Estancia Ranquilco is a very remote family-owned 100,000 acre horse and cattle ranch nestled in the foothills of the Andes.

This romantic and adventuresome estancia is a vast expanse of land in Patagonia, stretching across leagues of high steppes, river valleys, grazing meadows, and jagged cliffs, into the very heart of the Argentine cordillera. The spirit of the gaucho persists in the cordillera and you see it most clearly on one of the mountain pack trips.

At Ranquilco, you have a choice to base your entire stay at our beautiful estancia, or choose a longer pack trip into the mountains, or base a portion of your stay from the estancia and then book a few days on a spectacular pack trip - it's all your choice! Visit beautiful waterfalls, grazing lands, and amazing vistas.

T.A’s seven and ten day trips into the mountains near Chile, combine luxury accommodation at our beautiful ranch with camping in the pristine wilderness of Patagonia. Ride over endless terrain, remote valleys and huge mountains. Learn to pack and lead a mule and saddle and care for your horse.

As well as scheduled trips Estancia Ranquilco offers completely customizable horse mountain trekking into the Patagonian Andes. You select the dates, number of days and the difficulty and we take care of the rest. No previous horse experience is necessary for these trips although some trips are more challenging than others. The horses are strong, calm, surefooted, and very familiar with the narrow, steep, and rocky trails.

Good to know

  • Works with travel agents?

    yes
  • Good time to go

    We are open during the South American summer months of November through April. The weather is lovely throughout that time, with cooler temperatures during November and April. January and February are full summer and can be quite hot.

Lowdown

  • Owner(s)

    Ashley Kent Carrithers, T.A. Carrithers and Sky Carrithers
  • Address

    8349 , El Huecu, Neuquen, Argentina,
  • Capacity

    10
  • Open

    Jan-Apr, Nov-Dec - view details
  • Nightly rate

    $350-350 - view details
  • Ranch Type

    Guest Ranch, Working Ranch
  • Great for

    Romance, Action & adventure, Peace & quiet, Solitude, Diverse scenery, People of all ages

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Highs

  • Ranquilco is like a hidden world, set deep in the Patagonian mountains the only way in is on horse back; True adventure and unparralled remoteness for the avid rider
  • The pack trips, are packed with amazing scenery, rivers and mountains; a breathtaking experience - make your way up mountain sides and across plateaus, swim in hidden lakes and sleep under the stars
  • Enjoy fantastic Asadas and home-grown vegetables; you will also love the vastness of the ranch - the extension of land beyond 40,000 acres at Colipilli
  • A unique volunteer program helping to create a self sufficient Estancia; You'll also love the beautiful wood and stone lodge and the luxury in your own 'wing'
  • Enjoy the stories and company of T.A, an experienced horseman and qualified outdoorsman

Lows

  • Some guests will relish in the remotness, others may find it hard to live without phones, internet, TV and shops
 

Summer Season Rates & Booking

  • Open

    Jan-Apr, Nov-Dec
  • Nightly rate

    $350-350   view details on lodging rates
  • Nightly rate (non-rider)

    $200-200
  • Nightly rate (children)

    $350-350
  • Minimum stay

    4 days
  • Booking Policy

  • We require a 30% non refundable deposit to hold a reservation
  • Included in your stay

  • meals, activities, ranch shuttle, lodging, tax, Riding, Riding is included depending on what program you choose.
  • Extras

Winter Season Rates & Booking  

  • Nightly rate

    $175-250   view details on lodging rates
  • Booking Policy

  • We require a 30% non refundable deposit to hold a reservation
  • Included FREE in your stay

  • Extras

Environmental & Social Practices

  • Environment

  • Ranquilco is an eco-lodge dedicated to minimizing our impact through self-sufficiency. We grow much of our own food, and produce all of our own grass fed meats. Our electricity is produced onsite by microhydroturbines using reclaimed irrigation water, water for showers is heated by fire, and most of our transportation is by horse. Ranquilco is a living example of large scale ranch style homesteading.

  • Community

  • We host a diverse group of staff and volunteers from around the world, who come to work, ride, and play, drawn to Ranquilco by a common love of horses, wilderness and off grid living. Local gaucho families work with us for us as well, bringing a wealth of knowledge, skill and warm heartedness. We all come together regularly to share traditional Argentine asados followed by a gaucho dance, guests are entusiastically welcomed to join in all community happenings.

