Gaucho Fiesta by BYT Tours
A Day on an Argentinean Ranch
BYT, a popular travel agency in Buenos Aires, offers a tour to a traditional Argentinean ranch, called an estancia. It is about a two hour bus ride from the city of Buenos Aires to the gaucho farm where you are able to enjoy fresh air, traditional folk dancing, and an authentic Argentinean bar-b-que, known as an asado.
It is an enjoyable bus
drive through the countryside of Argentina. This central region of
Argentina is known as las pampas or the plains. Along the road you can
see fields of corn and wheat, small fruit and vegetable stands, and a few
cows grazing on cattle ranches. There
is a stop before you arrive at the ranch where you can buy traditional
arts and crafts of the region.
The Ranch, La Estancia
Once you arrive at the
ranch it can be a little disappointing to see the long line of buses and
cars, but relax, the ranch is large and you are sure to find some peace
and relaxation if you try. Upon entering the gates you are greeted by
traditionally clothed ladies with baskets full of empanadas. I was very
impressed with the flavor of the beef empanadas; they were the best I had
tasted on my Argentinean visit. The ranch has a lot of wide open land,
with a small hut set up to show how the people used to live, a large asado
(bar-b-que pit), a large open room for dining, a pool, and a barn for
The Asado, Traditional Argentinean Bar-b-que
After a few hours of
enjoying the ranch a bell rings to announce the famous Argentinean Asado
is ready. You are sat at large tables with your group, again you can have
as much wine or beer as desired, but take it easy you have a long bus ride
back to the city. The dinner begins with salad and bread, they continue
to fill the bowls so you can enjoy the salad and bread with the meat as
traditional Argentineans eat their asado. The first type of meat they
offer is the chorizo, a type of sausage. It is very flavorful, but not
spicy I suggest trying a bit with lettuce; it makes a good combination.
After the chorizo they bring out the morcilla, which is a blood sausage.
I only recommend this for those with a strong stomach. Many people love
the flavor, so don’t be squeamish if you know you will not be sick. The
last type of meat served is vacio. This isn’t a cut of meat you would
find in an American restaurant. It is very fatty, but full of flavor.
When they offer you the vacio pick out a large piece that has both the fat
layer and a thick portion of the meat. The smaller pieces don’t have the
best parts of meat, and you will miss a lot of the flavor with the
smaller pieces. It is okay if you are not able to eat it all, as much of
it will be fat.
After dinner has finished, head to the back of the ranch to watch some traditional gaucho games. The gauchos ride horses as fast as they can and try to catch a ring dangling at the end of a ribbon with a spear. Traditionally this was done to win the heart of a lady and the crowd’s affection. It was custom to have several gauchos race to the ring, but due to the danger involved the gauchos take turns and see which gaucho was able to collect the most rings at the end of the show. At the end of the show the performers gave the rings to girls in the crowd and allowed people to take pictures next to the victorious gaucho.
Finally the day is ended with a sweet fried pastry, called pastelitos. The ride back to the city is a great time for a siesta.
Although I enjoyed the Gaucho Party, I would not put it on a ‘must do list’ when touring Buenos Aires, but if you are in the city for some time it is a nice day trip.
Cost $50 USD per person through BYT - (54 11) 4821-6057
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