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la estancia de cafayate gate

La Estancia De Cafayate The Great Life Hedge In Salta Argentina

by Trace Mayer, J.D. on April 8, 2011 · 29 comments

Reading time: 7 – 11 minutes

View interview Part 2 to learn about our special deal to help you with legal services when taking title, etc.

La Estancia De Cafayate is a unique life hedge, even a modern day Galt’s Gulch, located in Salta, Argentina. This is the dream project of ‘The International Man’ Doug Casey who partnered with Former Salta Governor and current Argentine Senator Juan Carlos Romero. If you are considering a life hedge, given the quality of people this development is attracting, the uncertainty in the world and the potential for significant major disruptions to daily life then I think this special phyle deserves consideration.

When the time for performance has come the time for preparation has passed.


In Chapter 6 of The Great Credit Contraction I discuss the importance of the Five Flag Theory and a life hedge is an essential competent of this concept. A life hedge is a backup location where you can relocate yourself to maintain the lifestyle you have designed. Implementing provident living principles requires one to put in place a contingency plan for their personal location.

When one is unprepared for and effected by those events which are possible, although not probable, then one’s lifestyle gets designed for them and in many cases they do not like it. Just ask the cold, starving masses in Japan, Haiti, Chile, Thailand, etc. who failed to adequately hedge against natural disasters. A life hedge is a form of insurance for yourself and your family against the flock of black swans. While charity is nice I guarantee you that no one cares more about whether you are fed and comfortable than you do. With the current system unraveling it is important to prepare for survivalism in the suburbs as the veneer of order is extremely thin.

For example, if you had to take the last plane out of your city then (1) where would you go and (2) how would you maintain your standard of living?

In the Information Age the ability to have a ‘location independent’ lifestyle has becoming increasingly available to more people. By designing your lifestyle to be location independent and having multiple locations you frequent then you will be able to have continuity of lifestyle despite the tumultuous and unpredictable events, from natural disasters to political unrest from supply chain disruptions to currency collapse, that can and will occur during this transition from the Industrial to the Information Age.

When considering a life hedge there are a few elements to consider such as plentiful water, good sun exposure for gardening or photovoltaics, not on a flood plain, panoramic views, minimal noxious weeds, away from potential real estate developers, low housing costs, access to and ability to produce food, low population density, compatible neighbors, and many more.

Doug Casey has been preaching the end of the world for 30 years and with La Estancia being his pet project and personal life hedge he has made sure that La Estancia De Cafayate is an excellent well-rounded choice when it comes to its survival characteristics.


Who is John Galt?


Even if you never use La Estancia De Cafayate for its retreat value it will still add considerable utility via the golf, polo, wine and networking opportunities. At every event I have attended I have learned a tremendous amount from the others there. With so many successful, creative and productive people with a similar philosophical and practical outlook the environment is ripe for business opportunities. Since one has to be somewhere why not be around other successful, creative and productive people with whom you can plan and plot great business ideas and opportunities to accomplish?

The first time I visited La Estancia De Cafayate was in 2008. At the time I thought the probability of success was about 15%. Doug’s idea was rather crazy; raise a first class country club from the desert sand in the middle of nowhere and a thousand miles from the closest large city.

But after three years I would say the probability of success is now 100% because enough lots have been sold that the development has no debt and enough cash in the bank to finish all major projects. Additionally, this is the crown jewel of Salta and its success or failure reflects tremendously on Mr. Romero’s reputation. The clubhouse, many vineyards, roads, polo field and utilities are finished. The Health Club and Spa are under construction along with the incoming Grace Hotel and a regular flight from Salta to Cafayate.

So much of the initial risk with the development is gone. World conditions have continued to deteriorate which increases the attractiveness of this type of life hedge. Information technology makes it easier than ever to be in the middle of nowhere yet in the thick of it all when it comes to business or trading. The lots are selling at a quicker pace.

I think the probability of it selling out and becoming a very exclusive community which high powered individuals frequent on a regular basis has greatly increased which adds additional utility for those who may be seeking the opportunity for networking for business opportunities, etc. Plus, how does one put a value on having cool like-minded neighbors?


