Guardia del Monte

Top choice estancia in Laguna de Castillos

Overlooking Laguna de Castillos' northern shore is this tranquil hideaway, originally established in the 18th century as a Spanish guard post to protect the Camino Real and the coastal frontier from pirates and Portuguese marauders. The lovely estancia house oozes history, from the parlor displaying 18th-century maps and bird drawings to the kitchen’s Danish woodstove salvaged from an 1884 shipwreck.

Overnight rates include afternoon tea and meals served on the old brick patio or by the fireplace in the cozy dining room. Activities include horseback excursions (US$30) and walks along the lakeshore or into the surrounding ombú forest. It's at the end of a 10km dead-end road, off Ruta 9, 4km south of the town of Castillos.