Cowboy for a Day

Our second full day at Hotel Las Torres Patagonia was spent as “Baqueanos Por Un Día,” that is, as “Cowboys for a Day.” I had previously said that the cowboys in Patagonia are called “Gauchos,” but that is not completely accurate; the term “Baqueanos” is preferred in Chilean Patagonia.

Our morning began with a greeting from Sergio, the excursions manager, who showed us how to saddle and bridle our own horses. Sergio is a cousin of the owners of the hotel and grew up on the ranch; he is also a veterinarian, so he literally knows his horses inside and out (pardon the pun).

We were soon joined by Paola, the general manager of the hotel, and the four of us mounted up and rode out into the pastures to round up one of the herds…

…in order to drive them back to the corral for the day.

Hotel Las Torres Patagonia began life in the early 1900s as a sheep ranch. In the 1970s the operation was changed to cattle and it became Cerro Paine Ranch, a working “estancia.” Today, it still has 150 horses which are tended by several full-time baqueanos.

It was now time for part two of our day as cowboys…

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