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Argentina Gaucho Experience
Immerse yourself in a new culture on this hands-on Argentina gaucho experience. Improve your riding skills, unplug from your busy life on a remote 100,000-acre estancia, explore the foothills of Argentina and learn what it really means to live life as a ‘gaucho’.
- Unplug from your busy life and learn the pace of an older way of life
- Learn new skills on an authentic working 100,000 acre estancia
- Learn horseback riding or improve your existing skills
- Take an extended pack trip by horse
- Explore the countryside of Argentina
- Camp at the foothills of the Andes Mountains
These cowboys from the Patagonian and Argentinian grasslands are the real deal. The stories they tell and the life they’ve lived will enchant you. But this is also a time for real work. You’ll participate in all activities required to run at 100,000-acre ranch. This includes mucking in wherever and whenever needed.
The gauchos will teach you the skills you need and then you’ll put them to good use on an epic horseback adventure as you cross the estancia. You don’t need to be an expert horse rider; the gauchos will teach you. The aim of your trip is to reach the Cerro Negro volcano. Located at the foothills of the Andes, it’s a beautiful sight to behold and you and your team will feel immense satisfaction at reaching it.
There is no itinerary on there. There are also no inboxes, voicemails, or meetings. The workday depends on the season and the projects of the moment. The ranch is sustainable and completely self-sufficient. You’ll work hard and come to absolutely love siesta (which comes at the hottest part of the day).
There will definitely be some early mornings, and you may be asked to help milk cows, round up horses, feed animals, and any number of other chores needed to keep the place running. You’ll fish for your dinner, forge knives with the blacksmith, help with building projects, and join the gauchos on their perimeter inspections.
Not only will you need stamina, flexibility, and motivation, you also need to be ready to slow down. Over the many generations that your host family has run the estancia, they’ve become self-sufficient. You can only get there by horse or mule. They’ve built their own sawmill, a leatherwork shop, and have plenty of natural resources. You’ll camp under the Argentinian stars and quickly get in sync with the rhythms of a slower way of life.
All this hard work is balanced by good company, satisfaction at a job well done, and a truly unique immersion experience. Inquire today to learn more.
You’ll initially be based at the heart of an extensive, 100,000 acre estancia – a remote, rural ranch – where you’ll muck in with all elements of daily life. You’ll help out and learn new skills in situ before putting them into practice on an epic horseback pack trip across the rolling estancia grounds. The goal of your pack trip will be to reach the Cerro Negro volcano in the foothills of the Andes.
This estancia has become incredibly self-sufficient over the generations as it’s only accessible by mule or on horseback. It has its own sawmill, forge and leatherwork shop, in addition to abundant natural resources. You’ll camp out every night as part of this immersive expedition team. The types of skills you’ll learn could include fly-fishing and preparing your catch to eat, forging knives with the estancia blacksmith and assisting on building projects using lumber milled at the on-site sawmill. Hone (or discover) your horse-riding skills with lessons from the locals, and look forward to joining the gauchos on a perimeter inspection at the farthest reaches of the estate.
Pace of life
The estancia has no fixed schedule. The ‘inbox’ doesn’t exist here. Workdays fluctuate with the seasons and with specific projects on this totally self-sufficient and sustainably run estate. You will face long days broken by the obligatory and always welcome siesta – a generous break during the hottest part of the day. Estancia activities sometimes dictate activity early in the morning, helping to milk the cows or round up the horses. Other times and tasks will see you working way beyond nightfall. Flexibility, motivation and stamina are a must: your hard work will be balanced by the satisfaction of putting your new skills into practice when you ride out to explore the estancia.
- 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
The estancia – and this immersive expedition – welcomes people with all types of horse riding ability.
SUITABLE TEAM MEMBERS
Team members should be willing to be part of a team mucking in with daily life and immersing themselves in the gaucho lifestyle. They should have an adventurous, open-minded spirit and embrace the slower pace of living. All our expeditions are achievable by people with an active and healthy lifestyle and this expedition is the same, there will be long days, hard physical work and many hours in the saddle over several continuous days.
You will be required to be fit enough to deal with the following.
