Estancia Cerro Guido

Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile Book from US$250

A historical Patagonian estancia right on the edge of Torres del Paine National Park, offering horse-riding and hiking tours
A rare chance to hike the majestic peaks of Torres del Paine by day, then stay at a pioneer Patagonian sheep farm at night. Just 30 minutes from the eastern entrance to the National Park at Laguna Amarga, Estancia Cerro Guido (formerly known as Lodge Cerro Guido) offers an array of activities - riding through sweeping steppe landscapes, minibus tours to Grey Glacier and Salto Chico - as well as an evocative insight into estancia life, with its annual sheep shearing and cattle round-ups.

It's perched in the most perfect position, gazing over the steppe to those iconic towers of mountain; and it still looks just as it did in the 1920s. Simple, white-painted zinc houses sit above orchards and vegetable gardens, and lilac and honeysuckle grow by the door. The charming bedrooms and sitting rooms retain all the elegance of the original ranch, but have been modernised to add warmth and comfort. You’ll be welcomed by friendly Paulina and Horacio with a pisco in the quincho dining room: a magical spot where you can watch the sun set over the Torres as you tuck into home-reared lamb or locally caught salmon.

Highs

  • Horse-riding programmes into the steppe for experienced riders, with the option of staying overnight on a remote estancia
  • Proximity to the National Park: hiking to the Torres base camp and the French Valley are highlights
  • Adventure tours of 2-7 nights can be booked (though the lodge doesn't have its own guides yet)
  • Free tours of the estancia provides a vivid insight into pioneer life
  • Combines the atmosphere of a traditional estancia with the comforts of a hotel: warm and spacious bedrooms, plus modern ensuite bathrooms

Lows

  • There’s little to do in the immediate area unless you love horse-riding - and that's strictly for experienced riders
  • Some might find the vast steppe all around rather bleak
  • There’s no television and only intermittent WiFi - which you might feel is a bonus
  • Don’t come here for nightlife or to meet other travellers: it's for couples or friends who love the great outdoors
  • Unlike traditional Argentine estancias whose owners have farmed the land for centuries, the young hosts are new arrivals - but very friendly

Best time to go

Early summer (November) can be lovely, and in late summer and autumn (March) the colours of the lenga are stunning. But if you’re planning to go riding in the open steppes, midsummer is wonderful. Cerro Guido is open from 1 October to 30 April, and you should avoid the peak summer months of January and February, since the trails in the park are particularly crowded at this time. At any time of year, Torres del Paine has its own microclimate: unpredictable. People will often tell you to expect all seasons in a single day.

Our top tips

If you're interested in estancia life, come for sheep shearing (1-10 November), lamb branding (20 November-10 December), cattle round ups (2-4 January) or sheep round ups (15-20 January). It's wise to double check these dates.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Ranch Hotel
  • 15
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • Recommended for over 12s only
  • Closed: 1 May 2016 - 30 Sep 2016...
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Accommodation is in 2 houses which were built as part of the original estancia in the 1920s, both offering stunning views over the steppe to the Torres del Paine.

The Administration House is a quaint zinc building, with a red tin pitched roof, and peonies and lupins growing by the door. It has 5 Standard Rooms, and a sitting room decorated in rather English style, with floral textiles in warm colours, where guests can sit and relax. The hallway has interesting photographs of the estancia in the early days, plus an old gramophone. The bedrooms are all furnished in traditional early 20th century cottage-style, with polished wooden floors and homely touches like woven blankets and folky wall hangings. There are antique wardrobes and night tables, and views over the picket fence to the garden and landscape beyond. Rooms are warm and centrally heated, and there are impeccable modern bathrooms, with simple toiletries provided.

The other guest house is known as The Owner’s House and has 10 Superior Rooms coming off a spacious central sitting room, with lots of armchairs and a wood-burning stove. These rooms are larger than those in the Administration House, with kingsize or twin beds, and fireplaces in most - probably worth the 10% surcharge. Other than that it's similar to the Administration House: the same decor, modern bathrooms and long views, all housed in a traditional Patagonian building, with a red tin roof and a wooden balcony running the length of it.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fireplace
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Cerro Guido’s magnificent view of the Torres del Paine is the focus of the dining room, or quincho, with a whole wall of picture windows to bring vast landscapes and skies inside. This attractive building is a recent construction in traditional style, some way up the hill from the 2 guest houses. It’s a pleasure to sit here and watch the sun set, while sharing pisco sours and delicious canapés with the hosts Paulina and Horacio.

The quincho has a relaxed ranch feel: furniture is specially designed in blond wood, and tables are simply decorated with cream linen and pastel patterned runners, creating a harmonious continuity with the colours outside. There are hints of the typical Patagonian estancia, too, in the old bar and ceiling lights mounted on a wagon wheel.

Dinner offers a limited set menu, but different dietary needs can be catered for. Food is simple rather than gourmet, and typical dishes include home-reared lamb, seared local salmon and salads. The Calafate berry ice cream is particularly delicious, and the waiting staff are charming and extremely professional. Outside, there’s an open area for traditional barbecues (asado), which consists of an entire lamb being speared and cooked to perfection over an open fire. This is usually organised for groups of guests on their last evening.

Breakfast is an uplifting experience here, with the morning light on the steppe and the Torres del Paine, and a wood-burning stove creating a cheery glow. Don’t expect anything more ornate than the traditional rural breakfast; toast, jams and free-range eggs cooked to order.

Lunch is often taken with you on rides or activities within the park.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Restaurant
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Cerro Guido is just 40-minutes’ drive from the eastern entrance of Torres del Paine National Park, and the Lodge can arrange special programmes which include the main sights in the park, whether travelling by minibus to take in Grey Glacier and Salto Chico, or hiking to the Torres base camp and the French Valley - our favourites among a wealth of stunning treks. Unlike some lodges, Cerro Guido does not have its own guides yet

  • But it does have several horses which guests can ride on a whole range of excursions, from a half-day trip to a beautifully sited aboriginal graveyard, to multi-day adventures staying in a simple estancia, Las Chinas, in the middle of the steppe - a marvellous experience. However, these rides are not for novices, and you should have considerable riding experience before you attempt them. Hard hats and chaps are provided, and the lodge has insurance for riders (you must make sure that you sign the forms 24 hours in advance)

  • All guests are shown around the old estancia buildings - like a little village of workers needed to run the ranch, with fascinating kitchens and dining rooms and, most evocative of all, a huge sheep shearing shed. The tour really helps you imagine the hardships of pioneer life on the land

  • Come at the right time of year and you’ll have the amazing experience of observing sheep shearing or cattle round ups

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Traditional cultures
  • Trekking
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Estancia Cerro Guido would be wonderful for older children (over 12), as there's lots of space to run around in and plenty of adventure. We don't recommend it for younger children, however, as there's a fast-flowing stream through the property and little on hand to entertain them.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly:

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