La Sofia Polo

More than one of our guests has referred to LA SOFIA as “Little Paradise”. With reason: it is a peaceful place, surrounded by open farmland in the heart of the Argentine Pampas, but just one hour from Buenos Aires. Founded and run by the owners themselves who, together with an attentive friendly team, will make you feel completely at home. The six “en suite” bedrooms are exquisitely decorated and the food, served out on the terrace or around the communal dining table, is delicious, combining traditional argentine and international cuisine. The club has 2 polofields, both with a sophisticated irrigation system. This guarantees first-class field conditions; no heat wave or drying period will stand in your way… there is always Polo to watch or to participate in. Even if you have never played polo before you can try your hand at some stick&ball and learn to play this fascinating sport. At LA SOFIA, all necessary polo gear will be provided: helmet, whip, polo sticks, etc. So all you have to bring are your riding boots, and you´re all set!

Estancia La Sofia offers rides out in the argentine Pampa, Polo clinics for everyone from complete beginners to advanced players needing some private coaching with Marcos Antin who is a Professional polo player and very experienced instructor.

First class horses of private personal breeding, two Polo fields with sophisticated irrigation system, a sand track for you to improve your riding abilities and polish your style. Horse riding and excursions on horseback, Riding classes, Polo tution and Polo exhibition matches.

Spanish colonial elegance, refinement and traditional-style accommodation are the hallmarks of LA SOFIA. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, the place set in the middle of peaceful countryside, far away from highways and any noise.There are lots of horses for all levels of play available. No excuse, therefore, for not getting onto a horse and enjoy a few rounds of polo!La Sofia is a working polo ranch. Guests will usually be able to watch practice polo matches, played regularly at La Sofia; and, especially during low season (Argentinian winter), the breaking of young horses (bred in our own stables), and training of new polo horses

POLO CLINICS For those who always wanted to try Polo or have just now got the urge, we offer your first POLO Taster EXPERIENCE. Classes are held by Marcos Antin himself.

INTENSIVE Polo programmes for novice and advanced players. For those of you who want to start up the game and progress or those who have already played but wish to take polo to the next step, we recommend one of the intensive polo weeks.

ARGENTINE PAMPAS trail riding (hacks): available year round. Take a break from polo or extend your trip to relax on these glorious rides across the vast expanse of the pampas. One hour rides to half- and full day excursions on HORSEBACK. These are individual programmes tailored to the wishes of the guests, with picnic (breakfast or afternoon tea) and/or lunch (asado) on the way. You will ride across open farmland and through typical villages of the area, with their traditional churches and old train stations. NON-riders: you can accompany the excursion comfortably on the horse-drawn carriage.

THE POLO DAY Training in the mornings, playing chukkas (real games of polo!) in the afternoons.After a good breakfast, the morning is generally spent practising “stick & ball”. Upon demand, you may also have riding and polo classes, either practicing on the horse on the green field, on the sand track, or sitting down reviewing the theory.
In the afternoon, we play games of 4 to 6 chukkas.

POLO TOURS - for experienced players.We also offer polo tours in the area. During these, you will have the opportunity to play in numerous other clubs in the surrounding area. This way, you will observe and be exposed to other polo clubs and play against different teams with different levels of play, The tours are always great fun!

A typical day at the Estancia. Eat a real argentine Asado (open barbeque), surrounded by open farmland in a traditional atmosphere. Accompanied by excellent Argentine wines from La Sofia’s private cellar, and followed by delicious home made desserts, your Asado marries historic customs and modern comfort. After lunch, rest by the swimming pool or in the shade of the trees in the park. Towels are provided and there is bar service available in the pool house. Naturally, there are a variety of horses for riding around the estancia or out in the surrounding countryside. For afternoon tea La Sofia lays out a magnificent sweet and savoury spread, with tea, coffee, cold drinks and a variety of homemade cakes, pastries, sandwiches and snacks.

Accomodation and facilities

Full board (four daily meals) , 5 “en suite” bedrooms, Swimming pool, deck and pool bar, Dining and Living room with lovely open fireplace (roaring and welcoming from dawn to late, in Winter), Terrace and balcony with outstanding views overlooking the polo fields, Library, TV, Internet WIFI, massages.

Other Activities

Promenades in old horse-drawn carriages, boules, croquet - all at the Estancia. Relax by the pool! Golf and tenis – there is a golf course and tennis courts just 15 minutes away.

Visits to Buenos Aires can be arranged - just one hour´s drive (103 Km) for shopping or cultural tours or spend a nice afternoon shopping or visiting the museums and cafes at the nearby San Antonio de Areco – the most traditional place in Argentina with its renowned museums and traditional arts and crafts (silversmiths, leather goods, musicians, painters, etc).

Also, just a few kilometres from the Estancia is a charming small little town named San Andres de Giles. Pilar is also a nice destination for shopping.

