No trip to Buenos Aires would be complete without a visit to an authentic Estancia. I recently had the opportunity to spend an afternoon at Estancia Santa Susana in the Province of Buenos Aires. This was a full day excursion complete with lunch, horseback riding, gauchos, a short tango show, games and plenty of wine. If you’re thinking about visiting Buenos Aires and can sneak in a day excursion outside the city, I recommend Estancia Santa Susana – you’re sure to have a fabulous time!
You might be asking yourself, what is an estancia? It is essentially a farm. Gauchos, otherwise known as cowboys, used to roam the flatlands of Argentina attending to their land and herding the cattle. Late last century, Francisco Kelly named Estancia Santa Susana, in honor of his wife, Susana Caffrey. The farm is in Campana, a district near the town of Los Cardales. Just 30 years ago Estancia Santa Susana started hosting tours. The charming and authentic estancia has guests from around the world visit throughout the entire year.
Read more >> The Best Estancias in Argentina
There are plenty of activities to keep you busy at the estancia. Choose from a variety of the activities below or just kick back and relax.
I recommend doing this first if you’re excited about seeing the horses. Enjoy a short ride around the outer perimeter of the fields. This is a fun activity because every horse has a different personality, some stay in a single file line while other venture off the path. Enjoy the moment as you imagine what your life would be like as a gaucho.
Read more >> A Day on Horseback: Horse Riding in the Andes, Argentina
The Carriage Ride is another fun activity and moves a bit faster than the horseback riding. Jump on the carriage with one of the gauchos, named Cirolio. Cirolio has been working at the estancia the longest and really plays into the role of being a gaucho.
Tour the House & Museum
Walk through the old house where you’ll see the original gate and get a sneak peak into what life was like on the estancia. You will likely be surprised by the size of the house and the number of bedrooms, in fact, it even they even had their own Chapel that was intended for the owners and their guests.
Your Estancia visit ends with the gauchos showing you the ropes of the “field day games.” Watch the ring races “carreras de sortijas”, back in the day this was a way for the gauchos to find a woman. Two gauchos race their horse under a horizontal pole where two small rings are hanging. The goal of the game is to pin a small needle through a wedding-size ring while racing. This looks very challenging, but you will be surprised by how many gauchos manager to collect the rings. If you’re lucky, one of the gauchos will find you in the audience and give you a ring; try not to blush!
As you wait for lunch, relax and enjoy walking around the grounds and take in the fresh air. Look around and admire the beauty and tranquility that lies just outside of Buenos Aires. You will notice how flat it is because there are no mountains near Buenos Aires. A day at the estancia is sure to make you feel grounded and relaxed.
Food & Performance
No estancia visit would be complete without a big bbq or a “parilla” as they say in Argentina. So come hungry because you’ll be enjoying some delicious meats, empanadas & wine. Upon arrival, you’ll be welcomed with some delicious empanadas that are fried – very different than what you’ll find in the city, but so good. Enjoy a glass of wine, and soon you’ll be having fun. Try the assortment of meats, including, chorizo and blood sausage. For the vegetarians, try the chicken.
Lunch comes complete with delicious food and entertainment. You’ll see a short tango show and my personal favorite, the bombodores, a folklore dance spectacle. This is particularly nice if you don’t have time for a tango show in the city but still wanted to see a little bit of tango while visiting Buenos Aires. Read more >> The 3 Best Tango Shows in Buenos Aires
Overall, Estancia Santa Susana is a great option for people visiting the city that want to escape to the countryside and get an idea of what the Buenos Aires Province looked like when it was filled with Gauchos. Read more >> The 3 Best Day Trips from Buenos Aires