Patagonia, Argentina, is a place that makes people want to pack up their bags and move to this natural paradise. Estancia Cristina, an old sheep ranch (estancia) dating back to 1918, makes that a possibility. In 2005, the site opened its doors as an inn, as well as an agro-tourism day trip destination.
A visit to the estancia provides background information about the history of how Argentine Patagonia was settled, in addition to explaining the functions of the farm. A Patagonian barbecue is a highlight of the region and to this site specifically, which normally features spit-roasted lamb, often accompanied by a glass of Argentina’s iconic Malbec wine.
Access to Estancia Cristina is on a boat from Puerto Bandera, itself only a 40-minute drive from El Calafate. It is easy to combine a trip to Estancia Cristina with a visit to the Upsala Glacier, one of the most active in the area.
Other activities from the estancia include horseback riding with local gauchos, hiking to waterfalls and a canyon hike with fossil spotting. Keep your eye out for Andean condors, a species of bird with a wingspan of up to 10.5 feet. They can often be seen coasting on thermal updrafts in the late afternoon.