Estancia Rincon Chico is a private ranch and exclusive boutique accommodation on the Atlantic Patagonian sea coast in the southeast corner of the Península Valdés. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999 and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2014. The so-called “Large Marine Ecosystem Patagonian shelf” is one of the richest marine areas on Earth harboring populations of right whales, elephant seals, sea lions, orcas, penguins, and numerous species of birds and fish. Rated one of the best little hotels Argentina, Rincon Chico is highly recommended for wildlife enthusiasts, and especially photographers, who come here for the isolated serenity of the coast and access to the wildlife on the private protected concession.
Your hosts, Agustín and María, are fifth-generation members of two families that pioneered the Peninsula Valdes. They or the resident naturalist guides escort guests on bird-watching and wildlife-viewing hikes and photography walks around the ranch, or you can opt to explore on your own on foot or via bicycle. Constructed in the style of old English houses of the late 19th century, this traditional Patagonian ranch house is surrounded by a large deck on the front. The guest house has 8 comfortable rooms each with private bath and tub, with a variety of bed configurations to accommodate individuals, couples and small parties.
The spacious living room with large windows open to the vast Patagonian steppe has a varied library of books about the fauna of the Península Valdés, renowned author´s photo books, various publications of scientists who work at the ranch, and a DVD player to watch documentaries including highlights made on the property by film crews as National Geographic, BBC, etc. Delicious home cooked fare is served in the common dining room adjacent to the wine bar and living room, all decorated with antique furniture that belonged to the family. The ranch has separate accommodations for onsite researchers, drivers and resident guides.
The guesthouse electricity has wind-powered 12 volt current during the day. In the evenings a diesel generator provides 220 volts and satellite WiFi. Electrical outlets have built in adapters to fit North America and Europe. The entire guesthouse is a non-smoking facility. Hair dryers are available on request. There are no laundry facilities available--hand wash only.
Guests at Estancia Rincon Chico have the opportunity during their stay to enjoy the natural beauty of the varied landscape and Patagonian steppe with its unusual flora and fauna that inhabits the ranch lands including its 10 mile littoral coast. Excursions are arranged upon arrival with the ranch coordinator include wildlife watching and photographic opportunities guided by resident naturalists to the various beaches of the property, horseback riding across the steppe and cliffs, hiking on trails of varying length and difficulty, mountain biking, identification of native flora, bird watching, and opportunities to observe and even participate in ranch livestock activities (in season). On the coastal areas of the estancia there is a southern elephant seal colony and colony of South American sea lions who have chosen these beaches for breeding and birthing. It is also possible to see Southern Right Whales, Orcas, dusky dolphins, and bottlenose dolphins, all sighted along the estancia’s 15 km of private, protected coastline. On short walks and hikes from the lodge you can observe a wide variety of inland and coastal birds including lesser rhea, penguin, several owl species and many more, as well as many of Patagonia’s native terrestrial mammals especially including mara, guanaco, fox, and possibly two species of cat. Centuries of erosion have also left important geological traces rich in marine fossils, such as shells, oysters, bivalves, sea urchins and many more species. This sediment is proof of the different stages of how Valdés Península was formed. All activities conducted on the estancia are included in the rate. Additional activities on the peninsula, include whale and dolphin watching, visiting penguin colonies, snorkeling and scuba diving with sea lions, kayaking, and exploring the scenic vistas along the Peninsula's cliff-lined coastline.
Photos of the Fauna and Flora at Estancia Rincon Chico: