Argentina is as colorful in pilgrimage options as Mexico. Being the homeland of Pope Francis, it also has various folk saints such as the Gauchito Gil and San La Muerte or the Skeleton Saint. Here are some of the most known pilgrimage sites and routes.
Camino de Salta
103 km long pilgrimage called Camino de Salta (inspired by Camino de Santiago in Spain) lies in the Northern part of Argentina. It starts in the Cathedral of the city of San Salvador de Jujuy and ends in the Sanctuary of Virgin Mary in Salta. It is advised to start it on Wednesday morning and reach the destination in Salta on Saturday when the service takes places. In this case, pilgrims are getting special Pilgrimage Reward. The route is walked in 4 stages: Jujuy – San Antonio – Dique Campo Alegre – Vaqueros -Sanctuary in Salta. There is a very informative website for Camino de Salta where you can find a very detailed preparation plan, maps, recommendations for accommodation and catering. Pilgrims have to organize this pilgrimage themselves and inform hotels and restaurants in advance about their arrival. In some places, there is no food stores and no phone connection. The route is marked by yellow arrows.
Nuestra Señora de Luján Pilgrimage
68 km northwest of the capital city of Buenos Aires there is a famous pilgrimage destination – Basilica of Nuestra Señora de Luján who is also the patron saint of Argentina. It takes two days if you decide to walk there. The annual pilgrimage was used to be led by Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio (nowadays Pope Francis). There is an annual organized pilgrimage in October (waiting for the dates for 2019) starting at Parroquia San Cayetano de Liniers. Visit official Pelegrination Juvenil a Lujan website for information and map of the route (in Spanish only).
The Gauchito Gil
19th-century Argentinian folk hero and the saint after his death (not approved by the Catholic Church although the devotees are mostly Catholic), Gauchito Gil (or The Little Gauchito) was similar to the English Robin Hood. He has quite a history of love, war, imprisonment, devotion to San La Muerte, and torture before he was killed on the tree by a sergeant. The same sergeant, however, later was the one who spread the news of Gauchito Gil as a miracle maker after he miraculously saved the policeman’s son. You can read a more detailed history of Antonio Mamerto Gil Núñez.
The main Sanctuary of Gauchito Gil is in Pay Ubre, Mercedes, Corrientes (Northeast of Argentina) but lots of smaller ones (red fabric hanging on the tree branches) are spread throughout the country on different roads. The devotees of the Gauchito Gil go to the annual pilgrimage which takes place on January 8th (the day that Gauchito Gil actually died) and visits the shrine in Pay Ubre. Here is a detailed story of a visit to the shrine by traveler Lorraine Caputo.