Editor's note: Today, Casey Research founder Doug Casey continues his discussion on his favorite place in the world. Catch up on Part I here, and read on to learn how you can join him there as part of an exclusive event next month...
A Different Path to a Better Life
As you are probably aware, I have traveled a lot over the course of my life. And I continue to travel even though the experience of transiting airports is increasingly degrading.
Yet I do so for a few reasons.
First and foremost, I am naturally curious and learned long ago the only way to know the truth of something is to kick the tires on it yourself.
That applies to a potential gold mine, real estate investment, or even just the opportunity to upgrade your lifestyle.
On that latter point, I am here to tell you that having searched the world comprehensively, Argentina wins hands-down for lifestyle.
It was great even with the now-departed Presidenta in charge but, with her gone, it is about to go to an entirely different level.
Which brings me to a unique opportunity to challenge your worldview and maybe even reboot your life.
Specifically, I would like to personally invite you to join me and a group of friends and guests to spend a week together enjoying the community and amenities at La Estancia de Cafayate in Salta Province, Argentina.
As you would expect, during all my travels I always kept one and sometimes both eyes peeled for a place outside the U.S. where I would want to spend serious time.
When I discovered Cafayate, I knew I had found the perfect place.
I was already well-acquainted with Argentina at the time but, in addition to the cultural benefits of the country as a whole, Cafayate has what may be some of the best weather in the world.
There is a saying that any climate ideal for growing grapevines is ideal for people to live. An adage supported by the demand for property in places like Napa Valley and the south of France.
The valley in which the quaint pueblo of Cafayate sits is now covered in a sea of grapevines, as growers from around the world and from other parts of Argentina—especially Mendoza—have set off something of a land rush.
The up-and-coming wine industry in the valley—now the second-most-important wine growing area in Argentina—combined with the vibrant tourism industry have made Cafayate a singularly successful town.
As you’ll discover during your visit, this success has attracted a number of excellent restaurants and hotels, including the stunning Piattelli Bodega (owned by a friend from Minnesota) and the elegant Grace Hotel located right on the property at La Estancia.
Filling in the Gaps
Even so, given the small-town nature of the place, my partners and I decided that we needed to fill in the gaps with the sort of amenities required to live life to its fullest.
Which is why, in La Estancia, you’ll find…
A world-class golf course designed by Bob Cupp, for many years the lead designer of Jack Nicklaus’s golf course design firm.
A world-class athletic club, definitely the best in Argentina and one of the best on the continent. Big claim, I know, but as you’ll see when you get here, also completely accurate.
Luxurious spa facilities complete with saunas, steam baths, whirlpools, masseuses and a variety of treatments. The cost of a one-hour massage? About $30, so you can treat yourself to one on a regular basis.
A separate dedicated yoga room with regular classes.
Extensive vineyards on property, enough to produce over 200,000 bottles of wine each year.
A top-of-the-line resistance pool with two lanes.
A Jack Zehren-designed clubhouse with an excellent restaurant.
Equestrian facilities with gaited Peruanos de Paso, Criollos, and thoroughbreds available. Over 20 kilometers of trails crisscross the 1,250-acre property.
A full polo field and practice field providing a rare opportunity for you—or your kids or grandkids—to learn to play this great sport at very low cost.
Three professional tennis courts.
A bocce court.
An indoor professional squash court.
And, as mentioned a moment ago, the Grace Hotel and Residential Villas, complete with gourmet restaurant and separate cigar bar.
Importantly, La Estancia sports a robust international community with over 260 property owners from 33 countries.
Though the owners come from every walk of life, they share a love of the freedom that life in this valley has to offer.
And they tend to be like-minded when it comes to matters of politics and economics—the less of the former, the more robust the latter—and so the sorts of political arguments that are a fairly regular occurrence back in the polarized U.S. rarely come up.
Thanks to this compatible world view, one of the most frequently commented-on aspects of visiting La Estancia is how quickly people form fast friendships.
