Getting to Ranquilco 

Estancia Ranquilco lies in northern Patagonia, in the province of Neuquen, Argentina, right up against the border of Chile. The nearest towns are El Cholar and El Huecu and the nearest city is Zapala. Most of our visitors arrive via Zapala.


In a nutshell, to get to Ranquilco you must first drive as close as possible to the ranch by car or 4×4 and then switch to horses and mules for the remainder of the journey. The entry point to the Estancia is our summer cattle outpost called Buta Mallin. This is where we will meet you with horses and mules for the ride up and over the pass to the lodge.

We will arrange a driver to meet you either in Zapala or Neuquen.


Neuquen to Buta Mallin: $125 per person, $185 single supplement.

Zapala to Buta Mallin: $70 per person, $110 single supplement.

Transportation can also be arranged to and from Bariloche, San Martin, or Temuco. Write for rates.


Travel via Buenos Aires to Zapala by bus:

Zapala is a city in the northern Neuquen Province in Argentina. While small, it is conveniently located on the main bus route between Buenos Aires and the lake district of San Martin de Los Andes and Bariloche.

Most of our visitors take an overnight bus from the capital, Buenos Aires. The bus leaves at 4pm and arrives the next day at approximately 9am. The busses in Argentina are very comfortable, with big wide seats that fold all the way back into a flat bed. They are double decker busses, with a great view of the pampas rolling by on your way westward across the country.

The company that we recommend is Via Bariloche. Tickets can be booked on their website. The departure point is Retiro Terminal, and the arrival point is Zapala Terminal. Choose Tutto Letto for the most comfortable seats.

Travel time from Zapala to Buta Mallin is three hours. We will meet you there with lunch, and then we saddle up for the three hour ride down to the lodge, arriving in time for evening cocktails on the patio.

We are glad to help with any of these arrangements, just write to

Travel via Buenos Aires to Neuquen by air:

Some guests prefer to take a commercial flight from Buenos Aires into the provincial capital Neuquen. There are several flights each day from the domestic airport in BA, Aeroparque. You can look for flights on Aerolineas Argentinas, here. The drive from Neuquen to Buta Mallin is 5 hours, so you will want to take an early morning flight to have plenty of time to get to us before late afternoon.

Travel via San Martin de los Andes:

From Buenos Aires, there are daily flights or an overnight bus to the delightful ski and beach town of San Martin de los Andes. From there, travel to Zapala by bus,(approximately 4 hours), or our driver can meet you in San Martin.

San Martin makes a great base for exploring the lake district. If you like, we can connect you with housing and a guide, read more here.

Travel via Las Lajas and Chile:

The small town of Las Lajas is closer to Ranquilco than Zapala, but only has bus service if you are arriving from Temuco, Chile. Fly or take the train from Santiago to Temuco. From Temuco there is bus service over the Andes and into the little town of Las Lajas. Our driver can be arranged to meet you in Las Lajas.

Travel via Santiago to Puerto Montt to Bariloche:

One very pleasurable way to organize your South American trip is to land in Santiago and take a bus south to Puerto Montt. From Puerto Montt, cross through the Andes on a boat and then take a bus to Bariloche. You can bus on to Zapala, or arrange for our driver to meet you in Bariloche.


Travel Notes:

Reciprocity Fee

Argentina suspended the fee for U.S. citizens, but still charges a one time fee for visitors from Canada and Australia. That can be paid here.


The currency in Argentina is the Peso. You can exchange money at the airport, or at various exchange houses in Buenos Aires, especially in the city center. ATM's are fairly widely available in Argentina. In smaller towns, many restaurants and hotels don't take cards so it's good to have cash. Also in smaller towns ATM's are occasionally out of cash.

Contact us if you need help

Please email us and we will be happy to help you plan your trip into the estancia and perhaps put you in touch with other Ranquilco guests who may be traveling at the same time.

Guests at Ranquilco are reminded that we require proof of travel insurance that includes horse related activities.