Patagonia's Estancia Lodgings Gain Popularity

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Estancias, the emblematic ranch lodgings of Patagonia, are becoming an increasingly popular choice of accommodations for visitors to South America's southernmost region. Dotting the Patagonian landscape on the coast of Argentina as well as its interior areas, these scenic ranches range from rustic accommodations to upscale facilities.

Estancias, the emblematic ranch lodgings of Patagonia, are becoming an increasingly popular choice of accommodations for visitors to South America's southernmost region. Dotting the Patagonian landscape on the coast of Argentina as well as its interior areas, these scenic ranches range from rustic accommodations to upscale facilities.

More than just a place to stay, some Pategonia estancias have made it on to guidebook lists of "must visit" destinations because of their picturesque settings and historic importance. Justin Laycob, president of Southern Explorations, a tour operator that organizes adventure trips to Patagonia and elsewhere, said, "The estancia experience adds an enriching dimension to a Patagonia tour. Travelers get an authentic glimpse of life in the region as it was centuries ago. Their breathtaking settings make these lodgings a rejuvenating base for an active vacation." He added, "Since most estancias accommodate a small number of guests at one time, and Patagonian weather limits the tourist season to October through March, it is wise to confirm a trip to Patagonia early."

The growth of Argentina estancias as tourist accommodations is a recent phenomenon. The Argentine government once gave away large tracts of land in Patagonia as compensation for exploration and military services rendered, and paid for government activities by selling property at rock-bottom prices. The resulting concentrations of large land holdings spawned huge cattle and sheep ranching operations, catapulting Argentina into the world economy by the beginning of the 1900s. Economic adversity a century later has forced some owners to convert their establishments to tourist lodgings. Some remain working estancias, allowing visitors to partake in the ranching life during their stays.

Patagonia travel is not just for tourists who wish to rough it. On the contrary, most estancia lodgings have been gentrified to fit the international visitor's tastes. Some have cascos (manor houses), and serve gourmet meals accompanied by the best of South America's wines. Others are rustic lodgings with a roaring fireplace, wholesome food and basic amenities. All have a view of paradise.

Southern Explorations specializes in organizing pre-set and customized tours to Southern and Central American countries for the avid hiker, trekker, kayaker and mountain biking enthusiast. Seven of its 13 Patagonian trip offerings include estancia stays. More details about its Patagonia adventure tours may be found on the company website, http://www.southernexplorations.com.

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Justin Laycob
Southern Explorations
877-784-5400
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