The most frequently asked questions answered below.
What is Estancia Ranquilco?
Estancia Ranquilco is a remote, family-owned 100,000-acre property located in the foothills of the Andes of Northern Patagonia. It is operated year-round as a horse and cattle ranch. During the southern hemisphere summers (December - April), Estancia Ranquilco hosts guests at its beautiful eco-lodge, attracting horse-lovers and wilderness-seekers to its landscape of sprawling grasslands, pristine river valleys, and dramatic geological formations.
Ranquilco is not for everyone. The location, landscape, activities, and community provide for a unique experience where guests can truly get away from the rush and busyness of the modern world. This also means getting away from some of the modern conveniences that we are accustomed to. While we pride ourselves on hosting a full and rich experience with lovely accommodations and great food, we are not a 5 star luxury hotel, and do not strive to be. Ranquilco is rustic, rugged, remote, spectacular, and adventurous - if this is what you’re looking for, look no further.
Experience riding horses is not necessary. We have very good horses at the Estancia to accommodate a range of riders, and everyone will be paired with a horse to suit his or her ridership level. Our Criollo horses are known for their level-headed demeanors and sure-footedness - they are perfectly adapted to the mountain trails of the Andes. Read more here: the horses.
The easiest way to get to us is by coming through Buenos Aires. From BA, you can fly to the closest airport, Neuquen, or take an overnight bus to Zapala. We can arrange a driver from either of those places. More information can be found here: How to get to Ranquilco.
We are happy to assist in making travel arrangements as the date of your trip approaches.
The accommodations at Ranquilco are handcrafted out of stone and wood, and beautifully furnished. Each room is spacious, unique, and has a private bathroom and wood-fired boiler for hot showers. The lodge, Casa Grande, is the gathering place. We enjoy most meals on its spacious, shaded veranda. Read more here: accommodations.
Food is an integral piece of the guest experience at Estancia Ranquilco; whether at the lodge or on the trail, meals are always fresh, diverse and creative. Meals are composed of our garden vegetables, homegrown meat, and fresh dairy products. Our meat is born, raised, slaughtered, butchered and prepared right here on the Estancia. Whole wheat sourdough bread is baked daily. Supplementary produce, grains and spices are brought in from town. Once a week, everyone gathers for an asado, the roasting of a whole chivito or cordero (young goat or lamb) over a fire. On the pack trips, we enjoy hearty homemade granola, coffee and tea for breakfast, sandwich spreads and fruit for lunch, and a variety of delicious backcountry dinners including steaks, curried vegetables, and stews.
The power at Ranquilco is generated by a small hydro-electric system; it generates enough power to light the place and run a few key appliances. Voltage in Argentina is 220, versus 110 as used in the U.S., but almost all electronics have transformers built into their chargers which will convert the voltage automatically. Do bring a plug adapter for use in Argentine outlets. Please do not bring high-draw items such as hair dryers (or anything that produces heat). There is weak internet via a satellite connection, primarily used for email. There is no phone. A satellite phone is available for emergencies.
Though generally quite pleasant during our open summer season of Dec-Apr., the weather at Ranquilco can be unpredictable. Temperatures range from 60-85°F in the days and can drop as low as 30°F in the nights. It is important to come prepared for hot, high-elevation sun, persistent Andean winds, spontaneous cloud cover, rain, and cold.
The Ranquilco lodge is open during the South American summer months. We start our season on December 1, and close down on Apr. 1. December is early summer, lush and green with generally cool days, getting hotter around Christmas. January and February are full-on summer, with days often getting nice and hot. In March the days start to cool, and become quite crisp toward the end of the month. Shoulder season visits in October, November, and April can occasionally be arranged. During the winter months of June-September, the lodge becomes mostly inaccessible.
We have room for up to 10 guests, based on double occupancy. Group sizes of 6 or 8 are more common.
We attract a wide variety of interesting and adventurous travelers from all over the world who want to get off the beaten tourist track. A love of horses and wild places is a common thread, and we find that the people who make the long journey, ride over the pass and finally cross the river to the arrive at the lodge are fun, engaging and a joy to be around.
A visa is not required for entry into Argentina. When you arrive in the country you will be stamped with a 90 day tourist entry stamp.
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.