What’s better than a day on the ranch?
“Many things,” I originally thought. Sure, the idea of riding horses sounded like fun, but I doubted that it would be the highlight of my first trip to Latin America. I was wrong.
When our group arrived to the estancia (literally a “stay” in Spanish, but it also means ranch) , I was surprised to find the area charming. Patagonia usually brings to mind forests, lakes, rivers, and glaciers–all of which are my preferred type of scenery. Dry, arid landscapes are usually not my thing, but I loved the miles of grassy plains and giant rock formations.
After we drove for a few miles, the estancia appeared in the distance. All of the horses flicked their tails as the gauchos (or cowboys) prepped them for riding. The dogs of the ranch eagerly greeted us, and I felt like I was in one of my dad’s old western movies.
For breakfast, we were given yerba mate and some sort of fried dough with a hollow opening that was meant to be stuffed with jam. It tasted like a jelly donut, so naturally I ate three of them. After, we set out to ride the horses. I could try and explain all that to you, but it is better to watch it here:
When we returned from our first ride, the estancia owners had prepared a full Argentinean barbecue for us: homemade chimichurri, lamb, bread, red wine, salted tomatoes with parsley, bread, chicken, red wine, salad, steak, fruit…and did I say red wine? The host just kept on insisting that we finish all his bottles of red wine. One would be polished off, and then another would come out. By the end I was quite buzzed despite having eaten so much food.
Naturally, when one is drunk and quite full, the move is to go out riding again. Except this time we advanced riders (i.e. those of us who had ridden before) got to go galloping. The slight buzz, blazing sun and beautiful landscape made for a surreal experience that cannot be missed.
Interested in doing this yourself? This estancia was booked by our tour company G Adventures, so I do not have the specific name. However, there are several estancias throughout the steppe region of Patagonia that do such tours.