Estancia Rincon del Socorro

Esteros del Ibera, Iguazu & Northeast, Argentina Book from Book from £278 per night

A luxury eco-estancia in a spectacular nature reserve covering the vast unspoilt wetlands of northeast Argentina
Travel across flat, unexceptional lands, then board your boat at the private jetty to plunge you into another world. In the seemingly limitless laguna, you’re in a watery paradise of reflected sky and floating islands, surrounded by an incredible array of birdlife. Herons rise around the boat, quaint chajá birds screech above, and capybaras cavort with their young. Within striking distance, alligators bask on rocks. Best of all, your guide makes even the clueless feel like expert twitchers.

Rincón del Socorro is the ideal base for all this because it’s not just an exclusive retreat, it's also the chance to participate in the late, great Douglas Tompkins’ ambitious conservation project (co-founder of the North Face outdoor company). Immaculate and strikingly stylish, the sepia-tone rooms preserve the original feel of the 19th-century estancia, and give guests an intense contact with nature. Add tasty organic food and great hospitality and this is one of the most relaxing and interesting spots in Argentina.

Highs

  • The most luxurious way to see the Esteros del Iberá, but with a relaxed atmosphere and welcoming hosts
  • This 12,000-hectare former cattle estancia is an extraordinary conservation project, run with the aim of reintroducing extinct species
  • Excellent food: organic, delicious and produced from the biodynamic land
  • Nature begins outside your door: ñandues (rhea birds) and capybaras roam freely, and astonishing birdlife flies past as you swim in the pool
  • Wonderful night-walk safaris to see vizcachas, owls and other nocturnals, too

Lows

  • It’s a long way from civilization (no air-con or TVs and limited WiFi), but you’re unlikely to miss it
  • The remote location means it's a hike to get here: either an overnight bus and a transfer, or a plane from Buenos Aires and a long 4x4 drive
  • It’s not the cheapest place to stay or reach, but it's luxurious and good value when you consider what’s included

Best time to go

The Esteros are home to astonishing wildlife all year round, so there's no ideal time to come. September to April is the best time to see animals with their young, though September and October are often busy months with European tourists, so plan ahead and book well in advance. The quietest months are December and June, but it’s rainiest in June and July. Avoid the Argentine holidays in July and August if you can, and be aware that temperatures can drop to 0C in the evening all year round.

Our top tips

Rincón del Socorro is nowhere near any shops, so bring everything you might need with you. Binoculars and sunglasses are a must, as are sturdy shoes for horse riding, swimming gear for the pool, and warm clothes for the evenings. Bring lots of socks as they may get muddy. It's also worth bringing cash, as few places accept cash locally and sometimes the hotel's card machine falters due to the remote location.

Great for...

Eco
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • Luxury Ranch
  • 11
  • All meals included
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

The 11 rooms are styled in harmonious chocolate and cream, and located in the main house or satellite cottages. Original checkerboard tile floors have been preserved, and walls are adorned with antiquated maps and sepia wildlife prints. Furniture is made from local wood, either reclaimed or specially created to retain the 1900s style.

Built in 1896, the classic Spanish-style casco or main house is charming and traditional, showcasing clean, natural materials that sit in harmony with the environment outside. A long white building with a typical red-zinc roof, it’s been carefully restored to maintain the original structure and is surrounded by flowers and palms. Inside, 6 beautifully designed Superior Rooms lead off a long veranda at the front, with windows overlooking the pool at the back.

There are also 3 quaint adobe and thatched roof cottages in the grounds. Built as part of the original farm, they’re just 50m from the main house. The largest is the Premium Room (Nandubay), which has a sitting area and a kitchenette, plus a screened veranda where you can sit out in the evenings and absorb the bird sounds. The others fall into the Superior Room category.

Bathrooms are old fashioned, with reclaimed sinks and showers or tubs. The overall effect is welcoming, stylish and relaxing, with a touch of the old colonial feel.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Phone
  • Terrace
  • WiFi

Eating

It’s strange how being in this natural paradise sharpens the senses and whets the appetite. Fortunately, the food at Rincón del Socorro is a special feature. Almost all of it is organic, and much of it comes from the estancia’s own kitchen garden, which is planted according to strict biodynamic principles. The orchard bursts with lemons, oranges, mandarins, pears, apples, quinces and figs; check out the cherry tomatoes and fresh peas as you chat with the gardeners.

Mealtimes are totally flexible as guests go out early for trips on the water, and if you're on a full-day excursion, you might eat lunch on the reserve. Return at tea time to leaf teas and delicious homemade biscuits, before dinner is served around 8pm.