  • Food

  • Our food is true farm to table cuisine; vegetables from our gardens, fruit from our orchards, trout from the rivers, and meat from the meadows. We often have fresh milk, homemade cheese and yogurt from our milk cows. Guests will enjoy three hearty, nutritious meals a day. Our chefs prepare a wide variety of foods ranging in style from California cuisine to traditional Argentine dishes. Delicious milanesas, empanadas, stews, fresh pastas, and garden salads are just a few of the foods one might expect. You might also eat with our gauchos, typically an asado (grilled meat) served with fresh bread or tortas fritas (fry bread). Breakfasts are continental style, with homemade granola and bread, butter and jam, fresh milk and yogurt, and tea and coffee. Pack lunches are provided if you are venturing out by horse for a riverside picnic. We provide delicious Argentinean red table wines. 

Weather

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Avg Temp (°F):

747367585045434853606772

Avg Rainfall (in):

0.40.40.60.50.60.60.50.50.50.90.40.4

Lowdown

  • Elevation

    3878 ft.
  • Generate power

    Our power is created by two small hydro-turbines using reclaimed irrigation water. It is 220v Ac power, which is the common voltage in Argentina
  • Remote Location

 

Nearest Airports

  • San Martin de los Andes, San Martin de los Andes

  • Nearest town / city

    San Martin de los Andes
  • Time to ranch

    4 hours
  • Airlines

    Aerolíneas Argentinas, Flying Patagonia, American Jet
  • Ranch shuttle

    200
  • Rental car

    4x4 recommended
  • Neuquen, Neuquen

  • Nearest town / city

    Neuquen
  • Time to ranch

    4 hours
  • Airlines

    There is an excellent overnight bus from Buenos Aires to Zapala. Zapala is conveniently located on the main bus route between Buenos Aires and the lake district of San Martin de los Andes and Bariloche. It leaves at approximately 4pm and arrives the next day at approximately 8am. The Ranch is then a 5 hour transfer, in Taxi and on horseback. Aerolineas Argentinas, Austral
  • Ranch shuttle

    200
  • Rental car

    4x4 recommended
  • Buenos Aires Eizeza, Buenos Aires

  • Nearest town / city

    Buenos Aires
  • Airlines

    There is a very comfortable overnight bus from B.A. to the town of Zapala
  • Ranch shuttle

    120
  • Rental car

    4x4 recommended

Nearest Town / City

  • Zapala

  • Population

    32,000
  • Time from ranch

    3 hours
  • Facilities

    grocery store, pharmacy, church, school, post office, medical clinic, hospital, bank, atm, gas station, museum
  • Shopping

    small hometown necessity shops
  • Rental car

    4x4 recommended
 

Our riding stands out

  • Unlimited riding
  • Ride and explore the cordillera mountains with T.A and experienced true mountain adventure
  • Swim your horse in remote mountain lakes and submerge yourself deep in nature

Our horses

  • guest horses

    50
  • horse types

    Arabians, Geldings, Mares, Argentinian Criollo

Lowdown

  • Type of riding

    Western Riding
  • Riding opportunities for

    Beginner, Intermediate, Experienced
  • Rides are grouped by

    Ability, Pace of Ride, Everyone rides together, Rides tailored to guest requests
  • During the pack trip, riding is often single file along more technical mountain passes, then in less technical areas you ride as a group at whichever pace you are comfortable. Day rides out from the Estancia are based on ability and tailored to the individual.
  • Wranglers per ride

    1
  • Pace of ride

    Walk, Trot, Lope

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You'll enjoy

  • hours in the Saddle

    Morning - 2 hours, Afternoon - 3 hours
  • Riding hours are tailored to the guest and their fitness level
  • Riding

    Openly through property
 

Pack Trips

  • Details

    overnight trips, day trips, weekly trips, remote

Sample Riding Itinerary

  • At Ranquilco, you have a choice to base your entire stay at our beautiful estancia, or choose a longer pack trip into the mountains, or base a portion of your stay from the estancia and then book a few days on a spectacular pack trip - it's all your choice! Please watch our events to keep up-to-date with the scheduled pack trips throughout the year.

    Ten day Mountain pack trip: The ten day, nine night trip combines a luxury horse riding holiday with a long distance ride that takes you up to our border with Chile. Enjoy four nights at the beautiful lodge at Estancia Ranquilco and five nights camping on the shores of a pristine lake, on mountainside terraces, and on the edges of alpine meadows, in the foothills of the Andes.

    Basing from the Estancia and adding a pack trip: Many riding guests choose to include a three day, two night pack trip in their horseback riding vacation if they aren't signed up to a longer pack trip. This allows them to visit summer grazing lands at Cerro Negro on day one, guests help pack the mules and then mount up for the seven hour ride into the valley. There, make camp at our puesto and enjoy a traditional asado. On day two, ride to Laguna Negra and visit a beautiful waterfall before returning to camp. On day three, ride home to the ranch the long way and see the amazing vistas of the Picunleo valley.

