ESTANCIA Lifestyle Experience
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, 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.
Situated between 3 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 & 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, 4×4 pilot and bagualero*
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/1 bed and a room with 4 bunk beds.
Bathroom is separate. The house is built in cozy Patagonian country style and is always clean.
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.
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!
Patagonia boast 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.
* What is an Estancia? 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.
* Description below is an example of the program. The itinerary can be different during your travel week. We 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 terrain In the unlikely event that this happens on your trip, we ask you flexibility and understanding. This is a sporty and adventurous vacation!
* We highly recommend you 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 km and takes around 2.1/2 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.
Day 1: Puerto Natales – Estancia Mercedes
he Meet & Greet is in Puerto Natales. At agreed place & hour someone of the Garcia-Iglesias family will take you in approximately 2 hours by boat and car to Estancia Mercedes. Introduction to the farm and family members. And if you already want a first activity. (horse riding, fishing, other)
All meals at the farm. Accommodation at the farm.
Day 2 – 7: Estancia Mercedes
A full day activities of your choice:
Horse riding, trail riding or herding cattle/sheep at horseback
Hiking on foot
Fishing trout, salmon, sea bass…
You decide what you prefer to do. Proposals will also be made according to the activities of the day.
You prefer to have a chill day? Well that’s also possible. Read a book on the porch. Help in the kitchen; making bread, preparing a lamb dish, …
Remember the back to the 1800’s phrase? That also means there is NO internet on the farm!
All meals (breakfast/lunch/dinner) at the farm.
Accommodation at the farm.
Day 8: Estancia Mercedes – Puerto Natales
After breakfast you say goodbye to the family, your favorite horse and to the dogs.
Transfer back by car and boat to Puerto Natales.
A Little bit of history…
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 1,55m). Patones which means big feet, immediately became the name for the region. Later it was given the name Patagonia or “land of big feet.
Accommodation: night 6 nights at the 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/1 bed for a couple and another room with 4 bunk beds. 2 Bathrooms are separate. The house is built in cozy Patagonian country style and is always clean.
Meals: full board from lunch first day to breakfast last day till breakfast last day.
Drinks: fruit juices, wine and beer is included during the meals. If you want soft drinks like Coca Cola, Fanta/the unhealthy stuff, then please inform us in advance so we can provide this for you.
All farm activities: for riders and non-riders, including fishing, hiking, Kayaking
Transfer: From Puerto Natales by boat and car to Estancia Mercedes on day 1 and vice versa on day 8.
Insurance: We request you take a travel Insurance. Ask your local insurance company or travel agent about it. You will not be allowed to participate at the activities of the farm without having a personal travel insurance.
Flight: international and local flights are not included. Gateway is Punta Arenas (PUQ)
Road trip from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales (many buses/cheap)
Alcoholic drinks and soft drinks at other times then lunch and dinner.
Booking Sales Tax: USD 33,00 per person per payment
**THROUGHOUT THE YEAR; Best time September-April.
** A LA CARTE (You choose the date that best suits you, ALWAYS WITH A MINIMUM OF 2 Passengers)
SEPTEMBER – A la carte.
OCTOBER – A la carte.
NOVEMBER – A la carte.
DECEMBER – A la carte.
JANUARY – A la carte.
FEBRUARY – A la carte.
MARCH – A la carte.
APRIL -To the letter.
PRICE (Minimum 2 pax)
USD $ 3,100 per person.
▪ Equestrian level: Suitable for intermediate to experienced cyclists. You must have confidence in a horse at any rate. The pace is varied to include walking, jogging and galloping.
▪ The Cavalcade: Trailride, 7 days on horseback, from one place to another, an average of 7 hours per day in the saddle.
▪ Weight: Weight limit per rider 100 Kg
▪ Age: Minimum age is 14 years, only allowed with the accompaniment of an adult.
▪ Group size: the groups comprise a minimum of 6 riders and a maximum of 14 riders.
▪ Horses: Chilean Creole.
▪ Saddles: comfortable Huaso saddles.
▪ Guides: professional and multilingual guides.
▪Comfort: basic during the camp + comfortable in the guest houses.
▪ International passport: mandatory for most foreigners
▪Visa: Most European and Latin American citizens do not need a visa to travel to Chile. Contact the Chilean Embassy in your country for more information.
▪Vaccines: not required
Valid international passport
Pocket money (you can change EUR / £ / USD at the airport)
A warm sweater
A warm jacket.
4 or 5 shirts and at least 2 long-sleeved shirts.
Jodhpurs or jeans to ride.
Riding shoes or boots / riding shoes with mini-chaps or long chaps.
A second pair of shoes for the night.
Comfortable clothes + a hat.
Comfortable sleeping bag for sleeping in a range between -5 ° C and -10 ° C.
Sleeping mat (Thermarest is the best option).
Flashlight * We have saddlebags available for you.
* It is recommended to put your luggage in a travel bag instead of a hard suitcase. (Thank you!)