The fractional reserve banking and fiat currency conspiracy system failed in 2008. Only inertia coupled with quantitative easing is keeping the system from unraveling faster. But the effects of massive inflation are well known to result in shortages and rationing. World political and monetary authorities can print little colored coupons but that creates neither wealth nor food. Why are gold, silver, oil, and food rising so quickly?

The Federal Reserve’s insane monetary policies sustaining the unsustainable are going to cause tremendous problems. Food is going to become a lot more expensive and this will continue to feed political instability. The chaotic fingers of instability are getting even more unpredictable.

The financial crisis will lead to economic, social, political and geo-political crises of increasing intensity. The FRN$, the world reserve currency, will be the last layer to evaporate in the great credit contraction. So far the United States has largely been insulated from the effects of the financial crisis on daily life. But when the FRN$ currency crisis comes, hyperinflation being a form of deflation, the United States will be ground zero. Then things will get dicey real quick. You may want to know how to vanish.

Are you going to watch this mess on the Internet or out your front porch? La Estancia De Cafayate is well positioned should the more dire forecasts about Peak Oil or this worldwide financial crisis come to fruition. Even if the end of world does not happen it will still be a fun place to spend time and have a great batch of people to spend it with. After all, it is not so much where you go but who you go with.


How many more wake up calls does one need before they take action and secure a life hedge? Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Iceland, Greece, Portugal, Haiti, Japan, the FRN$ and so many others. When the time for performance has come the time for preparation has passed. I think La Estancia De Cafayate deserves serious consideration if you are looking for a life hedge and we would appreciate the opportunity to help you in that regard so feel free to contact us. For example, Bill Rounds is fluent in Spanish and can help with any legal documents.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Trace Mayer, J.D., author of The Great Credit Contraction holds a degree in Accounting, a law degree and studies the Austrian school of economics. He works as an entrepreneur, investor, journalist and monetary scientist. Follow him on Twitter. This is merely one article of 242 by .
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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Julie April 11, 2011 at 7:16 am

Looks absolutely like a picture perfect place to live….I am jealous!….

I am doubtful I could afford such a life hedge though….What is the least cost (ballpark figure price in US $’s) to build the smallest property on a lot?….

2 Al Falfa April 12, 2011 at 12:35 pm

The Estancia del Cafayate is in the freaking middle of NOWHERE. The province of Salta where it’s located is itself on the outer edge of civilization. You might as well move to Idaho.

If you want to live in Argentina you’d probably be much better off doing so in Buenos Aires province, whether it be capital federal or one of the coastal towns.

Better yet; DON’T COME AT ALL. We don’t need ****, ****, ****; **** here. Stay AWAY! Argentina is NOT ****-friendly. [Editor’s Note: Edited due to offensive and obscenity.]

3 stuart May 1, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Small world, I leave for Argentina in 7 days. We will spend a few days in Salta.

Trace, we met at a Meetup in San Diego a few years ago. I check out your website every so often and this was the lead story. Interesting timing.

Now, about that Silver price dropping 10% today…. =)

4 Trace Mayer, J.D. May 1, 2011 at 11:12 pm

It is a small world! Hope you enjoy Salta la linda. The silver price needs to correct to get the current price above the 200dma under control. Gold is still in a strong upleg though so I doubt silver will fall that much. It is a volatile though.

5 stuart June 29, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Salta was great and we took a day trip to Cafayate but as we were trying to make the best of available daylight I did not have the opportunity to track down La Estancia De Cafayate.

However, while in Mendoza we took a trip out to a real Estancia in the Andes. A place that was well off any marked roads requiring 30 minutes in a Toyota 4×4. Did some horseback riding in the foothills. It was amazing. Overall I very much enjoyed Argentina.

6 Trace Mayer, J.D. July 1, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Sounds like you had a lot of fun exploring. Mendoza is also a beautiful part of the country. If you ever get over to La Rioja it gets pretty sparse also … and hot!

