Estancia La Porteña – San Antonio de Areco, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Of Gauchos, Pampas, and Polo Lessons

The verdant, flat pastures of the endless pampas and the culture of the nomadic gaucho cowboys are perhaps the images most associated with Argentina. The aristocratic life of the country’s cattle-ranch estancias complete the romantic picture, and guests at the Estancia La Porteña can easily imagine that lordly life of another era as they immerse themselves here in Argentine history, myth, and literature.

La Porteña is owned and run by Ricardo Güiraldes, international polo star and great-nephew of the celebrated Argentine novelist of the same name, whose books about gaucho life (including Don Segundo Sombra) made icons of these crusty real-life ranch hands. The colonial-style La Porteña is a 500-acre bed-and-breakfast whose owner’s passion for polo (no one plays it like the Argentinians) and his team of eighty polo ponies have transformed the ranch into a destination for wealthy amateur players from around the world. Nonplayers may prefer to ride through trail-laced woods or to visit nearby San Antonio de Areco, whose renowned museum is dedicated to the novelist Güiraldes and the gaucho legend. This quiet village is known for the talented work of its gaucho-inspired silversmiths and artisans. Back at your 19th-century digs, they’ll be preparing the evening’s typical asado feast, centered around steaks unlike any you’ve ever tasted, grilled over an open fire.

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