Regardless of your destination, there’s something to be said about escaping the city limits for the countryside; ditching the urban sprawl for a destination where the air is cleaner, life is peaceful, and you can find distance from crowded spaces and personal space invading strangers. It’s an opportunity to recharge your batteries, reconnect with nature, and uncover the hidden gems that lie just a short drive from the big smoke.
And this is especially true of Buenos Aires. The most European, most glamorous, most hedonistic city in South America, you don’t have to travel far to swap city life for gaucho culture, and it’s a short one hour drive before high rise hotels give way to estancias (elegant ranches) where travelers have the unique opportunity to experience the countryside.
Estancias are found all over Argentina, though as this would be our first estancia experience we chose to experience the best. A stay at Puesto Viejo Estancia truly encompasses an experience like no other, offering the ideal leisurely countryside break to unwind away from the city. Seamlessly blending historic ranch life with contemporary accommodation, Puesto Viejo Estancia is an idyllic luxury country escape located right on Buenos Aires’ doorstep.
Puesto Viejo Estancia: 5 Reasons to Organize a Stay
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Puesto Viejo is both an estancia and modern polo club, and no trip to Argentina is complete without this experience. There are many reasons to book a stay at an exceptional, countryside destination such as this, though the following are 5 highlights from our stay.
Share Argentina’s Love Affair With Polo
On arriving at Puesto Viejo, our first order of business was to partake in the Polo Day Experience which included our transfer from Buenos Aires. We would be learning the ins and outs of the sport which local children seem to master before they even learn to walk!
Polo is one of the most popular sports in Argentina. It is a sport of grace and nobility, and the chance to be taught by the best was quite the honor. We may have been comical talent-lacking beginners, but were made to feel comfortable with their show of patience, courtesy, and wonderful sense of humor which made the day a lot of fun.
In a short time we were actually mounted on horses and racing across the boarded pitch with an actual knowledge of what we were doing compliments of Julio, our incredible teacher. Riding alongside the club’s professional players was a fantastic opportunity to develop polo skills and play like an Argentine.
Pro Tip: While you can book to attend the day activities the club has to offer, we highly recommend combining the polo day with an overnight stay. Many polo day guests often make this selection last minute after participating in their polo day and falling in love with the beautiful Argentina pampas. The property is gorgeous and there is so much more to explore.
Polo Day includes welcome drinks and snacks, a delicious 3 course lunch including a traditional Argentine Asado and complementing Malbec wine, and use of the hotel’s infinity pool and bicycles. Learn more.
Exceptional Estancia Experience
After polo we were shown to our accommodation. The estancia offers 10 en-suite bedrooms, named after the owner’s favourite horses, all of which have been individually designed using antiques sourced from local markets to give a traditional feel.
Estancias play a huge part in Argentina’s culture, economy and history, and our stay at was a rare opportunity to stay as a guest and experience the unique gaucho culture in a tranquil and beautiful setting of untamed countryside.
Puesto Viejo means the “original post” and was the name given to the old building where the most trusted gaucho lived. There he was responsible for looking after the extremities of the original estancia. Combining old, rustic charm with modern day comfort, the location and experience are truly authentic.
The main part of the hotel was fully refurbished and extended over the winter of 2011. All rooms are complete with amenities, air conditioning, central heating, and wifi, with the elegant and historic buildings overlook vast expanses of countryside. The living room, complete with open fire, wifi and library, is the ideal place to relax after a day exploring the grounds.
It would be easy to spend multiple nights at the Estancia as they offer a multitude of activities including hot air ballooning, skeet shooting, horse riding, biking, and cooking lessons just to name a few.
Complimentary activities include the luxurious infinity pool which overlooks a polo pitch, as well as horse riding. The estancia will organize hacks for the complete beginners to have their first experience on a horse, with a tranquil, controlled stroll around the property. Or if you prefer a more fast paced canter, outside of the property, to relish in the argentine countryside and take in the pampas.
Guests have free access to bikes for an unlimited amount of time, and cycling is a fantastic way to explore the expansive property grounds. We took a cycle to the stables to warm up before jumping on our horses, and rode over to the club house to watch a professional polo match.
Estancias also are known for their excellent cooking, especially when it comes to barbeque, and in this regard, Puesto Viejo does not disappoint.
Our all inclusive stay included all meals which incorporated fruit, vegetables, herbs and meats bought locally. The 3-course lunches and dinners offer a variety of typical Argentine dishes, all of which are home cooked and absolutely delicious. Afternoon tea is served in the drawing room every day in front of the fire and bay window during the winter or outside under the trees during the summertime. It includes a range of specially blended teas, homemade cakes and soft drinks.
The dining experience is a communal setting where we had the opportunity to meet and share stories with other guests from all over the world. Breakfast was buffet style with fresh fruits and pastries, and the option of bacon and eggs.
Bird Lovers Paradise
Puesto Viejo could not have suited our love of wildlife any better as a diverse array of bird species call the estancia home. Chimango caracaras numbering in the dozens cried out overhead as our hosts greeted our arrival. Since 2003 Puesto Viejo Estancia has planted 5000 trees ranging from conifers, eucalyptus and willows and palo borrachos.
We took to hiking the grounds to photograph the birdlife and would come back with stunning images of owls, parakeets, lapwings, and much more. Neither of us expected such a wild natural setting so close to Buenos Aires.
Puesto Viejo Estancia & Polo Club lies just outside of the town of Cañuelas and only an hour outside downtown BA or 40 minutes from Ezeiza airport. Visit puestoviejoestancia.com.ar for more information or to book a stay.
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