Combining a trip to the Perito Moreno Glacier with a stay at a local ranch is a great way to get to know the region. Extensive lands dedicated to cattle ranching and agriculture open their doors to tourists and offer them an opportunity to experience life as a gaucho. Some of the ranches offer luxury accommodations, while others are more economical and offer camping areas to expeditionaries. Although it is possible to visit all year long, it is recommended that you visit between October and April which coincides with the southern spring and summer.
The region’s scenery is comprised of mountain peaks, rivers and crystal water lakes. Ranches offer different types of activities to visitors: horseback riding, hiking, sport fishing, rafting, mountain climbing, archeology, and flora and fauna watching. Other activities include watching, or participating in, daily local activities such as: horse brushing, sheep shearing, cattle herding, cattle branding and learning the secrets of preparing the best grilled Patagonian lamb.
The best known ranches, located relatively close to the Perito Moreno Glacier are: Estancia Cristina, El galpón del Glaciar, Alta Vista, Nibepo Aike, Huyliche, María Elisa and Helsingfors.
The picturesque town of El Chaltén, also known as the “National Trekking Capital”, is located at the foot of the Fitz Roy Mountain and has several rural inns that offer all types of services: Pudu Lodge, Estancia La Quinta, Punta de Lago, Lago del Desierto, El Pilar, Santa Teresita, El Cóndor and Aires del Fitz. One of the oldest is Estancia de las Montañas, which is dedicate to raising cattle. Here you can learn the secrets of Patagonian cooking, visit old workstations and enjoy one of the thousand southern-themed books located in the library.
Heading towards the south and located 28 miles from Río Turbio is Estancia Cancha Carrera, a must-see of the region. Located on the path that unites Los Glaciares National Park and Torres del Paine in Chile, you will see an impressive natural stone bridge and a hot spring waterfall between snow capped peaks.
On the northern edge of Santa Cruz in Los Antiguos is Estancia Telken, dedicated to ovine exploitation, and Estancia Suyai. Both are situated before the famous Cueva de las Manos (Cave of the Hands).
Without a doubt, there is something for everyone in the countryside. Argentinian ranches are deeply connected to the country’s history and the essence of its culture.
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