7 Angela July 29, 2011 at 3:02 am

My husband and I visited La Estancia de Cafayate in March 2011 during the Wine Festival. We were impressed by the care and high quality of what had been established there. Beautiful avenues of different trees line the road to the Club House, the vineyards offered delicious malbac grapes to be picked and it was evident that the environment has been taken into consideration in everything that has been done. Casey, the architect and builders are to be congratulated on their work. But probably best of all were the people we met during our week in Cafayate. They were intelligent, thoughtful and debate on world issues was forthright and elucidating. We bought an erf and found it reasonably priced when we converted it into South African rands. We intend to visit La Estancia again next year and can hopefully coincide it with a Wine Festival so that we can once more experience meeting like-minded people from around the world.
It was mentioned in the article above that there was a flight between Salta and Cafayate. Is that correct?

8 John September 17, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Trace: During your visit to Cafayate, was the topic of volcanos and earthquakes ever discussed? I believe Salta was on the receiving end of a Chilean quake last year. It would make me nervous to be there when nature decided to rearrange the landscape.
Also, Al Falfa’s comment above, I can do without.

9 Trace Mayer, J.D. September 18, 2011 at 11:44 am

John, the volcano and earthquakes were discussed and do not seem to be much of a material threat for Salta or Cafayate. It is not really close enough to the fault lines for the whole city to be moved 8 feet like the one in Chile. But that is not to say something could not happen; the Andes mountains did not just get there without some violent geographic shifts but it did takes place over a long, long period of time. What has to be weighed is the gravity of risk and probability of occurrence. In Cafayate the economy is very resilient to this type of disaster and it does not pose much of a threat to the buildings; not like it is going to bring down 50 story sky scrapers, etc. Argentina does seem to be affected by the ash from Chilean volcanos though.

10 John November 27, 2011 at 11:32 am

Trace: Still have questions about power, sewage, water and internet access that perhaps you can elaborate on, having been there. Also, is each homestead responsible for disposal of trash/garbage, and how is that done. And is there a river or other body of water nearby subject to possible flooding?

11 Trace Mayer, J.D. November 29, 2011 at 6:58 am

John, I think the power, sewage and water are handled by the HOA. The producing vineyards generate revenue which helps offset part of these costs. The Internet is still a work in progress. Not sure what will ultimately happen there but I am sure the place will have fast and reliable Internet one of these days. The problem right now is the line from Salta to Cafayate.

12 Paul December 18, 2011 at 1:08 am

Who in their right mind would want to go and live in a remote community in a foreign country, hundreds of miles from any decent civilisation, and surrounded mainly by American ex-pats? To be honest it sounds like my idea of hell!

13 Federico December 29, 2011 at 11:17 am

Sorry paul, but it seems to be like you don´t know anything about Argentina or even South America. It´s a shame because I think you can´t imagine how the man do things like Estancia de Cafayate.

In Chile, you must visit Patagonia Virgin project. It´s like Cafayate but with a different orientation. You will enjoy it if you check it.

14 John December 31, 2011 at 10:50 am

Sorry Paul, but you’re also missing the self-preservation point here, which is that by its very distance from large population centers, Estancia Cafayate meets an important requirement for being an ideal Life Hedge destination. A Life Hedge is similar to a Bolt Hole, except it offers a high quality life style environment, where as a Bolt Hole could be a militia camp in the woods. So your question should be: Who in their right mind would want to be in the midst of a big city when the uncivilized hordes are marauding down your street hell-bent on surviving at your expense? If you have a family, they are going to ask you why you didn’t provide them with an escape plan, and you will not be able to look them in the eye because you chose instead to make a snide and uninformed comment on the blog that could have led you to a safe haven. Ask yourself, if you were able to get on the last flight out of Dodge, where would you go and what would you do? If you don’t have the answer, it means you don’t have a plan, and that means you are quite possibly doomed. It’s going to get very ugly when the entitlement money dries up.

FEDERICO: I checked out Patagonia project and it looks quite nice! Thanks…

15 Jana January 1, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Golf, wine, polo, cigars…it all sounds like a perfect place for a bachelor. As much as I love the place and the idea of having a home there, I wonder whether I would really fit in as a single mother with a young child? Is there an international school there? are there enough activities for young kids? Is there a state of art hospital close by?

