San Antonio de Areco provides a quiet refuge from the hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires just a scant 70 miles away. Every year in November they celebrate all things gaucho with the Dia de la Tradiccion festival. I’ll chalk it up to my Texas roots that I’m fascinated with these “cowboys” of South America.
During a 3 1/2 month stay in Argentina last year we visited the town of San Antonio de Areco.Â We missed the Dia de la Tradiccion festival but were still eager to visit the town and stay at a nearby estancia. In my research I quickly learned that a stay at an estancia doesn’t come cheap, even in Argentinian Pesos. Our family decided to go for “broke” and we chose the highly lauded Estancia El Ombu de Areco for a night’s stay (you can also purchase a day visit).
We arrived at theÂ Estancia El Ombu de Areco to find tables set up on the beautiful lawn for lunch.Â That dissipated the stress of the bus ride from Buenos Aires. The freely flowing Malbec didn’t hurt either. In a page right out of the guidebooks we enjoyed a magnificent traditional Argentine asado (meal of barbecued meats) – served by gauchos.
During the meal we were entertained by various Gaucho “feats” of strength. Ok, not feats of strength but gauchos like to show off many of their gaucho skills. We were also treated to some traditional Argentine folk dances.
Speaking of gauchos. How unbelievably cool are they?! I love the gaucho uniform that includes a knife tucked into the back of their belts. The flowy gaucho pants, the woven berets, down to the traditional alpargatas (Tom’s shoes are based on this design) – gauchos get major style points from me.
A carriage ride through the property gave us some splendid views of the pampas.Â The quiet and open spaces provided a welcome respite from big city Buenos Aires.Â The afternoon passed quickly but we managed to enjoy a pleasant merienda while our kids chased after the many dogs on the property and learned how to play Juego de Sapo. Dinner was simple yet delicious.
After we left the estancia the next morning we had a bit of time to enjoy the town of San Antonio de Areco before taking a bus back to Buenos Aires. Our kids loved playing in the park and on our walk to the bus station we checked out a few leather and silver shops.Â You’ll find plenty of pulperias in San Antonio de Areco and we couldn’t pass up a chance to dine at La Esquina de Merti before leaving this charming town.