Lo Pirque restaurant has to be one of my absolute Chile highlights. It’s an equestrian centre about an hour’s drive from Santiago which puts on a magnificent horse show to the backdrop of a typical Chilean aperitif and buffet.
We clinked our vino sours to the tune of traditional Chilean folk songs and galloping hooves.
The show was fabulous, with one little exception – the rodeo demonstration. While the bull wasn’t physically harmed, he hardly looked pleased. I know I’m a bit of a softie when it comes to animals but I wasn’t the only foreigner shifting in my seat as they brought him on. It all just felt rather unnecessary. Especially when the horses were so fine…
Everything else was wonderful, especially the food. Baby Annabelle tried her first sopaipilla (a kind of Chilean fried pastry) and I enjoyed the wine cocktails. Probably a little too much, if I’m honest.
Lo Pirque buffet
After the show we feasted on a splendid buffet.
Service was great – no queues or pushy elbows. Food was really, really good too. None of that cheap hotel sweaty buffet stuff.
There were meats, fish, salads and the porotos granados (a Chilean bean stew) were especially good. Somehow my glass kept refilling itself with Lo Pirque wine.
Horse rides for the kids
Then Sebastian and Rafa put the horses through their paces. Staff were so kind (and patient!)
Chilling in Chile
After all that exertion we kicked back under the winter sun.
Lo Pirque is much bigger, and much more beautiful than you might expect. We fed the ducks, played racket ball, rode on the see saw and jumped on the trampoline.
A travel bucket list must
We loved the way that apart from the horse and cart ride, nothing was charged extra. Staff were so friendly and the whole experience felt very authentic.
The hall was sensitively restored according to original 19th century plans with locally sourced materials. Local flora and fauna were encouraged to flourish by planting native species of plants.
According to legend, the original owner of Lo Pirque, Don Vicente Izquierdo, would ride out by nightfall to check over his fields and staff. Today locals claim to have seen a dark figure riding out at night keeping watch, just like many generations ago.
Judging by the website, Lo Pirque is just an equestrian centre which puts on a show and a little food. But it’s so much more. Lo Pirque is a magical place and it’s well worth a visit.
The Lo Pirque experience costs $34,500 per adult and includes the equestrian show, aperitif, buffet with cocktails, wine and soft drinks. Children aged five and under go free. Payment by cash or card on the day.