Gauchos in South America

Gauchos are the original cowboys, and you can encounter them and their fascinating way of life during your South America trip.

More often than not associated with Argentina, the South American gaucho is as much a part of local culture as tango dancing and Malbec wine. These skilled horsemen still ride the plains today, not only working the estancias but also wowing the crowds with their natural ability to tame the wildest stallion. Even in the most cosmopolitan of settings you are never far from the gauchos; travel to the outskirts of Buenos Aires and you will discover what life is like on the vast ranches for yourself.

For generations South America has been home to the famous gaucho. With an in-depth knowledge of their horses and the cattle they tend, the gaucho is still as interwoven with South American identity as it has been for decades. Revered in Argentina but also common in Chile, Brazil and neighbouring Uruguay, if you’re travelling to South America a visit to a local estancia gives an intriguing insight into the lives of the modern gaucho.

A day on a working estancia can vary, depending on what you wish to take part in. You may be a keen rider or it might be your first time in the saddle; either way you will be welcomed into the fold and encouraged to try your hand at a spot of horse riding. Some treks take you out across the paddocks and into the wilderness; galloping perhaps through the Uruguayan Pampas, you will feel like a professional in no time. For a lengthier experience why not head to remote Patagonia and explore the stunning scenery that surrounds you? With your gaucho guide you could not be in better company as you roam the countryside on horseback.

Those who would rather keep their feet firmly on the ground can still have a fulfilling visit to an estancia. There is no shortage of things to see while on these busy cattle stations, the finale often including a jaw-dropping show from the skilled horsemen (and women) themselves, all brought together with the typical flamboyant style that they are so well known for. Once thought of as a nomad, you will find today’s gaucho is a superb host, often providing a traditional BBQ to round off the day with a selection of perfectly cooked succulent meats, giving you a true taste of regional life – the perfect way to bring things to a close.

Gauchos in South America Highlights:
  • Watch day-to-day life on a working estancia
  • Explore the local area with a gaucho guide
  • Enjoy an asado meal; lamb roasted on a parrilla barbecue
  • Kit yourself out in traditional gaucho clothing
  • Bond with your horse and become a gaucho for the day
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