Estancia Mercedes, Chilean Patagonia
8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS / 6 DAYS HORSE RIDING & RANCH ACTIVITIES
A one-week lifechanging Gaucho experience at a Patagonian Estancia!
Returning in time ... to the 1800s? It's possible at a very special place called Estancia Mercedes!
Patagonia encompasses both Chile and Argentina and covers about one million square kilometers, that is roughly four times the size of the UK. Long before humans arrived on the continent, glaciers chiseled and carved these spectacular landscapes. Today the wilderness still rules that gigantic region.
But what Patagonia has in natural wealth, it equally has in culture.
Situated between 3 national parks; Torres del Paine, Bernardo O’Higgins and Alacalufes, the Garcia-Iglesias family will welcome you with open arms at their Estancia at the end of the world! They are descendants of 19th-century Pioneer Don José Garcia Díaz – who came during the gold rush from Asturias-Spain to Southern Chilean Patagonia – to settle and build the first house & supplier shop in Punta Arenas. In little time he managed to buy an enormous piece of wilderness on the Peninsula Antonio Varas and thus the Estancia Mercedes* was born.
Great-grandson Sebastian is the man that will take you for a tour on the wild side! He will teach you how to saddle your criollo horse so you can accompany him on his daily tasks on the farm. Be ready to become an authentic Gaucho! = being a cowboy, a sheep rancher, a fisherman, a wilderness expert, horse whisperer, butcher, veterinarian, herbalist, hunter, captain of the boat, 4x4 pilot and bagualero*
Estancia Mercedes is not a boutique hotel, not a dude ranch, but an authentic farm without fringes.
The family house has 2 spare rooms where they can accommodate 6 guests. This being one double room/1 bed and a room with 4 bunk beds.
Bathroom is separate. The house is built in cozy Patagonian country style and is always clean.
Sebastian and his wife Grissel are a young couple and live on the farm together with the parents, brother and sister. You will be considered as a new family member, eat at the same table, bake bread together and share a bottle of good Chilean wine with them before going to bed.
The purpose of your visit here must be one of experiencing the true Gaucho lifestyle at an authentic Patagonian Estancia rather than a trip where your hotel room and comfort are more important than a lifetime experience!
Patagonia boast an appeal of extreme remoteness perhaps only matched by the deep Amazon and isolated Alaska. Icy glaciers plunge into emerald lakes; wild fjords snake through hardwood forests; and the Andes' dramatic peaks ascend into swirling clouds and mist. Here in this breathtaking environment you can go fishing for salmon and trout, ride a horse like never before, or just enjoy reading a book on the veranda.
Welcome to the end of the world, welcome to Estancia Mercedes.
* What is an Estancia? Estancias are simply enormous farms, ranches or colonial estates. The term estancia is used in various ways in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Southern Chile. The equivalent in other Latin American countries would be hacienda or Fazenda in Brazil.
* Want to know what a Bagualero is? Go to the page “Who is Who” on our website or click here to read the National Geographic article; “Cowboys on the Edge - In the wilds of Patagonia, cowboys called bagualeros pit themselves against the meanest livestock on the planet”.
NatGeo visited Estancia Mercedes and followed the adventures of Sebastian for a few days. Reading the article is a must!