Estancia Y Dia De Campo - Deal Or No Deal?

Girino

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I am doing some research in advance because in January we will have visitors from home.
We already plan to spend 3-4 days in Rio de Janeiro together, so I would like to keep the budget low for a trip to an estancia (1 night out) or a dia de campo (daily trip).
We don't have a car and we will be a group of 4 people in their 30's, but we can consider renting a car for a day or two, if necessary.

Based from the suggestions made on the forum, I have narrowed down the potential destinations to:
  1. La porteña de Areco, San Antonio de Areco, p.cia de BsAs (North) [http://www.laporteniadeareco.com/principal.html]
  2. Estancia la Margherita, Tapalqué, p.cia de BsAs (South) [http://www.estancialamargarita.com/]
  3. Los Talas, Rio Lujan (North), p.cia de BsAs [http://www.lostalas.com/esp/index.htm]
We don't have much interest in horse riding, although we would like to see animals and something typical (polo? gaucho's display of manhood? various types of horses?).
We are most interested in the asado, and we would like to enjoy a stroll or a lazy day by the pool.

My questions are:
1) Is it really worth to spend the night at the estancia? Does something special happens at night (i.e. better meal, show, fantastic sky at night, special atmosphere, smell of the country, incredible sunset,...)?
2) To enjoy the best asado, should we look forward to pay our visit during the weekend (more crowded, bigger parrilla) or is it irrelevant?
3) What should we look into to spot the estancia with the best food? One had on the menu pollo alla parilla and honestly, that sounds like a cheap option to fill up the guests.
4) What are the best activities found in an Estancia? What should we look into?
5) What is a fair price? Some estancias had unbelievable prices, high by Argentinian standards - maybe it was just one estancia targeted to rich polo lovers - what should we expect? We would opt for a Dia de campo just to save money, but I am not sure of what the difference is in term of $$$.
 

ajoknoblauch

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I am doing some research in advance because in January we will have visitors from home.
We already plan to spend 3-4 days in Rio de Janeiro together, so I would like to keep the budget low for a trip to an estancia (1 night out) or a dia de campo (daily trip).
We don't have a car and we will be a group of 4 people in their 30's, but we can consider renting a car for a day or two, if necessary.

Based from the suggestions made on the forum, I have narrowed down the potential destinations to:
  1. La porteña de Areco, San Antonio de Areco, p.cia de BsAs (North) [http://www.laporteni...principal.html]
  2. Estancia la Margherita, Tapalqué, p.cia de BsAs (South) [http://www.estancialamargarita.com/]
  3. Los Talas, Rio Lujan (North), p.cia de BsAs [http://www.lostalas.com/esp/index.htm]
We don't have much interest in horse riding, although we would like to see animals and something typical (polo? gaucho's display of manhood? various types of horses?).
We are most interested in the asado, and we would like to enjoy a stroll or a lazy day by the pool.

My questions are:
1) Is it really worth to spend the night at the estancia? Does something special happens at night (i.e. better meal, show, fantastic sky at night, special atmosphere, smell of the country, incredible sunset,...)?
2) To enjoy the best asado, should we look forward to pay our visit during the weekend (more crowded, bigger parrilla) or is it irrelevant?
3) What should we look into to spot the estancia with the best food? One had on the menu pollo alla parilla and honestly, that sounds like a cheap option to fill up the guests.
4) What are the best activities found in an Estancia? What should we look into?
5) What is a fair price? Some estancias had unbelievable prices, high by Argentinian standards - maybe it was just one estancia targeted to rich polo lovers - what should we expect? We would opt for a Dia de campo just to save money, but I am not sure of what the difference is in term of $$$.

I don't have time to answer your questions in detail, but La Porteña is an historic estancia on spectacular grounds, and San Antonio itself is a worthwhile visit. I have visited it, but not stayed there.
 

sergio

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Is Las Talas open? I wanted to book there recently but no one answered and I heard that they had ended guest stays.

There is another more famous estancia in San Antonio where a famous movie was filmed. Forget name. I stayed there a long time ago and it was quite nice but too much food. You are served an enormous asado lunch, afternoon tea, a huge dinner and breakfast. I cant eat like that.

Be careful that the estancia is not too commercial. The cheaper ones are more likely to be.
 

Meri

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I absolutely LOVED Estancia Margarita - when my parents/best friend came to visit it was one of the best things we did. I mean, you're not going to have a lot of nightlife there - but for a couple of days it's great. Tons of animals - horses, piglets (one of which was killed for our asado which kind of bummed me out), cows, sheep, kittens, dogs, chickens, etc. etc. They also were talking about having gaucho classes (teaching you how to round up cattle, etc.) which you could inquire about. It's about 4 hours south of BA and you can just take a bus and they pick you up at the station. Food is amazing, all the wine you can drink, roaring fires in all of the rooms, etc. Can't speak highly enough about it!
 

