Taste and live the best of Cafayate in an experience that merges history, culture, and flavor with a spark of adrenaline.
Cafayate unquestionably is one of the Northwest’s top destinations. Known for its world-class wines and its spectacular geography, this place is an invitation to travelers from all over the world. However, there is more to Cafayate than just wines and landscapes. Adventure also finds its place in the land of sun and wine, and we would like to invite you to discover it with this thrilling activity that combines a degustation experience with a mountain bike downhill.
Our adventure begins with a hotel pick-up in Cafayate, and drive up to Finca Domingo Molina, a family winery exclusively dedicated to the production of premium wines. With a privileged terroir that allows excellent grape growing conditions, the wines obtained from those grapes display intense aromas and flavors. At this cellar located in North Yacochuya, we will enjoy a degustation of the finest Domingo Molina’s wines, which include varieties such as Torrontés, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tannat.
After the visit and degustation and before getting too comfortable, we will prepare to start our downhill descent. While we get ready and settle up the bikes and equipment, the guide will instruct us in regard to safety precautions, posture, and use of the bikes. He will also give us historical and geographical details of the area.
Once ready to pedal, we will start this enchanting descent through North Yacochuyas’ road. Along the road, we will pass by the iconic vineyards of Cafayate while contemplating a mind-blowing scenery. We will see how the green grape leafs merge with the hills in the horizon as we feel the wind in our faces. And since the road is easy, we will be able to enjoy this magnificent scenery to the fullest.
As we move forward, we will take small pauses to hydrate and ask any questions we might have concerning the surroundings. During the descent, we will capture the magical spirit of the Valley and its peculiar geography. Finally, we will reach our destination: Cafayate’s central square, where this adventure finishes. At Cafayate town, you can wander its streets and enjoy the rest of the afternoon in this charming town. This is an incredible experience and it is ideal if you are planning to stay in Cafayate for a short period.
If you wish more information on this experience, please do not hesitate to contact us at Kallpa Tour Operator.
Downhill difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 9 km
Visit and premium wine tasting at Finca Domingo Molina
At Las Trancas, Tucumán Province, we find a traditional northern Estancia where adventure, culture, and history unite to create a unique experience.
As we get deeper into Tucuman northern valley, passing the thickness of the yunga’s jungle and its overwhelming contrast with the surrounding mountain ranges, we reach this quiet place that waits to offer rest and relax to travelers.
Nevertheless, Estancia Zárate isn’t just a picturesque place to retire but also a passage throughout history. Its historical records date from the early 18th century. The main residence was a shelter for those brave men who traversed the valleys and needed refuge for the night; and hosted under its roof governors, caudillos, and messengers from the turbulent times that forged this country.
The historic residence still preserves its colonial style and some details from the original structure, such as doors, window frames, pieces of furniture that remained intact over the years, the classic galleries and its columns, and the old well, just to mention some. The rooms also preserve the colonial identity with high ceilings, wooden beds, and antique wardrobes with elegant walnut root details.
Nowadays, the estate is an active stockbreeder, specialized in Bradford livestock and polo horses, and it has recently opened its doors to travelers who wish to witness part of the northern history and learn how an agricultural and breeding system works in such peculiar area. The project was born with the intention of preserving the environment and providing the local community with sustainable work.
As part of this integration program, all the activities and services will be in the hands of the locals who will proudly share their stories, culture, and flavors. During our stay, we will be able to see men working the fields or grouping the cattle. We can also learn how they train the polo horses with an innovating method called joined-up, based on developing a relationship with the horse with no violence involved.
Among other activities that this place offers, there are of course horseback rides, trekking paths, and an exclusive program for the brave ones, which consists of an 8-hour ride towards Las Queñuas, nature reserve accessible only by horse or foot. Also, those who are interested in polo will be able to enjoy the beautiful ground to either play, learn or watch a friendly game.
Besides the mentioned options, Estancia Zárate also counts with an indoor playroom that invites guests to relax, watch TV, enjoy several board games, or even try talent with the old snooker table, one of the surviving pieces of furniture found in the house.
All in all, this estate is an excellent option for those who want to visit the Argentinean Northwest. Due to its privileged location, it is a perfect stop point for those who want to connect the valleys of Tucuman and Salta, both top northern destinations.
If you wish more information on this or other programs, please contact us at Kallpa Tour!
Open all year
Special fees for Christmas and New Year
Activities are planned locally with visitors, according to their interest and subject to weather conditions.
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.
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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.