Top50 Ranches

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Lowdown

  • Established

    1979
  • Owner

    Ashley Kent Carrithers, T.A. Carrithers and Sky Carrithers
  • Nightly Rates (per adult)

    Summer: $350
    Winter: $175 - $250
  • Nightly Rates (per child)

    $350
  • Minimum Stay

    4 days
  • Maximum Guests

    10
  • Works with travel agents?

    Yes
  • Great For

    Romance, Action & adventure, Peace & quiet, Solitude, Diverse scenery

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 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.

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.

Activities

hiking, picnics, campouts, egg collecting, bread baking, fire starting, milking, fly fishing, tossing a lasso,

Riding based activities

animal care, horse care

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.

Ranch History

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

  • Enjoy

    Gourmet, Ranch-style, Health oriented
  • Meals served

    family style, everyone eats together
  • Alcohol

    BYOB, wine provided with dinner
  • 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

    lactose intolerant, vegans, vegetarians

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.

Guest Favourites

  • 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

Lowdown

  • Address

    8349
    El Huecu
    Neuquen
    Argentina
  • Remote Location

    Yes
  • Elevation

    3878 ft
  • Private Land

    more than 50k acres

Nearest Town - Zapala

Zapala has a population of 32,000 (approx), and is situated 115 miles / 3 hours from the Ranch.

Facilities in Zapala include: grocery store, pharmacy, church, school, post office, medical clinic, hospital, bank, atm, gas station, museum.

For shopping Zapala offers: small hometown necessity shops.

Rental car

4x4 recommended

Nearest Airports

San Martin de los Andes, San Martin de los Andes

Distance

265 miles / 4 hours

Ranch shuttle

200

Rental car

4x4 recommended


Neuquen, Neuquen

Ranch shuttle

200

Rental car

4x4 recommended


Buenos Aires Eizeza, Buenos Aires

Ranch shuttle

120

Rental car

4x4 recommended

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
  • Wranglers per ride

    1
  • Pace of ride

    Walk, Trot, Lope
  • Guest Horses

    50
  • Horse Types

    Arabians, Geldings, Mares, Argentinian Criollo
  • Hours in the saddle

    Morning - 2 hours
    Afternoon - 3 hours

The 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.


Our Riding

Hours in the saddle

Riding hours are tailored to the guest and their fitness level


Why 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

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.

Lowdown

  • Nightly Rates (per adult)

    Summer: $350
    Winter: $175 - $250
  • Nightly Rates (per child)

    $350
  • Nightly Rates (non-rider)

    $200
  • Minimum Stay

    4 days

Estancia Ranquilco can cater for up to 10 guests. Accommodation includes Houses and Luxury Tents. See below for details and indicative rates.

House | The Castle Room

Rates (Per Person)

$200 - $350

Minimum Stay

3 nights

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

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

seating area, wood fireplace

House | Dossie's House

Rates (Per Person)

$200 - $350

Minimum Stay

3 nights

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

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

seating area, wood fireplace

House | The Apartment

Rates (Per Person)

$200 - $350

Minimum Stay

No minimum

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

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

seating area, wood fireplace

Luxury Tent | Pack Trip

Rates (Per Person)

$2,200 - $2,800

Minimum Stay

No minimum

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


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.

Lowdown

  • You can borrow

    Saddle bags

Onsite

Outdoor Activities

campouts, bird watching

Water based Activities

outdoor pool, hot springs


Fishing & Wildlife

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.

Fishing on offer

fly, river

Wildlife

See plenty of Condors throughout your stay


Top50 says

Highs

  • Ranquilco is like a hidden world, set deep in the Patagonian mountains the only way in is on horseback! True adventure and unparalleled remoteness for the avid rider
  • The pack trips are packed with amazing scenery, rivers and mountains; a breathtaking experience – make your way up mountainsides and across plateaus, swim in hidden lakes and sleep under the stars
  • Enjoy fantastic asadas and home-grown vegetables at mealtimes
  • A unique volunteer program helps to create a self-sufficient estancia; enjoy the the luxury of your own 'wing' in the beautiful wood and stone lodge

Lows

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

Visitor Reviews

Dont just take our word for it, see what visitors like you say...

Life is good at Ranquilco

We had one of our best vacations ever at Ranquilco. The stunning scenery of the Patagonias, the remoteness of the place, the rustic authenticity of the lodgings, the horses, the always welcoming nature of TA and his family, the volunteers who all keep the place ticking, all made it a truly memorable experience. Patagonia is vast and stunning, and there is no better way to explore it than on horseback. The horses are strong and have great temperament making them easy to ride and they effortlessly pull you through the rugged terrain. They'll pull you up the side of the mountain and still have plenty in reserve to gallop along the top. Superb horses. The cool streams are brimming with trout and even if you're not an angler young Kade will teach how to fish Gaucho style. And if you want to lunch on your recent catch just setup a fire and cook that pink fleshy fish right there on the riverbed.

5 stars

You can find more reviews for Estancia Ranquilco on TripAdvisor