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The purpose of your visit here must be one of experiencing the true Gaucho lifestyle at an authentic Patagonian estancia rather than a trip where your hotel room and comfort are more important than a lifetime experience!
Durinh this holiday, you will spend 7 nights at a farm/estancia. Estancia Mercedes is not a boutique hotel, not a dude ranch but an authentic farm without fringes. The family house has 2 spare rooms where they can accommodate 6 guests. This being one double room or 1 bed for a couple and another room with 4 bunk beds. Two bathrooms are separate. The house is built in a cozy Patagonian country style and is always clean.
Estancias are simply enormous farms, ranches, or colonial estates. The term estancia is used in various ways in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Southern Chile. The equivalent in other Latin American countries would be hacienda or Fazenda in Brazil.
Sebastian and his wife Grissel are a young couple and live on the farm together with their parents, brother, and sister. You will be considered as a new family member, eat at the same table, bake bread together, and share a bottle of good Chilean wine with them before going to bed. Patagonia boasts an appeal of extreme remoteness, perhaps only matched by the deep Amazon and isolated Alaska.
Icy glaciers plunge into emerald lakes, wild fjords snake through hardwood forests, and the Andes' dramatic peaks ascend into swirling clouds and mist. Here in this breathtaking environment, you can go fishing for salmon and trout, ride a horse like never before, or just enjoy reading a book on the veranda. Welcome to the end of the world, welcome to Estancia Mercedes!
The description below is an example of the program. The itinerary can be different during your travel week. Entre Orejas will do everything possible to follow the indicated itinerary, although spot changes can occur due to unforeseen circumstances. Rides are subject to change depending on weather, location, accommodation, and difficulty of the terrain. In the unlikely event that this happens on your trip, Entre Orejas asks for your flexibility and understanding. This is a sporty and adventurous vacation!
The meet and greet is in Puerto Natales; at the agreed place and hour, someone of the Garcia-Iglesias family will take you in approximately two hours by boat and car to Estancia Mercedes. There will be an introduction to the farm and family members and if you already want to have your first activity, you can go horse riding. You will have all meals at the farm.
Have full days of activities of your choice: horse riding, trail riding, or herding cattle/sheep at horseback, farm activities, hiking on foot; you decide what you prefer to do. Proposals will also be made according to the activities of the day. Do you prefer to have a chill day? Well, that’s also possible! Read a book on the porch, help in the kitchen, make bread, prepare a lamb dish; remember the back to the 1800s phrase? That also means there is NO internet on the farm! All meals will be taken at the farm.
After breakfast, say goodbye to the family, your favorite horse, and to the dogs. Transfer back by car and boat to Puerto Natales.
When navigator-explorer Magellan in 1520 sailed as the first European along the coast of southern Argentina and Chile and went ashore, he and his crew discovered huge "Patones" or footprints on the beach. Moments later they saw real giants; 2-meter tall Indians! These were indeed giants in comparison with the then small Spaniards (average 1.55 meters). Patones, which means "big feet", immediately became the name for the region. Later, it was given the name Patagonia or "land of big feet".
Suitable for intermediate to experienced riders, you should be confident on a horse at all paces. You can also go as a non-rider and enjoy the other non-riding farm activities or you might want to give horse riding a try; easy going.
if you are alone, post on your multimedia that you are looking for a travel companion or check with Entre Orejas if there is another person requesting for the same travel period.
Sebastian is first and foremost a Gaucho in blood and bones! Born and raised on Estancia Mercedes, his great love is life on the farm and in the wilderness. He has a university degree in agricultural engineering. Is fascinated by the history and culture of Patagonia, but his greatest passion is Bagualear. Bagualear is catching wild bulls in the wilderness, roping the animals on horseback with a helping team of dogs. Together with his wife Grissel and sister Angeles, they have also focused on organic growing and started the Social Innovation project called "Plaza Comestible".
Returning in time to the 1800s? It's possible at a very special place called Estancia Mercedes! Patagonia encompasses both Chile and Argentina and covers about one million square kilometers, which is roughly four times the size of the UK. Long before humans arrived on the continent, glaciers chiseled and carved these spectacular landscapes. Today, the wilderness still rules that gigantic region.
But what Patagonia has in natural wealth, it equally has in culture. Situated between three national parks; Torres del Paine, Bernardo O’Higgins, and Alacalufes, the Garcia-Iglesias family will welcome you with open arms at their Estancia at the end of the world! They are descendants of 19th-century Pioneer Don José Garcia Díaz, who came during the gold rush from Asturias-Spain to Southern Chilean Patagonia to settle and build the first house and supplier shop in Punta Arenas.
In little time, he managed to buy an enormous piece of wilderness on the Peninsula Antonio Varas, and thus, the Estancia Mercedes was born. Great-grandson Sebastian is the man that will take you for a tour on the wild side! He will teach you how to saddle your Criollo horse so you can accompany him on his daily tasks on the farm.
Be ready to become an authentic Gaucho! Being a cowboy, a sheep rancher, a fisherman, a wilderness expert, horse whisperer, butcher, veterinarian, herbalist, hunter, captain of the boat, a 4x4 pilot, and a bagualero!
Daily full board meals from lunch on the first day to breakfast on the last day are included. Fruit juices, wine, and beer are included during the meals. If you want soft drinks like Coca Cola, Fanta/the unhealthy stuff, then please inform Entre Orejas in advance so they can provide these for you.
Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International Airport
Transfer not provided
Please arrange your flight to arrive at Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International Airport (PUQ). If you either depart from Europe, USA, South-America, Australia, or elsewhere, there is a large choice of airlines flying to Chile. Most of the airlines fly to Santiago de Chile where you can connect to Punta Arenas. Entre Orejas does not reserve flights for you but they will be happy to help you with information concerning flights and how to get to the destination.
The gateway is Punta Arenas (PUQ) and the pick-up place is in Puerto Natales. Entre Orejas highly recommends the client to arrive in Puerto Natales the day before so the guest can be picked up without a problem on the morning of Day 1 of the program.
It is also important to know that the guest better NOT plan the international/domestic flight on Day 8 (the last day). To travel from Estancia back to Puerto Natales, one has to take a ferry boat, it happens that the ferry boat cannot cross at the scheduled hour due to the strong winds, so one is never sure at what time you will arrive back to Puerto Natales.
Puerto Arenas is a nice town with various pleasant hotels and hostels. From Puerto Natales, you have to travel back to Punta Arenas by bus. There are several good bus services per day; three-hours drive.
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