Category Archives: Countryside Experience

LA BANDADA RANCH IN THE PAMPAS, BUENOS AIRES

A working estancia close to the city, perfect for a relaxing stay or a countryside day, living the essence of the spirit of the Pampas.


La Bandada, formerly known as Candelaria del Monte, is a 250 acres fully working farm just one hour and a half from Buenos Aires. Its current name means The Flock, and as it implies, this is an exceptional place for birdwatching. Such is that the lodging rooms bear names of birds that are frequently seen on the ranch.

The house was built in the 70’s and until today keeps the typical colonial style of XIXth century, painted in reddish colors. A paved patio introduces the road to the main entrance of the house, and once inside, a long and wide windowed corridor takes you to the rooms and a very spacious living and dining room at the end, with fireplaces and furnished with detail and care. Big windows overview the park and the swimming pool. One of the most notorious architectural details is the roof made of bricks.

La Bandada offers a countryside day with barbecue, and also 1 to 4 night stays, with full or half board and activities. There are only seven guest rooms, all very comfy and colonial, with a variety of layouts. There are three private suites and two apartments with two bedrooms and a bathroom each. The total occupancy can be up to 14 people, making it a great place to book and enjoy privately.

The house is surrounded by a 24 acres park, full of a variety of very old trees, including centenarian platanus, oak trees, acacias, pines, Chilean myrtles, laurels and casuarinas. It is very pleasant to go for a walk around, visit the orchard, the henhouse, the corrals with goats, horses and other farm animals. 

There’s also a self-guided birdwatching circuit. You just have to take the binoculars and the Bird’s Guide, and follow a checklist of the most common birds in the area that will help you to look for and identify hummingbirds, cardinals, horneros, herons, storks, sparrows, tropical screech oils, southern screamers, coscoroba swans, black necked swans, woodpeckers, fork tailed flycatchers, and a variety of over 15 ducks, such as cinnamon teal, yellow billed pintail, white-faced whistling duck and southern wigeon.

Besides taking advantage of the swimming pool (in summer season) and riding a bike, among other activities, it is possible to book a two hour polo lesson to experience one of the most famous sports in Argentina. You will learn how to play and get a taste of what playing polo is like, in the unique scenery of the Pampas.

Horses are a very important part of life of the farms and here you can ride along a path full of centennials trees until reaching the endless grasslands of the pampas. There are very well trained and easygoing horses, so you can enjoy a ride whether you have any previous experience or not. 

If you are interested in local music, a «guitarreada» is the best way to experience how argentines enjoy a traditional barbecue evening by the fire. Folk music like chamame, zambas, gatos and escondidos are performed by a group of musicians that play the guitar, drums, accordion and violin. This is an experience that operates on demand only.

No countryside experience is complete without the specific gastronomic service. Mariana Dacruz is the inhouse chef, and with vast experience in Patagonia and abroad, this 30 year-old chef is the kitchen’s soul at the estancia. All the dishes she creates include seasonal vegetables from the orchard, which can actually be collected by yourself. Also, the best pieces of meat are chosen to be part of the typical asados.

If you would like to discover the behind the scenes of the kitchen, it’s possible to book a cooking class with Mariana, where she will teach you about traditional Argentine cooking methods, ingredients and seasonal tastes. You can choose from a variety of recipes, such as empanadas, fried pastries and fritters. What you cook, will be served in your next meal.

La Bandada offers a full countryside experience. Visiting or staying here will bring you a sense of tranquility, peace and serenity. You will feel that time runs slower and that the rest of the world seems further and further away. The sound of the pampas with its fauna, windmills, breeze…the smell of the grass and of humid soil of the rain to come…little by little, immerse yourself into the Argentina country spirit!


GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Full Board stay: Includes: Lodging with breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Non-alcoholic beverages. Activities: use of facilities, 1 hour horseback riding, bikes at disposal, swimming pool. Not included: Alcoholic beverages. Transfers. Extra services (laundry, use of telephone, etc.). Additional experiences. Tips.
  • Half Board stay: Includes: Lodging with breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner. Non-alcoholic beverages. Activities: use of facilities and swimming pool. Not included: Alcoholic beverages. Transfers. Extra services (laundry, use of telephone, etc.). Lunch. Horseback and bike rides. Additional experiences. Tips.
  • Countryside Day (from 11 am to 4 pm): Includes: Welcome reception with empanadas and wine. Lunch: barbecue with chorizo, two meat cuts, grilled vegetables and salads, traditional dessert and coffee. Non-alcoholic beverages. Afternoon tea with creole pastries. Guided horseback ride or hike, and other country activities. Not included: Alcoholic beverages. Transfers. Additional experiences. Lodging or other meals. Use of facilities, horseback and bike rides, swimming pool.
  • Additional experiences with extra cost (available for stays and countryside day): Polo lesson. Guided birdwatching circuit. Visit to San Miguel del Monte town. Massage service. Live folk music (guitarreada). Folk dance live show. 

Gaucho Culture & Lifestyle in Areco

Get to know the Argentinean countryside traditions: gauchos, asado and estancia culture.


Lucky for the porteños, the vast plains of the Pampas, gaucho culture and tradition are alive and so close by. Only an hour drive from Buenos Aires city we arrive in San Antonio de Areco town, far away from everything and surrounded by wild countryside landscape, home to the Tradition Festival in November.

San Antonio de Areco church

Founded in 1730, San Antonio de Areco has been home for centuries to the traditions and rituals inspired by the gauchos, but the town really started to embrace its fame after 1926, following the publication of the famous novel Don Segundo Sombra by the local writer Ricardo Güiraldes, which follows the meeting between a gaucho and an orphan in the Blanqueada, a typical pulperia (bar) in the town.

Wandering through the colonial streets of Areco, time seems to have stopped. Over the centuries, the town has preserved its heritage and identity, becoming one of the most visited historic places in the province of Buenos Aires.

We invite you to a full day of gaucho lifestyle, tradition, asado, craftwork and estancia culture. A day trip from Buenos Aires to Areco to see the real national heritage; an opportunity to learn about one of the emblems of the Argentine identity and the rural life.    

Early in the morning, we leave from your hotel and exit Buenos Aires towards the Route 8 to reach our final destination. Soon after leaving the city landscape behind we start seeing the Pampas scenery.

An hour or so later, we arrive in San Antonio de Areco where we meet our guide, who will guide us through the charming streets of the historical center and show us the local church and the famous pulperías.

A visit to the Silversmith Draghi Museum, the First workshop and museum of Draghi’s silverware, where we may observe the process of making a genuine piece of silverwork; and also to the Ricardo Güiraldes Museum where gaucho life is celebrated and preserved with a collection of traditional gaucho gear: mates, handicraft decorated knives, ponchos, and all manner of elaborate saddlery and bridlery.

After the tour around Areco and its surroundings, at noon we arrive at an exclusive and historical estancia where we will be greeted with empanadas and a delicious Argentine asado. We will walk around the estancia with the guide, hearing stories about this historic working ranch.

At the estancia we will meet gauchos and participate in different rural activities such as horseback riding and carriage rides. Also we will enjoy a traditional folkloric music dancing performance and an impressive gaucho skills demonstration.

In the afternoon, after a full day in touch with the countryside and the gaucho culture, we get back on the bus and to Buenos Aires.

When visiting our city, we recommend getting to know a bit of our country history and traditions. This is the perfect experience to do so!


GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Operates year round upon reservation.
  • Full day tour from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm
  • Personalized tour for 2-4 people or private bigger groups.

Includes:

  • Door-to-door transfers to and from Buenos Aires hotel.
  • Bilingual local guide.
  • Guided visit to the historical town, museums and handicrafts.
  • Reception with empanadas, drinks and asado for lunch.
  • Horseback riding or carriage at the Estancia.
  • Demonstration of gaucho skills and traditional folkloric music performance.
  • Open swimming pool in the summer.

 


 

WINE TASTING AND MOUNTAIN BIKE DOWNHILL THROUGH VINEYARDS IN CAFAYATE

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.


GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Duration: 2.45hrs  
  • Downhill difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 9 km

SERVICES INCLUDED

  • Visit and premium wine tasting at Finca Domingo Molina
  • Bilingual guide
  • Bottle of water
  • MTB and equipment
  • Transfer in from Cafayate to Domingo Molina.

SERVICES NOT INCLUDED

  • Tips

 

Horseback riding at Estancia Rio Mitre

Get closer to nature and live a rustic countryside riding experience at a traditional Patagonian estancia looking over the Lago Argentino.


Estancia Río Mitre is a working family ranch and farm located 40 minutes from El Calafate and only 30 km from the Perito Moreno Glacier. Alighted on an area of risen ground and overlooking the Lago Argentino, Río Mitre provides breathtaking views all around.

Estancia Rio Mitre_Calafate
Estancia Rio Mitre

So close but yet so far from modern technology, this is the place to visit to get away and make yourself unreachable for a while: no WiFi, no 3G, no mobile signal. You will surely relax visiting this far off land, spending the day or stopping by for tea on the way back from the Perito Moreno.

Animals run free here…guanacos, dogs, chickens, sheep, lambs and horses. Even a grey fox visits from time to time; you may be lucky and meet him. All of them are very friendly and are used to pose for pictures with the visitors. Take as many selfies as you like with all of them!

Free sheep!
Free sheep!

Besides animals and landscapes, the main attraction in Río Mitre is the horseback riding experience. The estancia offers different options, even longer rides for 10 days, but brief travellers may spend half day in the morning or in the afternoon and ride too.   

Riding the steppe
Riding the steppe

In the morning, around 9 am, the estancia staff will pick you up from your hotel in Calafate and drive you for almost 60 km. Part of the road is on gravel, so the adventure begins before arriving. On the way, the Patagonian steppe at its peak will offer a unique scenery with a far away horizon and wide lands, passing by several ranches. This is also a good opportunity to observe diverse bird species in the wild.

Once arriving to Río Mitre, a warm welcome by Esteban Echeverría -the estancia´s owner and a natural storyteller- and other attentive staff members that will invite you with coffee or the traditional mate and delicious tortas fritas (homemade fried pastries).

Gaucho riding at lake shore
Gaucho riding at lake shore

After settling in, a guide that will join you during the whole horseback riding will take you to the stable to meet your horse for the ride. Once everyone is comfortable with the assigned steeds, the journey will begin.

Ready to ride
Ready to ride

Always surrounded by dreamy landscapes, the ride will take you crossing the valley and, for starters, to the first settlement of the Echeverría family at early twentieth century. Then, a visit to an ancient indigenous camp. The way back to the stable will be by the shore of the Rico arm of Lago Argentino, watching and learning about flora and fauna along the whole valley.

Into the wild
Into the wild

The significant beauty of nature and the feeling of freedom riding through these vast lands is overwhelming and hard to explain; it´s only possible to describe through the experience itself. This is a place to fall for unforgettable sunsets and long summer days in close contact with nature, feeling at ease and free.

The mighty Patagonian steppe
The mighty Patagonian steppe

Certainly the ride will make you hungry, but not to worry! Lunch will be waiting for you: taste a delicious Patagonian country asado and share a table full with conversation and stories. Once you’re finished, at around 2 pm we will get back to El Calafate town.

After an exhilarating morning outdoors and a fulfilling meal, the drive probably will make you fall in and out of sleep, blending the Patagonian steppe outside and the memories of a fun and unique experience at almost the end of the world.

For more information about this horseback riding experience and other options at Estancia Río Mitre, please contact your Kallpa Tour executive.

Sunset at Estancia Rio Mitre
Sunset at Estancia Rio Mitre

GENERAL INFORMATION
  • This excursion may be shared with other guests.
  • Includes transfers, infusions with fried pastries, 2 hs horseback riding with guide, barbecue with salads for lunch.
  • Drinks not included.
  • Rides available in the afternoon also, different itinerary.