Setting

  • Private Land - more than 50k (acres)

  • Over 100,000 acres of private land, including rivers, mountains, lakes and Plateaus. This romantic and adventuresome estancia is a vast expanse of land in Patagonia, stretching across leagues of high steppes, river valleys, grazing meadows, and jagged cliffs, into the very heart of the Argentine cordillera. Ranquilco's western boundary borders Chile - the high country, graced with lakes, waterfalls, condors, hot springs and weeks of wandering.

At Ranquilco, we are lucky enough to receive gifts directly from the land – fruit from our orchards, vegetables from our gardens, trout from the rivers, and meat from the meadows. Fresh milk comes from our cow.

Ashley provides a well rounded wine cellar filled with excellent Argentinean reds. We also enjoy bottling one or two barrels from Neuquen Province over the year.

Our cooks prepare Patagonian dishes for our guests using traditional ingredients. Most of our meals are served with fresh homemade bread and excellent local wine. Enjoy milanesas, empanadas, guisos (stews), fresh salads and soups.

Meals are served out on our terrace with sweeping views of the Trocoman River, in our cozy kitchen, the Library, or silver service style with crystal and fine china in our dining room.

Good to know

Alcohol

BYOB, wine provided with dinner

Lowdown

  • Enjoy

    Gourmet, Ranch-style, Health oriented
  • Meals served

    family style, everyone eats together
  • Enjoy dining in

    nature settings, patio, dining room (casual attire)
  • You'll definitely love

    ranch-raised beef, farm fresh eggs, ranch garden, organic produce, fresh daily bread, fresh daily desserts
  • Dietary restrictions catered for include

    lactose intolerant, vegans, vegetarians

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Guest Favorites

  • Goat Asada feast with home grown salad and fresh baked breads
  • Thinly sliced beef breaded and fried is also known as "milanesa"
  • On the pack trip expect plenty of supplies including wine! From chile made from scratch to your own caught fresh water trout all made on the camp fire
 

Sample Menu

    Our menu regularly changes, but below are just a few items you will enjoy!

    While out on rides or at Buta Mallin, you might eat with our gauchos, typically an asado(grilled meat) or guiso served with fresh bread or tortas fritas (fry bread).

    We will also introduce you to matè. The infusion called maté is prepared by steeping leaves of the mate plant (ilex paraguyensis) in a hollowed out gourd. Drinking maté with friends from the shared gourd with a metal straw (a bombilla) is a common social practice in Argentina and one which you will enjoy throughout your stay with us.

Children at the Ranch

Great for children aged 0 and over



Ranquilco is an ideal place for a family vacation. No phones, computers, and internet means that your family can rediscover the magic of the simple things in life – together.

The estancia is a constant delight to young children. Ordinary tasks on the ranch become extraordinary – egg collecting, milking, bread baking and fire starting are just a few. Our horses are calm and gentle, and many children have learned to ride here throughout the years, beginning at age 4.

For the older children, learning to fly fish, lasso toss, tend an asado and sleeping under the stars are the highlights. Two of our guest cottages, Dossie’s and The Apartment, have day beds or separate bedrooms for your children.

Detailed Activities

  • Activities

    egg collecting, bread baking, fire starting, milking, fly fishing, tossing a lasso,
  • Riding based activities

    animal care, horse care

Estancia Ranquilco is a remote family-owned 100,000 acre horse and cattle ranch nestled in the foothills of the Andes.

It is a vast expanse of land in Patagonia, stretching across leagues of high steppes, river valleys, grazing meadows, and jagged cliffs, into the very heart of the Argentine cordillera. Ranquilco’s western boundary is the border with Chile – the high country – graced with lakes, waterfalls, condors, hot springs and weeks of wandering.

Ashley Kent Carrithers acquired the lands of Ranquilco in 1979 and ever since has fallen deep into its magic sway.

Lowdown

  • Ranch established

    1979
 
Sky Carrithers
T.A Carrithers
Ashley Carrithers

Owner Info

  • Owner - Ashley Kent Carrithers, T.A. Carrithers and Sky Carrithers

  • Purchased ranch in

    1979
  • Languages spoken

    english, spanish
  • Ashley Kent Carrithers acquired the lands of Ranquilco in 1979 and ever since has fallen deep into its magic sway.

    His memories of travel, adventure, flying, sailing, diving, polo, business, philanthropy, writing and striving for ever more freedom, appreciation and love, dance with the inciting energies of deep peace inherent in the experience, over time, of Ranquilco.

    He is pleased to offer to share these with the fortunate few who manage to come here, and hopes that some hints of life defining peace-filled perfections may be witnessed, as pure Nature whispers her dreams of enjoyment in birdcall, river purl and wild, wild winds.

    Since he was ten, T.A. Carrithers has spent seasons at Ranquilco and the surrounding mountains. His years in Patagonia have been well spent, riding and hiking through many different areas of the cordillera bringing him to know these lands intimately.

