Estancias de Santa Cruz, Patagonia

First private non-profit organization of Argentine Republic, that divulges and promotes tourist activities in Estancias, Country Inns and Accommodations located in rural areas around southern Patagonia. 

Patagonia is beautiful, suggestive and solitary. Through its expanses have passed nomads, canoe Indians, navigators, adventurers, explorers, pirates, men of the cloth, pioneers. Each and every one of them left marks that are visible or part of the oldest and choicest stories of this part of the Americas.

Despite the efforts of mankind, it has remained one of the most sparsely-populated, least-polluted places on the planet. Fascinated by its natural landscapes, its apparent immutability in the face of time, the history of its people and the promise of personal adventure, today's visitors are also attracted by its environmental purity, the apparent tranquility of the steppe, and ways of life that no longer exist in cities.

Everything is there: the form the earth assumes to tell its stories, luminous skies and pristine waters, moving, enigmatic rock paintings, the spirit of the navigators of the Roaring Forties and the pioneers in their obstinate struggle. The stage is set. Suggestive, it is waiting to accompany us the creation of a unique, personal view.

Patagonia National Park

The Park was created by Law No. 27,081, promulgated in 2015. It has an area of 52,811 hectares. It connects the towns of Los Antiguos, Perito Moreno, Bajo Caracoles and Lago Posadas with the public access portals La Ascensión and Cañadón Pinturas, the mythical National Route 40 and scenic routes 41, 43 and 97. The circuit continues towards Chile through the steps border lines Los Antiguos-Chile Chico to the north and Paso Roballos to the south. Its archaeological wealth is astonishing due to its great quantity and variety, it forms in itself a set of historical-cultural values of incomparable splendor linked to the values of the nearby Cueva de las Manos. From the water reserve that the National Park protects, rivers, streams and springs descend to ensure the supply of water to a wide region. In addition to hundreds of lagoons, the plateau forms rivers, numerous seasonal and permanent streams, mallines and meadows. Among these bodies of water, the immense Laguna Del Sello (or Milky Way) stands out, with more than 6 km wide and 3 km long, an extremely important wetland for the nesting and feeding of migratory birds, among which Maca Tobiano (Podiceps gallardoi – Photo: Darío Podestá) stands out. Location: Northwestern area of Santa Cruz Province (Argentina), 17 km from the town of Los Antiguos (La Ascención access portal).

Cueva de las Manos Heritage

The Cave of the Hands site in the Pinturas River Canyon in the Deseado River basin
lies between the town of Perito Moreno and the village of Bajo Caracoles, in the Argentine province of Santa Cruz. Accessed by a turnoff from National Route 40, it consists of caves and rock overhangs in a cliff of the Pinturas River Canyon.
Here in ancient times nomadic Indian tribes left numerous paintings of different styles over a period of more than 8,000 years (7,500 BC to 1,000 AD). Most of this rock art consists of negative handprints, and hunting scenes, done with paints made from pigments extracted from river sediments and applied with different techniques.
The sectors with the most outstanding paintings are located along a 600-meter front on the right side of the canyon some 88 meters above the river bed. In 1999 UNESCO declared the Cave of the Hands a World Cultural Heritage site.

Location: Northwestern area of Santa Cruz Province (Argentina), 160 Km away from Perito Moreno city.

Perito Moreno National Park

The Perito Moreno National Park (strictly Perito Francisco P. Moreno National Park and Reserve) is a national park finally constituted as such, by decree Law No. 9504 in 1945. It is located in the center-west of the province of Santa Cruz , accessing it from National Route No. 40, after traveling about 90 km of gravel road. It covers approximately 115,000 hectares. in a mountainous region cut by valleys, some of which are located at more than 900 meters above sea level. The surface of the park is subdivided into two management areas: a national park with 86,000 hectares. and the protected area with managed resources with 30,000 hectares. The limits of the national park include territories corresponding to two ecoregions: the Patagonian steppe and the Patagonian forests, extending its western limit to the border with the Republic of Chile. Visiting hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is closed to the general public from May the 1st to October the 1st. Location: Extreme Southwest of the Province of Santa Cruz (Argentina), 210 km from the town of Gob. Gregores.

