Argentinawithfriendstravel’s Weblog

July 7, 2014

#ArgentineGauchoVacations JESS Kalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com

Many legends exist about Argentina’s early gauchos, wanderers who lived off the land and slept in mud huts during the mid-18th century. Eventually, private land owners began hiring these nomads as skilled animal handlers, and eventually farmhands, on large estancias. Today, most gauchos reside at estancias in the prairie lands of La Pampa, but can be found throughout Argentina.

Argentina Gaucho Sunset

Many legends exist about Argentina’s early gauchos, wanderers who lived off the land and slept in mud huts during the mid-18th century. Eventually, private land owners began hiring these nomads as skilled animal handlers, and eventually farmhands, on large estancias. Today, most gauchos reside at estancias in the prairie lands of La Pampa, but can be found throughout Argentina.

Estancias welcome tourists on day trips and overnight stays to experience a day in the life of the modern gauchos. About a 90-minute drive from Buenos Aires, La Bamba de Areco is a luxurious colonial-style estancia, with origins that date back to 1830. Upon arrival, guests are welcomed at the Pulperia, the oldest historical building where gauchos used to gather to sing, dance, or dine.

Argentina Panchos

Today’s estancias are often luxurious. At La Bamba de Areco, guests enjoy serious pampering including hot stone massages, fresh-squeezed lemonade served by an outdoor pool, carriage rides, relaxing in the billiard room, and watching a polo tournament. A common sight and smell: traditional asada and fresh vegetables sizzling on an outdoor grill.

Argentina Gaucho campfire Singing

In addition to horseback riding throughout the grounds, visitors to La Bamba de Areco can watch games that showcase equestrian skills, and an unusual horse-whispering show that demonstrates the level of trust between the horse and gaucho. They can also visit the nearby town of San Antonio de Areco, known as the birthplace of gaucho heritage.

Argentina Estancia La-Bamba-de-Areco

About an hour’s drive from Buenos Aires, Estancia Los Dos Hermanos owns more than 60 horses, making it an easy short getaway and an ideal place for beginners to try horseback riding. A full day’s schedule with the gauchos includes two horseback riding lessons, leisure time, empanada appetizers, and an asada lunch.

Argentina Horse Whispering La-Bamba-gaucho

At estancias in other regions like El Colibrí Estancia de Charme – located outside of Cordoba – gauchos display their prowess. This elegant, family-friendly ranch also offers cooking demonstrations, riding lessons, hiking, and mountain biking. Kids (and adults) can help out on the farm with hands-on experiences like collecting eggs, milking cows, and picking vegetables.

Argentian Estancia Horse stables

Nestled in the Mendoza wine region, the lodge at Estancia El Puesto faces the Andes Mountains, so visitors are privy to humbling landscapes, stunning sunrises, and starlit skies. Guests can embark on guided mountain excursions in areas that condors, pumas and gray foxes call home. Afterward, they can enjoy local wines and share stories by the open fire

Argentina Estancia Rodeo

For even more adventure, visitors to Estancia El Puesto can join gauchos on a six-day, ‘bucket list’ trek across the Andes on horseback. The excursion team provides horses, mules, equipment, and experience on an epic journey that winds past glaciers, volcanoes, mountains, lagoons, and valleys before finishing in Chile.

Argentina Estancia Plains El-Puesto

The social status of gauchos underwent numerous transitions: from orphans and mestizos struggling to find their place, to foragers, rebels, and farm workers. Today they are often associated with bravery and independence. Although gauchos’ modern lifestyle has evolved, estancia visitors can still get a sense of what the gaucho spirit is all about.

Argentina Estancia Gauchos La-Bamba-de-Areco-2Argentine Bolas Boleadoras

The allure of cowboys and outlaws has fascinated people for centuries. Tales of adventures in the Wild West – of exploring the unknown on horseback and battling the elements – have made their way into history books and cinema. This nomadic, rebellious lifestyle was not limited to the cowboys in the United States. Other countries have their own version of cowboy cultures, and in Argentina,estancias have replaced ranches, and cowboys are called gauchos. (pronounced GOW-chose)

This independent cowboy spirit of yesteryear is still very much alive – in modern form. In Argentina, gauchos don their sombreros and ponchos at luxurious estancias. These working farms and estates provide lodging for tourists and a ‘traditional’ gaucho experience. Travelers can go horseback riding or watch folk dances, gaucho shows, and even horse-whispering demonstrations. In between activities, guests can lounge by a pool, have a massage, witness daily life on the ranch, and soak in the relaxed vibes of the Argentinian countryside.

Most estancias serve traditional fare on outdoor patios, including barbecue steak with chimichurri sauce, yerba mate tea, and fine wines – like Argentina’s famous Malbec. With many located less than two hours from Buenos Aires, a visit to an estancia offers a memorable day trip or longer stay. They provide an opportunity to peek into the past without sacrificing the creature comforts of a vacation.

Friends Travel Bus Card front 4april14

Blog at WordPress.com.