    For five years, T.A. worked for the Boulder Outdoor Survival School leading trips into the desert and mountains of Utah. Along with teaching primitive survival and outdoor leadership skills, he was responsible for directing all aspects of 27-day outdoor leadership courses with 30 students and 6 staff members. His job included overseeing all phases the course syllabus, monitoring staff and student relations, route selection, logistics, and risk management. It was during that period, that T.A. discovered that spending time with people in the backcountry is highly rewarding, exhilarating, and just plain fun. T.A. also worked as a pilot in the Wrangell-Saint Elias Mountains of Alaska in the North American summers. He currently lives on a ranch in northern California for half the year and continues to spend many months of the year at Ranquilco.

    Leading horse riding adventures and pack trips into the Andes at Ranquilco provides a chance for him to spend some quality time introducing a few adventurous people to the mountains he loves.

    Sky Carrithers, largely raised at Ranquilco, is about half horse herself, having grown up with horses both in Argentina and the US. She now lives on the estancia full time, training and managing the herd of horses and running cattle.

    Sky has worked as a guide in both countries, and on various ranches as an exercise rider, groom, and riding instructor. She has also spent nine years working and showing Quarter horses, and has successfully competed in endurance races.

Rooms & Rates

  • Room type | nameSummer ratesWinter rates

  • House | The Castle Room$200-$350n/a

    • Description

      The Castle Room is a one bedroom, romantic two-room suite connected by a huge stone arch. A raised double bed offers amazing views of the river canyon down below where eagles nest. Throw open the French doors to your private stone patio overlooking the river and surrounding mountains. Enjoy wine and even private meals on your patio.The sitting room has a beautiful handcrafted stone fireplace with “heart” stones found naturally in this area. The bathroom has a wood heated boiler and shower. The cottage is surrounded by fruit trees and flowers.
    • Rooms

      1
    • Max occupancy

      2
    • Prices listed are

      per person
    • Minimum stay

      3 nights
    • Bathrooms

      Private bathroom
    • Amenities

      seating area, wood fireplace
  • House | Dossie's House$200-$350n/a

    • Description

      High ceiling and skylights mean this large wood crafted suite is always filled with light. It is infused with the gentle, peaceful energy of Ashley’s mother Doss, for whom it was built. The main bedroom has a double bed, day window bed, and a small comfortable sun room/sitting room. Dossie’s has views overlooking the river and horse pastures. The spacious bathroom has a stone crafted fireplace, dressing room, and wood heated tub and shower. A small second bedroom has its own private entrance.
    • Rooms

      2
    • Prices listed are

      per person
    • Minimum stay

      3 nights
    • Bathrooms

      Private bathroom
    • Amenities

      seating area, wood fireplace
  • House | The Apartment$200-$350n/a

    • Description

      The Apartment is an addition to the main lodge with views overlooking Casa Grande’s terrace and the river. Built above our library, it has a private outside stone stairway. It is a three room stone and wood suite with one double bed, two single beds, two fireplaces, and a sitting room. The bathroom has a bathtub and shower and wood heated water.
    • Rooms

      3
    • Prices listed are

      per person
    • Minimum stay

      no minimum
    • Bathrooms

      Private bathroom
    • Amenities

      seating area, wood fireplace
  • Luxury Tent | Pack Trip$2200-$2800n/a

    • Description

      Mountain Pack Trips in to the Andes includes a night in the rustic luxury of the Lodge or Cabin at each end of your trip. Whilst on the pack trip you have the choice of a tent or sleeping under the stars. The seight day pack trip is $2200 and the ten day is $2800
    • Prices listed are

      per person
    • Minimum stay

      no minimum

Services

Onsite

Outdoor Activities

  • campouts
  • bird watching
  • Water based Activities

    • outdoor pool
    • hot springs

Good to know

  • You can borrow

    Saddle bags
 

Fishing & Wildlife

  • Fishing

  • Types of fishing

    fly, river
  • We limit fishing on the Trocoman to a privileged few each year. Our season begins in November and ends on the 15th of April.

    Purchased as a fly fishing lodge, and with privileged access to miles of private water on the Trocoman and Picunleo Rivers, Ranquilco is reminiscent of the fly-in lodges of Canada and the western U.S. where modern civilization is left far behind. With only a very few who have ever seen the rivers, it is not yet legendary, but is a rare hidden gem.

    A fishing vacation at Estancia Ranquilco includes transfers from the trail head by horse, accommodation in one of our three guest cottages, The Castle Room, Dossies or The Apartment, all food and wine, and unlimited fishing. Please note, while we have some fly tying equipment, you must bring all your own rods, lines, ties and flies.

  • Wildlife and birding

  • See plenty of Condors throughout your stay

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