Cañuelas, Argentina

Photo: Puesto Viejo
Photo: Puesto Viejo

Buenos Aires is one of your favorite cities in the world. You keep returning for the European-style architecture, the juicy steaks, and the addicting nightlife. But this time, you’re feeling quite adventurous. You’re ready to do more than shop, café hop, and attempt to tango. It’s time to take a day trip out of your comfort zone.

Cañuelas is only 60 miles southwest of downtown Buenos Aires—or just 25 minutes from Ezeiza International Airport—though it feels much farther. The little town is where dulce de leche, the addicting sweet caramel sauce, was invented at a local dairy in the early 19th century. Today, the gorgeous countryside is the home of Puesto Viejo Estancia, a well-known polo club where you’ll spend the day with the ponies.

You arrive to find endless green lawns, three polo fields, and traditional buildings at the polo club. More than 70 polo ponies—gorgeous, athletic horses—live in the stables. Both professionals and club members practice on the stick and ball grounds. While matches are held throughout the polo season, from September to May.

Photo: Puesto Viejo
Photo: Puesto Viejo

Get a feel for the horses by taking a tranquil horseback ride around the property when you arrive in the morning. Pass droopy willow and shady eucalyptus trees. Bright red churrinches (vermilion flycatchers) fly between the branches, and an owl silently stares from his perch. Then hang on tight when your horse breaks into a canter as the stables come into view. She knows her way home.

Back at the Polo Club, lunch has been set up outside under the trees. Eat homemade empanadas, bife de chorizo, and flan with that famous dulce de leche sauce. Between the three filling courses and the bottles of Malbec being passed around, you know this will be a long, lazy lunch. Hours later, you finally get the polo lesson you’ve been anticipating all day. It takes a while, but eventually you’re swinging the mallet and hitting the wooden ball like a pro. You’re almost ready to try swinging, hitting, and galloping—at the same time—tomorrow.

That’s right, tomorrow. You’ve enjoyed your day at the polo grounds so much that you’ve decided to stay overnight at the estancia’s boutique hotel. You have time to relax by the infinity pool, and enjoy tea and cake during afternoon tea by the drawing room’s fireplace before a traditional Argentinian supper. The adventure continues.

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