A trip to Argentina has a few essentials. Steak (check), empanadas (check), malbec and torrontes (check), visits to wineries in Mendoza (check) and a visit to an Estancia to live a gaucho lifestyle for a few days (check).
Argentina has many estancias, the one I visited came highly recommended, indeed I was supposed to visit there with a friend last November but personal circumstances intervened. She insisted that I couldn’t miss it, and when the estancia extended an invitation, I jumped on it.
Los Potreros is an hour or so outside of Cordoba, utterly excised from the urban civilisation where I most often bang my drum, in the wild pampas of Argentina. When I visited in winter (June) it looked like a summer scene to me with a wild brown green expanse bathing in a bright blue sun lit sky. I was going to a place where I had no choice but to relax, eat good food, drink good wine and enjoy it. A perfect break.
The only way to get there is by car, and Los Potreros arrange this for you. I was pretty tired after an intense overnight bus journey (the result of an ash puffing Chilean volcano) so I dozed until we hit the track to the Estancia, which was a couple of miles off the main road. Lou & Kevin were there to greet us with some fresh homemade lemonade before breakfast.
People go to Los Potreros for two reasons: to horse ride and to relax. You don’t need to worry about anything practical. Your food is cooked for you (by their excellent Argentine cook Patricia) and you share your meal with the other guests (up to 12). Alcohol is provided at no extra cost.
I spent the first day blissfully bouncing from breakfast to lunch to afternoon tea and dinner while retiring to my wood fire warmed room to read in bed in between. It was perfect.
Horseriding must be done too, and while most guests went out twice a day for long rides, I chose to go just once. I was very happy hanging around and reading while listening to the chirpy bright green monk parakeets shout obscenities at each other and kick each other out of their nests. My ride was a beautiful and gentle mini explore of the pampas, a condor even flew overhead.
Kevin and Lou raise cattle, so all of the beef that you eat is their own, the eggs from their chickens. They generate all of their electricity on site. Everything you eat is homemade and delicious.
Highlights were many but, the best for me were an impromptu wine tasting organised by Kevin, and the Argentine Asado, served gaucho style. Three steaks were served one after the other, starting with flank and finishing with the favourite bife de chorizo. Normally Kevin cooks this on his parrilla, which he designed himself, but on this occasion, due to some wintry rain, we had to retire indoors. Patricia’s gorgeous cakes proved irresistible and plentiful too.
I really enjoyed my time there, it allowed me to relax and de-stress after the mania of writing my book. Kevin and Lou are wonderful & warm hosts, and see that you have everything you need while you are there. I can see now why my friend goes there every year, I suspect I will be back too.
Estancia Los Potreros, Cordoba, Argentina
Rates start from $340 per night all inclusive for a minimum 3 night stay (includes accomodation, horse-riding, food & alcohol).
I stayed as a guest of Los Potreros