El Ombú de Areco, an historical estancia (ranch) just over an hour's drive from downtown Buenos Aires, is located in San Antonio de Areco, birthplace of the gaucho tradition. The Late-Colonial style mansion, built in 1880 by Lieutenant-general Pablo Riccheri, offers visitors a magnificent setting for an unforgettable stay.

Enrique Boelcke, grandfather of the present owner Eva Boelcke, purchased the El Ombú in 1934. Eva's father, Osvaldo, a renowned botanist, ran the estancia as a working ranch until his death in 1990. Eva was trained as an agronomist, but since 1993 has expanded her role as farm manager to include local and international estancia tourism.

El Ombú offers nine spacious, modernised bedrooms (6 doubles and 3 triples), with en suite bathrooms, large windows and an interesting array of period furniture. In winter, guests enjoy the warmth of central heating in every bedroom, augmented, if desired, with the friendly glow of the gaucho's typical wood-burning salamander.

The estancia's living room is now a spacious common room, in which guests can enjoy satellite TV or videos, a round of billiards, a game of chess or hand of cards. On the adjacent gallery, there is ping-pong and metegol (table football).

The main house is surrounded by a covered gallery typical of the late-Colonial period, with a richly tiled floor and cascaded steps that lead into the gardens of the park.

Presiding majestically over the park is the estancia's namesake, the great ombú (Phytolacca dioca), a plant as characteristic of the pampas as the baobab is of the African savanna. Nearly as ancient as well: gauchos have been hitching their horses to the estancia's main ombú for over a hundred years.

Centennial oaks, araucarias (monkey-puzzle trees), palms, eucalyptus, casuarinas and magnolias adorn the four-hectare (ten-acre) park, tempting guests to stroll about and enjoy the scent of gardenias, roses and lime trees. The park and surrounding ranch land, with its natural lagoons and small water courses running to the Areco River offer a rich habitat to a large proportion of Argentina's 1000 bird species.

El Ombú provides all the comfort required by the most demanding guests, together with a kind and personalised attention by professional staff, against the backdrop of the big-sky beauty and pastoral quietude of the Argentine pampas.

In the cosy and commodious dining-room, facing a large hearth, guests are treated to a wide selection of international or creole cuisine served with local wines. No stay will pass without at least one asado, the typical Argentinean barbeque of the world's finest beef raised free-range on the estancia.

In the summertime lunch is served al fresco in the shadow of the great ombú. Drinks and snacks are available at any hour, and, of course, guests are always welcome to share the famous Argentine maté with Eva and her family, your friends and the gauchos.

Ruta 31, cuartel VI, Villa Lía, San Antonio de Areco - Pcia. de Buenos Aires - Argentina
Oficina comercial (lun a vie) 4737-0436 - Estancia (54-2326) 492080
E-mail:reservas@estanciaelombu.com