Estancia Cerro Guido
Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
Offering an immersive encounter with Patagonian nature and culture, Estancia Cerro Guido provides luxury lodge accommodations on a historic sheep ranch in view of the famous Paine massif. Still a vital working ranch, the estancia was founded by European pioneers at the turn of the 20th century as part of the Sociedad Explotadora Tierra del Fuego, the largest livestock network in the history of Chilean Patagonia. The well-preserved houses and facilities from its origin still stand as a testament to the cultural heritage of Patagonia. At almost a quarter-million acres, the ranch today is the largest in the region.
Surrounded by open steppe, guests stay in an authentic setting of restored worker houses that feature every modern comfort. Twelve guest rooms are light and airy yet cozy, with traditional English décor featuring wood wainscoting, botanical prints, sparkling chandeliers and brocade draperies. Beds are dressed in opulent linens including a lofty featherbed. Bathrooms feature organic toiletries. Three living rooms, furnished with locally crafted contemporary furniture in wood, leather and sheepskin, invite settling in with a cup of tea, a game of cards, or a book—you’ll find interesting titles in the estancia’s collection about Patagonian history and nature.
Dining is a highlight, in a setting defined by warm wood and walls of glass that showcase the Towers of Paine and sprawling pampas. Using organic products from the garden, orchard, greenhouse and countryside, the kitchen staff prepares gourmet dishes inspired by traditional recipes, fusing ingredients from English pioneers with local ones, with the wood fire an important element in preparations, especially for roast lamb. Even in this harsh climate, careful stewarding produces fresh greens, tomatoes, zucchini, rhubarb, blackcurrants and more, along with eggs from the ranch chickens.
Beyond the inspiring aesthetics of Cerro Guido’s guest quarters, a stay on the estancia provides a firsthand experience of impressive achievements in conservation, including grassland rehabilitation that has restored native wildlife such as guanacos, rheas and caiquenes, and with them, a growing puma population. And because it shares a biological corridor with Torres del Paine National Park, the ranch territory has an exceptional variety of native flora and fauna. A main objective of its owners is to achieve coexistence between livestock and wildlife. Gauchos travel the countryside on horseback with dogs trained to surround and protect the livestock, and we’ll witness them in action during our stay. We head out on conservation-focused safaris during our stay, learning in depth about Cerro Guido’s leadership in this arena, with high expectations for puma sightings, which are becoming ever more frequent. Among other species we may see are gray fox, Andean deer (huemul), Patagonian hog-nosed skunk and Patagonian hairy armadillo.