Michael Harrington | 4th January 2019
TOP 5 ARGENTINEAN RANCHES
Argentina is one big country full of contrasting and amazing landscapes: lush tropical rainforest to the north, arid desert and salt pans to the we the north west, towering Andean peaks and glaciers, and perhaps most famous of all the seemingly never-ending Pampas grasslands that reach far out to the horizon.
The country was one of the biggest beef producers in the world and consequently became one of its richest, and one incredible estancia/ranch (in some cases more like stately homes) after another sprung up across the country from the 1820s to 1920s.
Times have changed dramatically since the heyday of the Pampas, but thankfully many of these beautiful ranches have stayed intact or been restored to their former glory. Here’s my top 5:
Around 2hrs drive from bustling Buenos Aires lies the sleepy town of Areco in the heartland of the Pampas. Painstakingly restored by its French art-loving owners, La Bamba exudes charm, homeliness and superb service and amenities that allow you to disconnect from the outside world and reconnect with your nearest and dearest.
Cattle ranch Estancia Huechahue is nestled amongst the foothills of the Andes, It has just 10 rooms so you can enjoy the best of Argentine hospitality and experience life on a real working farm in is blissful isolation. The ranch offers superb horse riding and fishing and opportunities for rafting, bird watching and exploring the history of the Mapuche Indians. Four generations of the Wood family have worked on its 15,000 acres of Patagonian and today Jane Wood Williams runs the estancia and has been welcoming guests since 1990.
Dating back to 1914 this remote ranch offers some of the most stunning scenery and hiking in Patagonia. Nestled in a small valley between majestic Cerro Norte and Upsala Glacier, the ranch offers day trips as well as overnight accommodation with excellent food and drinks on offer. It also makes for a great extension to your stay in either El Calafate and/or El Chalten. You can also try some horseback riding during the day and then nestle in at night-time enjoying the amazing Southern hemisphere stars with a glass of Malbec to hand.
For true horse lovers Los Potreros really ticks the boxes. Located near Cordoba in central Argentina the ranch the ranch has been around for over 100 years and for almost the past 20 years has been receiving guests from around the world so they can too experience a slice rural gaucho life. As its also a working ranch you also have the chance to join actual gauchos as they work or if you prefer why not try a spot of polo!
5. HOUSE OF JASMINES
One of my favourite properties and in super location House of Jasmines certainly holds a magic ambiance and has a wonderful history and character all its own. This Estancia de Charme, located just south of Salta is also an excellent base for exploring the beautiful and varied landscapes of the region. You can explore the high Andes, the vineyards of Cafayate or venture into the city for the day before retreating to your countryside oasis. And of course, plenty of horse-riding opportunities available
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