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Argentina, far from being only Buenos Aires and tango, is to be open spaces, herds, and gauchos, and I found all this at the Ranch Sayta Cabalgatas, a few dozen kilometers from Salta.

To tell you about my experience in this Finca, it would actually be enough to use the same definition of the term Sayta, which in the ancient Aymar language means “where time stands still,” which is precisely the feeling I had there.

The days at the ranch were like a warm embrace, as a “welcome back home.” A temporary suspension of my daily life to get back to the roots we all have deep inside.

Sayta Cabalgatas

Sayta is the home of Enrique, his refuge, but he shares it with his guests, who can’t help but feel at home too from the first minute.

I got there on a late summer morning in January, and I found a long table laid for breakfast under a shady porch to welcome me: a selection of tea, coffee, fresh bread, jams, dulce de leche, and to my greatest joy, a mate just prepared to share with new friends. From the beginning, it has been a succession of chatter, laughter, and the subtle Argentinian irony that seems never to stop conquering me. At the end of breakfast, I already felt part of something special.

After breakfast, we went for a long horseback ride, crossing tobacco plantations, picturesque villages, and paths that look like endless lines. This first ride relaxed me and, at the same time, made me recharge the batteries… It hard not to think, “I want to stay here.”

Back in Sayta, we found the table laden again, but this time for the Asado! The aside is the most typical and important dish of this boundless country and in fact, being a vegetarian around here can be considered almost a sacrilege. A bit like drinking no wine … The subject, however, deserves to be explained in a separate article 😉

For those who have little time, the experience at this ranch can also come to an end at this point, after lunch. However, the emotions felt in these first few hours made it impossible to leave so early, and I, therefore, decided to stop longer and longer.

My days at Enrique’s passed so quickly, between my love for animals and nature, herds of horses and newborn foals, long rides and spontaneity, gargantuan meals, evenings playing guitar and singing traditional poems, and then happy laughter, those you really can’t hold back.

Gauchos

I learned a lot about local life, traditions, and what it means to love horses around here, and I can not thank enough Sergio, Eduardo, Mario, Jose, and Enrique for the patience they had telling me about their lives and teaching me how to put a horseshoe for the first time, how training them to get used to the saddle and even how to prepare the Asado, although on this last point everyone has his own version 😀

I also experienced what it means true hospitality and generosity. In these few days, apparently gruff gauchos and the sweet smile of Maria Teresa made me feel I was part of the family.

I can now safely say that the gaucho lifestyle really suits me! And then, with Enrique everything is possible 😉

Visting Sayta Cabalgatas

Sayta Cabalgatas is outside Chicoana, an indigenous town of Inca origin in the province of Salta, main door of the Valle de Lerma.

If you plan to stay in Salta, a visit to Sayta ranch is definitely an experience you should add to your program, to live at least a few hours with real gauchos.

As I said earlier, with Enrique, everything is possible: a short visit with a morning ride and yummy lunch, staying one or more nights to relax and enjoy the surroundings, multi-day trekking through virgin valleys. To organize the experience you dream about do contact Enrique.

A few words about Enrique

I said little or nothing about Enrique, because he is a person you better meet and read about … but if you are about to make your acquaintance you better know that there are things he can’t stand, like having people calling United States “America”, because America are also the southern states, such as Argentina 😉

Then there is a sentence, seemingly trivial, that you use to repeat and describes him quite well: “do not try to change a woman, love her or leave her!”.

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