Although the Jesuit estancias in the Sierra Chica do not generally allow the opportunity to stay the night, there are a number of estancias around Santa Catalina and in the Punilla Valley that have opened their doors to visitors. These places can make excellent spots to laze away a few days in the countryside, horse-riding and swimming; they can also be used as a base for visiting the area’s other attractions.
An hour’s drive northwest of Córdoba, Estancia Los Potreros (t011/48782692, wwww.estancialospotreros.com; $601 and over) is an authentic working estancia that has been owned by the same Anglo-Argentine family for four generations. This is the place to come if you want to do some horseriding – the friendly owners will take you on trips around the area, organize polo lessons and tournaments, and even allow you to observe or help with farm activities. The animals are so well looked after and trained that even reluctant riders usually end up happily on horseback. Accommodation is in the attractive adobe casco, and you dine with the family; the price of US$360 per person per night (Jan–April; Oct–Dec) & US$290 per person per night (May–Sept) includes all activities and facilities, transport from Córdoba and delicious food and drink. Trail rides, staying at local homesteads, also take place throughout the year, but must be arranged in advance.
A different kind of stay can be had at Estancia La Paz (t03525/492073, wwww.estancialapaz.com; $601 and over), near Ascochinga. In the nineteenth century, this was the beloved homestead of President Roca where he entertained many of the powerful men of his day. In many ways resembling a country hotel, with a spa, putting green, rowing lake and large, comfortable rooms, it’s the place to head for if you’d rather feel like a pampered politician than a pioneer. Meals are served on a tiled verandah that offers great views over the estancia’s extensive, manicured grounds, landscaped by the omnipresent Charles Thays. Day visits possible (US$120), including breakfast, lunch and snack; otherwise, half-board stays are US$165 per person per night, excluding drinks and transfers.Read More