When I think of Argentina it is the Estancias that immediately spring to mind. Before a career in travel, I was lucky enough to work in Argentina as a fly-fishing guide on one of the largest Estancias in South America. It was the size of a small country, like Suriname in fact. 400,000 acres of the achingly beautiful country. Every day I was overwhelmed by the extreme beauty of Argentina’s Patagonian landscape.
Farming is a way of life, the Gauchos are a unique people, the Criollo horses are thrilling to ride and the fishing is out of this world. Due to the sheer size of Argentina, many Estancias cover tens of thousands of acres of land. They cross-continental divides; boast snow-capped mountains and represent quite simply raw wilderness.
Whatever your interest, an estancia stay is a must on any visit to Argentina. Share a maté with the gauchos, try a traditional asado, ride across open country; round up cattle; fly-fish for the finest brown and rainbow trout, or simply read a book and enjoy the views.
Our experts can talk you through them all, but below, in no particular order, are our Top 5.
1.Estancia Los Potreros
Estancia Los Potreros located in the hills of the Sierra de Cordoba is an upscale authentic Estancia. Covering over 6000 acres, it is a working cattle farm that provides fantastic riding opportunities for novice and experienced riders alike. Their magnificent collection of Criollo horses will take you out on trails, riverside picnics, or a sunset hack after a leisurely lunch back at the Estancia. Polo lessons can also be arranged. If riding is not your thing, don’t be put off. The beautiful gardens and tranquil valleys lend themselves perfectly for self-guided walks and the swimming pool is an inviting location to simply soak up the surroundings.
One of our favourites, Estancia Huechahue is located in the picturesque region of San Martin de Los Andes in the foothills of the Andes mountain range. It is an authentic working Estancia, family-owned for four generations, offering some of Argentina’s finest riding and fishing. Guests can fully immerse themselves in 15,000 acres of Argentine life. Learn to lasso like a gaucho, observe majestic condors, or go with your guide and fly-fish world-class trout rivers.
3. Estancia El Colibri
Close to Cordoba is Estancia El Colibri. French-owned and built in the style of the old twentieth-century estancias, El Colibri provides charm combined with 5* European accommodation. Whether you wish to ride, fish, mountain bike or dove shoot, it can all be arranged. El Colibri is great for kids too. Aside from the riding, children can help around the farm fruit picking, milking the cows, shearing the sheep or try some cookery lessons.
4. Nibepo Aike
On the shores of Lago Argentino is a charming family-run estancia, near El Calafate, that has been passed down through the generations since the start of the 20th Century. Originally set up as a sheep farm with some bovine breeding, today this 12,000-hectare estate is a working estancia of mostly Hereford cattle. Visitors can choose to participate in rides from one hour to four of varying ability and landscape. Ride to hidden glaciers. Explore the dramatic scenery on foot, or spend the day in the corrals to help with cattle branding and milking and watching the gauchos demonstrate their skills and techniques.
5. Pueme Hue
In the beautiful Lake District of Northern Patagonia is Pueme Hue Estancia. Just 20 minutes from Bariloche in the Nahuel Huapi National Park Pueme Hue offers guests a whole range of resort activities amidst striking scenery. This is a great option for those that want more than just riding. Kayaking, trekking and fly fishing are all available, however, due to its location, bird watching, dingy sailing and lake swimming can all be arranged too. The estancia also provides additional activities such as yoga and tai chi.