Estancia at Sierra Chicas

Cordoba/Mendoza Argentina: (IT-ARRT11)

Cordoba/Mendoza Argentina
Swathed in 15,000 acres of secluded grassy wilderness at the top of the Sierra Chicas hills, the Estancia is an idyllic retreat for horsemen, hikers and nature lovers. This working ranch breeds Aberdeen-Angus cattle and Paso Peruano pacing horses. It has been in the Anglo-Argentine Begg family for four generations and offers the possibility of combining the pleasures of British-style estancia life with riding in one of Argentina's most interesting riding areas. The main house is steeped in family history with many references to the days of the Jesuits who first organized farming in the area.  At an altitude of 3,000 feet, it is nestled between the pampas and the Andes in the heart of the beautiful region of Cordoba. It is steeped in family history and locally there is much evidence of the pioneering work of the Jesuits who first organized farming in the area before they were forced to leave in the 1760's.  The family provides short and long riding breaks for those who want to experience first hand the majesty and rural tradition of Argentina. The Estancia sets a standard of professionalism in accommodation, food, guiding and equine care above the normal standard of Argentina, combining care for the client with unrivaled personal attention to detail. The estancia also provides a unique experience for those who would like to combine the pleasures of estancia life with distance riding.  If you have a love for the wild and enjoy the thrill of arriving by horse, this adventure allows you to experience Argentine wildlife, scenery and culture at close quarters while not abandoning creature comforts provided by good accommodation, the best tack and fabulous horses. This is a place for people who appreciate fine horses and know how to ride. However, there are horses for every ability, and beginners are welcome.
Introduction to Polo

Add 3 Polo sessions to your week. We are delighted to offer a ‘Learn to Play Polo’ 3 day package for anyone that wants to try this fun, fast and exciting sport.
Based from the beautiful estancia, the package consists of 3 consecutive half days on the polo ground, where you will be introduced to the basics of the game – the shots, the rules and of course the play, all on our wonderfully kind and forgiving horses. Offered either as part of a stay at the estancia, this is an ideal way to gain an introduction to the sport whilst also enjoying the hospitality of the Begg family, and soaking up some Argentine culture.


Accommodation on the farm today has a rustic elegance and is very comfortable providing you with all creature comforts. Many of the estancia buildings are several hundred years old, and have been lovingly restored with traditional materials to reflect the history of the area. One of the original cattle brands and symbols of the area ‘The Bell’, can still be seen etched into the fireplace in the sitting room. Today, the walls echo with the laughter of the fourth generation of the Begg family to live in this beautiful part of the world, but the spirit of the estancia from days gone by still lingers. All rooms are individual and tastefully furnished, and all have their own private bathroom. Antiques abound and cooler winter nights are warmed by log fires and wood-burning stoves. There are free laundry services at the estancia. 

Communications at the estancia - we have free wi-fi in the main building, a laptop for guest use and a satellite phone for emergencies. There is limited mobile phone coverage.  Please note that our wi-fi is satellite based and as such can be slow and/or intermittent. In addition wi-fi is turned off during mealtimes on the estancia.

Meals are European in style, varied and delicious with plenty of excursions into local dishes, with the dishes supplemented by our own organically grown vegetables, fruit and free-range eggs. The excellent chef can cater for a range of special dietary requirements. The Estancia has its ‘own label’ Argentine wines to accompany the meals, and various grape varieties make for interesting wine tasting. Meals at the Estancia reflect traditional cuisine, and the working practices of the farm respect the long history of animal breeding in the area.
For those interested in Argentine cuisine, the chef is delighted to share and demonstrate knowledge of traditional Argentine dishes from our beautiful farm kitchen, using only fresh ingredients, much of which is provided from the estancia.

Dietary requirements:

We can cater for a wide range of dietary requirements, providing we have notice in advance. Please advise Hidden Trails of any special requirements that you may have.

Around the estancia
A ‘pool with a view’ provides a perfect place to relax, along with hammocks on the verandahs. The estancia has an eclectic range of books in virtually every room for guests to enjoy, and an artists box is provided for the creatively minded. The sierras are a photographer´s delight.
There's a beautiful garden at the estancia, which is looked after by a Chilean man who is in his 80s, but does not know how old he actually is. The man has no papers and therefore cannot get a pension – so he is reliant upon the kindness of the Beggs who provide him with a home and income in exchange for his gardening skills. Something that sets this holiday  apart from any other trip is that you have the opportunity to learn about another culture, without actually realising that you are doing so.

This trip includes some wine with dinner and can accommodate special dietary requests.


Your Hosts

Your estancia stay is hosted by Louisa and her husband, Kevin. They are always thrilled to invite guests into the family farm, where being a part of day-to-day life is encouraged. Kevin delights in regaling visitors with tales of his family and life in Argentina over a glass of Malbec, while Louisa is always ready to chat, surrounded by our other family members - the horses and the dogs!

