Category Archives: Experiences

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!

Cuadreras
Cuadreras
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.

Tango
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.


GENERAL INFORMATION

  • 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.

SERVICES INCLUDED

  • 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.

el-bordo-de-las-lanzas-02

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.

el-bordo-de-las-lanzas-01

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.

horses-at-el-bordo-de-las-lanzas

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.

sulky-ride-at-el-bordo-de-las-lanzas

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!

carbonada-at-el-bordo-de-las-lanzas

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.

horseback-riding-at-el-bordo-de-las-lanzas-02

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.

horseback-riding-at-el-bordo-de-las-lanzas-00

Greet & Eat at Home

Good homemade food, hospitality and fun await on this unique culinary experience where local Families open their homes to travelers seeking for a closer and more personal encounter with the Argentine culture and lifestyle.


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Argentineans are social by nature. We love talking, laughing, cooking and -of course- eating. And we also like sharing and meeting new people.
In Buenos Aires City and in Tigre Delta islands too, local Families welcome travelers from around the world for a good time, a cultural exchange and a meal with typical dishes made at home and shared with their loved ones.

You are probably curious about the menu. Well, it will depend on the family! The whole country and -above all- Buenos Aires represents a mixed culture that comes from everywhere but mainly from Spain and Italy, and this is visibly present in our gastronomy.

1-traditional-picada

Maybe a picada for starters, a snack of diverse cold cuts and cheeses, which is very typical before the classic asado. Grilled meats are a passion for us and we can make a barbecue out of anything: cow, pork, chicken, fish…always joined by fresh salads, salsa criolla and chimichurri sauce. Empanadas, our traditional small meat pie but that can also have different fillings such as ham and cheese, vegetables, cheese and onions…Pasta dishes or homemade pizza, we are fans of the Italian food. Or maybe one of our inherited stews like locro (made with corn, vegetables and meat) or guiso de lentejas (made with lentils, vegetables and chorizo). Dessert is always a must and you may try flan with dulce de leche, an alfajor, the classic vigilante (a piece of soft cheese and one of quince or sweet potato cheese) or just seasonal fruits. Of course, we can’t forget about the wine…you will surely enjoy a fine Argentine wine with your meal.
The dish options are many, plentiful and all very tasty, no matter which home you get the chance to visit.

meat-at-the-grill_parrilla-tour-bue

This experience will not only teach you about Argentina´s culinary culture and traditions but will make you feel at home in the company of a loving Family enjoying a memorable homemade meal. As we say, panza llena corazón contento: a filled belly makes a happy heart!

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Please contact your Kallpa Tour Account Executive for more information and rates for this experience.

 


IMPORTANT INFORMATION

  • Family homes are assigned upon availability and guest capacity.
  • Menu will depend on the family assigned.
  • Transfers are not included.
  • Any dietary restriction should be previously notified.

Cooking Class in a Chef’s Private House

Share your travel experience back home delighting your loved-ones with traditional Argentine dishes learnt at a professional Chef’s house.


In the porteño neighborhood of Palermo, a Chef and his girlfriend -a young couple specialized in culinary tourism- open their own home’s doors to tell you all about Argentina’s cooking & eating culture and teach you some traditional recipes that you will be able to recreate back home.

The class is pleasant and relaxed, in a private and intimate environment. The idea is to have a good time whilst drinking wine, learning about our country’s culinary customs, cooking and eating.

The cooking class begins!
The cooking class begins!

On this experience, you will meet other travelers and cooking apprentices and have fun exchanging facts and personal impressions of your visit to Buenos Aires. Sharing with the home´s local owners and also with other people will enrich your stay.

Learn how to prepare the dishes using the freshest ingredients and, after the class, enjoy them paired with specially selected Argentine fine wines. The menu includes: traditional empanadas from scratch -dough and all- with two different fillings and cooking techniques. Llajua, a typical northern spicy sauce used for empanadas. Flan, a classic inherited dessert traditionally served with dulce de leche, a sticky, sweet, caramelized milk and sugar sauce that you will also learn to prepare. During the class, you will try three different wines from three different wine-making regions of our country: Salta, Mendoza and Patagonia.

FIlling and finished Empanadas.
FIlling and finished Empanadas.

Once the class is finished and the food is ready, buen provecho (bon appetite) and let’s eat!

Bon appetit!
Bon appetit!

FACT SHEET

  • Half day regular shared excursion.
  • When: Tuesday & Thursday 6:00 to 9:00 pm; Saturday 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.
  • Where: Palermo, Buenos Aires.
  • Pax requirements: from 2 up to 9 people.
  • Private lessons available upon request.
  • Classes are given in English.
  • Any dietary restrictions should be previously advised.

INCLUDED

  • Cooking class, ingredients and cookware.
  • Three course dinner after class.
  • Wine tasting during the class.

NOT INCLUDED

  • Transfers from and to hotel.