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Argentina - Estancia Los Potreros
Los Potreros is a 6,500 acre working cattle estancia dating back to 1573. It lies at the top of the Sierras Chicas, in the Córdoba region of Argentina.
During a stay at Los Potreros you are welcomed by the Anglo-Argentine owners whose family have lived on the estancia for four generations. Having taken paying guests since the 1940’s, Los Potreros has since fostered a reputation for personalised service and friendly atmosphere – perfect for an authentic estancia holiday.
Explore the varied terrain and landscapes on horseback; from rocky outcrops, hills, valleys and woodland. You might visit local churches during an out-ride, stop for a dip in a natural rock pool or ride out with the gauchos to bring in the young horses to protect them from puma. On another day you could help move and count cattle, try your hand at lassoing and polo or watch the horse-trainer at work.
The hills, lowland meadows and woodlands surrounding the estancia make for beautiful riding country, but are also home to wild boar, deer and diverse bird life from diminutive hummingbirds to impressive condors.
Riding on the estancia is suitable for all abilities. There are some 130 horses and a pool of around 80 are available to the guests. The horses all have exceptionally soft mouths, are well-mannered and in excellent condition; they are responsive and sure-footed. Most are either Criollos or Peruvian Pasos with some crossbreeds.
The horses are chosen to suit the ability of the rider and each rider has the chance to try several different horses during their stay. There are horses gentle enough for beginners but also ones suited to experienced riders. Unless requested, riding abilities are not mixed and up to three different groups can go out at a pace to suit everyone.
The pace of the rides is varied. Sometimes you are on tricky steep, rocky paths, sometimes on tracks, sometimes on grassy open hill tops, sometimes on dirt roads. For experienced riders there are normally opportunities to canter each day either on the top of the ridges, on the tracks or dirt roads, but most of the riding is at a moderate pace.
The tack is mainly English (ex-British army saddles and polo saddles) with sheepskins over the saddles. The riding is gaucho-style; relaxed with a loose rein contact. The horses respond to neck-reining.
Polo is normally played once a week on the estancia (minimum age of 12). These sessions involve informal tuition and a practice game. If you would prefer a more intensive polo experience then do consider our "Learn to Play Polo" weeks, which are scheduled on set dates in March, October and December.
Please note that the weight limit (in riding clothes) for polo and to ride the Peruvian Paso horses is 14 stone/90kgs (i.e. lower than the regular weight limit of 15 stone/95kgs).
Accommodation is in the beautifully restored estancia house. There are seven individually and traditionally decorated bedrooms each with a private bathroom and wood burning stove for chilly winter nights.
There is a swimming pool (usually open mid-October to mid-April) to dip into at the end of a hot day in summer. Between riding sessions you are welcome to relax on the veranda and enjoy afternoon tea or a gin and tonic.
Food and wine is a key part of the Los Potreros experience; meals are taken as a group and are very sociable affairs. Dishes are European and Argentinean in style and include home reared organic beef, local chicken and pork, pasta and free range eggs. Locally grown vegetables and fruits are served, often from the estancia's garden, along with local cheese, freshly baked bread and cakes. Every meal is accompanied by one or two salad or vegetable dishes and fresh fruit is available at all times. A traditional Argentine 'asado' (barbeque) is a real highlight for many.
The estancia is open from July to the end of April. There are no set arrival days so you can stay for as long as you wish. The minimum stay is three nights (five nights over Easter Christmas and New Year). We recommend a stay of at least seven nights.
Sample Itinerary for Estancia Los Potreros
No riding takes place on Sunday afternoons as it is the horses' time off.
The estancia can usually be booked on an exclusive basis for groups of 6 adults or more (minimum five night stay). Please ask for details.
Select your preferred arrival date:
Prices below are on the basis of a seven night stay and reflect the Argentinian sales tax refund for non-residents. Shorter and longer stays are possible; please ask for a quote.
INCLUDES Accommodation; full board; drinks; riding; return transfers from Córdoba airport (at set times).
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT Three rooms can be booked on single occupancy basis with no single supplement. If these rooms are booked there is a 30% single supplement for single occupancy of a double room.
PAYABLE LOCALLY Off ranch excursions; extra polo (c. US$150 for 3 sessions); tips; out of hours transfers.
NEAREST AIRPORT Córdoba.
TRANSFERS Included from Córdoba airport or Rio Ceballos bus station between the hours 08:00 and 20:00 (US$50 each way out of hours). Transfers are possible at additional cost from Córdoba hotels and Córdoba central bus station (US$50 each way).
Between the pampas and the Andes in the beautiful Córdoba region of Argentina.
Córdoba is known for its good weather. 'Siempre de temporada' - always in season is the old slogan. Winter nights (June to August) can be chilly.
The riding far exceed my expectations! Sure footed horses that could be quiet with a novice rider and still fun for those with more experience. The Pasos must be the most comfortable horses out there! We played polo and my horses was very responsive and really adjusted (down!) to my level of playing.
Sarah ,Tyne and WearOverall rating: 5/5
A wonderful estancia with great hosts and lovely horses, regularly receiving fantastic feedback from In The Saddle guests. Los Potreros has featured in the Sunday Times '100 Best Hotels in the World.'
If you have time it is worth extending your holiday and spending a few days exploring Buenos Aires or visiting Iguazu Falls.