Horses on the estancia include sure-footed and tough Criollos, energetic and smooth gaited Peruvian Paso horses, strong and even-tempered Quarter Horses and agile and fast Polo Ponies. The unique quality of the "Peruvians" is that they have the pre-Moorish Spanish Paso, an extraordinary gait that enables them to walk at the speed of a canter. The ride is smooth and feels like sitting in a portable armchair, perfectly suited for the distances required of the landscape.
The herd of over 130 horses provides something for everyone, and for riders of all abilities.
All horses are soft-mouthed, forward going and with wonderful temperaments, typical of working horses who lead varied lives and are free to roam on the hills in their downtime.
Many of our horses are homebred and raised by us. Horses are our passion, and each and every one is considered part of the family.
Guests are encouraged to get involved with all of the horse activities on the farm, whether that is watching the horse-breaker at work or rounding up the mares and foals to protect them from pumas.

You can expect to ride for between 4 and 6 hours per day, usually with a longer ride in the morning and a shorter ride in the afternoon. On Sunday there is a morning ride but no afternoon ride.
All outdoor activities are weather dependent and we do not ride in extreme weather conditions such as storms or high winds.
Rides are split according to ability, and often we will have several rides going out at the same time. The maximum number of guests per ride is 6 (plus 2 guides) but usually we have about 4 riders or so per riding group.

Polo Game
We usually play an informal game of polo at least once a week on the estancia for those that would like to learn/take part. All guests can participate at no extra cost.

Hard Hats
We strongly recommend that you wear a hard hat for riding, and it is obligatory for playing polo. We have a limited number available at the estancia, but you may prefer to bring your own to ensure the correct fit and comfort.

For those accompanying riding partners or friends, there is often the opportunity to join for picnic lunches, and to watch polo being played on the Estancia, or perhaps enjoy a ride in one of the antique cars or more traditional horse-drawn carriage. There are a range of non-riding activities available on the estancia (guided walks, farm drives, wine tastings, etc) that can be organized with the hosts on arrival, or guests can express their interest at the time of booking.


There are between 4-6 hours riding daily on the estancia, consisting of either a morning and afternoon ride, or a day/picnic ride. On Sunday there is a morning ride but no afternoon ride. All outdoor activities are weather dependent and we do not ride in extreme weather conditions such as storms or high winds. Riding does not need to be arranged or booked in advance.

Examples of riding excursions - Subject to availability.

Ride to the waterfall, and take a refreshing dip in the pool. Return to the estancia for lunch on the veranda, and after a well-earned siesta help the gauchos to bring in the mares and foals.

A full day picnic ride to a local Dominican church, and to visit the local one-teacher rural school which is supported by Estancia Los Potreros. The fabulously smooth and forward-going Paso Peruano horses make sure that the day in the saddle doesn’t feel quite so long!

No horse-riding holiday to Argentina would be complete without trying your hand at polo! Ride down to the polo field, have a short lesson and some practice ‘stick and ball’ and then play a few chukkas of this highly addictive game. A barbeque lunch at the polo field is followed by a visit to ‘El Vergel’, the oldest building on the estancia dating back to 1639. If that wasn’t enough, try your hand at ‘sortija’, a gaucho game on horseback that involves threading a stick through a small ring at speed!

Ride to the north of the farm – Potrero de Niz – to soak up some of the family history of the farm. This was the original family home of the Begg’s some four generations ago, and the landscape is peppered with shrubs along running streams.

Another full day’s ride to the far south of the farm, enjoying a picnic by the stream next to a small museum in what used to be the house of Guido Buffo, an art and science lover, who built an unusual chapel as a memorial to his wife and daughter.

Visit Chiviquin on horseback, the main working cattle part of the farm, perhaps seeing the gauchos in action with the Aberdeen Angus cattle which are the backbone of the farm today. Ring the ‘Bellstone’ on the way back, and on returning to the estancia enjoy a traditional Argentine ‘asado’ and a leisurely afternoon dip in the pool. Follow this with an afternoon in the corrals – watch our horse-breaker at work or try your hand at lassoing. 

Subject to changes at operator's discretion Other activities:
There are a range of other activities available on the estancia (guided walks, farm drives, wine tastings, etc) that can be organized with the hosts on arrival, or guests can express their interest at the time of booking.

Rates and Dates for Estancia at Sierra Chicas

Rates include:

7 nights accommodation with full board including alcoholic beverages, Cordoba airport transfers, daily horseback riding (4 to 6 hrs per day), guides and equipment, all other activities whilst on the estancia property.

