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“Really great hike and viewing of the cave paintings”

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Estancia Cueva de las Manos
Reviewed 15 January 2014

This is an impressive small hotel providing access to the incomparable cave paintings of the Rio Pinturas with good but simple food, clean comfortable rooms and excellent service. The location is perfect for a great day trek to and from the caves. If staying here, give yourself at least seven hours for the drive to the trailhead, hiking down into the valley to the caves and the hike and drive back. Nice little library of books related to the locality in is excellent sitting room. Just a great experience overall.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank James C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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14 - 20 of 54 reviews

Reviewed 4 April 2013

This Estancia (although the only animals we saw were dogs) is way down a road off route 40 and bare bones basic accommodations. As with a lot of ranches, electricity is run only a few hours by generator. Food is pre-prepared and heated up with a wood stove at dining time, thus making it rather dry, well our dinner was. And unless you are up to driving several hours to eat, this is your only choice.
They are perfect if your goal is to see the Cueva de las Manos Cave by excursion. As the crow flies they are very close and it would only require a trek across a shallow river to get to the area instead of having to drive 85 miles south to turn NE another 30 miles or so and then have to come back out. Detoured construction the whole way when we were there.
The staff was friendly although no english speaking so most of the conversations were mimed. The bed comfortable, we only stayed one night as this was a stop over during traveling southward and we did not take any of the excursions offered on the chalkboard due to time constraints.

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Debby I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2012

During a trip of ours in Patagonia, we fell upon a delicious breakfast at Estancia Cueva de la Manos (formerly known as Estancia Los Toldos) before visiting the Cave of Hands (I've put in another review for that - well worth the trip, and hike).
We were warned that the breakfast would be 26 pesos per person. (It came out to about 8$ CAD) per person. It was cheap, considering we had a delightful breakfast of pretty much anything a breakfast could offer. Eggs, ham, cheese, baked goods, orange juice, coffee etc. We were the only 4 people on the restaurant. They took their time to prepare breakfast but we weren't pressed for time, enjoying the landscapes and conversation. The staff was super nice and informative, the place was very comfortable.
Unfortunately, we were not able to ride any horses on the spur of the moment as reservations were mandatory (especially to find a guide) at least 3 weeks in advance through an office in Buenos Aires. We made do, besides, it's not like we had much time on our hands since we wanted to visit the Cave Of Hands, which would have taken a couple hours.
I highly recommend this place for breakfast. It's in the middle of nowhere but it's pleasantly surprising.
The road to the cave (18-19km) is somewhat sinuous with hundreds of guanacos on the way, wild horses and choiqués (sort of ostrich). Well worth it.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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6  Thank Vox-trotter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 January 2012

It is the best place to stay when visiting the Cueva de las Manos Site (Cave of the Hands), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the service is perfect. The place is simple (no TVs, no, telephone, but the staff does everything to make you feel at home.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank Federico B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 February 2010

Formerly known as Estancia Los Toldos, this tourist estancia has rebranded itself recently to attract visitors on their way to the Cave of the Hands, which is located on land belonging to the estancia (although guests still have to pay the normal price to get in).

Unlike many other estancias in Patagonia this one has a pretty good website, albeit with no possibility to make reservations online. Numerous emails went unanswered (we'd find out why later), but given the fact that staying there would offer a shortcut to the cave and also the possibility of horse riding (or so we thought), we persevered and eventually made a booking through a Buenos Aires-based agency http://www.estanciasdesantacruz.com (very helpful, recommended).

Reached from Perito Moreno by a now tarmac-covered stretch of the Ruta 40, its in a stunning location, reminiscent of the Badlands or Death Valley in the USA. Despite being marketed at tourists (many N Americans, French and Germans during our stay), it still seems to be something of a working ranch. And therein lay some of the problems ahead, absolutely none of the staff there apart from the manager spoke one word of English and all of them apart from him were completely ignorant of any of the activities or tours supposedly on offer. They could get you a bottle of Quilmes or a cup of coffee, but other than that everybody was pretty much in the dark about horse riding, excursions etc. The English-speaking manager made a brief appearance after evening meal to try and sell an overpriced day tour travelling in his pick-up truck, he wasn't really able to offer anything else to do other than describe in detail the way to drive to the rim of the canyon (about 19 km) on a dirt track, from where its a short but steep hike down to the cave. Asked about the supposed horse riding offered on his website (I think they've stopped offering it now) and described in the Rough Guide to Argentina, he simply shrugged his shoulders and said he'd ask if one his staff could take my girlfriend riding one evening for an hour or so. Needless to say we never saw him again after that. It seems if you don't want to do his pick-up truck tour, he isn't really interested too much in helping you.

As for the estancia itself, it has been modernised quite nicely, the rooms are fairly spartan and also bloody cold (thankfully they provide lots of warm bedding), but modern. Don't expect any TV, or mobile phone reception, or internet, its not that sort of place. The restaurant area doubles as a place to socialise, besides, it has the views and there's usually somebody on hand to sell drinks (alcoholic and hot coffee), cakes and some souvenirs at any time of the day. Its also freezing cold in here and you'd better brush up on your Spanish if you want to be understood. Evening meal and breakfast are included, the food was pretty impressive to be honest, particularly given its somewhat remote location, although expect the same ingredients to come up evening after evening.

Despite the cold and the lack of horse riding, what it does have going for it is the fact that the Cave of the Hands is only 19 km away, driveable in a normal car such as a VW Gol (although right at the end there are some big rocks in the road which a low clearance car will need to take care avoiding). The cave is a beautiful 45 minute walk from here on the other side of the canyon, not only do you get great views, it saves a 120 km return journey from Bajo Caracoles, the only other way to reach the cave. The route to the rim of the canyon from the estancia also passes a lake with flamingos on it and there are plenty of guanacos all the way too. I guess that it would also be possible to simply drive through the estancia, which is clearly signposted from the Ruta 40, and onto the rim, I don't think anybody would check or stop you.

The cave itself is a great sight, one of the highlights of Patagonia and definitely worth any detour to see.

Its just a shame that this estancia couldn't be a bit more professional in dealing with tourists.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Casualist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 weeks ago
Google Translation

  • Stayed: January 2018, travelled with family
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Thank Julieta M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 weeks ago
Google Translation

Room Tip: Las vistas son hermosas
See more room tips
  • Stayed: January 2018, travelled with friends
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Thank Carlos M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Estancia Cueva de las Manos

Address: Ruta 40, Argentina
Region: Argentina > Patagonia > Province of Santa Cruz
Hotel Style:
Ranked #99 of 180 Speciality Lodging in Province of Santa Cruz
Price Range: £76 - £95 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 9
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Also Known As:
Estancia Cueva De Las Manos Argentina/Patagonia - Santa Cruz

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