Los Glaciares National Park

The 726,927 hectares Los Glaciares National Park and Reserve, designated a World Natural Heritage site by UNESCO in 1981, is the most popular tourist attraction of the Argentine province of Santa Cruz.

Tourists come from around the world to admire its imposing glaciers, lakes and rivers from close-up. Its 22,000 sq. km of continental ice fields born in the Quaternary Period are the birthplace of its 13 most important glaciers: (from north to south) Marconi, Viedma, Moyano, Upsala, Agassiz, Bolados, Onelli, Peineta, Spegazzini, Mayo, Ameghino, Perito Moreno and Frías, which amaze visitors with the majesty of nature. Its vegetation includes high – and low – beech forests, firebush, austral cypress, «canelo» and box-leafed barberry; its fauna guanacos, hares, pumas and «huemul» deer (near extinction).

Location: Southwestern corner of Province of Santa Cruz (Argentina), 52 Km away from El Calafate.

Cabo Vírgenes Provincial Reserve

The large Magellanic penguin rookery in this important provincial reserve is located 130 km from Río Gallegos in the far southeastern corner of the Argentine province of Santa Cruz, the southernmost point of the South American continent. 

The birds of this species (Spheniscus magellanicus) breed and raise their chicks from September to April. Their rookery, the second-largest in South America, is most interesting in December when the population swells to 450,000 birds, including recently-hatched chicks as well as mature and immature adults. In addition to guiding visitors around the rookery, the reserve’s park rangers and guides provide information on the area’s flora and fauna, the maritime museum, and the hundred-year-old Cape Vírgenes lighthouse.

Location: Southestern corner of Province of Santa Cruz (Argentina), with access by Provincial Route Nº 1 Km 111.

Monte León National Park

With the enactment of Law 25,945 in 2004, the first Coastal National Park of the Argentine Republic was finally created. The Monte León National Park is located on the coast of the Argentine Sea, and has an area of 62,000 hectares. Located on the border of two ecoregions, the Patagonian steppe and the Argentine Sea, the park exhibits characteristic elements of each environment. A varied marine fauna, numerous herds of guanacos, choiques, foxes and pumas, give life to the restingas that separate the endless Patagonian coasts from a desert steppe full of coirones and black mata. The main dominator of this park is a peninsula of land formed as a result of the work of the tides and the prevailing wind, which resembles a lion lying looking towards the sky, called Lion’s Head, and which gives the name to this young park .

Its main access is; close to the Santa Cruz town of Comandante Luis Piedrabuena (35 km), and north of the provincial capital Río Gallegos (210 km).

Location: Access by National Route No. 3 km 2400, Province of Santa Cruz (Argentina).

The climate depends on the geographical location, and on meterological conditions which can change from one day to the next. In summer, southern Patagonia tends to be cool and sunny, with very dry air. Sea-level temperatures range from a minimum of 10ºC and a maximum of 30ºC, with a daily average of 20ºC. At higher altitudes these temperatures diminish at a rate of about one degree per 100 metres of altitude. Breezes and winds accentuate the coolness of the air. Light summer clothing is a must, but thorny plants and the strong sun can make shorts a problem during hikes and horseback rides.

– What to take
Warm, lightweight clothing will come in very handy. You will need a warm parka for excursions to glaciers or high places, and for days that are cooler than usual. Another must is a lightweight waterproof jacket for windy days and occasional unexpected showers.
Sunglasses and a hat with chinstrap are also advisable.
A sunblock cream with a protection factor of at least 15 is a must.
Tennis shoes with worn soles or «alpargatas» are good for traveling , but aren’t recommendable for hikes through thornbush areas;they are treacherous on wet stones in creeks or in places with loose stones. In these cases, light trekking shoes will be the best choice.
Remember that only big towns have laundries. On some ranches you can ask to have something washed – but not ironed – if you are staying long enough to make it worthwhile. Ask about this when you arrive.

