintage bikes handled it no problem, they reminded us of the bikes you find in Amsterdam. While we were cycling round the park we saw a snake on the path and Chris turned in to his version of Steve Irwin and jumped off the bike to get a closer look and he even managed to catch it on video.
Lago Parque Nautico
This lake was maybe 2k outside of town but it was worth the journey to sit by the lakeside on such a beautiful afternoon. We stopped for a while to chat,drink some yerba mate and eat some traditional biscuits. This is a very typical activity that friends and families in Argentina (and many South American countries) do to get together and catch up. There was a variety of birds around the area and as the sun was beginning to set we saw lots of wild Guinea pigs running around the grass on our way back.
The big country house
Although this is no longer usually open to tourists we managed to get in for a look as Pancho’s dad was friends with the owner so he allowed us to go for a walk in the grounds. As its a few kilometers outside of town we got to go for a drive in the Dolores country side which was beautiful. We saw cows, Eagles, tiny birds and a variety of plants and trees along the way. To our amazement we saw a little bit of Scotland in Argentina as there were thistles growing along the roadside and in the fields. The roads on the way up here were all dirt so they were very uneven and bumpy, they could only be accessed by car during the dry season. Just before the entrance to the house we came to a locked gate so we jumped over and Pancho’s Dad shouted to the gaucho (farm worker or cowboy) to say we were here. The gaucho came riding down the field on his big black horse, it was like a scene out of an old movie. He opened the gate and he took us up to the house. It was a magnificent white building surrounded by well kept gardens and had its own church, pool, guesthouse and meeting rooms. This place looked, sounded and smelt like bliss I could definitely imagine living here with the beautiful nature. Minus the swarm of bees we had to skip over in the entrance.
“The legend behind the original owner of this house is that he was a worker for a landowner who owned many thousands of acres in this area. One day his boss was going to Europe and said to him he would give him a hectare of land for every tree he planted while he was on his trip. Needless to say the land is completely full of trees. So the owner came back and found that he had to give this massive estate to the worker who then built this beautiful house. Money really does grow on trees for some people!!!”
The sports club
This is where we went for the swimming pool. It is a private members club, luckily Pancho was a member and could sign us in as guests. We didn’t expect such luxury, it was like a 5* VIP resort. There were sports courts for tennis, football, ect. A huge kids play park, a restaurant and a swimming pool. It was a very hot day so we decided to chill drinking mate and having a swim the water was very cold though and Chris ended up quite sun burnt. This is definitely not our typical backpacking experience so we made the most of it although we relaxed here so much that we forgot to take photos.
On the outskirts of town there is another area for football where you can hire the pitches. Before we left the boys managed to get a game of football organised with Panchos friends Chris even managed a goal for Scotland.
In Dolores we got to see the traditional way that people from Argentina would let others know that their car is for sale. This is by sitting an old yellow bleach bottle full of water on the top of the car. When going around we saw many cars with these bottles on the roof. I think its a good idea as it serves as a for sale sign where the buyer must knock on the door of the owner then try to negotiate a price to buy rather than the owner listing a price and the buyer trying to get a discount straight away.
We would recommend traveling through Dolores if you would like to see some real Argentinian countryside and get out of the hustle and bustle of the city. We were lucky enough to stay with our friend in his mothers beautiful old style house. There is plenty to do in Dolores and the people are friendly even although we didn’t have much Spanish we found they were willing to help us with a big smile on their faces.