Rural tourism in Argentina has certainly become an essential and ever-expanding activity. This is carried out throughout this vast country, where crop and livestock production is the main economic activity.

Morbi vitae purus dictum, ultrices tellus in, gravida lectus.

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Argentina on the go

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Activities

PUBLISHED

AUG 11, 2020

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hat said, you may be wondering: “Where can we have a one-of-a-kind and authentic rural experience while visiting Argentina?”

The answer is: in our estancias. An estancia is a great expanse of land mostly engaged in crop and/or livestock production (depending on the area) and which is inhabited in most cases by its owners or managers and the rural workers (field hands and foremen), who are essential for the development of the activity. They are always located away from urban centers, though close enough to guarantee supplies. It is true that there is no word synonymous with estancia, as different countries have different realities and features. So let us introduce you to the world of these rural estates with particular characteristics.

Argentina is home to a great number of tourist estancias that can be visited to learn more about rural life, nature, local cuisine, and last but not least, to learn the history of the families, most of whom were pioneers in the area where these estates lie. In several cases it is also possible to stay overnight. It is worth mentioning that most estancias boast a superior (all-inclusive type) accommodation service, since they usually offer excursions, accommodation, meals, and transfers. In each estancia, depending on its location, visitors may also enjoy a variety of recreational activities other than the rural ones.

Foto: Candelaria del monte

ESTANCIAS IN PATAGONIA

The variety of tourist estancias in this region is consistent with its great size. There are two sub-regions within Patagonia: the Atlantic Coast and the Andes Mountain Range.

In those estancias close to the sea, the main activities include bird-watching and the contemplation of marine mammals (whales, penguins, orcas, sea wolves, dolphins, toninas, etc), and those from the Patagonian steppe (guanacos, Patagonian hares, choiques, among others) in a unique and, in most cases, even private way, as travelers will find themselves all alone in the immensity of the surrounding nature. This is the one feature that makes the experience different than the more traditional city-based excursions.

Foto: Estancia Rincón Chico

In those estancias closer to the mountains the prevailing activities include adventure tours such as trekking, rafting, hiking to contemplate the glaciers, horse-riding, fishing and 4×4-truck rides in inhospitable areas, where travelers will truly feel negligible before nature.

In all of the Patagonian region, sheep farming is a predominant activity, which in many cases makes it possible for travelers to witness the famous sheep shearing (depending on the time of the year) and rodeos as well. Something that is not to be missed is the unbeatable and coveted roasted Patagonian lamb, along with some mate rounds, picadas, and some traditional national folk song to experience the asado as a true ritual.

A great relevance is also attached here to the history of those settlers who arrived in the region mainly between the XIX and XX centuries.

Foto: Estancia Cristina

ESTANCIAS IN PAMPAS

This is the region generally known as “pampas”. In the estancias in this region visitors may enjoy an authentic rural experience and learn the history of the gaucho: a pampas plains dweller who reached their apogee between the XVIII and XIX centuries. Given its proximity to the city of Buenos Aires, visitors are offered the chance to spend a “country day”, which includes the ever-present asado, horse carriage rides, horseback rides, the use of the green areas and, in the suitable season, the use of the swimming pool. It should also be mentioned that many of these estancias are engaged in polo horses’ husbandry.

The terrain in this region is truly flat and its soils very fertile, which allows for an efficient development of farming. Another prominent activity is cow rearing. The manor houses in these estates are usually quite luxurious, as in most cases they used to belong to well-off families who lived in the centuries above mentioned.

Foto: Puesto viejo

ESTANCIAS IN CUYO

The estancias in this region are among the most exclusive lodging options, and they are usually the most costly as well. In Cuyo they are typically associated to wine production, so they tend to be located in wineries and vineyards areas. The local gastronomy is one of the major pillars in these traditional establishments, whose dishes are superbly paired with the best wines in the area. In many cases, the estancias produce their own wine.

In several of these estancias visitors may stay overnight as well as enjoy recreational activities such as bike rides, museums tours, horseback rides and tours of the vineyards.

Foto: Casa de Uco

ESTANCIAS IN THE ARGENTINE NORTHWEST

Here lie the oldest estancias in the country. The manor houses in these estates have a marked colonial style: simple constructions, tiled roofs, inner patios and galleries. Just like in the rest of Argentina, they are located close to urban centers, though immersed in natural settings.

In the Cafayate area (in the south of Salta province), the estancias are involved in the production of wine, just like in Cuyo. What makes these estancias different from the ones in the other regions is the fact that here visitors may learn about the farming of llamas and other camelids and about loom productions, as well as take cooking lessons to learn how to prepare the traditional and diverse dishes of the region, and take a horseback ride in sceneries that will forever be engraved in their memories.

Foto: Patios del Cafayate

ESTANCIAS IN THE LITTORAL

The estancias close to the Ibera Wetlands, a one-of-a-kind natural paradise in the world, are by far the major attraction in this region. The inn-type lodgings offered here serve as a base place to explore this spectacular biome. Not surprisingly, among the main activities is the contemplation of the amazing wealth of flora and fauna living in the wetlands, on safaris guided by baqueanos, who are local experts and nature lovers. Some of the most common species that can be viewed are capybaras, pampas deer, otters, aguará guazú, caimans, and a myriad of birds, among others. These estancias embrace a conservationist philosophy, which means there is a great environmental awareness for the protection of the natural surroundings and the preservation of all living things.

The access to these establishments tends to be rather difficult. Thus, using a suitable kind of transportation is always highly recommended. The latter is usually offered by the lodge itself. Horseback rides, bike rides and boating along the marshes are also among the activities that can be enjoyed in this region.

Foto: Estancia Rincón del Socorro

Along with their obvious economic significance, estancias play a fundamental role in the identity of our country. The chance to visit estancias all over Argentina is a real privilege, and there will always be one to suit the traveler’s profile and interests.

The cultural, natural and gastronomic experiences enjoyed when visiting an estancia become a perfect alliance that will add great value to every trip taken.

Come and see for yourself! There is so much more to know in this formidable country.