Estancia Las Carreras was the one really bad choice in our entire trip to NW Argentina. It is a guest ranch, some 25km outside Tafi del Valle along a (mainly) dirt road.
Basically what you see is not what you get. We wanted to stay on an estancia, and had an idea of what an estancia should be. However this something a little different. They have a big business with day trippers from Tafi, and that is the thrust of their business. Then the owning family have long since ceased to live here, so it is run by staff. Trouble with that was that there was no apparent manager, I have no idea who was in charge.
We arrived and looking at room information saw that there were a number of walks on their land. We asked for a map or instructions at reception, but with little success, as we were shown the far mountains and urged to walk in that direction. Nothing was marked on the walk, and there were barbed wire fences to pass. We eventually succeeded in reaching the heights, and the views were marvelous.
On returning from the walk, we joined some day trippers to see the cheese making from their own cows. We then ordered a bottle of wine and settled down to drink it in the garden. There is no swimming pool here by the way.
At dinner time we entered the restaurant - well its more a wide corridor - and ordered our meal. My wife ordered a steak and I ordered the pork. At this stage things started to go wrong. The bread was stale, but I did not complain. The main courses arrived - they brought 2 steaks. With bad grace they agreed, having found our order, that it was their fault, and took away the steak that had been served to me. My wife started on her steak, but it had been incorrectly defrosted, and was tough, dry and tasteless. She tried to tell the waiter, but he did not want to know. Then my correct order of pork arrived, but they had been to keen to fast forward it, and the pork was raw in the centre. Throughout it all not one word of apology. The waiter by now had disappeared into the kitchen, and having waited without success for him to reappear we left, leaving two virtually untouched meals on the table
Back in our room the heating was not working, and it was a cold night
Our problem was we had booked 3 nights, but no way would I eat in their restaurant again, and it would not be possible to drive 25km into town for dinner and 25 km back each day. Further the "estancia life style" that we were expecting was just not there. So the next day we told them we were leaving and why. To be fair they did not even try to charge us for the 2 days we were canceling. At this stage the chef appeared (one of those chefs who has his name embroidered onto his whites) and wanted (in Spanish) to know why I had not liked the meal the night before. I was happy to regale him with my thoughts for half an hour.
Bottom line is that there are better, much better, estancias to stay in in Argentina, so give this one a miss.
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