If you want to just sit back and relax in the beautiful countryside of Argentina without leaving the capital far behind, below are some of the most popular estancias, none more than two hours outside of Buenos Aires. Here you can unwind and de-stress in luxurious accommodation in the heart of the pampas. These estancias offer a full realm of activities and facilities, including swimming pools, gardens, and world-class cuisine. Many also offer fishing, hunting and other activities, and of course there's always an opportunity to "ride the heard" with gauchos.
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The Santa Rita estancia was built in 1790 and is now completely restored. Known for its nostalgic and cozy atmosphere, one of the charms of this estancia is its history, with its origins dating to the times of the Vice Royalty of La Plata. The Ezurra family, the original owners, owned 39,537 acres (16,000 hectares) of what was then frontier land when purchased n 1790. In 1890, the estancia was sold to Antonio Carboni, a provincial senator. Santa Rita remained in the Barboni family until it was purchased in 1988 by the current owners, the Nudemburgs.
Located in Partido de Lobos, which is 75 miles (120 kms) from Buenos Aires, all 9 rooms have fireplaces, private baths and excellent views of the countryside. The estancia is usually bustling with its primary activities: raising sheep, cattle, and horses. During their stay guests have plenty of opportunities for horseback riding, trekking, biking, swimming, and working with the gauchos on daily ranch activities.
This estancia is magnificently positioned, lying atop an 82-ft (25-meter) cliff that overlooks the Baradero River. Visitors can enjoy the amazing view of the thousands of acres of wild islands that border the Parana River. El Vinten is located just ninety minutes from Buenos Aires, making it a possible day excursion or an overnight stay to add to your Argentina itinerary.
With three rooms available, enjoy the coziness and the big windows that open up to tranquil views of the riverside. Take an afternoon tea in the gallery or a moonlight dinner on the terrace, or rest under shade trees by the swimming pool near the cliff. Other activities are horseback riding, fishing from the pier and water sports.
Estancia Villa Maria
Villa Maria is paradise and classic luxury in the heart of the pampas. The stately Tudor mansion was built at the turn of the twentieth century by the distinguished architect, Alejandro Bustillo. Located just 31 miles (50 kms) from Buenos Aires in Maximo Paz, the grounds cover 110 acres (45 hectares), with most of them set in a beautiful, Victorian Era park.
The mansion is furnished in nineteenth century colonial style, and its immaculate restoration will make you feel you've traveled back in time. There is also a swimming pool by the veranda that is decorated with statues and marble benches. Villa Maria can accommodate up to 30 people, and all rooms have views of the surrounding park and lake. A weekend stay includes full room service, drinks and cocktails, and special activities and amenities. There are a wide variety of activities at the estate that are relaxing and serve as an introduction to the Argentine estancia culture and tradition. You'll have a choice of evening tango and folk dancing shows, polo matches and gaucho equestrian skills on display almost every night. You can bike, walk or ride horseback while exploring the house and grounds and nearby area.
Estancia Juan Geronimo
Some 103 miles (165 kms) southeast of Buenos Aires, the enormous estancia Juan Geronimo is hidden behind the northern point of Samborombon Bay in the town of Veronica. The estate is huge even by Argentine standards, encompassing 25,612 acres (10,365 hectares), and functions in a state of almost complete autonomy. There are such a wide variety of habitats and wildlife present that UNESCO has named the region in which the estancia is located a World Biosphere Reserve. You'll find the classic pampa grasslands, old growth tala forests (among the most ancient trees in all of Argentina), and reed beds along the nearby River Plate.
The estancia dates to 1902, when it was built by Ernesto Tornquist. The Tudor mansion is furnished with period colonial furniture and cozy, old-country style decor. The mansion can house up to 24 people in 11 rooms overlooking the lake. Besides being a country lodge, the estancia is also completely self-sufficient. It has its own tea house, nursery, carriage house and stables, dairy, slaughterhouse, mill, and chicken farm. The meals are delicious, with the many local specialties coming straight from the range.
With its array of different ecosystems and beautiful, wide-open countryside, the grounds are perfect for day outings on horseback, by foot or bike. There are also opportunities to go on a photo safari, canoeing and fishing on the lake, and tennis courts.
Estancia La Horqueta
Estancia La Horqueta is located just 75 miles (120 kms) south from the capital in the town of Chascoms. Its Tudor-style mansion imparts a feeling of understated luxury with its elegant, old world charm. It is the ultimate city get away: Enjoy all the comforts of a city hotel in the untamed heartland of Argentina. Relax in the sprawling fields filled with centuries-old trees, gardens, and lakes, all under the canopy of the bright blue sky of the pampas.
La Horqueta offers a variety of activities, including horseback riding lessons and guided trail rides for all skill levels. There is also canoeing in the lake, a swimming pool and solarium. In the evening, guests sit by a bonfire under the stars, or go for moonlight horseback rides for an experience that has many coming back year after year.
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