– Wind
You will be entering the land and waters of the Roaring Forties. There, storms come without thunder, lighting or rain; they are pure wind, which often as not blows beneath a clear sky. If the wind is blowing, respect it, whether you be driving or walking.

– The sky over Patagonia
The southern hemisphere sky is the richest in shining stars and galaxies. Seeing it from a ranch, through clear air and without ground lights, is a memorable experience. That’s why they call us the «Thousand-Star Hotels».

In the summertime the sunlight is deceptive, making you think that the day is longer than it really is. Get to your destination when it’s still daylight.
Getting to a estancia is in itself an interesting experience. The same road will look very different when you leave in the morning.

You will be driving on paved or gravel roads in practically uninhabited areas. The absence of the stress imposed by city transit and the beauty of the places along the way will create an atmosphere conducive to traveling long distances with a reasonable effort.
When you plan the stages of your trip, remember that with the exception of the paved stretches, your average speed should not exceed 60 km/hr, and 40 km/hr on corniche roads with hairpin curves.

Whether you are driving a town car or a 4WD, certain basic safety rules must be followed.

– Watch your speed. Most accidents on roads with little traffic are the result of underestimating the difficulties involved. Slow down before reaching a point in the road that is hidden from view by the terrain or some other element. On gravel, don’t trust stretches that look good; drive on a  minimum-adherence surface. On asphalt, watch out for raised culverts and shoulder drains. Pay attention to the wind.

– Drive defensively. Somebody who thinks he has the road all to himself can suddenly pop up in that place you can’t completely. Stay on your side of the road whenever the visibility is poor for one reason or another.

– On gravel, slow down to a crawl when passing a vehicle coming from the opposite direction. This will help you keep control of your vehicle and greatly lower the risk of breakage of your windshield and other windows by flying rock fragments. If you have to overtake a slow vehicle, keep as far away from it as possible. Let the driver know you’re there. Try not to kick up dust and rocks. On backroads, don’t leave the one you’re on. Follow the dirt roads that look like they’ve been driven most recently. Some places can fool you, and not be as firm as they look.

– In summer it rains very little. But if you find yourself on a wet road, keep to the high part in the middle, which is more compacted by the traffic. Clay is very slippery; try to keep off the shoulders, which are very soft. On dirt roads stay in the ruts if the suspension is high enough to allow this. And if you get stuck, don’t force the motor; passing motorists will give you whatever help they can.

– If your driving day includes a particularly isolated stretch of road, take along sleeping bags just in case. A burner, some water and food on board can turn out to be very useful it you have to spend a night out somewhere.

– If you have to ford a stream, case it out first on foot. Take care: a swift current that reaches above mid-thigh is dangerous, and the water is always very cold. If you decide to use your winch, keep away from the steel cable.

– Check the fuel and tires before leaving populated areas, and top off the tank whenever possible. Remember to close cattle guard gates, and don’t drive over fields unnecessarily. Help keep roads and paths clean by taking your wastes to the next ranch or town for disposal.

– In southern Patagonia people are valuable and few. Be courteous on the road. If you see someone asking for help – which can turn out to only be a request that you take someone a message – stop.

What to take
. A good road map.
. Two spare tires, or at least extra inner tubes and tools if you’re up to taking the tires apart.
. A good flashlight and batteries.
. Optional: a few simple tools, baling wire, 20 meters of 15-mm nylon rope, a collapsible shovel, a tire pump or small air compressor.
. We do not advise taking along extra fuel in cans; it is unnecessary and risky.

Paso Río Futaleufú (Chubut)
Location: 43°10’SL / 71°45’WL
Schedule: ARG: 09-21hs / CHI: 08-21hs
Relief: Mountainous.
Height: 300 masl.
Connect/Link: Trevelín-Futaleufú.

