Harvest experience in Cafayate

Making the most out of the harvest season in Argentina, the Cafayate region in the north offers a unique experience to learn about the winemaking process and have fun in the meantime.

The Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia is the popular and national harvest festivity in Argentina, very important specially in Mendoza and Salta provinces -both renowned wine regions. The harvest celebrations are a part of the folklore that brings together wine-producers, anyone else who works with the vine and soil, and the rest of the people.

The Cafayate region in Salta, within the heart of the Calchaquí Valleys, is surrounded by a beautiful natural sunny landscape that blends mountains and vineyards.

Vineyard in Cafayate Dry alluvial grounds, sunny mornings, warm afternoons and chilly nights during the summer that allow a long aging period and also a wide thermal amplitude make of Cafayate an excellent terroir. Vineyards are located up to 3.000 meters above sea level and rain is very scarce, which permits an exceptional growth for grapevines. This microclimate and the unique characteristics of the area originate different and original wines, with a strong personality and of a long-lasting fruity and savory taste.

If you happen to visit Salta during the harvest season – from late February to the end of March – make sure to pass by Cafayate to take part of the festivity and also try a fun experience in this wine region.


Joined by wine specialists, visit a selected local vineyard to learn about the harvest and production techniques, from the grapevines to the final wine. They will explain the differences between the grape varieties, what are their characteristics and how they are trimmed and harvested. Also you will find about the work at the vineyard, who works there and what are their tasks.

Once you have learn the basics and harvesting techniques, it´s time to get your hands dirty! You will be provided with the tools required for the task: trimming scissors and a basket to keep the grapes. Now you may walk around the vineyard and relax to carry on with the task in hand. It is important to observe the fruits to pick the right ones, those that have better coloring and no visible insect bites or marks. Using the scissors, gently proceed to cut the selected bunch and place it carefully in the basket, trying not to squeeze them.

Harvesting in Cafayate

If you’re in the mood for a bit of competition, the guides will organize a game for the visitors and compete for a prize to be the one that collects the most grapes in a time frame.

After the fun harvest practice, you will enjoy a wine tasting to try the different varieties obtained from the grapevines. Generally -depending on the vineyard you visit- these are Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Torrontés, the typical fruity and dry fine white wine from this zone that currently makes of Cafayate a world famous wine region.

Harvesting in Cafayate2

La Vendimia has become an annual ritual, reaching more and more fans worldwide. What was born behind doors inside every winery, in the end got the support of the government and several prestigious local institutions, becoming today an important national event and celebration and bringing together wine lovers from all over. An excellent cultural and gourmet opportunity to visit vineyards, meet local people and -of course- taste flavourful fine wines.


  • Available only from February 24th to the end of March (harvest period).
  • 3 hs private service, min. 2 pax required.
  • Operates daily am or pm, previous reservation required. Activity subject to availability
  • Includes harvest practice, wine tasting and souvenir pictures of the experience.
  • We recommend dressing comfortably for a day outdoors, wear sporty shoes, sunscreen & hat/cap.
  • Transfers from hotels in Cafayate only and up to 4 people are included. For more than 4 pax and/or from Salta city, transfers should be requested separately.

Dusky Dolphins at Sunrise

A magical encounter in Puerto Madryn to appreciate maritime wildlife in its natural habitat at the quietest time of the day.

Puerto Madryn, in the province of Chubut, is mostly known as a whale watching site from May to December, and also for the penguin rookery in Punta Tombo, active from September to March. But in the summer, when the whale season is over, these Atlantic waters are visited by Dusky dolphins.

Dusky dolphins playing in Puerto Madryn_PH Jorge Barone

Among other areas, off South America this species range from Southern Peru to Cape Horn; commonly found from Mar del Plata to Peninsula Valdés. They can be easily spotted from the shore, jumping and surfing waves.

We discovered a funnier way to connect with these rare dark dolphins and with other maritime animals. Departing from the Piedra Buena pier at sunrise, when the tide is calm and the day begins, the chances to spot them are higher and so is to get closer to them.

A close encounter_PH Jorge Barone

Early in the morning, you will go on board a Zodiac boat and get deep into the waters of the Golfo Nuevo. Joined by the bilingual guides specialized in maritime fauna, through the navigation you will learn about this ecosystem and these dolphins’ biological cycle, reproduction, socialization and feeding habits.

Keep an eye on the water! Any subtle movement suddenly may become into wildlife in action right in front of you. You will share a moment in these magnificent animals´ lives, appreciating them in the freedom of their natural habitat.

Dusky Dolphins_Puerto Madryn 06As in any nature watching experience, you should expect surprises. Many birds -as the South American tern and the Magellanic cormorant- and also sea lions chose these Patagonian shores to rest on the cliffs and boulder beaches, so you may get to see and learn about them too when you pass by Punta Loma, where they settled their colony. If you are lucky, you may also meet other cetaceans curious enough to come close.

Sea Lion in Puerto Madryn_PH Jorge Barone

You will definitely enjoy this relaxing navigation, feeling the sea breeze and your heart pumping fast knowing that in any possible moment wildlife may show up as close to you as it can be.

