Accommodations
9 double rooms with private bathroom.
2 triple rooms with private bathroom.

Activities and Excursions

Horseback rides

South branch of Lake Argentino:
Duration: 90 min.
Some 500 meters from the main house, we enter a broad meadow on the shore of Lake Argentino, habitat of ibises, geese, steamer ducks and southern lapwings. Riding along the lakeshore, we see several glacier-worn rock outcrops and signs of the changes in the lake level that have taken place over time. The strata in the earth’s crust, easy to make out in the colors of the sediments that formed them, are clearly noticeable here. These formations repeat themselves until the rocks form a natural amphitheater with overhangs up to 10 meters high that enter the lake like breakwaters, creating sheltered, odd-shaped beaches. From here we can see the border with Chile, and Mount Agudo (1,711 meters), the highest peak.
We return to the house along a trail through a forest of high- and low-beeches that is the habitat of caracaras, hares, austral parakeets, falcons, woodpeckers and eagles.

La Angostura:
Duration: 60 min.
Leaving the main house, we ride toward the lake through a grove of low-beeches and box-leafed barberries. In this part of the ranch we will see the herd of pedigreed Polled Herford cows produced with the latest artificial insemination techniques. Arriving in the area known as La Angostura, where Lake Roca flows into Lake Argentino’s south branch, we note the difference in these lakes’ colors due to the rainwater origin of the former.
We return to the house through a dense forest that is the habitat of native wildlife such as eagles, caracaras, falcons, skunks, grey and red foxes, hares and armadillos, in addition to thrushes, austral parakeets, woodpeckers and pechitos colorados.

Mount Cristal:
Duration: 4 hours.
Leaving the ranch house, we ride toward La Angostura, where Lake Roca flows into Lake Argentino. The trail leads through a native low-beech forest with scattered box-leafed barberries, creosote bushes, firebushes, guindos, high-beeches and a wide variety of wildflowers like Wood’s lady slippers, orchids, Magellan peas and dandelions.
Mount Cristal (1,282 meters), the highest peak in the Cristales range, owes its name to its rock crystal content. At the foot of the mountain we stop in front of a big rock covered by paintings made by the first cultures that lived in this region.
The bends in the trail get tighter as we ascend and the landscape ever more imposing. When we finally reach the top, we can see see (weather permitting) the Perito Moreno glacier 15 km away, and the Paine Towers (Torres del Paine) in Chile. With a bit of luck, we will also see condors.
We return to the house, enjoying the landscape as we go.

Cachorro River:
Duration: 5 hours.
The guide will take us on a path through a low-beech forest, along which there are also firebushes, box-leafed barberries, guindos and creosote bushes. As we begin to climb the slope of the Cristales range, the views of the lake and the forests that provide a frame for our excursion get better and better. In the distance we see the main body of Lake Argentino, the country’s largest lake, and are dazzled by the permanent snowcap of Mount Cervantes (2,380 meters).
Halfway up the slope, we enter a pass and come out on a wooded plain which will eventually take us to a landscape that is even more superb: the Frías glacier (the 13th and southernmost glacier in Los Glaciares National Park), mounts Stokes and Agudo (on the border with Chile) and mounts Adriana, Dedo del César and Castillo, all of which have strange shapes. All of this is framed by Lake Argentino’s south branch and the 3 de Abril Lagoon. Here we are in the domain of the majestic condor. At this elevation the soil is covered by a mantle of grasses known as mutillas, which have tasty red fruit.
Once we are over the mountain range, we arrive at the corrals on the bank of the Cachorro River that are used for regular ranch work — the sign that we are on the way back. The path leads through a natural corridor between Lake Argentino and the Cristales range, giving us the opportunity to enjoy the landscape from another angle and see the cattle that are raised on this ranch.

Argentine-Chilean border:
Duration: 7 hours.
The ranch’s main house is just 8 km from the border with Chile. That whets our curiosity and decides us to cross mountains and valleys to get to this special place.
We begin by climbing up to the crest of the Cristales range for a unique view of the main body of Lake Argentino with its Rico and south branches. Then we ride into a high-beech forest with trees more than 25 meters high. The bark of these trees is covered by lichens like the barba de viejo and fungi such as the pan de indio or llao llao.
The size of the tree trunks and the densiity of the foliage that keeps out the light makes this forest a unique experience. Upon leaving it we come out on the Rosada Valley. From a lookout point we are dazzled by the Andean range bounded by the south branch of Lake Argentino and the 3 de Abril Lagoon. The reflection of the thousand whites and blues of the Frías, Gorra and Grande glaciers is every bit as dazzling. If the weather is good, we will also be able to see the Paine Towers.
Then the horses take us through a valley comprised of green pastures, creeks and forests until we get to Boundary Marker 63, where an iron tower and a plaque announce the end of the road. We return to the ranch watching out for the holes left by tucu-tucus, rodents whose burrows form underground labyrinths.

Visit to the glaciers:
Duration: full day.
We ride toward the west and then south, with Lake Argentino and the Andes always to our right and the Cristales range to the left. We pass through the forest of low- and high-beeches and guindos, noticing how the trees have been colonized by different lichens, such as barba de viejo or usnea, and fungi like the showy llao-llao or pan de indio, whose presence prods the trees into forming knots as a protection.
Here we find extraordinarily large firebushes and box-leafed barberries. Along the Cachorro River, which flows between rocks and grasslands, the landscape changes. We leave the forest and enter humid meadows in a flat, grassy, semi-marshy area that must be crossed on an intricate series of paths.
We come out on the 3 de Abril Lagoon, habitat of flamingoes, black-necked swans, geese and steamer ducks, in addition to abundant trout.
We stop to rest in a shelter, from which we can hike to the lower Frías River, follow it upstream and reach its headwater in the Frías Lagoon (duration 4 hours, optional.)

As we return, we enjoy the reflection of a majestic sunset on the lake.

Owner: Juan Enrique Jansma
Season: October-April
Horseback rides Trekkings Cruise tours Farming works Fishing Farming daily activities Fuel for guests Another langauge
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Location
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Distances
Airport Río Gallegos 373 km
El Calafate 78 km
Nearby cities El Calafate 56 km
Glaciar Perito Moreno 62 Km Border cross Cancha Carrera 271 Km
Estancia Nibepo Aike

This typical Santa Cruz ranch, established at the beginning of the 20th century, is located on the southern bank of Lake Argentino in Los Glaciares National Park

Its main business is cattle raising, followed by sheep farming. Its dining room serves traditional meat and vegetable dishes made mostly from home produce.

There is a Patagonian barbecue shed. Rooms have private bath and heating. Activities include horseback rides, hiking and excursions to the Perito Moreno glacier.

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www.estanciasdesantacruz.com

    Pictures: Luis A. Franke