- Walking: up to 15km a day
- Riding: up to seven hours a day for multiple days with the willingness to learn to a cantering standard
- Carrying: approx. 10kg in personal day equipment and tools
- Terrain covered: undulating rough terrain including fording rivers
- Climate: an exposed yet temperate climate.
A TYPICAL DAY
The following is a rough, indicative outline of activity as each day will be different. During the first half of the expedition the team will be camped near the estancia headquarters so the day will start bright and early with a quick breakfast before breaking into smaller groups to help the gauchos. One task might be to saddle up horses and ride out into the valleys surrounding the camp to round up the rest of the horse herd. Once this task is done, join the blacksmiths in the forge for a session making your own knife from a broken tool or piece of scrap metal.
When the heat of the forge and the midday sun becomes too much, retreat to the shade for a leisurely lunch and siesta or spend time trading stories with the rest of the group. In the afternoon, there’s been a request for fresh trout for the evening BBQ so part of the team will trek upstream from the campsite for a fly-fishing tutorial and several hours practice before meandering their way back with the afternoon’s catch – ready for a lesson in fish preparation. As the sun sets and tasks are completed, the team reunite around the campfire for local Argentinian wine, fresh fish and route planning for the pack trip which will see the team spending several days on horseback scouting new trails in the north of the estancia.
As a teammate you’ll camp throughout the expedition on one person tents. During the first half of the expedition (while near the estancia office) there will be bathroom facilities. During the pack trip (on horseback), you’ll wild-camp in tents with the option to sleep under the stars.
The food will include fresh, local produce that is harvested, line-caught or prepared by the team. This will form a staple of your communal meals which are shared with the estancia workers and gauchos. Due to the remote location and the necessity of bringing in bought goods by horse or mule, the estancia is necessarily very self-sufficient which results in wonderful, meals based on hearty portions and complemented by Argentinian wine. At least once throughout the trip there is likely to be an osado – a pit BBQ which draws in the whole estancia for a night of music, dancing and tall tales.
Most of this expedition will be spent on horseback starting with the three-hour ride from the road to reach the campsite. Mules are available for less confident riders for this first excursion whilst the expedition has been planned to optimise the first half of the trip for riding lessons for newcomers or daily rides throughout the extensive grounds for more experienced riders.
The horses are mainly Argentine Criollos. These are strong, sturdy, calm, surefooted, and very familiar with the rugged mountain trails that border the estancia plains. They are fun, easy to ride, and dependable as good working partners.
The rest of the expedition will be spent on foot, exploring Cerro Negro volcano and wild trails in the far corners of the estate when you want a break from horse-back. The only motorised transport used on this trip will be the transfer between Neuquen Airport and the estancia boundary as well as the occasional tractor for specific tasks.
Dates & Rates
Dates: 16 February – 1 March 2018
Price: 3,199 GBP
- Trip operator leader.
- Specialist guides and instructors.
- Ground transfers to and from Neuquen Airport.
- Use of horses and pack animals throughout.
- Tented accommodation throughout.
- All food/ meals.
- International flights.
- Tips to local guides (discretionary).
- Personal equipment (full list will be provided upon booking).
When it comes to getting off the beaten track these guys can’t be beaten. They lead pioneering expeditions to some of the most remote regions on earth. The organisers are dedicated to creating imaginative experiences for adventurers around the world and their team of expert military guides are some of the most experienced in the industry.
Nowhere is off limits and no idea is too crazy. They have achieved ground breaking world firsts such as mountain biking in Afghanistan and mountaineering in Iraq and their first ever expeditions to walk across Madagascar and pioneer white water rafting in South Sudan both made the headlines…. and a bit of history.
Being wild and wacky is one thing but with their background as commanders in the British Army and experienced team of specialists in every kind of terrain and environment means that all of their adventures are thoroughly planned and the safety and security of teams is always their highest priority.
Expeditions can be inherently risky, but they do everything possible to minimise potential hazards and for that, and the utterly extraordinary trips they put on, we salute them.
Argentina Gaucho Experience
- Trip Code: AWA386
- Dates: 16 Feb – 1 Mar 2018
- Price: 3,199 GBP
- Depart: Neuquen, Argentina
- Arrive: Neuquen, Argentina
- Adventure: Argentina Gaucho Experience: Get under the skin of Argentina’s gaucho life on this immersive, hands-on expedition.