Due to the constant demographic growth of Buenos Aires, the city's social and commercial spheres have expanded into the suburbs. More and more companies have set up their headquarters on the outskirts of the city and more and more families have decided to move to gated communities in these areas to get away from the traffic and skyscrapers.
Campana, which is located forty-five miles from downtown Buenos Aires, has a good deal in common with Pilar. You must take the Escobar branch of the Panamericana highway to reach Campana, which has experienced exponential growth in the last decade. With a major commercial port on the Paraná River, Campana has a long history as one of the most thriving industrial centers in Buenos Aires province.
The town of Pilar, located thirty miles north of the city, has grown a great deal in recent years. Since the mid-nineties, when the Panamericana highway—a major access route to the city of Buenos Aires—was improved and widened, the number of gated communities, shopping centers, restaurants, and recreational activities in the area has grown.
Another major attraction near Campana is Temaiken, an 84-acre biopark where animals live in habitats built to resemble their places of origin. You can get a close look at suricates, bats, flamingos, tigers, and other species. The park also features a large aquarium, a feeding farm, and excellent interactive exhibitions. If you are used to traditional zoos with animals in cages, you are in for something different: a new way to connect to the animal world. Temaiken is a must for both adults and children.
If you buy tickets for Temaiken at the Hotel Dazzler Campana, you'll get a 15% discount.
One of Campana's main attractions is a single restaurant: Italpast, which initially specialized in pasta, opened in 1995; today it is considered by experts one of the best Italian restaurants in the country. The tortelloni burro e oro (ricotta, parmesan, and nutmeg tortellini with pomodoro and butter sauce) is just one of the house specialties. The restaurant has an extensive wine cellar. There is good reason why so many residents of Buenos Aires make the trip.
The restaurant in Hotel Dazzler Campana is also a great choice any time of day. It offers a wide range of sandwiches and pastry, as well as a very reasonable lunch menu from Monday to Friday that includes main course, dessert, and beverage for a fixed price.
But there are many other options. Just fifteen minutes from Campana is Ingeniero Maschwitz, one of the most thriving districts in the area whose gated communities have gained popularity in recent years. With this population boom came new culinary options. In fact, there are currently two different food-focused shopping centers in Ingeniero Maschwitz: Mercado de Maschwitz and Paseo Mendoza.
The first offers restaurants suited to all tastes. You can find sushi at Yoko's, pizza at Dream Catcher, Italian cuisine at Club Sportivo (whose decor has a soccer theme), grilled meats at Ley Primera, and vegetarian food at La Anita. Cata is a wine bar that serves cheese and cold cut platters. For dessert, make sure you try the homemade ice cream at El Zeppelin.
The smaller Paseo Mendoza is more informal and bohemian. It often features live outdoor shows. Options at Paseo Mendoza include the Spanish-style El Chiringuito bar. The house specialty is tapas, mixed drinks, and home-brewed beer. Ramona is a small bistro that serves homemade food; Matryoshkaté is a tea house with first-rate pastry; Trébola has something for everyone, though its specialties include pizzas and simple dishes.
Just five minutes away is Los Cardales, another town that has grown a great deal in recent years. There are a lot of good culinary options here as well, especially Chizza—a major attraction due to its gourmet food and variety of wines (its wine cellar has more than 3000 wines). A Mediterranean influence is evident in the unforgettable signature-cuisine dishes available here. Like Italpast, Chizza draws a great many visitors from Buenos Aires who are willing to travel forty-plus miles to enjoy the food. It is open from Wednesday to Sunday, and reservations are recommended.
The largest shopping center in the Campana area is Portal Escobar. Located twenty minutes from downtown, Portal Escobar contains a hypermarket and a shopping center with top-quality stores.
A visit to Maschwitz, where you can explore the aforementioned Mercado de Maschwitz and Paseo Mendoza, is well worth it. Both malls have outdoor areas and a more laid-back atmosphere than traditional shopping malls (Paseo Mendoza features a store that sells organic fruits and vegetable, ateliers, craft boutiques, and homeware stores with vintage items). It is best to bring cash along since some of the stores in these malls don't take credit cards.
Another good option is visiting Pilar, where there are a number of shopping centers, most of them along the Panamericana highway. Palmas del Pilar—which houses a hypermarket and stores selling major clothing brands—is located at the intersection of the Panamericana and Las Magnolias Street. Shopping Torres del Sol has a lovely outdoor food court; Village Cinemas Center not only contains eight movie theaters, but also a bingo venue, a recreational area for children, and five restaurants.
Just a few miles away there are two other pleasant outdoor shopping areas: Paseo Pilar and Paseo Champagnat.
To reach these destinations, you must drive or take a car service: there are no cabs in Zona Norte. Car service companies are just like cab companies, but you have to call them to be picked up as their vehicles cannot be hailed on the street. At any restaurant or hotel, you can get help hiring a car.