The Best Estancias Near Buenos Aires

One of the best things to do in Buenos Aires, or anywhere in Argentina, is to visit a traditional estancia in the outskirts of town.

An estancia is a ranch here in Argentina, usually featuring historic centuries old buildings on sprawling estates.

A peaceful day or overnight stay in the Argentine countryside is the perfect compliment to a busy itinerary in the city and equally vital part of Buenos Aires’ culture.

Eat bottomless steak, ride horses with gauchos, and watch the sunset over the rolling hills of Buenos Aires pampas.

Whether you choose an estancia day trip or an overnight stay, there is no better way to disconnect from the chaos of big city Buenos Aires.

This post is a complete guide to the best Buenos Aires estancias from traditional Spanish colonial to even a French castle (gauchos always included).

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Visiting Estancias in Buenos Aires: What To Know

I have heard a few critiques from travelers who complain that visiting these Buenos Aires estancias are too touristy, claiming “they’re not working ranches”.

Poppycock.

Tourism keeps these historic ranches alive and without them, we’d never be able to experience this authentic aspect of Argentine life.

Estancias and their días de campo are popular among local Argentine travelers and international visitors alike, and even after over 14 years of living in Argentina I never tire of visiting estancias.

I visit estancias everywhere we travel across the country (like Nibepo Aike in El Calafate) and have made it my enviable mission to visit as many estancias near Buenos Aires as I can.

This article is a list of the best Buenos Aires estancias.

But first, what should you know to visit an Argentine estancia?

Estancias in Buenos Aires: The Essential Details

  • What is an estancia? An estancia is a ranch and large rural estate. When open for tourism, they typically offer a day tour experience and also operate as a boutique hotel. They focus on Argentine rural tradition and gaucho life.
  • Not all estancias were created equal. I avoid large properties, large as in the kind that show dining rooms that sit 100+ guests. It’s not intimate, it’s crowded, and you can expect that the horses are likely overworked at these. Stay small. I truly love and trust all of the estancias on this list.
  • Where are estancias near Buenos Aires? These Buenos Aires estancias are about one to two hours’ drive from the city in surrounding towns like San Antonio de Areco, San Miguel del Monte, etc.
  • How do I get there? The best option is to ask your estancia of choice to organize a transfer/driver.. That said, if you’re the road tripping type you can rent a car. Public transport is possible via bus to the nearest town, then hiring a remis (town car service) to the ranch, this is complicated for tourists and I don’t recommend it.
  • What is a día de campo? Most estancias offer “day in the countryside” packages, like El Ombu. These packages feature a set itinerary and make for a great Buenos Aires day trip. Typically they include an asado (traditional barbeque), horseback rides, a traditional display (horse taming, gaucho games, or folkloric music & dance), and a tea time to end the day. Specifics vary by estancia.
  • When to visit a Buenos Aires estancia? Spring and Fall are the best seasons as the temperature will be mild enough to enjoy the estate without being too hot or cold. Summer is very popular as well but expect hot, humid weather. If going in summer, pack a swimsuit to take advantage of your estancia’s pool. Winter is also ok but expect for meals to be indoors and pack something warm for your horseback ride.
Relax at a Buenos Aires estancia, I don’t think I’ve achieved this level of relaxed again since this stay at La Bandada (but I HAVE had two babies since then so maybe that’s why).

The 7 Best Estancias near Buenos Aires

Let’s get down to it, here are the best estancias in Buenos Aires.

I have personally visited all of these estancias except for two. (And those two estancias are a problem I would love to rectify in the future).

1. Estancia El Ombu de Areco

Estancia El Ombu de Areco in San Antonio del Areco is one of the most popular Buenos Aires estancias.

It is also one of my favorites. The property dates back to 1880 and has been open to tourists since 1993.

With so many years in the business, El Ombu is a well oiled machine and you can trust that you will have a good experience here.

I even spent my birthday here on one of their días de campo a few years back so I sincerely recommend it.

They offer all the traditional meals, welcoming you with homemade empanadas, cooking up a complete asado (barbecue) for lunch, and ending the day with traditional pastries and a chance to try mate like a local.

To fill out the day they offer horseback rides or a ride in a horse drawn carriage. Bring sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun out there in the pasture on the ride.

My favorite part of the entire day was the Doma India display right after lunch. They display traditional horse taming techniques used by the indigenous people on the horses brought over by the Spanish.

Focusing on the connection between the horse and rider, it’s a work of art and you can see the love and respect for the animal and the bond between the gaucho and his horse.

All of that was on our day in the countryside experience.

You can stay for a night or two in one of their 11 rooms for a longer, more peaceful stay.

How to visit El Ombu de Areco:

  • This package includes El Ombu’s dia de campo, a transfer from Buenos Aires and time in downtown San Antonio de Areco
  • Click here to check rates and availability to stay overnight.
The home and hotel at Estancia La Bandada is a dream.

2. Estancia La Bandada

We were invited to spend a night at La Bandada in San Miguel del Monte and I immediately fell in love with the property.

The home itself is young, built in the 1970’s but respecting traditional architectural styles.

