Seven Tips to Become a Gaucho for a Day

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Seven Tips to Become a Gaucho for a Day

Nov 17, 2015

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1. Dress like a gaucho

As a qualified and nomadic horse rider, living outside the city borders, first of all visit a leather goods store to buy clothes to resemble a real contemporary gaucho. Do not forget: baggy pants, white shirt, neck handkerchief, vest and leather sash with silver buckle, hat or beret in brownish shades, espadrilles or boots, and a good handmade poncho. You will find these items in stores such as Cardón (Av. Alvear 1750, Recoleta) and El Boyero (Florida 953, Retiro); or in fairs such as the traditional fair of Mataderos.


2. Have a knife. An authentic gaucho always has a knife (facón)

This tool is almost an extension of his body, an indispensable and loyal companion. It has many uses: to defend himself, to kill animals, to skin animals, to make handicrafts, to cut wood; to prepare mate pumpkin, to eat and cut meat... Where can you get a good knife? There are some stalls at San Telmo fair selling different original knives made of silver or alpaca, with silversmithing work. There are handmade knifes sold at traditional leather goods shop such as El Nochero (in Patio Bullrich shopping mall) and Arandú (Paraguay 1257, Barrio Norte). Or you can buy jewels from the collection of the Argentine metalsmith artist Juan Carlos Pallarols (Defensa 1094, San Telmo).

Buenos Aires


3. Read the classic of the gaucho literature

Learn the vocabulary of the gaucho, his customs and lifestyle, which might be the defensive guide of the man from the Pampas: Martín Fierro. Written by José Hernández, it is a book of poetry written in 1872 considered the gaucho bible. If you prefer narrative, read Don Segundo Sombra, written by Ricardo Güiraldes. Where? In any bookshop in Buenos Aires.


4. Be among gauchos at the Mataderos Fair

True gauchos spend every Sunday in this location with around 450 stalls where you can see and sell gaucho-related crafts such as belts, whips, boleadoras (leather thongs tipped with leather-covered stones), mates, horseshoes, ponchos and stirrups. The culinary proposal is not to be missed: you can try typical authentic dishes such as turnovers, locro, sausage sandwich, tamales, barbecue meat and stews in endless varieties. In the afternoon, you can enjoy torta frita (fried dough) and sweet pies. Do not miss the opportunity of trying the authentic Argentine mate. To make your visit even more enjoyable, you can listen to live traditional folk music. And if you are inspired enough, you can invite a beautiful lady with a handkerchief, brides and typical dress for a dance. After noon, there are ring races, a gaucho game which involves introducing a pointer in a ring hanging three meters high, alongside above the track, with the gaucho riding standing on the horse stirrups. Here you will also find the Museo Criollo de los Corrales (Creole Museum), undoubtely a must in this gaucho plan.





5. Eat barbecue meat

Meat is everything in the gaucho diet, and Argentines in general. So, to be a gaucho for a day, you should have a good barbecue meat (asado) at noon or dinner time. There are lots of steakhouses to choose from, such as Las Nazarenas (Reconquista 1132, Retiro), El Desnivel (Defensa 855, San Telmo), or La Cabrera (Cabrera 5099, Palermo). But if apart from eating barbecue meat you want to be an expert in cooking barbeque meat, take classes at the Escuela Argentina de Parrilleros (Argentine Barbeque School), which offers an intensive course of a four-hour class to learn everything about fire, temperatures, cooking time and bovine cuts.





6. Horse riding

If you plan to know gaucho and his lifestyle in depth, you must have considered visiting one of the Ranch Houses (Estancias) in the outskirts of the city. Here you can ride horses, because the horse of the gaucho's best friend; your visit will not be complete if you do not interact with one of them Ride a horse, pay attention to instructor's orders, and feel the wind on your face. It is both an exciting and reflexive experience to be enjoyed. If you choose a ranch in San Antonio de Areco, visit the Ricardo Güiraldes gaucho museum to learn about bases, bars and workshops of silversmith masters of the region.


7. Play the guitar at the folk show

Besides drinking mate, using the knife and ride a horse, the gaucho also spends part of his days playing the guitar, making rhymes and dance the gato, pericón or maybe malambo, typical Argentine dances. Your opportunity to live this gaucho experience is in a traditional downtown folk show where, besides dance and music, you can enjoy delicious local food: turnovers, meat stew, locro... The fun-spirited will surely enjoy the Peña del Colorado (Guemes 3657, Palermo); those who prefer something traditional and representative can spend a night at Los Cardones (J. L. Borges 2180, Palermo); and open air lovers will enjoy El Patio del Folklore in Parque Patricios.

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