We went up to the Entre Rios province, about 2.5 hours outside of Buenos Aires, to a ranch! The ranch, called Estancia Santa Maria, offers the Real Gaucho (Cowboy) Experience…and I wanted to see how these Argentinian cowboys do it! We arrived late Saturday afternoon, and after we settled in our room we were offered tea in the dining room. We had tea, toast with dulce de leche and some little baked goodies. Of course that was far too exhausting for us, so we retired to our room and napped for 2 hours! The rooms at the ranch are comfortable and clean, and very country cute!
We had a nice dinner of meat empanadas, and a chicken risotto main course. The ranch offers a set menu for all meals, so if you are a picky eater this is not for you. For us it was amazing, to pay for the hotel and four meals and have everything included (except liquor) and not have to make any decisions. We were there to relax! After dinner we watched a movie and then spent some time looking up at the stars – the stars are always amazing in the country! In the morning it was time to go horseback riding with the gaucho. It was a strange (and a bit nerve wracking) experience in the beginning. It’s been years since I’ve been on a horse. But after a few minutes it was more comfortable and it was gorgeous to ride the horses through the pastures, next the sheep, by the cows, and past some very noisy birds. It was nice to just let our thoughts wander as we were riding to the rhythm of the horse. There was no stress, no big decisions, just a nice slow rhythm of the horse.
When we returned to the farm house we were treated with the original asado – Argentinean barbecue. There were blood sausages (not for me, but others seemed to like them), chorizo sausages, potato salad, green salad, and a gorgeous barbecued beef. It was definitely tasty!
After lunch it was time for another nap…which we managed to do for two hours! The great thing about the ranch is that your stay is for 24 hours… so if you arrive at 5pm you can stay until 5pm the next day. It was much better than having to check out of a hotel at noon, like most North American places. It was a wonderful relaxing weekend out of the city, seeing the countryside, and tasting the local foods from field to table. If you are going to Argentina, a farm experience is not to be missed.