Argentine gauchos are the skilled horsemen and cowhands who maintain the estancias (ranches) throughout the Argentine countryside. After their heyday in the 18th century, these iconic cowboys grew into folk legends when literary heavyweights José Hernández and Ricardo Güiraldes immortalized their lives in epic tales.
It might not be obvious in the bustling boulevards of Buenos Aires, but the gaucho freedom, gentlemanly elegance, and nomadic mystery, are woven deep into Argentina’s national identity.
Now that you’ve decided on a trip to Argentina, it’s time to start planning your authentic Buenos Aires gaucho experience, a trip as as easy as driving just outside of the capital!
♦ Day Tour of San Antonio de Areco
San Antonio de Areco, the birthplace of gaucho culture, rests 72 miles northwest of Buenos Aires. A day tour of the Argentine “city of historic national interest,” leads visitors through the quaint colonial streets to the charming historic city center and even the inside of a silversmith’s workshop.
Before heading to Estancia El Ombú for lunch, guides explain pulperías, where general stores and bars combined to become the neighborhood hangout for everything from groceries to gambling.
Travelers will undoubtedly head home from this tour with full bellies and a new appreciation for the intricate history of gaucho traditions.
♦ Overnight Stay at Estancia El Ombú de Areco
In just an hours time, the drive from Buenos Aires to the beautiful Estancia El Ombú de Areco in San Antonio de Areco transports travelers to an idyllic picture of modern gaucho life.
Whether it’s observing a cattle drive or touring the 750 acre estancia in a horse-drawn carriage, an overnight stay at the historical property is a rare chance to live alongside modern gauchos.
The family-owned ranch combines the best of quiet pampa life with luxurious amenities and personalized attention. Eva Boelcke, the estancia’s owner, still roams the ranch ready to sip maté and explain gaucho folktales to all who care to sit beside her among the ranch’s eucalyptus trees.
♦ Fiesta Gaucha Day Trip
If an overnight stay just won’t fit in your itinerary, don’t panic! We can include a day trip to our favorite, Estancia El Ombú, to sample the best the estancia has to offer at their Fiesta Gaucha.
Guests can ride horses across the vast property, follow professional guides on a walking tour, or observe any of the ranch’s fascinating stock-rearing activities.
An asado with the highest quality meats and local wines is set to the sounds of traditional gaucho music and folk dancers swirling around the room. Before setting off for your next adventure, gauchos demonstrate classic ranch skills like bullock lassoing and hog-ties.
♦ A Day Trip to the Mataderos Market
If you’re eager to soak in the sights and sounds of gaucho traditions, look no further than The Mataderos Market. Known to locals as the Feria de Matadores, the weekly fair just outside of the capital is where gaucho customs spring to life with alluring aromas of rural recipes, flockloric dances, and handmade crafts.
After a friendly chat with matadores selling everything from chorípan to homemade olive oil, travelers get a front row seat to the dramatic corrida de sortijas.
The historical sport has gauchos gallop their way to a suspended ring in the hopes of pulling it down with a twig as the crowd erupts with “viva! viva!” Handmade silver and leather works at the market are more affordably priced than those in the Buenos Aires markets, making this the perfect place to find one of a kind gifts to bring home.