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Family owned and run since 1908, Caballadas extends over 60,000-acres of land in Argentina’s Northern Patagonia. The estancia was founded by an attorney and pioneer, Don Juan Lagos. Five generations later, Juan’s descendants have created the ultimate horse riding and fly-fishing experience. The ranch occupies an enviable spot, in the most secluded part of Lanín National Park. Here the arid Patagonia steppe meets the mid-altitude forest and alpine highlands. The imposing 3,776-meter high Lanín Volcano dominates the landscape with year-round snow cover that feeds over 24 glacial lakes.
This vast landscape welcomes a wealth of ecosystems. It is home to several endangered species including the Pudú, the world’s smallest deer, and a mink, the Huillín. Caballadas is also an important site for the Araucaria Araucana (Monkey Puzzle) tree, which has protected status in Argentina thanks to its prehistoric roots and specific growing conditions (it’s only found in this latitude across Chile and Argentina). The National Park was established to protect this tree, which is sacred to the local Mapuche community.
Besides the protection of these trees, Caballadas works with the Mapuche community in several ways. For over 70-years the family has been providing low-cost clothing and household goods to local communities, and the ranch supports an agrotechnical college for Mapuche children. Guests can enjoy the eight-bedroom Valley Lodge, secluded and cosy Estancia Caballadas or a spectacular campsite, accessible only by foot or horseback.
Caballadas joined The Long Run in 2019 and committed to a holistic balance of the 4Cs – Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce – as a means to contribute meaningfully to the biodiversity and the people of their local region.
The Caballadas mission is to preserve, protect and keep its land in a pristine state for future generations. The family are working together to ensure that ranching and tourism contribute to conservation, rather than jeopardise it. The owners are in the process of developing plans to actively replenish and secure the future of essential ecosystems including the Araucaria Araucana tree, glacial lakes and trout-filled rivers.
From early in the estancia’s history, the family has worked with the surrounding communities. Not only do their gauchos hail from the area, but they also purchase handicrafts from local artisans, including tack for their horses, and woven rugs and bedding. Second-hand clothing enterprise, La Liga, was established by the daughters of the founder 70-years-ago to provide high-quality and low-cost clothing and household goods to people surrounding the estancia. Caballadas also supports a local agrotechnical college for Mapuche children in the surrounding area.
Caballadas introduces guests to local culture via its hearty homemade meals. Patagonian cuisine is known for combining cultural influences and the surrounding landscape into each meal. Here, you’re likely to find a combination of meats (as expected on a cattle ranch), local trout, dishes introduced by European immigrants a century ago, and native dishes from the indigenous Mapuche community.
Tourism is a means for Caballadas to make conservation financially viable, and share the land that this family has loved for over 100-years. Activities and accommodation is low impact and revolves around nature. The Valley Lodge, or “La Casa Grande” is located at the heart of the ranch, set on top of a hill providing views of the entire valley. This traditional family house is made of native oak wood and stone, typical of the region. Estancia Caballadas’ secluded hilltop lodge is tucked into a circle of trees, protecting it from the strong Patagonian wind, but leaving it with a panoramic view across the Quillen valley. The Caballadas Campsite is only accessible by foot or horseback and is used during the estancia’s infamous three-night horse-riding expeditions with one of the 60 horses that roam free on