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Returning in time to the 1800s? It's possible at a very special place called Estancia Mercedes! 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. 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!
Estancia Mercedes is not a boutique hotel, not a dude ranch, but an authentic farm without fringes. The family house has two spare rooms where they can accommodate six guests. Their rooms consist of one double room with one bed and a room with four bunk beds. Bathroom is separate. The house is built in cozy Patagonian country style and is always clean.
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!
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.
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. You can read a book on the porch, help in the kitchen, make bread, prepare a lamb dish, etc. Remember the back to the 1800’s phrase? That also means there is no internet on the farm!
You are highly recommended to arrive in Puerto Natales the day before so you can be picked up without problem the morning of Day 1 of the program. Puerto Natales is a nice town with various pleasant hotels and hostels. By bus (or private vehicle), you can easily get from Punta Arenas (the city you will normally fly to) to Puerto Natales. The journey is 240 kilometers and takes around two and a half hours. There are several good buses driving between the two cities every day.
It is also important to know that you better not plan your international/domestic flight on Day 8 (the last day). To travel from the Estancia back to Punta Arenas, you have to take a ferry boat. It happens that the ferry boat cannot cross at the scheduled hour due to the strong winds, so you are never sure at what time you will arrive in back in Punta Arenas.
Sebastian and his wife Grissel are a young couple and live on the farm together with the 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.
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.
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".
Patagonia encompasses both Chile and Argentina and covers about one million square kilometers, that 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.
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. There, in this breathtaking environment, you can go 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!
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, two-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".
Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International Airport
Transfer not provided
Fly in and out to Punta Arenas' Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International Airport (PUQ). From there, there are a lot of cheap buses to Puerto Natales, where you will be picked up and taken to the farm.
If you either depart from Europe, The States, 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. Gaucho do Brasil 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.
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