What is a Gaucho? Few people outside of South America are familiar with the term, but in Argentina gauchos have become a part of the national character.
Similar to the American cowboy, the gauchos in Patagonia are nomadic and colorful horseman who live in the rural wilderness, and often work on cattle ranches. They do the hard work needed to pave the way for Argentina’s blossoming beef industry, and have an important role in the local culture and folklore.
Beyond the practical purposes of farming and agricultural work, Gauchos in Patagonia have a prominent culture that resonates with the Argentinean people. Seen as a rejection of European modernization, the Gauchos roam the vast fields of Patagonia, often riding horseback, and harbor some of the romantic ideals of the past. They are personified as strong, quiet, and hardworking, though they’re not the kind of people you’d like to cross, and they certainly know how to stand up and protect themselves.
Their dress is often a poncho of wool, but they need little else more. Often times all their worldly possessions are carried aboard the horse with them, and includes the famed facon, a special knife which is generally used for eating, but can also be used in defense or fighting.
The Gauchos in Patagonia often diet strictly on beef, given their proximity to the cattle and the ability to preserve dried meats. It’s a food that makes them tough, strong, and fits in with the nature of their work and lifestyle. Many Gauchos no of no other life, having been raised in the fields where they remain to this day, tending to their cattle and their land.
Visitors to the Hosteria Helsingfors will have the opportunity to see this unique way of life first hand at the nearby Estancia Los Hermanos. Additionally, with the various horseback riding excursions available at the lodge (and the marvelous cooked meats our chef prepares), you’ll be able to explore your own inner Gaucho while traveling in Patagonia! Watch this video for a more cinematic take on the Gaucho lifestyle:
Gaucho Crossing Stream Near Lago Viedma at Estancia Helsingfors in Argentina. Photo credit: David Mathre Image Gallery.
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