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The best Cattle round-ups in South America

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At rugged ranches throughout South America, the gauchos ride hard rounding up cattle and maintaining the herd across wide-ranging plains around the foothills of the Andes and across the Patagonian steppe. If you are an experienced rider, pit your skills against these traditional cowboys, all of who ride as if they were born in the saddle.

Argentina is synonymous with vast open plains and hardy cattle ranchers, whose herds are tended to by the eponymous gauchos. At many of these ranches from Patagonia to the Pampas, you can join the gauchos as they round up cattle on a daily basis and join them as they carry out their daily tasks, stopping for a traditional asado barbeque lunch. After a siesta in the shade, saddle back up to try your hand at separating the cows or work on your skills with a lasso! As you range the open plains with these hardy local characters, you will discover more about this most traditional way of life. The ranches themselves are not particularly luxurious but they are comfortable and usually have been run by the same family for generations. These are true working farms and they offer the perfect opportunity to really get stuck in to estancia life. Enjoy simple home-cooked locally sourced food and, of course, delicious local Malbec wines at the end of a long and tiring but exhilarating day!

In Ecuador, the twice yearly round up of the bulls is the most important event in the farming calendar and these take place in the vast cattle ranches or haciendas of the Ecuadorian Andes (usually around late January and late November). This unique week-long holiday offers keen riders the ultimate riding adventure. The tradition of rounding up the bulls dates back centuries, since the first Spanish settlers introduced cattle to the grassy plains and rolling of the Andes. You will spend days up in the mountains with the ‘chagras’ (Andean cowhands) riding your horses up into the mountains to round up the fighting bulls and herd them down into the corrals. It is an incredibly exciting, albeit fast and furious, riding experience for competent riders only, with plenty of adrenalin flowing while riding across steep and rough terrain surrounded by the most stunning scenery imaginable. Spend the evenings recounting your adventures with your fellow guests and hosts over a canelasso or two, overnighting in traditional haciendas.

If you yearn for days spent in the saddle with local cowboys, then contact us to discuss your tailormade riding holiday.