Dusky dolphins in Puerto Madryn_PH Jorge Barone

  • Includes navigation on Zodiac boat, bilingual specialized guide, a snack, photography service (pictures not included). Transfers to and from the pier not included.
  • Operates daily from December to April. From two to three departures from Piedra Buena pier: 6:30 am (sunrise) – 9:30 am – 1:00 pm.
  • 2-2:30 hs Regular navigation shared with other guests. Departure is guaranteed (weather permitting) with a minimum of 10 pax. For this matter, we recommend this activity for groups, or check availability for FITS on specific required dates.
  • The navigation main objective is to encounter dusky dolphins but also visiting the sea lion colony in Punta Loma, Folias shipwreck in Paraná beach, Punta Este and piers; depending on time and weather conditions.
  • Activity subject to weather conditions. The navigation route and itinerary may change or the activity may be cancelled without previous notice. Dusky dolphins watching can not be assured given to the species characteristics and unspecified location.
  • Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, cap or hat, a coat, drinking water.

Traditional Highlights of Argentina

Ideal for those in a hurry through Buenos Aires, this full day experience in the countryside nearby provides a little bit of history and everything you need to see, hear, taste and try of the Argentinean culture.

We couldn’t have ask for better weather conditions: a clear blue sky and the sun shining bright above predicted a great day trip into the pampas. Tradition and gourmet were the keywords for the day and we were eager to experiment both.

After the pick up, we begun the journey crossing Buenos Aires’ downtown, passing by the Obelisco and driving through the famous 9 de Julio Avenue in southwest direction towards Cañuelas county, almost 70 km away from the city.

Obelisco and Avenida 9 de Julio
Obelisco and Avenida 9 de Julio

On the way, the guide explained briefly the history of Buenos Aires, the countryside and the gauchos to give a frame to the experience of the day.

We learnt that most of the estancias (ranches or estates) were settled from the late 1700s and through the 1800s in lands that used to belong to native communities. The landowners were usually wealthy European immigrants that used the terrains as a stockbreeding income and also as a recreation property.

During the wealthiest era in Argentina -from 1880 until the ending of the 19th century- under a big European influence (Buenos Aires is called the Southamerican Paris), was when the “luxury estancias” started to grow: English castles and Spanish constructions characterized for its Renaissance style main houses, big windows with ornamented bars, interiors decorated with contemporary extravagant furniture, wide galleries, patios with wells and large tree-covered parks.

The gauchos were -as the quechua word means it- lonely country and semi-nomad men originary from the pampas. They wandered free through the land by foot or by horse and were very skilled riders, fighters, cattle breeders and artisans. After the 1816 Independence of Argentina, the landowners prevailed and the gauchos became the estancia´s workforce.

Entertained with the information and stories that the guide told us, we didn´t realize that soon the urban landscape changed into the green prairie and meadow land that once attracted gauchos and landowners. We were out of the city and finally into the countryside.

About 40 minutes or so, we arrived in Máximo Paz, within Cañuelas county. Here we stopped at Haras Santa Isabel, a local stable, for an authentic & rustic gaucho encounter. We were greeted by a small group gauchos riding creole horses who invited us with an Argentinean classic combo: mate with tortas fritas (fried pastries that you may eat salty or sweet).

Torta frita
Torta frita


Seated under the shadow of an old tree we enjoyed the explanation and show of traditional gaucho skills: doma India -a horse-taming technique based on nonviolence and respect for the animal itself-; carreras de sortijas and cuadreras -creole ring races and short horse races. It was exciting to watch this spectacle with horses running so fast at such a close distance and we were able to confirm that gauchos still are very skilled riders!

Doma India
Doma India

After a while, we continued our journey and less than 10 minutes later we arrived at Estancia Villa María. The change of scenery was pretty evident as soon as we crossed the palisade and drove through an exuberant grove with many different tree species along the way. Later we would learn that the ranch´s park is 74 hectares big, it includes more than 300 different tree species -both native and foreign- and it was designed by Benito Carrasco in 1917.

At the end of the road and in the forest clearing, a lush Tudor style mansion raises, brought out of an Oxford´s fairy tale. The estancia was founded in the late 19th century and since the beginning it was a forefather establishment in this cattle breeder zone. The casco -as we call the main house construction in an estancia- was constructed in 1919 by the architect Alejandro Bustillo (also known for several constructions in Bariloche like the famous Llao Llao Hotel) using all imported materials.  

Main house at Estancia Villa María
Main house at Estancia Villa María

We have a little bit of free time to amaze ourselves by the house and the surroundings, taking pictures and exploring in and out. Villa Maria´s guide tells us the story about the estancia and shows us around. We even get to see a couple of the bedrooms available for staying. Most of the furniture is original from the estancia´s origins and was well preserved through time.

Short after the little tour, we visit the wine cellar. A selected collection of boutique wines -both red & white- lies in this dark and small room downstairs, like a passage back in time. A specialized sommelier explains the exposed varieties and we go back up for a short tasting of two red wines, a malbec and a cabernet, and a white one. He explains that if the visiting group is small enough, the tasting takes place at the cellar itself. Today, we’re many so we have it at the semi-closed gallery with a beautiful view of the park.

