Situated on the banks of the “River of Silver” Platte River is the capital city of Argentina – the amazing Buenos Aires which in Spanish means “fair winds.”
In the 1700s, cattle ranching in the expansive grasslands around this metropolis was an important tool for survival because trade in leather hides between Europe and Latin America had become standard.
Just like in other countries, the history of this predominantly Spanish-speaking country is wealthy and varied. Its people, including the farmers, have experienced dictatorships, coups, massacres, droughts, famines, floods, and recessions.
Over the centuries, its population have banded together and are proud of their accomplishments despite the hardships they endured. Nowadays, the country is doing much better and has become attractive to tourists from all over the world. The capital of Buenos Aires still has its fair winds, but the dramas and crises seem to be a thing of the past.
The city has become a hub of class and culture; there are museums, theaters, art galleries, restaurants and a very active nightlife with clubs, and bars.However, if you are willing to go off the beaten track for something a little bit different, you need to try to visit an Argentinian estancia.
About Don Silvano Estancia
An estancia is a farm or ranch, and the ranch hands or gauchos being the Cowboys of the grassy plains or Argentinean pampas. In recent years, it has become standard practice for the ranchers to open up their homes to invite guests and tourists to experience a day on their estate as not only as a to spruce up diminishing profits but as a way to boost local tourism too.
Some owners have converted their estancia into flourishing resorts and destination getaways while others strive to introduce their guests to the more authentic parts of ranch day to day life in a ‘día de Campo – a day in the countryside.’
The Don Silvano Estancia has a long history, and the ranch has been handed down through the years and been kept in the family for four generations. The property is about 380 hectares in size and as renovated rooms for the guests who opt to stay there for a few days as well as a large hall that can comfortably seat over 300 diners, some of which come as day visitors.
Being a ranch, it, of course, has stables and other farm buildings which you can see when you arrive and do a tour. They encourage you to feel at home on the estancia and take part in various demonstrations like cow-milking, horse-saddling, and empanada-making! The staff offers tractor rides and have gaucho shows; where the cowboys demonstrate how skilled and talented, they are on horseback.
The ranch even has its store for souvenirs and a museum detailing the history and development of the property that offers a lovely tribute to the family.
Our Estancia Experience
We decided to take the visitor day trip from Buenos Aires that offered a chance to sample the Argentinian countryside.
The tour operator picked us up from our hotel for the hour long car ride which was very convenient since one can enjoy the scenery of the flat grasslands without needing to concentrate on the driving.
On our arrival at the ranch, we were welcomed by the estancia welcoming committee farm; the peacock strutting his stuff and a beautiful show rooster that made a point of staying in the bus loading area to watch the guests’ arrival.
Next, we were shown to one of the original dwellings where the hosts welcomed everyone with cold libations ( wine for the adults, sodas for the kids) and empanadas that were made right there in a makeshift coal oven.The staff also makes cookies and bread which compared with the farmyard smell outside smelled quite heavenly. I would have love to pocket the aromas from this kitchen as a souvenir to bring home.
As guests walk around the farmyard, they get to see the different aspects of farm life including the cooking and artisans making handmade tapestries and clothing items while traditional music is played in the background.The ranch featured miniature cows with their short, stumpy legs, plenty of foul in the form of chicken ducks and geese; even a hen and her cute chicks walking about nonchalantly on the BBQ coals that were scheduled to be used later on that day.We came across a pitiful-looking lone donkey twitching its tail and abdomen because of flies surrounding it and plenty of horses that were used both for the farm staff and the visitors. We couldn’t stop giggling at the farm dog who thought he was a horse and followed them around like he was one of them.
Guests get seated for their fix menu BBQ lunch included in the tour price in the big hall at a set hour. There are salads on the table as well as wine and cola. They have attractive décor with old children’s toys hanging from the ceiling which you look at while you wait for them to bring the traditional grilled meat. Following this is the dancing to classical music with guitars and an accordion. They bring out live entertainment, flamenco-style dancers, and singers all in traditional costume. They even had a comedy act in the form of an American song. They encourage all the guests and visitors to the farm get up and dance, join the performers on the stage. After the meal, the guests are free to go and enjoy the outdoors, take a leisurely walk by foot or horseback and be back in time for the shuttle to return them to Buenos Aires.
Autism Travel Tips
- Both the links to Don Silvano Estancia’s website and The Don Silvano Facebook page are in Spanish, but you can give your English-speaking child a good idea of what to expect by showing them the pictures.
- Have everyone wear closed toe shoes and pack an extra pair of clothes for everyone since it is rather easy to land in the mud or get dirty from the different animals.
- Pack plenty of hand sanitizer to use after touching the various farm animals as well as insect repellent and sunscreen!
- The lunch hall is large with long tables that seat twenty some people each if your kid is noise sensitive make sure you sit at the end of the table away from the entertainment.
- *For those who are sensitive to smells, it is critical to prepare them that it is a ranch with animals, and some of the smells in the farmyard are extremely potent and offensive.
- For those who are sensitive to sounds, inside the dining hall with sometimes over 300 people and all the dancing and music, it can be overwhelming and loud. Tell your child to let you know if it is too much for them so that you can retreat to a quieter place outside or bring headphones to be able to block out the sound.
No special menu is currently offered, but those on a GFCF diet can eat the large meat dishes offered.
Furthermore, the gaucho show is outdoors and can be noisy. If your child is sensitive, then don’t sit in the front rows since there is quite a bit of dust flying from the horses galloping about
- The ranch isn’t wheelchair user accessible through the main areas to the entrance, the dining hall and restrooms are paved.