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Cordoba: Estancia San Pedro Viejo

San Pedro Norte
www.sanpedroviejo.com.ar

Reviewed by: BarbJim / KateMike from VA, review #2413

When: September - October 2008

The Estancia experience at its best! San Pedro Viejo is a wonderful combination of tradition and modern convenience.

Estancia San Pedro Viejo has a terrific web site, but it does not begin to do justice to this spectacular ranch. It take some effort to get there, but if you are looking for a few days of country life with all the trimmings, you can't do better.

Our room was spacious, clean and comfortable with a king size bed and jacuzzi. Each room has a keyed safe, which is important since payment is due in cash.

The common areas include a dining room, reading room, breakfast nook and bar. Sometimes we ate by the pool or in the open area by the barbecue. The kitchen and barbecue area are in an attached building. The grounds, which are kept as clean as the rooms, include an historic church and a beautiful pond which is home to a number of interesting birds.

The estancia serves three meals a day, and afternoon tea. The food was excellent and beautifully presented. "Cooka" (I have no idea if this is really her name, but that is how she was introduced to us) prepared everything from empanadas to crepes, using local produce whenever possible. On the days when we were on excursions during meal time, she prepared picnic baskets for us, including linens and wine glasses. And for those who are interested, there is a wine cellar on site from which it is possible to choose a special bottle or two.

The main activity on the ranch is horseback riding. In our group, there was only one experienced rider. The rest of us were total beginners. This is not a problem. The horses are almost exclusively "paseo" horses, which have an incredibly smooth gait, and are ridiculously easy to ride. Andres handles the horses and the riders, and although he speaks little English, we had no difficulty communicating. Like the rest of the staff, he was pleasant and patient. Rides are customized to fit your requirements and skill level.

Day trip excursions are available upon request. This brings me to the only complaint I had about our stay at San Pedro Viejo. The travel vehicle is an Isuzu pick up, which meant that we were traveling long distances over dirt roads with three adults stuffed into the back seat of a small truck. Once we arrived at our destination it was great (especially the Salinas salt flats), but the getting there was pure misery.

Alfredo is the manager of the estancia, and he keeps everything running very smoothly. He made a point of checking with us several times a day to make sure that we had everything we needed. He was our driver on our excursions, and was very knowledgeable about local sights and history. He even gave me lessons on the correct preparation of "mate" and joined me most afternoons to share a one, a very Argentine custom.

Thanks to Alfredo, Cooka, Mario, Maria, Andres, Franco, Isabel and the housekeeping staff. I rate this hotel/ranch practically perfect.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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