16 Trace Mayer, J.D. January 2, 2012 at 11:25 pm

Interestingly last I heard I think the average age of lot buyers was 42 year old and quite a few have children. In a few years after it gets built up and more established I think it may turn out to be a great place to raise a family.

Bachelors will probably find it a little boring as there are more women in Buenos Aires, Brazil, Santiago, Punta del Este, NYC or London, etc.

17 Trace Mayer, J.D. January 2, 2012 at 11:36 pm

John, that Patagonia Virgin project sure looks nice. I have been to Bariloche a few times and that Los Lagos region is absolutely stunning. It is unfortunate that Arelauquen has not been very successful as it has been around about 10 years and sold only about 50% of its lots compared to the Estancia which has sold about 65% in 4 years. I think the landscape in Bariloche is superior to Cafayate but Cafayate’s weather is superior. I was in Bariloche in the middle of summer and it was freezing cold. For comparison think Tuscon with water versus northern Montana/Alberta. I like warm plus I can fly a plane in about 2.5 hours to the north Chile ocean where Ripcurl holds events.

18 Lucky Chucky March 18, 2012 at 3:42 am

Can you give me a ball park est. on what a 3 br 2 ba would cost in frn’s? I’m sell a house in what was the usa and need to know if it is in my price range.
Also, can au and ag and guns be shipped there?

19 Trace Mayer, J.D. March 19, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Lucky Chucky, a 3br/2ba would probably end up around $400-700,000 after land, construction, etc. It is a pretty high end luxury good. At most I would spend 3-6 months per year because I do like the big city, etc. It really depends what you want for your lifestyle design. Not sure if it would be exactly what you would want.

20 Lucky Chucky March 20, 2012 at 4:30 am

Trace, Thanks for answering half of my questions. I will look forward to getting the rest answered later. LC

21 Trace Mayer, J.D. March 21, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Guns are pretty strong in Argentinian culture as they do a lot of hunting and it is a big tourist draw; all the hunting in Bariloche. Argentina is NOT like UK, Australia, California or New York. As far as gold and silver goes I have not seen much of a presence of it there. Argentina means ‘Little Silver’. The Argentina government does make a mess with currency controls and monetary policy but for the most part the Argentine people just ignore the State.

22 Harry Ferrari November 8, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Are there projects like this in the US? There is plenty of open space in rural areas. After this last election a lot of people are probably looking for a Galt’s Gulch.

23 Trace Mayer, J.D. November 9, 2012 at 11:36 am

Why would you want Galt’s Gulch in the US? But really, Galt’s Gulch has moved to cipherspace.

24 Harry Ferrari November 28, 2012 at 8:54 am

Most people are not going to be able to move to another part of the globe. I had considered putting together a website, a “virtual” galts gulch to allow people to collaborate and prepare. I am not clear what the “cipherspace” is but I would think the government has there nose in everything online.

25 Trace Mayer, J.D. November 28, 2012 at 8:15 pm


Perhaps you should have clicked the link and watched the YouTube on Cipherspace.

Cipherspace is where many ‘virtual Galt’s Gulches’ exist. Unlike the communities traditionally associated with the word “anarchy”, in a crypto-anarchy arena like Cipherspace the government is not temporarily destroyed but permanently forbidden and permanently unnecessary. It’s a community where the threat of violence is impotent because violence is impossible, and violence is impossible because its participants cannot be linked to their true names or physical locations.

26 Harry Ferrari November 28, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Sorry Trace, I was not clear. I did watch the video but was not clear what I should do or where I should go. Thanks for responding.

27 Trace Mayer, J.D. November 29, 2012 at 9:44 pm


It really depends what you want to accomplish so really just beginning to understand the tools available and how to use them is a step in the right direction. To get some ideas of possibilities perhaps you should spend some time at the sister-site How To Vanish where we talk about all types of encryption tools like TrueCrypt, TOR, VPNs, Bitcoin, etc.

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