“A luxury eco-estancia in a spectacular nature reserve covering the vast unspoilt wetlands of northeast Argentina”
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.
- 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
- 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
Our top tips
- Luxury Ranch
- All meals included
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Bicycles Available
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.
- Central heating
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Internet access
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.
- All meals included
- Organic produce
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
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:
- Boat trips
- Horse riding
- Plantlife / flora
- Private guided tours
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.
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 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