I am a cynic. When perusing the TA reviews on Sierra Brava, I noted that every reviewer rated the property at 5 stars. Granted, they were only 35 or so reviews, but 100% 5 stars? Come on. Having recently returned from a 3 night stay at SB, I can confirm that the lodge deserves the accolades.
Keep in mind, this is a wingshooting lodge. It is not 5 star as, say, the Ritz in Paris is a 5 star. For the money (roughly $1200 for 3 nights of comfortable lodging, 4 days of fine dining, incredible service, and 4 (2 1/2 days, 2 full days) of high volume wing shooting (save shells and extras - more on that in a moment),however, it is simply wonderful.
Once you arrive at the Cordoba airport you are met by SB staff who gather your luggage and load it on a comfortable van. The trek to the lodge is about an hour and a half on paved (and, towards the end, gravel) roads. There is an ice chest on the van with drinks, and the a/c works well. Need to make a pit stop? Just tell the driver. About 35 minutes after passing through Jesus Maria, the closest town of any size, you arrive in the middle of no where Argentina at the lodge. You are greeted there by one of the owners (there are 3, one other met us at the airport) along with a staff of many. Your bags are put in your room and it is time to unpack. I had a private room, en suite. Basic, but spotless and with modern amenities. A/C worked well in the room and there was a ceiling fan. Two twin beds that are fairly comfortable and a lockable safe. Solid wifi throughout the property, though not usually robust enough for Skype. The main house has 4 bedrooms that open into either the great room (with sat TV) or the dining room. There is a pool house separate from the main house with two bedrooms, both en suite, and another dining area.
For purposes of room,board, and transportation, the lodge is all inclusive. Wine (lots of wine), beer, whiskey, soft drinks, food are all included. The food is hearty - think beef - and absolutely delicious. If you don;t like what is offered, just ask. The chef will prepare you something else equally as wonderful. All meals are taken family style and the owner or lodge manager will join you for each meal. The meals are individually served at a well set table - no buffet here. Service is attentive, but not obnoxious. If you want something, just ask. After a starter, the main meal is presented and then dessert. Everything I ate during the trip was both well prepared and seasoned - and delicious.. Seriously, it was all excellent.
Then it is off to shoot. You load back up in the van and drive about 10-25 minutes to the field. There is a guide and each shooter is assigned a bird boy. Most speak good English, all speak enough English to communicate. You can either bring your own gun (a hassle) or rent one from the lodge. I opted for the latter. All berettas or benellis. 20 or 28 guage. All in good shape. The bird boy carries the gun (plus an extra just in case), shells, camp chair, and an ice chest to the assigned blind. Doves by the thousands. Everywhere. Shoot as much or as little as you want. No pressure. If you want to shoot with your group, no problem. If you want to shoot alone, no problem. Then it is back in the van between 5 and 6, to return to the lodge.
On return from shooting you are met at the van by the staff with hot or cold towels, depending on the temp. Your room is, again, spotless. If you left laundry ($10 a bag) it is clean, pressed,and waiting. Then it is time for a glass of wine and appetizers by the pool or at the fire pit. Then a shower and dinner. If you are sore, the lodge can arrange an excellent massage. (The real kind. This is a family place.) By then it is bed time. Get up the next day and repeat.
We had a field lunch one day. Cots, hammocks, table (set just as elegantly as the lodge) and chairs. Empanadas followed by beef, chicken and pork on the open pit grill. Salad, dessert. Wine. Wow. The other day we returned to the lodge for an equally satisfying lunch.
On departure day you settle up after the last hunt. You prepay the room/board/ transporation fee (total, as noted above, around $1200 for my trip) before arrival. Plan on tipping the bird boys $50 a day in cash. Plan on the gun rental, shell bill ($12.75 a box), license, and lodge staff tip running another $1500-$1700 or so, depending on how many shells you shoot. So, excluding airfare, the trip runs about $3000-3500, unless you really shoot a lot. Not cheap, but quite reasonable for what you get. You then have lunch and are driven back to the Cordoba airport. The assistant lodge manager works his majic there with either LAN or AA. Luggage is handled, boarding passes obtained. No fuss, no hassle.
I am sure there are nicer wingshooting lodges in Argentina. I don't plan on finding out, though. If my plans again include a splurge shooting trip to South America, I shall return to Sierra Brava. It is, as advertised, 5 stars.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sierra Brava is a dove hunting lodge located in Cordoba, Argentina. Sierra Brava offers record-setting Cordoba dove hunting in combination with first-class accommodations, world-famous cuisine, the industry’s most personable service and legendary hospitality…all at value-packed rates! While the ultra high-volume Argentina dove hunting might be Sierra Brava’s biggest draw, the friendly and authentic lodge atmosphere makes the experience unforgettable. ... more less