Girino

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I absolutely LOVED Estancia Margarita - Can't speak highly enough about it!

I read roaring reviews for Estancia Margarita here, plus a few bad ones on TripAdvisor, however USD130 per person a day sounds like a tourist price rather than a local price.
Perhaps it is worth the money for horse fans, but to me it sounds like out of our budget (it adds up to USD180 if we include travel by bus). For that money, we should be spending a weekend in Punta del Este, no?
 

Noruega

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Answering below!
My questions are:
1) Is it really worth to spend the night at the estancia? Does something special happens at night (i.e. better meal, show, fantastic sky at night, special atmosphere, smell of the country, incredible sunset,...)? Serafina, I think this depends a lot on what you like. I worked at an estancia and quite a few people who came for the day say they wished they had spent the night. When you go for the day, you will probably have access to showers, but of course not a room. In the summer, it is HOT and people really enjoy going to their room after lunch, relaxing in the AC etc. before continuing with their activities. And it is nice to sit there at at sunset, enjoying a drink, etc. When you go for the day, you don't have a "base camp" in the same way.

2) To enjoy the best asado, should we look forward to pay our visit during the weekend (more crowded, bigger parrilla) or is it irrelevant? I think this is irrelevant - any good estancia should have the same quality asado whether they have lots of people or fewer people. On the weekends there will usually be more Argentineans, during the week more foreigners. Like Sergio mentions, the more commercial/very busy ones will usually be a little cheaper and cut corners on food etc.

3) What should we look into to spot the estancia with the best food? One had on the menu pollo alla parilla and honestly, that sounds like a cheap option to fill up the guests. Yes, read the reviews on the food, you want to make sure it is good.

4) What are the best activities found in an Estancia? What should we look into? Lots of people go for the riding, but if you are not that into horses, make sure they have a nice pool, changing rooms, bicycles, maybe some areas to rest and relax, hammocks in the shade etc.

5) What is a fair price? Some estancias had unbelievable prices, high by Argentinian standards - maybe it was just one estancia targeted to rich polo lovers - what should we expect? We would opt for a Dia de campo just to save money, but I am not sure of what the difference is in term of $$$. The nice estancias are all quite pricey. One reason is that they do most of their business in the summer, another is that they have high costs in maintenance of the property, stables, horses etc. USD 130 per night per person is actually quite normal.
Suggestion: maybe you and your boyfriend could do a día de campo at one of the closer places, to check it out and see if you want to come back for a day or if you want to stay there with your friends?

I have heard amazing things of La Bamba de Areco but have never been.
 

mc kenna

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Yeah or you can help me do nothing at the famous mc kenna ranch where i do nothing but watch the grass grow and my dog bark at the ''teros'' ,but no worries, teros don't bark back! oh and i can make an asado better then any gaucho.You can catch the charter to Chivilcoy at the Palermo Shopping and i'll pick you up ,plus i figure by January my mosquitoes are gonna be hungry!!! so all is welcome,my mosquitoes don't discriminate any kind of blood (blue blood,red blood ) but diabetics are left as dessert :lol: :p
 

Meri

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I read roaring reviews for Estancia Margarita here, plus a few bad ones on TripAdvisor, however USD130 per person a day sounds like a tourist price rather than a local price.
Perhaps it is worth the money for horse fans, but to me it sounds like out of our budget (it adds up to USD180 if we include travel by bus). For that money, we should be spending a weekend in Punta del Este, no?

They've got a cheaper deal if you opt to cook your own food. I think they'd also possibly be a little flexible on the price…..
 

BaltRochGirl

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I read roaring reviews for Estancia Margarita here, plus a few bad ones on TripAdvisor, however USD130 per person a day sounds like a tourist price rather than a local price.
Perhaps it is worth the money for horse fans, but to me it sounds like out of our budget (it adds up to USD180 if we include travel by bus). For that money, we should be spending a weekend in Punta del Este, no?

We stayed a night at Estancia Margarita a few years back in October, we won a free night so no clue how much it would have cost otherwise, it was dead at that time, they really didn't have anything going on, other than a quiet night in the country. I did a horseback ride, it was with 2 kids basically, if you haven't ridden much it would probably be pretty uncomfortable. Also it was hard to find, we drove ourselves and the signage at the time was non-existent. It was pretty but I wouldn't have paid $130 a night for it.
 

Girino

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They've got a cheaper deal if you opt to cook your own food. I think they'd also possibly be a little flexible on the price…..

Yes, that would be 55 USD a night but I don't see ourselves shopping around if we go there by bus, and if we rent a car to be able to do our own shopping, it would be probably cost as much as the full catered option.
 
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