The cultural aim of this immersive, hands-on expedition is to experience life as an Argentinian gaucho – a hard-working South American cowboy. The secondary, physical aim is to reach the dormant volcanic region of Cerro Negro, at the culmination of a multi-day horseback trip made in traditional gaucho style. You’ll be several hours by car (and three more on horseback) from the next settlement. This underlines the independent and self-sufficient nature of life as a gaucho on an estancia that makes the very most of its abundant natural resources.
Initially you’ll get involved in a period of estancia-based activities – from fishing and riding to farming and blacksmithing. Next, you’ll embark on an exploratory pack trip into the remote volcanic peaks at the estancia’s furthest edge, on the border with Chile. On this self-sufficient, expedition-styled journey, you’ll wild camp beneath Patagonian stars and share fireside anecdotes with your fellow adventurers and local support team. The team will also call in at the ‘puesto’ or summer pasture to learn about the life of the ‘puesteros’ who live there all summer.
- Develop or learn new skills on a remote, working estancia.
- Experience the unstaged daily life of a gaucho.
- Learn to ride or improve horsemanship skills.
- Practice river fishing – gaucho style.
- Help the experts at the sawmill, leather workshop or forge.
- Prepare for an extended pack trip (on horseback).
- Explore the vast estancia on foot and horseback.
- Carry out perimeter inspections at the estancia’s edge.
- Wild camp in the foothills of the Andes.
- Learn to load and work with mules.
- Look out for condors riding the thermals from Cerro Negro’s summit.
- Enjoy delicious organic food straight from the estancia gardens.
An iconic destination
Patagonia has long held the imagination of armchair and actual explorers – fuelled in no small part by that classic of modern travel writing, Bruce Chatwin’s ‘In Patagonia.’ Our in-country leader recommends anyone who hasn’t read it to bring it with you to enjoy once you’ve been in Patagonia for while (perhaps a treat for the flight home). There are many facets to this epic destination, from its jagged mountain peaks and bright glaciers to storm-whipped coasts and shimmering vanishing-point highways. This immersive expedition to the region’s fertile inner plains, bordered by the snow-capped peaks of the Andes, will reveal the characteristics – and characters – of rural, hardworking Argentina.
Argentinian Patagonia’s estancias are epic, sprawling and often very remote. This off-grid estancia is totally self-sufficient, accessed only by mule or on horseback. With everyone mucking in with everything to ensure that estancia life runs smoothly, this is your chance to experience the inimitable way of life in one of the world’s most renowned wilderness regions. Escape the tyranny of your inbox to immerse yourself in the nitty gritty of gaucho life, embracing everything this slower-paced way of life has to offer.
On this immersive expedition, you’ll learn to horseride (or improve your existing horsemanship skills) with the estancia staff and perhaps some of the legendary gauchos themselves. Other skills and activities are on offer, from observing or assisting at the forge, the sawmill or the leather workshop, with assistance on building or farming projects always welcome.
Epic horse riding terrain
Learn to ride a horse or improve your existing levels of horsemanship in this incredible riding playground. Different mounts are available to suit each rider’s proficiency, and lessons and tips will come from the gauchos and estancia staff to ensure that each teammate is sufficiently challenged and prepared for the multi-day pack trip. The riding and tack are ‘gaucho’ style, so even experienced riders can prepare to learn something new. Necessary clothing will be outlined in the Expedition Handbook, sent on request or upon application to join the team.