Kayaking! The top activity in Rosario - Argentina
January 1, 1970
by Nelevis Báez
Rosario, well known for being Che Guevara, Fito Páez, Roberto Fontanarrosa and Lionel Messi birthplace is located in the Santa Fe Province, the central region in Argentina. At northwest of Buenos Aires, around three or four hours by bus, it is also one of the home cities of the second biggest river of South America, the sea-like giant Paraná.
What is the most common thing to do?
Visiting the monumental complex, “The National Flag Memorial”, is the first recommended activity in all tourist guides. It is a monument erected to commemorate the death of Manuel Belgrano. The creator of the Argentine flag. The story says he raised it for the first time on an island on the opposite shore of the Paraná on February 27, 1812. Both, the death of Belgrano and the first raising of the flag, are holidays in the country, so it would be a good idea to program your trip to the city on one of this two dates to have a chance to participate in public events.
Enjoy Kayaking along the Paraná River
Even though, there are many ways to experience the majestic Paraná River I am going to tell you a brilliant way to know it in depth. Something that might not be for everyone but those with an adventurous spirit will definitely love it. I’m talking about Kayaking.
There are some tours that can offer you the service but another option is to find some local friends who can take you to the islands. Every day, a lot of people do this activity from the beach well known as “La Florida”. If you don’t know any “rosarinos” you can easily find someone through Couchsurfing, a travel community on the web that I can’t recommend enough.
If you set an appointment to do the kayak trip and no one can give you a lift to La Florida, don’t worry. You can go there by bus, taxi or cycling. During my time in the city, I used to take 30 or 40 minutes cycling from Rosario Centre to the beach, but choose the option that is better for you.
As soon as you arrive into La Florida one thing to remember is that you should have: water bottles, snacks, swimwear, a cap, sunglasses and sun protector if it’s summertime (December or January) or a windbreaker jacket if it’s winter (June, July or August). Of course, do not forget to bring your camera and some money to buy a beer. But it would probably be a good idea to put the money inside a Ziploc bag because it is safe to say there will be a lot of water. Anyway, some kayaks have a small compartment to place your things and those that don’t have it are called Piraguas. Try not to carry anything important like your passport, always carry a copy with you instead.
If you haven’t paddled with a kayak before, your guide can take ten minutes to give you some tips to do it well and don’t forget to ask for the lifejacket and to put it on. Don’t be afraid. It is very easy. Just follow the instructions and be prepared to do exercises having fun. If you have paddled before, you could go alone in a single kayak but if you haven’t, I recommend you to do it in a tandem kayak. This is a special kind of kayak that can carry two people and is wider than a regular one so it is typically the best option for newcomers. With a tandem kayak, your partner can go in front, leading, and you can go on the back learning and helping. But don’t think your friend is going to make all the work for you, sometimes the river has big waves so teamwork is very important.
What can you do on the islands?
It can take you up to 30 or 40 minutes to cross the river (I told you it was a big one) but it usually depends on your kayaking practice. When you get there just lie down and relax. It is a great time to make friends or, if you prefer, it could just be a moment to stay alone reading a book. Take the time to rest, eat, drink, take a bath in the river and some pictures before you leave this kayaking paradise. As you can see in my picture below, even the ice cream man arrives by kayak.
What can you find on the island?
If you are like me, you won’t be happy just resting. If you take a little walk you can also find beautiful landscapes. I got to see typical birds from the area and even capybaras.
There are also some bars in the area where you can take a drink, buy some food if they are offering (they don’t always sell food) or simply use the restroom.
If you feel confident in doing more exercises you can go kayaking offshore in the delta and see canals, agriculture, and rural life.
The way back:
Try to go back early in the afternoon. As soon as you start, you will face some strong winds and big waves. And don’t panic if you see a massive boat in front of you, they are used to kayakers. Just stay away while it crosses the river.
Back in La Florida beach after your kayaking adventure, you can rent chairs and umbrellas, purchase snacks, take a beer or a meal at the restaurants on the beach shore and watch the sunset. But don’t just eat anything you find, to put a special end to this trip to the Paraná River I would recommend the best food you could possibly find in the region. A Choripan! This is a bread with sausage that can be accompanied by eggs, tomatoes, cheese, jam and chimichurri, the typical Argentine sauce. Eating Choripan is the best way to end this exciting experience and to recover the calories lost kayaking the Paraná River.