The 2009 Lugares Awards

At mid-year, Lugares, Argentina’s leading tourism magazine, bestows awards on persons or companies that provide good services that benefit the development of the sector.
The magazine, which has for the past 19 years encouraged readers to “not stay at home,” forms part of the La Nación Magazines Group. The seventh edition of its awards ceremony, held this year in the auditorium of Buenos Design in the Federal Capital, awarded distinctions in the following categories:
Ranches: DOS TALAS (Dolores, Province of Buenos Aires) is a ranch owned by a traditional family of descendants of Pedro Luro, developer of the city of Mar del Plata. The main house, built in 1893, has a large library and was frequented by famous members of the European and Argentine cultural scenes during the entire 20th century. Guests are attended personally by the owners.

Inns and small hotels: EL MOLINO DE CACHI (Cachi, Province of Salta) is a cozy Spanish colonial-style inn built around a 17th-century grain mill, whose millstone still functions in part of the breakfast room. The owners restored the building in 1994, adding five finely decorated rooms and a suite. Later, they planted a vineyard and built a small winery. They organize excursions and expeditions in the province for their guests.

Hotels: EL CASCO (Bariloche, Province of Río Negro). Argentina’s first “art hotel” is the creation of a well-known Buenos Aires art dealer, who purchased this famous property from a European baroness a few years ago and updated its layout to accommodate his project. Each of the 33 suites has original paintings by famous Argentine artists, and the gourmet signature cuisine of its chef is well known.

Museum: MNBA Neuquén (Neuquén, Province of Neuquén). The first annex of the National Museum of Fine Arts outside Buenos Aires, it was installed in the provincial capital in 2000 thanks to the good offices of the city Culture and Sports Secretary. Its permanent headquarters, built according to modern architectural standards for art museums, opened in 2004.

Personality: Valeria Atela (Chascomús, Province of Buenos Aires). In 1998, the present director of the Chascomús School Orchestra decided to give children and adolescents in local schools an alternative way to progress based on playing music. The project began with 35 students and now there are more than 350 aged 3 to 21, who perform in four different age-determined groups.

Guides and small adventure travel companies: EL JABIRÚ (Las Lomitas, Province of Formosa). In 2003, two young naturalists went to live near the Bañado de la Estrella wetland, which is home to more than 300 species of birds. They specialize in custom tours of the region, including the Río Pilcomayo National Park and its surroundings.

Activities: BIG ICE (El Calafate, Province of Santa Cruz). The company, which has been a concessionaire of the Los Glaciares National Park for the past 20 years, became famous for its successful guided excursion known as Minitrekking, which enables tourists to walk on a small part of the Perito Moreno glacier with ice crampons for about an hour. In 2004-2005 they went further and offered Big Ice, a full day of hiking toward the center of the glacier.

Gastronomy: LAS BALSAS (Villa La Angostura, Neuquén). For the past eight years, Chef Pablo Campoy, 34, has been in charge of the kitchen of Las Balsas, a member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux hotel and restaurant group. Since his arrival in 2001, after having practiced his profession in Argentina and Spain for several years, Las Balsas has won several awards and mentions that consecrate its restaurant as one of the best outside Buenos Aires.