The vast pampas region, which is comparable to the Great Plains of the United States, is an excellent place for horseback riding and is one of the most popular ways of exploring this region that begins just outside of metropolitan Buenos Aires. The estancias listed below offer horseback riding for all levels and provide guided tours of their estates and surrounding acres. There are also opportunities to take moonlit rides to lakes and go on overnight trail rides, as well as abundant bird and wildlife watching and sometimes sports as well. As these estancias are relatively close to Buenos Aires, it makesmaking it easy to organize a memorable excursion that horse lovers will never forget.
In addition to all the activities the below estancias offer, there are some local highlights that are worth investigating. One popular day excursion outside these estancias is to the nearby historic town of San Antonio de Areco, where you can discover the silversmiths, leather craft and wood workshops, and a quaint chocolate factory.
For Buenos Aires relaxation and non-riding estancias, click here.
El Ombu de Areco
This charming estancia is situated on 740 acres (299 hectares) of grassland. The main residence was built in the style of an Italian farmhouse and dates to 1890. It is located in San Antonio de Areco, just 68 miles (109 kms) north of Buenos Aires. The sprawling land of the pampas with its many trees and wildlife is an ideal setting for a memorable horseback riding vacation here.
As it is so close to Buenos Aires, the El Ombu de Areco makes for a great day excursion, or can be added to an itinerary for a few overnight stays. The staff encourages guests to observe and take part in daily ranch work such as milking, driving cattle to harness, etc. There is also the property's pristine Argentine heartland to explore on horseback. Take a guided tour by a seasoned gaucho and get an insider's view of the vast expanse of the pampas region.
El Ombu de Areco offers six comfortable rooms, each with a private bath and furnished with period pieces and gaucho-style fireplaces called "salamanders". The spacious living room features the usual amenities, including billiards, satellite TV, ping-pong, and metegol, Argentine table football.
The main residence is surrounded by traditional tiled floors, typical of the late colonial period, with cascaded steps that lead to gardens. Here you can stroll among a beautiful array of plants including centennial oaks, araucarias, palms, eucalyptus, casuarinas, and magnolias. The surrounding land is near the Areco River, which has natural lakes and small tributaries running into it.
Guests enjoy meals featuring asado (Argentine barbeque), the finest beef in Argentina if not the world, as well as international and Creole dishes, all served with local wines. In the summer, lunch is served al fresco in the shadow of the great ombu tree. Drinks and snacks are available at any hour, and, of course, guests are always welcome to share the famous Argentine mate with the owner Eva and her family.
Estancia La Margarita
Estancia La Margarita was built in 1870, and here you can discover a way of life that has long disappeared in many parts of the modern world.
Located 280 kilometres from Buenos Aires, the location of the estancia is convenient for many visitors to take a short holiday.
Because Estancia La Margarita is not a day tripper estancia you will not find hordes of
tourists here. This is a traditional working estancia that has been sympathetically refurbished over the last 3 years to provide a comfortable and homely environment. Here you can horseback ride, do some wonderful birdwatching, have some fabulous walks, along with other activities.
Self Catering Accommodations:
Four rooms in the Casa Rosada, a short walk from the main estancia house are available for guests who would prefer a self-catering stay. Guests are welcome to enjoy all the other estancia activities such as horseback-riding, while taking care of their own food. There is an outdoor parilla (barbecue area) for guests to use as well. Rooms are fully equipped with cooker, fridge, gas fire and private bathroom. Sheets and towels are provided.
Fully Catered Accommodations:
All meals and horseback-riding are included and you will be free to enjoy the estancia as you wish.
This historic estancia is ideal for the perfect horseback riding vacation. One of Argentina's oldest extant ranches and dating to the seventeenth century, Dos Talas has maintained its longstanding reputation as one of the most important estancias in Argentina. It features a 98-acre (40-hectare) park that surrounds the main residence and a French chapel which contains centuries-old European art. It also has an extensive collection of books from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Located in Dolores, 127 miles (204 kms) south of Buenos Aires, Dos Talas offers just four rooms in a French-style mansion: one suite and three rooms with shared bathrooms. From any room one can gaze out to the beautiful gardens and cattle grazing in the seemingly endless expanse of the pampas. What makes this estancia so remarkable are the many broad avenues of huge trees that line the different corners of the grounds. The garden was designed in 1908 by Charles Thays, the French landscape architect.
Dos Talas started with the arrival of the Basque-French pioneer Pedro Luro who came to Argentina at seventeen years of age without a penny to his name. He went on to became one of the most important land owners in the region. The estancia is still in the hands of the Luro family, now the fifth generation to continue the tradition.
There are a range of activities available, including horseback riding, cycling, guided rides, and swimming, as well as a chance to try Argentine barbeque and other local specialties. The best way to explore the surrounding pampas is by horseback, where hares, rheas, armadillos, foxes, and the ranch's cattle abound. Another highlight is taking a ride to the lake at sunset. There is also the option to ride alongside the gauchos as they round up cattle and perform other daily activities.
El Rosario de Areco
This colonial style estancia dates to 1892 and is situated on 34 acres (14 hectares) of land. It is located in San Antonio Areco, which is 68 miles (109 kms) north of Buenos Aires. The property is still owned by the family who established it.
All sixteen suites in the main house have been restored to resemble colonial style elegance and taste. El Rosario de Areco also offers two comfortable apartments for 2-3 people with a private bathroom, and six double rooms with a private bathroom.
The remaining 365 acres (148 hectares) of the estancia is dedicated to agriculture and the training and breeding of polo horses. In fact, El Rosario has its own polo team and attracts famous polo players from all over the world. Visitors have the chance to take polo lessons or explore the pampas on trails with the gauchos.
The ranch also features relaxing activities, and there is a swimming pool and horse carriage rides around the grounds. The abundance of flora and fauna also make it an excellent place for bird watching, spotting wildlife and hiking.
Estancia Los Dos Hermanos
Located only 48 miles (19 hectares) from Buenos Aires in the town of Zarate, Estancia Los Dos Hermanos specializes in horseback riding with overnight excursions and day outings. It has more than fifty horses of all different types of breeds and a variety of saddles. Lessons are provided for people of all ages and skill levels. Whether it's just a day trip or a stay overnight, all drinks and meals are included. The estancia offers five comfortable cottages that include maid service.
On a day outing a guide takes guests on a two-hour ride covering the estate's property. Afterwards you'll be treated to an asado - an Argentine barbeque - and local red wine. Then it's time to venture off the property to see the horse and cattle herds gathering at the lake. There are also other types of rides available, including the very popular and romantic moonlight rides. You can even sign up for wagon rides and longer trips that cover more than 62 miles (100 kms).
Estancia La Bamba
Dating to colonial times, the Estancia La Bamba is located in San Antonio de Areco, just 68 miles (109 kms) north of Buenos Aires. The beautiful colonial house was built in 1830 and was used in the films "Camila" and "Las Cosas del Querer." It offers guests 11 rooms, one cottage with four rooms, and a larger one with eight.
During the day you have a choice of memorable and relaxing activities, ranging from horseback riding, swimming in the pool, carriage rides, fishing, and bird watching. At night guests are treated to folk dancing shows, guitar playing and singing as well as an excellent dinner of international and local cuisine.
La Bamba also offers a week-long polo vacation that includes six nights with full room and board, polo lessons, and, for those with a higher skill level, the opportunity to play matches.
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