During my recent trip to Argentina with my family, we spent the day at Estancia Los Dos Hermanos, a ranch about an hour outside of Buenos Aires in Zárate. When I was initially planning the trip, a day at an estancia seemed appealing since I know my father prefers the countryside to the big city; however, when I first told my dad and stepdad about the ranch, neither of them was terribly enthused. Though they weren't as excited about horseback riding as I'd hoped, I wasn't perturbed since the owner assured me that other activities were available. With plain old rest and relaxation near the top of the list of alternatives [plus a swimming pool and carriage rides], I knew I couldn't go wrong!
Shortly after we arrived at the estancia, we were offered a light snack and a drink before heading out to the horses. Matías, one of the guides, selected a mount for both Daniel and me. Instead of saddling up, Vince and my dad opted to ride in a carriage around the estancia with Alejandro, another guide. They even had an opportunity to take the reins and drive for a bit. For our morning jaunt, we stayed within the boundaries of the estancia while enjoying the fantastic weather, the beauty of the landscape and some interesting critters such as teros, lechuzas [burrowing owls], and a water buffalo.
At lunch we were plied with beer, red wine, empanadas and a very tasty asado that included three courses of meat—chorizo and costillas [short ribs], lomo [tenderloin] and bife de chorizo [strip steak]—with a simple green salad thrown in for good measure. The meal was topped off by a dessert of flan, which looked so good even I was tempted to sample a spoonful, despite my general aversion to eggs. We ate together outdoors with the other guests at the estancia and the guides, and the conversation was pleasant among the group comprised of Americans, a Canadian couple and a pair of newlyweds from Scotland.
We sat and talked for a few minutes after lunch while others played foosball or sapo, and then most of the group prepared for a second ride. Daniel and I headed out for another round of horseback riding while Dad and Vince stayed behind and relaxed in the hammocks and strolled around taking photos. This time the group ventured outside the boundaries of the estancia for a wonderful ride that lasted close to two hours. More advanced riders were given the freedom to gallop and separate a bit from the group while novices walked or trotted according to their comfort level. The galloping was exhilarating!
As the sun began to set, we returned a bit sore but with smiles all around. We were served buñuelos [a type of doughnut], juice, and coffee while signing the estancia's guestbook and playing with the exuberant pack of dogs. We bade farewell to our hosts after a thoroughly enjoyable day and headed back to the hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires. If you're looking for a laidback experience that focuses on horseback riding and isn't overly touristy, then I highly recommend Estancia Los Dos Hermanos.