The Pampas Travel
Rising above the Salar de Uyuni, Tunupa volcano affords otherworldly views of the shimmering salt flats below.
Beneath limitless, cloud-flecked skies stretch the grassy lowlands of the Pampas. Working ranches that profit from the fertile soils are dotted about but grazing cattle are really your only company. It’s impossible not to feel liberated from all stresses and strains in such bucolic scenes as this. Ride bareback across the enormous plains, tuck into a hearty meal of locally reared beef or merely take the time to watch the sun slowly disappear over the horizon; this is what life’s really all about.
The bountiful prairies of the Pampas region stretch from Buenos Aires to the west and south as far as Bahía Blanca and the Atlantic coast. Sometimes the peaks and troughs of the Andean foothills sneak into view but otherwise the horizons are uninterrupted – a verdant expanse of boundless beauty. With a temperate climate all year round, this has long been prime land for agriculture. In the middle of the 19th century ranches (or estancias) were established, using the rich soils to produce plentiful crops while the natural grasses were ideal for cattle herds. Around the pastoral existence of the people living here grew the romantic culture of the Argentine cowboy or gaucho, driving his cattle across the wide, open plains.
And it doesn’t take long to be sucked into the gaucho way of life on any stay here. The region is peppered with characterful, traditional lodgings, both luxurious and more basic. By day, hike or horse ride through the spectacular scenery and watch the local farmhands in action. By night, gather round a communal asado or barbecue with a glass of red in hand beneath a ceiling of stars. This is the ideal break from the hubbub of Buenos Aires or the perfect final stop on an active tour of Argentina.
Stay on a working estancia
Experience rural life and gaucho culture first hand with a farm stay on the Pampas. Estancias vary in standard and style, from classy country estates with luxury facilities to more rustic homesteads.
Visit San Antonio de Areco
Gaucho vibes run through the picturesque streets of this historic town, situated to the north-west of Buenos Aires. It’s certainly worth a wander, especially in November when gauchos gather for their annual festivities here.
Try your hand at Polo
Introduced by the British at the turn of the 19th century, the skilled riders of the Pampas took to this equestrian sport like a fish to water. Watch a professional game in action or join a class and see if you can hit a ball or two.