Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge Near Arivaca!by Jim Gressinger on Mar. 16, 2012, under Best Southern Arizona Picnic Areas, Day/Weekend Adventures, Hiking, Southern Arizona Attractions, Southern Arizona Wildlife, Things To Do With The Kidz, Wildflowers
I recently had the good fortune to get an escorted tour of Arivaca and vicinity by Paul Perino, a local resident.
One of the places we visited was the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. The Arivaca Cienega and Creek are a part of the Refuge.
The land for the Refuge, 118,000 acre, was purchased with our tax dollars by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
We Tucsonans usually think of Madera Canyon or Sabino Canyon when we think ‘birdwatching’, but this high desert grassland and marsh area is home for more than 330 species of birds.
Another Arivaca resident, Mary Scott, has been taking photographs of this preserve for many years and has kindly shared many of her pictures with me … some of which I now share with you.
In addition to a plethora of feathered creatures, Buenos Aires also has an assortment of flight-challenged critters; including
deer, fox, bobcat, javelina, plus local reptiles such as snakes, tortoises, and Gila monsters.
Getting there is easy. From Tucson, take I-19 about a half hour south to the Arivaca Road exit, then head west for about 22 miles. This is a pleasant back road over rolling hills … great for bicyclists and motorcyclists. Just before you get to Arivaca is the Gadsden Coffee Co. where you can get breakfast and chose from several varieties of fresh-roasted coffee.
The BANWR makes for a delightful hike through what little remains of wilderness today. Highly recommended!
Oh, and when you’re ready for a really good meal, do visit Sweet Peas Cafe’ just east of the Village of Arivaca. Say ‘Hi’ to Jenni, the proprietor for me. You’ll like Sweet Peas. I personally recommend the quiche.
One more item. Sweet Peas does not yet serve liquor. For beer, wine, and cocktails do visit La Gitana Cantina in the Village. La Gitana (the Gypsy) is the oldest bar in the oldest Arizona townsite plus, according to Esquire Magazine, one of the top 100 bars in America.
Maggie is the proprietor here and she also publishes the local newspaper, Connection, and the best Wildflower book of the area you will ever see.