La Bandada’s boutique hotel is intimate. With only 5 rooms you never have to worry about feeling crowded and it is an ideal spot to relax at the end of your itinerary.

Dining is their strong suit, featuring ingredients harvested direclty their garden.

Along with the traditional asado, we were served fresh pasta made in-house with vegetables. Our breakfast even came with homemade jams and pastries.

La Bandada’s location is strategic if you want to go directly to or from the airport.

I highly recommend staying a night or two here at the end of your Buenos Aires itinerary to end your trip in the most relaxing way possible, then you’ll have an easy drive to the airport without having to deal with Buenos Aires city traffic.

For activities, La Bandada will organize anything from horseback rides across their expansive property, bird watching, and even polo lessons.

Walking the property with their guide to local birds at sunset was the highlight of my stay.

How to visit Estancia La Bandada:

Estancia Villa Maria

3. Estancia Villa Maria

Estancia Villa Maria is an hour’s drive south of Buenos Aires outside of Cañuelas.

It’s a romantic property ideal for couples (romantic enough to host Michael Buble’s wedding).

Traveling with a family or group of friends? Don’t be discouraged. The rooms in this 1920’s Tudor-style hotel easily accommodate large families. We were assigned a 3 bedroom suite that was so comfortable my 4 year old said “I want to live here forever and not ever go back to that other house“, aka home.

The home, always designed to be a hotel, belonged to the aristocratic Anchorena family.

There are 16 rooms in total: 11 in the main building and 5 across the lawn in the Casa Francesa.

You can visit Villa Maria for the day, enjoying in their three coursed asado lunch and going on a horseback ride on the grounds. But I highly recommend booking a night or two here, the rooms are spectacular.

Similar to La Bandada, Villa Maria is located south of the city close to Ezeiza International Airport.

It’s a relaxing end to your Argentina itinerary that allows you to avoid city traffic on your drive to the airport.

How to visit Estancia Villa Maria

  • Click here to check rates and availability to stay overnight.
  • Book this package for a Dia de Campo complete with polo lessons
  • Click here to book their more basic Dia de Campo directly
Pato and Polo are two traditional sports in Argentina, learn them on a Buenos Aires estancia day trip!

4. Learn Polo at Polo Elite

While the other Buenos Aires estancias on this list focus on a gaucho experience, Polo Elite offers something completely different.

They are one of the most exclusive polo clubs near Buenos Aires offering lessons where you can learn to play polo regardless of previous riding experience.

And in full disclosure, you probably won’t end your day with much skill on the polo field, it isn’t easy. But you will have a great day.

This day trip to the nearby town of Cañuelas includes a complete polo lesson and if time permits you’ll even be able to watch the pros play a match.

And like all other estancias on the list, the day includes a three course asado lunch and free time to spend at their pool or ride bikes across the beautiful property.

Click here to learn polo at a traditional estancia.

This is something that is so high on my bucket list that it hurts!

5. La Florita, San Antonio de Areco

This is my little secret. La Florita is where I take friends and family and even plan days out of the city with friends.

La Florita is more of a dia de campo for locals than for tourists. And best yet, it’s very affordable.

But, you have to speak Spanish and you’ll need to find a way to get yourself there. This isn’t the complete tourist package like the El Ombu’s dia de campo.

La Florita is a small family-run property just outside of San Antonio de Areco. It isn’t a massive, historic estate like El Ombu or La Bandada but it is a beautiful and peaceful property nevertheless.

They offer a complete dia de campo experience with an asado lunch, wine, the opportunity to share in yerba mate, horseback rides, a display of traditional gaucho games and horse taming, and even a show of folkloric music (sit back and watch the local guests dance along!).

The highlight of the day (for me) are the gaucho games and horse taming display.

This is followed by the owner picking up his guitar and serenading the crowd with traditional music while a yerba mate gourd is passed back and forth.

It’s the perfect ending to a perfect day.

How to visit La Florita Dia de Campo:

  • If you speak Spanish and want to visit La Florita, message them via their Facebook page.
  • If you don’t manage Spanish well, message my buddy Bernie on Instagram at Areco Host, he can arrange your visit for you along with a transfer if needed.

6. Estancia La Candelaria

Estancia La Candelaria stands apart from its fellow estancias on this list thanks to its impressive French castle, inspired by those the founders’ son-in-law saw in the Loire Valley.

We spent a weekend at La Candelaria as a baby moon with our first and really loved our days there disconnecting.

The grounds were impeccably designed by Carlos Thays, the landscape architect responsible for nearly all of Buenos Aires’ beautiful parks.

After years of difficulty, La Candelaria has been brought back to life with tourism and has a loyal local following.

Candelaria is great for both couples and families. Couples plan romantic getaways in suites within the castle. Families can reserve rooms in the bungalows.

Being child-free, the castle remains a peaceful and romantic space.

But for families the property features playgrounds, a soccer field, horseback rides, and a large pool.

Meals are held in the restaurant, Chukker 5. We enjoyed all of our 3 course meals featuring a traditional menu and generous portions.