So, despite living in a secluded corner of the globe, a place far from the madding (and just plain mad) crowds, you are surrounded by the best things in life—and philosophically sound neighbors you can share them with.
Getting Back in Touch with Life
Despite the many conveniences, or maybe because of those conveniences, for many, the “modern” world has become homogenized, predictable, and largely devoid of life-affirming challenges.
One of the distinct advantages of Cafayate’s secluded location is that the culture remains entirely authentic, where the sight of gauchos in full regalia riding down the street is not at all unusual.
No matter whether you visit as a tourist or later decide to spend part of every year here along with other residents, the experience of immersing yourself in a different culture means new experiences await around almost every corner.
“Do you have to speak Spanish to live there?” is a frequent question one hears. While you could get by just fine without speaking Spanish, learning a new language later in life is a great way to keep the mind sharp. And it’s surprising how much you can quickly pick up with a little help from your friends.
And the lifestyle is very active. In addition to walking more, the ready access to the extensive facilities of the athletic club and spa, as well as the golf course and hiking, biking, and horse riding offer abundant opportunities to get off the couch.
The more active lifestyle and the high-quality fresh food have a noticeable rejuvenating effect. Weight drops off, muscle tone quickly improves and, in no time at all, you’ll feel years and maybe decades younger.
Then there’s the direct health benefits of stepping away from the endemic presence of electronic media that has become a hallmark of everyday life “back in the world.” Entire days go by without hearing the news and you won’t miss it at all.
In fact, once you’re weaned from the constant blare of media, you quickly realize that 98% of what is presented as “news” is little more than fearmongering pabulum for the masses.
Instead, you’ll find yourself focusing on more relevant matters, such as what time to head over to the athletic club or which café to dine at.
But, as with all such things, the only way to truly understand what's going on in Argentina, and the huge step up in lifestyle here in Cafayate, is to visit.
And you are invited to do just that.
Much of the celebration focuses on the wine that is such an integral part of Cafayate’s culture.
Participants will spend time at local bodegas, receive hands-on lessons in winemaking, and, of course, taste a lot of wine!
Naturally, the event includes a number of memorable social events, including a morning coffee hosted by yours truly; a special “Al Fresco” lunch and wine tasting; a special wine tasting at the beautiful new Piatelli Bodega; an Andean-style farewell dinner and much more.
In keeping with the sporting aspects of the community, you’ll also find abundant time to enjoy golf on the world-class Bob Cupp-designed course.
And don’t forget to bring your exercise gear and swimming togs, as you’ll have complete access to the athletic club and spa at La Estancia de Cafayate.
Then there’s horseback riding, guided treks to local sites, leisurely walks, mountain biking, and more.
Then, at the end of a long day of activities, head back to the spa for an invigorating massage.
But most importantly, it offers a unique opportunity to spend leisurely time sharing ideas—and a glass or two of wine—at the clubhouse or on the picturesque town plaza with like-minded people from around the world.
Finally, for those of you who live in the Northern Hemisphere, it will be a welcomed respite from the cold weather, as the seasons are reversed.
It will be an experience you’ll remember fondly for the rest of your life and, who knows, may even set you on the path for a new and fully realized life as a member of the community here.
So be sure to mark the dates: March 14–19.
To reserve your space, please send an email to joinDoug@LaEst.com
Because of the intimate nature of these events, participation is limited so you’ll want to register ASAP. Let them know you are a Dispatch reader for priority.
If you are interested, please reserve your space right away. By email you’ll receive more details including an introduction to La Estancia’s concierge who will assist you in making your travel and hotel arrangements.
On the topic of hotels, rooms at the Grace Hotel always sell out quickly… another reason to register right away.
You probably have some questions. In which case, drop an email at joinDoug@LaEst.com and they’ll help you get things sorted.
I am not sure what else you might be doing with yourself, but I sincerely doubt it will be as interesting or invigorating—and maybe life-changing—as joining me in Cafayate.
Hope to see you then.