April 28, 2009
Must Experience: Argentina’s best estancias
Visiting an estancia (ranch) in Argentina is a wonderful way to experience the rural Argentine lifestyle, learn the importance of the land to Argentine culture, and relax with excellent food and wine among beautiful landscapes.
Argentina offers a wide variety of upscale estancia experiences. Some of our favorite luxury estancias in Argentina are Estancia Villa Maria, Estancia El Rocio and other equestrian retreats in the pampas outside Buenos Aires; Estancia Colome, a ranch with a vineyard and art museum in the foothills of the Andes; and several vast estancias in Patagonia that are set among dramatic landscapes.
The equestrian tradition is strong in Argentina, and another popular feature at most estancias is horses and horseback riding. At historic estancias outside Buenos Aires, we arrange horseback riding through the tree-filled grounds, as well as polo demonstrations and private polo clinics.
Many travelers also enjoy learning about the local gaucho lifestyle, which is possible at certain estancias. This often includes a hearty asado (barbecue) of grass-fed Argentine beef and excellent Argentine wine.
Spectacular landscapes are a focus of the sprawling estancias in Patagonia, where we arrange horseback riding and hiking to see glaciers, glacial lakes and mountains; fishing in glacier-fed rivers and lakes; and viewing of local wildlife such as rheas and condors. In Salta Province in Northwest Argentina, where an estancia is also sometimes referred to as a finca, we arrange for our travelers to stay at estancias where they can sample wines made from grapes grown on the estancia’s high-altitude vineyards, and enjoy activities such as hiking, biking and horseback riding with great views of the Andes and the dramatic desert landscape. Estancia Colome also offers a unique museum dedicated to renowned contemporary artist James Turrell.
Most travelers prefer to visit an estancia as a day trip, but we can also arrange for our travelers to spend one or more nights at an upscale estancia, where they can soak in the slower pace and perhaps even enjoy an asado under the stars.