Packages and Options

  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    20198 day ranch stay, AP (High)$3165
    • Daily rate (3-6 nights), dbl, pp$485
      Daily rate (7+ nights), dbl, pp$455
  • B
    20198 day ranch stay, AP (Mid)$3095
    • Daily rate (3-6 nights), dbl, pp$475
      Daily rate (7+ nights), dbl, pp$445
  • C
    20198 day ranch stay, AP (Low)$2730
    • Daily rate (3-6 nights), dbl, pp$390
      Daily rate (7+ nights), dbl, pp$420
Minimum Deposit: ~$50.00 per person

Rates Note:

Informal polo is normally played once a week on the estancia at no additional cost. With advance notice and at extra cost, additional professional polo tuition is usually available.

Single supplement waived if you are "willing to share"

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Rates Note:

Informal polo is normally played once a week on the estancia at no additional cost. With advance notice and at extra cost, additional professional polo tuition is usually available.

Single supplement waived if you are "willing to share"

Transfer and Other Charges:

2019 Transfer is included from Cordoba Airport or bus station at set times (8:00am-8:00pm)
2019 Child under 16 yrs - 20% discount
2019 No single supplement if available, +30% if requested

Season Seasons  Min / MaxReserve
B 2019 01/01 - 04/30 8d / 7n 8 day ranch stay, AP (Mid) 3 /12 Reserve
C 2019 07/05 - 09/30 8d / 7n 8 day ranch stay, AP (Low) 3 /12 Reserve
A 2019 10/01 - 12/31 8d / 7n 8 day ranch stay, AP (High) 3 /12 Reserve

Dates Note: Short stays are possible with a min. of 3 nights (5 nights for holidays)
A Polo Week can be arranged at most times of the year with a minimum of 2 players at $430-$450 a day. (min of 5 nights)
Estancia closed for parts of May and June

Rates do not include:

Travel and medical insurance, travel visas, personal expenditure (phone calls or souverniers), gratuities at your discretion

Other Info
Meeting: Potreros
Airport: Cordoba
Transfer: Cordoba airport


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Source: NOAA


The Cordoba region of Argentina is well known for its pleasant weather and healthy climate - "siempre de temporada" or "always in season", is the old slogan. In Cordoba the climate can vary but is generally sunny and dry. The annual average temperature is approximately 16° C to 17° C, and can vary throughout the year to between 14 and 15° C. The sun is strong all year round, so hats and good sun protection are recommended!
Cordoba's climate is often described as ‘Mediterranean’, even despite the fact its eastern border is 300 miles away from the Atlantic Ocean, and western edge 330 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

During the summer season the days are warm and the nights pleasant. However, the rainy season usually is in the summer months. Rain amounts hardly surpass 500 cubic millimeters per year, with rain levels in the north western province hardly exceeding 200 cubic millimeters a year. Strong and windy storms are frequent during the months of summer, along with heavy rains and electric storms.

At the beginning of autumn the days are usually hot at noon and during the afternoon. The mornings and the nights cool enough. April is a very dry month and in May the first frosts may appear.

The climate of Córdoba during the winter is cool during the day and cold at night, although there are frequent warm days, due to the influence of the Zonda wind. In winter the climate is drier - but never badly cold.

The temperatures can be hot and from one day to the next they can go down several degrees, even causing frosts at night. Differences between one day and another of up to 15ºC or 20ºC. Just as a sunny day can end a strong hail storm.

What To Bring:
The estancia is situated at 1100 metres and therefore weather can sometimes be unpredictable - there is always the possibility of a wet, windy or cold day, and so pack accordingly!  In addition, the sun is very strong, so hats and good sun protection are recommended all year round.

Hard hat - a limited supply of hard hats are available on the estancia but for comfort, fit and to ensure compliance with safety regulations in your own country we recommend you bring your own. The estancia does not recommend shipping anything (eg. riding helmets) to Argentina as it usually gets stuck in customs.
Towels for the room and swimming pool are provided.

The estancia generates its own electricity and supports responsible tourism. Therefore, the use of electrical items such as hairdryers and irons may be limited, and are not provided by the estancia. 
It is possible to do laundry- cold wash only and no ironing (we create our own electricity and so it is very precious to us!). There is no fixed charge – we just ask that guests reflect the washing in their gratuity.

Saddle bags are provided.

This list is only a guideline for you


Travel documents and Voucher
Flight tickets
Visa (check with your consulate)


Comfortable riding jean or Jodhpurs
Long riding boots or short boots and half chaps (a limited supply of half-chaps are available from the estancia)
Riding helmet  (recommended for all trips)
Riding gloves
Hat (with chin strip) for sun protection
A good windproof/waterproof
Gaiters (provided).


Layers on top, including a warm fleece
Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts
Underwear and socks
Bag for dirty clothes
Closed toe walking boots/shoes if you wish to explore the estancia on foot
Small towel and small bar of soap
Small torch
Personal Toiletries
Insect repellent
Personal medications
Sore cream (for the emergency)
Personal insurance details
Adapter for electric appliances
Camera + batteries or charger + film or card
Belt pack
Address book and pen (for postcards!)
Sun glasses with strap
High factor Sun tan lotion and lip balm