Rincón del Socorro, a place-perfect wilderness retreat in the Argentine wetlands

Laidback living and astonishing vistas at this restored 19th-century cattle ranch

The rustic cottage accommodations on the Rincón del Socorro estate in northeastern Argentina are set within a wildlife haven
The rustic cottage accommodations on the Rincón del Socorro estate in northeastern Argentina are set within a wildlife haven

In 2001, the late conservationist Doug Tompkins purchased some 74,000 acres in the Iberá wetlands of northeastern Argentina with an eye to protecting its hundreds of endemic wildlife species. On the land was a 19th-century cattle ranch called Rincón del Socorro (rincondelsocorro.com.ar; from £285), which Tompkins restored for the guests it began receiving a few years later. Gestures to luxe living aren’t the point here: the main estancia’s front lawn doubles as the landing strip; neither the china nor the silver is especially notable (nor even the food, though the chef acquitted himself fairly admirably at the asado). But my cottage, clad humbly with clay tiles and local timber, and with hand-hewn furniture, was place-perfect. Which is Socorro’s purpose – to frame the wilderness it’s in. There are good-natured horses and miles of trails to hack along; there are capybara and, if you’re lucky, the odd tapir nosing around your door for late-night snacks; and there are vistas that rival the Okavango Delta’s for straight-up splendour.

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