I’m obsessed with the Argentine countryside.
The rural culture here is something you have to see to have truly experienced Argentina.
And despite living in Buenos Aires for a decade, the countryside surrounding this massive city is where I feel most at home.
It reminds me so much of where I’m from in Texas that I can feel myself physically relax as we leave the city behind in favor of the rolling green hills of las pampas.
The best way to experience Argentina’s countryside is to visit one of the best estancias near Buenos Aires and this post will help you do just that.
It includes a list of the very best ranches in Buenos Aires and what to expect from an estancia day trip.
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What to Expect From an Estancia Day Trip
The most popular way to organize a Buenos Aires estancia day trip is by going to a día de campo, literally a day in the countryside.
Nearly all estancias offer these itineraries.
They involve a complete day’s worth of activities on a ranch near Buenos Aires.
Generally, they’ll include a transfer from your hotel.
Once you arrive at the estancia just before midday, you’ll be greeted with a snack and tea (likely some homemade empanadas or pastries).
What follows will depend on each estancia and their specific offerings but a día de campo typically includes: horseback rides, a traditional asado barbeque, folkloric music, and a merienda (tea time) with traditional pastries to end the day.
Some include extras like a folkloric dancing show, a display of traditional horse taming (legitimate horse whisperers), or traditional gaucho games.
These final extras really make the best gaucho experience Buenos Aires has to offer.
Read More: The 8 Best Day Trips from Buenos Aires
Stay Overnight at an Estancia
If you have the budget (both financially and the time), I recommend reserving a night or two at an estancia.
This is an excellent experience that I’ve only been lucky enough to do once.
You could participate in the complete día del campo activities then enjoy the peace and quiet of the ranch once the rest of the visitors depart.
Having the estancia all to yourself (along with the few other guestrooms as they are typically very small boutique hotels), is incredibly relaxing.
Also, if you’ve already spent some time exploring the city center of Buenos Aires, the slow pace of life on an estancia will be the ideal way to end your Argentina vacation.
The Best Estancias Near Buenos Aires
Now that you know what to expect, let’s get right down to it.
Here are my favorite Buenos Aires estancias where you can be a gaucho for a day.
Estancia El Ombu de Areco: Best Dia de Campo
Estancia El Ombu de Areco in San Antonio del Areco is one of the most popular ranches near Buenos Aires.
The property is stunning and they offer a day in the countryside you’ll never forget. If you want to truly experience Argentina rural culture, El Ombu has your back.
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.
For activities you can go horseback riding or ride in an antique horse-drawn carriage. They also feature folkloric music and dancers and traditional gaucho horse whisperers (a once in a lifetime experience).
If you want to be a gaucho for a day at El Ombu, click here to reserve your day in the countryside.
If you’d like to stay overnight (excellent choice) at Estancia El Ombu, click here to check rates and availability.
La Bandada: Best Luxury Estancia
This is one of the best luxury estancias near Buenos Aires.
While most coming up later in this list are in San Antonio de Areco, La Bandada is just outside the quaint and lesser-visited San Miguel del Monte.
We were invited to spend a night at La Bandada and I quickly fell in love with the property.
It’s the ideal luxury escape from the hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires.
They will organize anything from horseback rides across their expansive properties, bird watching excursions and even polo lessons.
Estancia Puesto Viejo: Learn Polo in a Day
While the other ranches on this list focus on a gaucho experience, Estancia Puesto Viejo offers something completely different.
They are affiliated with the Argentine Association of Polo and there may be no better place to learn the posh sport than Puesto Viejo.
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.
The day, of course, wouldn’t be complete without 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 an estancia like Puesto Viejo.
This is something that is so high on my bucket list that it hurts!
La Florita: Best Budget Estancia
This is my little secret. La Florita is where I take visitors. It’s more of an estancia where locals go instead of tourists. And best yet, it’s incredibly 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 with El Ombu. Like I said, locals.
La Florita is small and family run. This isn’t a massive estate like El Ombu or La Bandada. However, that doesn’t make it any less beautiful.
La Florita is just outside San Antonio de Areco (the gaucho capital of Buenos Aires). They offer a complete itinerary just like the larger estancias.
You’ll be greeted with empanadas and wine (because it’s never too early for Malbec). While the grill man prepares your epic asado lunch, you’re guided on a short horseback ride across the property.
The highlight of the day (for me) are the gaucho games and horse taming display.
Scroll through the photos in the Instagram post above (I somehow lost all the photos I took at La Florita! I’m heartbroken).
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.
If you speak Spanish and want to visit La Florita, message them via their Facebook page to organize your dia de campo reservation.
Estancia La Candelaria: Sleep in a Castle
All of the estancias on this list feature colonial architecture.
Beautiful traditional buildings that you’ll find on nearly all of Argentina’s ranches.
Estancia La Candelaria however… they aimed big. The main house on this ranch is basically a castle!
They offer an estancia day trip that’s similar to the rest of this list, but in a very royal setting.
If you want to combine the rustic aspects of the countryside in utmost luxury, this is it.
You can click here to reserve a dia de campo at La Candelaria.
Combine your day at La Candelaria with a visit to historic Uribelarrea for a full day in the countryside!!
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 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 SPF 70 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. Definitely 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.
In Summary: A 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!
Read More About the Buenos Aires Countryside:
Here are more posts about day trips and weekend getaways from Buenos Aires:
- A Guide to Chascomus
- How to spend the day in Lujan & Carlos Keen
- Colonia del Sacramento, day trip to Uruguay
- The Perfect 3 Days in Buenos Aires Itinerary
- Uribelarrea: A gastronomic hub near Buenos Aires