Wine cellar at Estancia Villa María
Wine cellar at Estancia Villa María

Here we also have lunch. A gourmet three course menu delights us first with a picada with fine cold cuts and cheeses. Then, a bife de chorizo, the classic steak cut along with rustic potatoes. Last but not least, flan with dulce de leche, a world-known dessert with the traditional Argentinian sugary sauce.  

Gallery at Estancia Villa María
Gallery at Estancia Villa María

Once lunch is over, we get to experience tango as close as it gets. In the salon, a couple of tango dancers and a singer perform live and invite some of us willing to join them on the dancefloor for a few amateur steps and also sin along to El día que me quieras. A lovely and brief moment that represented the essence of tango.


We are almost ending the excursion but not quite yet. A walk across the park takes us to the polo field, where a polo player greets us riding his horse and showing off his ability to shoot the ball right through without even touching us a bit. Pablo, an experienced rider and player, explains the basics of this sport at which Argentina distinguishes worldwide. After a quick explanation we are ready give polo a try! The express lesson is enough for us to take the horses on a short and slow ride across the field, wave the mallet away and try to score a goal. A fun ending to this day filled with traditional activities.

Express polo lesson
Express polo lesson

It’s 4 in the afternoon, the sun still shines bright and the heat makes us feel sleepy. We’re sad to leave Villa María behind, but happy to have been able to take part and get to know more about the traditions of this southern country. We go the same way back watching as the scenery slowly transforms once again into the urban looks of the city of Buenos Aires.

For more information and updated rates about this full day excursion in the countryside, please contact you Kallpa Executive.


  • Full day regular excursion.
  • Operates on Thursday & Friday from 9 am to 4 pm.
  • Current rates available until April 16th 2017.
  • No minimum of pax required.
  • The order of the activities as detailed above may be modified.


  • Transfer from and to hotel.
  • Visit to Haras Santa Isabel and Estancia Villa María.
  • Wine tasting & lunch with drinks.
  • Gaucho skills demonstration.
  • Live tango show.
  • Express polo lesson.

Rural Lifestyle in the Northwest

Visit the Northwest and stay at one of the oldest and historical estancias in Argentina to experience the real northern countryside lifestyle.

The story tells that the mother of Martín de Güemes -a distinguished general during the independence wars- had this estancia built. In fact, this was where the general trained his gauchos to defend the north while San Martín liberated Peru; hence the historical importance of this ancient estate.

Located only a 45-minute drive away from Salta, in the town that pays tribute to Güemes, El Bordo de las Lanzas has been welcoming travelers from all over the world for more than 20 years. This is the ideal place for those who wish to have an authentic and warm northern experience, getting to know Salta’s countryside at first hand in a region rich in history and traditions.


The name El Bordo references to the old way of calling the riverbank, to the fertile lands that border the river, ideal for cultivation.

The Arias family is the estate’s owner since 1958 and they were pioneers in the rural tourism to receive travelers willing to spend their time in the middle of the subtropical vegetation of the surroundings and under the colonial architecture of the main house that dates from 1609.

Today, the adobe walls, heavy doors and lintels with their own iron locks and ornamental bars are still preserved along with several archaeological remains found in the grounds, historic books and ancient documents, original furniture and paintings. The religious images and details in every room are noteworthy and according to the family’s respect for traditions and beliefs.


As a working ranch, the 3000 hectares are used in part for the cultivation of tobacco, sugar cane, corn, wheat, dry beans, soybeans and other grains and vegetables. The family also breed horses for polo, country work and riding.


Guests at El Bordo may take part on some of these rural activities. Visiting the crops and learning about the process, unlimited horseback riding, bicycle riding, hiking, or have a swim at the pool. Relax at the evergreen and colorful park that surrounds the house and at the many corners available for resting, immerse in the countryside serenity and in the sounds of nature, enjoying the natural pleasures that El Bordo provides. Within the grounds there’s a special area to visit: El Totoral, a natural reserve that preserves yacarés (caimans) in the wild.


This region is also famous for its culinary specialties, so a stop by the kitchen is a must. You may learn to prepare and taste traditional dishes such as the humita en chala, tamales, sugar cane honey, carbonada, cayote jam and -of course- the typical empanadas salteñas. All the northern classics in one place!


Every meal at El Bordo is homemade and delicious. As a matter of fact, they are specially elaborated for each occasion using seasonal ingredients and are the same as served for the family itself.

The hospitality of the Arias family and the staff can be appreciated in every detail; from the fresh flowers in every room to the good company of the gauchos and the tasting of ancestral culinary recipes. The human warmth that only northern people can provide.


At El Bordo de las Lanzas, you will certainly find comfort, tradition, history, nature, outdoor activities, a variety of authentic homemade meals and excellent attention.

For more information about Estancia El Bordo de las Lanzas and organized programs including a full board stay and activities, please contact your Kallpa Executive. It is possible to rent a car or to book a private transfer to go from Salta to General Güemes, don’t hesitate to ask for both options.