Trip report: SOUTH AMERICA - Fiona explores Argentina
"As we drove up into the rolling green hills of the Sierras Chicas, the sandy track, flanked by pampas grass, dipped and rose, crossing tumbling streams until we reached Los Potreros. Its shady lawn gave way to an L-shaped whitewashed homestead and an inviting verandah where three snoozing labradors set the scene for the relaxed atmosphere of the days to come.
Los Potreros is special. It is owned and run by the Begg family, fourth-generation Anglo Argentines, who have created a magical way to experience life on a traditional Argentine working cattle ranch – blending truly spectacular riding, delicious home-cooked food and comfortable accommodation.
Evenings kicked off with an informal wine-tasting in the sitting room or sundowners on the verandah, followed by a candle-lit dinner. Lunch was generally outside — often traditional asado or barbecue with great hunks of melt-in-the-mouth beef or marinaded chicken cooked on an open fire.
On our first day we rode down through a picturesque gorge, tethering our horses and climbing down a steep ravine to a stunning cascading waterfall where we swam in the cool waters, the falls pummelling our shoulders in a unique massage. On our second day we swapped the gentle exertions of the trail for the thrill of the polo field. After 15 minutes of stick and ball we were deemed ready to commence this ‘sport of kings’ and enjoyed a thrilling few chukkas before turning for home, a glass of wine and a delicious lunch. The following day we packed our saddle-bags and headed off for a three-day trail ride.
Our days on the trail passed in a glorious succession of picturesque valleys, tumbling streams, forests of silver birch and eucalyptus, rocky hillsides strewn with pink granite and wild flowers and condors wheeling above. Picnic lunches of cheese, bread and tomatoes bursting with flavour preceded our overnight stays.
The first was in a basic lodge with bunk beds, no hot water but a delightful family who spoke no English. The second was in a gorgeous stone cottage set in its own valley, with a traditional range for cooking and candles for light. After tea and scones, a hot shower and a welcome glass of wine, we settled down to a tasty supper. Returning to the estancia for the last couple of nights, I resumed my early morning walks on the farm and enjoyed bird-watching and studying the beautiful meadow flowers."
I would recommend a minimum of five nights at Los Potreros which can be combined with a couple of nights in Buenos Aires.