TIP: If you come out to La Candelaria, I recommend doing so with your own rental car so you can visit nearby Lobos (and Juan Peron’s historic home) and Uribelarrea.

How to visit Estancia Candelaria

  • Click here to reserve your dia de campo at Estancia Candelaria
  • Click here to reserve a night in the castle or in a bungalow.

7. La Bamba de Areco

La Bamba de Areco is one of the most luxurious estancias in Buenos Aires.

Being part of the Relais & Chateaux family ensures a particular level of service and dining.

As an estancia, luxury meets countryside in perfect juxtaposition, similar to Las Balsas and their “rustic Patagonian luxury” in Villa La Angostura.

Like all other Buenos Aires estancias on this list you can choose to visit just for the day or stay a night or two in their luxurious suites.

Contact the hotel directly to reserve an overnight stay or a day in the countryside.

Dia de Campo vs. Overnight Stay

Now that you’ve chosen your favorite Buenos Aires estancia, should you book a day trip or stay overnight?

That comes down to your budget and schedule.

I don’t think anyone would ever regret a night or two at an estancia. The properties are stunning, the rooms are beautifully decorated and it’s a proper treat.

If you can swing it, end your trip at an estancia to end relaxed from your Patagonia hikes or bustling city days.

But if you are tight on time, a dia de campo day trip is ideal and my favorite of the many day trips from Buenos Aires.

Whichever you choose, you won’t regret your time in the rolling hills of the Buenos Aires pampas.

Quick Tips & Packing Advice For Your estancia Day Trip

You won’t need to bring too much for your day at the ranch as nearly everything you could need is provided.

But there are a few things that will make your estancia day trip from Buenos Aires the best it possibly can be.

  • Your camera! You’ll want to bring all your memories home with you. I lost all the photos I took on my first day at La Florita somehow and I’m still upset about it. Don’t be like me, come prepared. Read my post here to find out what photography equipment I use.
  • Sunscreen, you’ll need it as you’ll be outside all day. If you remember, bring it from home as it’s more expensive in Argentina. I use this strong sunscreen (because I’m extremely pale).
  • A hat, for the same reason as the sunscreen. Protect your face from the sun on that relaxing horseback ride or while you lounge by the pool. Whether you pack a baseball cap or this adorable floppy hat, your skin will thank you.
  • No food. I’m serious, you will be served so much food during your dia de campo, you don’t need to bring snacks…
  • Unless you’re vegetarian, then it might be a good idea to pack a few snack bars just in case. Let the estancia know ahead of time if you have dietary restrictions.
  • Dress comfortably. This isn’t a fashion show, it’s a ranch. Wear comfortable footwear (ditch the heels) and pants you’ll be comfortable riding horseback in.
  • Swimsuit. If it’s hot out and your estancia has a pool, you can use the afternoon’s free time to go for a swim.
The best part of visiting an Argentina estancia is the horseback riding.

Argentina estancias: The Ultimate Gaucho Experience

I hope you’re completely prepared for your upcoming gaucho Buenos Aires experience.

The estancias near Buenos Aires a truly stunning, you’re in for a good time.

If you have any other questions, let me know in the comments and I’ll get back to you!

And don’t forget, there are stunning estancias all over Argentina like Nibepo Aike in El Calafate.

They’re even one of the best things to do in Uruguay!

Argentina Travel Resources

  • TRAVEL INSURANCE | It is always a good idea to travel insured. It protects you in so many cases, like lost luggage and trip cancellations, medical emergencies and evacuations. It’s very affordable with the potential to save you thousands in the case of an emergency. I recommend SafetyWing.
  • PHONE PLAN | These days, traveling with data is essential. Especially in Argentina where everything is managed on Instagram and WhatsApp. I recommend this E-SIM card. It’s hassle-free and affordable, for more read how to get an Argentina sim card.
  • ACCOMMODATION IN ARGENTINA booking.com is the most common hotel site used in Argentina and it’s where you’ll find the most options.
  • RENTAL CARS | I love to travel Argentina via road trip, I’ve always used rentalcars.com, now they are operating under the umbrella of Booking.com’s car rental system.
  • BUS TICKETS | Check Busbud for long distance bus routes and tickets.
  • VPN | If you’ll be using a public WiFi connection and want to secure your data, I highly recommend using a VPN, I personally use and have had a good experience with ExpressVPN. I also use it to access Hulu and American Netflix from Argentina.
  • FLIGHTS | Always check Google Flights and Skyscanner for flights to and within Argentina. Aerolineas Argentina is the local airline with the most routes. FlyBondi and Jetsmart are two budget airlines with dirt-cheap prices (but expect to pay for every add-on like luggage).
  • BOOK A CONSULTATION | I offer one-on-one travel consultations to help you plan your trip to Argentina. Pick my brain to get a local’s insight. Click here for more information.

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4 thoughts on “The Best Estancias Near Buenos Aires”

  1. Have you ever taken non-spanish speakers to La Florita? I’m fluent but my family isn’t.

  2. I have not been but included them on this list out of reputation and trust in the Relais & Chateaux standards that I am familiar with.

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