Menus are designed to match the best of Buenos Aires' restaurants. The food is simple but exquisite, and the whole menu is carefully balanced to be nutritious and not over-filling. The house speciality is passion-fruit ice cream. Vegetarians are gladly catered for, and there’s an excellent wine list, too. Breakfasts feature fresh fruit, regional specialities, and cakes and breads baked on the premises.

The great Argentine tradition of the asado is maintained here in considerable style, too. It's part of Argentina’s love of the great outdoors, and Rincón del Socorro’s version is lovelier than most: a wood-grill fully enclosed to keep the mosquitoes out, typically built with a straw roof and local tiles, and surrounded by old lapacho trees. Here, you’ll tuck into home-reared beef, organic salads and superb Argentine wines.

Features include:

  • All meals included
  • Bar
  • Organic produce
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

The great thing about Rincón del Socorro is that most activities are included in the price:

  • Bird-watching - astonishing 2-hour trips on the water with a bilingual guide, who knows the whole area in incredible detail. You can go out in canoes afterwards, for an even more tranquil experience of the wildlife
  • Horse riding - there are several rides on offer, and it’s a gentle way to explore the landscape and wildlife from a different perspective. It’s highly recommended, and great fun for kids
  • Night safaris - these were the highlight of the trip for us. Go out by Land Rover with your guide and an assistant who shines a light to reveal all kinds of creatures carrying on their nocturnal lives, including cute vizcachas and mysterious owls
  • Trips to Iberá lagoon, where you'll see caimans, capybaras, deer and monkeys
  • Watching gauchos at work, rounding up cattle at a nearby estancia - it’s fascinating, and definitely a quintessential part of rural life in this country
  • Cycling - there are bicycles for spins around the estate
  • Swimming - one of the unexpected pleasures of Rincón del Socorro, though the pool is unheated, so only really usable in summer. It’s situated amongst ancient trees, with open views of grassland and birds swooping around in the high sky above
  • Fly-fishing - it’s extraordinarily good at their sister estancia, San Alonso. For an additional cost, guests can take the 10-minute flight there (with fabulous views over the Esteros) and stay a couple of nights to take advantage of the fishing, as well as horse riding and bird-watching in another habitat

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Safaris
  • Swimming
  • Wildlife

Kids

Children are warmly welcomed. Hosts Leslie and Valeria have 2 children themselves, and you might see them tearing around on bikes or riding horses as if they were born on them. Children will love exploring the grounds, and your kids will be well looked after, with activities adapted to suit their age and abilities.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The Superior Rooms in the main house have an additional single bed or sofabed; some can accommodate a further bed if needed. Two are interconnecting, so that you can use the space for the whole family.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

  • Games room
  • Horse riding
  • Swimming pool
  • Bikes to borrow

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Boat trips
  • Watching the gauchos
  • Night safaris
  • Wildlife watching
  • Fishing

Kid Friendly:

Location

Estancia Rincón del Socorro is in the remote Esteros del Iberá, in the Corrientes province of northeast Argentina. The nearest town is Mercedes (65km away); the provincial capital, Corrientes, is 3.5 hours (330km) away.

By Air:
Posadas (267km away) and Corrientes (330km away) are the nearest airports. Both are served by domestic flights from Buenos Aires' Jorge Newbery Airport. Bear in mind that if you're flying into Argentina from abroad you'll land at Buenos Aires' Ezeiza International Airport, and will need to travel to Jorge Newbery by taxi.

Click on the links below for details of airlines serving all the above airports.

From the Airport
The hotel can arrange transfers from Posadas and Corrientes, as well as from Iguazú and Resistencia - please enquire at the time of booking.

By Bus:
Your best bet (you’ll resist at first but come round to the idea) is an overnight coach service from Buenos Aires, arriving in Mercedes around 6am the following morning. You'll then be met by a driver at Mercedes for the 2-hour drive to the estancia. The coaches are spacious and comfortable, with fully reclining seats, toilets and refreshments - for details of coach companies please click on the links below.

By Car:
It’s not advisable to bring a car here - it's only really accessible by 4x4, as the roads are unpaved for long stretches and a heavy bout of rain turns them into mud baths within an hour or so. Once you’re stranded, there’s no one passing to dig you out, and you could be there for hours. It's far better to arrange a transfer.

Combining with the Iguazú Falls:
If you’re connecting a stay here with a trip to the Iguazú Falls, then you’ll approach Rincón del Socorro from the city of Posadas. Again, you can arrange a transfer with the hotel, which will cost the same as a couple of days' 4x4 hire.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

More on getting to Argentina and getting around

Airports:

  • Posadas 267.0 km PSS
  • Corrientes 330.0 km CNQ

Other:

  • Beach 800.0 km
  • Shops 85.0 km
  • Restaurant 85.0 km

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