Paso El Triana (Chubut)
Location: 45°46’50»SL / 71°43’56»WL
Schedule: ARG: 09-21hs / CHI: 08-22hs
: Sandy, stony, with low mountain ranges.
Height: 670 masl.
Connect/Link: Aldea Beleiro-Coyhaique.

Paso Huemules (Chubut)
Location: 45°54’54»SL / 71°38’39»WL
Schedule: ARG: 09-21hs / CHI: 08-22hs
: Sandy, stony, Patagonian plateau.
Height: 500 masl.
Connect/Link: Lago Blanco-Balmaceda.

Paso Ingeniero Pallavicini (Santa Cruz)
Location: 46°30’42»SL / 72°20’22»WL
Schedule: ARG: 09-21hs / CHI: 08-22hs
: Mountainous.
Height: 470 masl.
Connect/Link: Pallavicini-Ing. Ibañez.

Paso Río Jenimeni (Santa Cruz)
Location: 46°35’20»SL / 71°41’21»WL
Schedule: ARG: 09-21hs / CHI: 08-22hs
: Irregular, mountainous, presents plateaus.
Height: 260 masl.
Connect/Link: Los Antiguos-Chile Chico.

Paso Rodolfo Roballos (Santa Cruz)
Location: 47°05’59»SL / 71°54’50»WL
Schedule: 09-21hs / CHI: 08-22hs
: Arid, stony, clayey and has low plateaus.
Height: 715 masl.
Connect/Link: Lago Posadas-Cochrane.

Paso Río Don Guillermo (Santa Cruz)
Location: 51°15’20»SL / 72°13’59»WL
Schedule: ARG: 09-23hs / CHI: 08-00hs
: Mountainous.
Height: 260 masl.
Connect/Link: Cerro Castillo-Pto. Natales.

Paso Dorotea (Santa Cruz)
Location: 51°34’22»SL / 72°21’11»WL
Schedule: ARG: 09-23hs / CHI: 08-00hs
: Mountainous.
Height: 605 masl.
Connect/Link: Villa Dorotea-Pto. Natales.

Paso Laurita (Santa Cruz)
Location: 51°41’40»SL / 72°17’15»WL
Schedule: ARG: 09-01hs / CHI: 08-00hs
: Flat with irregularities.
Height: 240 masl.
Connect/Link: 28 de Noviembre-Pto. Natales.

Paso Integración Austral (Santa Cruz)
Location: 52°08’SL / 69°31’WL
Schedule: ARG: 09-23hs (01 Abril-31 Octubre) 24hs (01 Noviembre-31 Marzo) / CHI: 08-22hs
: Patagonian plain with rocky outcrop and volcanic rocks.
Height: 165 masl.
Connect/Link: Río Gallegos-Pta. Arenas.

Paso San Sebastián (Tierra del Fuego)
Location: 53°12’50»SL / 68°38’22»WL
Schedule: ARG: 09-23hs / CHI: 08-22hs
: Regular (low descending), flat with minimal elevations.
Height: 10 masl.
Connect/Link: Río Grande-Puerto Porvenir/Puerto Bahia Azul.

* Summer hours, under normal traffic conditions. Consult previously for reconfirmations of status and schedules.
** Information provided by the Argentine National Gendarmerie.

Rio Tarde Casa Patagónica

Lago Posadas - Santa Cruz

La Posta de Los Toldos

Patagonia national park - Santa Cruz

Estancia Menelik

perito moreno national park - Santa Cruz

Estancia La Oriental

perito moreno national park - Santa Cruz

Estancia La Angostura

Gob. Gregores - Santa Cruz

Estancia La Estela

el chaltén - Santa Cruz

Estancia Doraike

monte león national park - Santa Cruz

Estancia Monte León

monte león national park - Santa Cruz

Estancia Cristina

Los Glaciares national park - Santa Cruz

Estancia Monte Dinero

cabo vírgenes - Santa Cruz

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