A personal view from one of our clients:

A visit to La Sofia was part of an extended trip to South America by my sister and I. It turned out to be the most unforgettable. We cannot praise the owners Marcos and Silke enough. We stayed 4 days and had the most exhilerating experience to date. Marcos provided a professional and extremely fun environment for us to learn polo. Despite the difference in our riding skills (mine non-existent!!) we both felt we had achieved far more than we could ever have imagined. They both made us feel very welcome in their fabulous home. The food was excellent, the company great and when not playing polo there were plenty of opportunities to watch and photograph the birds and hares that frequented the grounds around the house, go for a hack or walk or just relax in front of the log fire. The 3 dogs ensured you never went for a walk alone. Even the cat provided us with entertainment by playing football with us!! The weather was kind to us being sunny even though it was the winter season. For 3 of the 4 days we were the only guests there which turned to our advantage as the daily agenda became very flexible. We took the opportunity to do some retail therapy around the silversmiths of the nearby town of San Antonio de Areca - be warned - too many nice things - take plenty of money!!

Just one thing unfulfilled - as it was winter the polo circuit was in Europe and we missed the chance to watch the Pros in action. Next time mayhaps??

Heartfelt thanks to Marcos and Silke for their first class hospitality and fun company. It was a privilege to meet both you and your family.

With such a varied programme of activities on offer and at all levels there is something for everyone at this extraordinary estancia. The whole package is very professional and homely at the same time. So what are you waiting for .... ?? Get it booked!!!

Susan Bean - Glossop - UK

Lynn Willis - Shelley - UK

And another report from Emma in Jersey:

In Argentina horses and polo are embedded in the history and culture of the country and seem to be a natural part of everyones lives. Against the backdrop of wide open blue skies in the pampas these holidays offer close encounters with the real “world of the gaucho”, where polo is a way of life that spans all ages and social groups and underpins the rural economy. This is a refreshing contrast to the elitist image that it has in european countries.

A stay in an estancia offers a close up view of this life and the opportunity to either hone your skills if you are a polo player or try out a whole new riding experience if not. Many of these properties are family homes with a long history which owners are proud to relate over long sociable evening meals. Whilst staying in small privately owned estancias provides a very authentic experience of polo, the level of hospitality and standard of comfort provided makes it restful and relaxing at the same time. These places are intimate and friendly as they are family homes, but you are provided with the surroundings and hospitality to make you feel properly looked after and pampered.All levels of riding ability are catered for and in many places there is the opportunity to take gentle rides out in the pampas gaucho style (horses always abreast rather than in line!) as well as to take polo instruction. However once you have stood in the stirrups, turned with arm out stretched and swung the stick through making contact with the ball you can be hooked on this game, and charging up and down the pitch with a few other friends and fellow enthusiasts is all you will want to do. It is great fun and the horses are amazingly talented and patient with learners so it really is possible to have a go even for a relatively inexperienced rider.A great way to have a relaxing holiday, explore an exciting and beautiful country, spend some time doing an exhilarating and fun activity and return home with a new skill.

Details of the accommodation:

THE PATRON´S SUITE and THE POLO SUITE are located in the second house, adjacent to the main house. Both are spacious rooms (40 to 50m2) with kingsized beds, fireplaces, beautiful bathrooms with bathtub and a separate shower, equipped with a full set exclusively designed, high quality amenities, and access to a private terrace. Together, the two rooms are ideal for a family since they are connected by a shared living room with TV and a private library.

THE OLD ROOM, located in the main house, is one of the orginal rooms of the completely renovated house and dates from the beginning of the 19th century. As the other two superior category rooms it is spacious and boasts a king-sized bed, private fireplace, a comfortable bathroom with bathtub, separate shower, and a full set of amenities. The room also has private access to one of the terraces.

THE BIRDSUITE and THE TOWER SUITE are standard category rooms also located in the main house. Both rooms have double beds, private bathrooms, and other amenities. THE BIRD SUITE, on the second floor, has a romantic balcony overlooking the garden and polofields. Families with children are advised to reserve the superior category rooms, as extra beds cannot comfortably be added to the Bird or Tower Suites.

All rooms of La Sofia are non-smoking and the management of the fireplaces is limited to the staff. All prices are subject to change.

Minimum/maximum age: 7 years old to 70 !

Getting there:

Fly to Buenos Aires (www.travelocity.com for flight information and best deals) then we will organise a private transfer to take you down to the Estancia. Flights are not included.

TRANSFER to La Sofia (from Buenos Aires city and its airports) by private car, up to 3 people per car

- From B.A. CITY or the airport to La Sofia (1h15): Approx £32 or $50 USD each car (not per person) per way. Price is paid to the driver directly.

Best time to visit:

Anytime ! La Sofia is open all year and particularly welcomes riders new to polo during the winter months (June to August) when it is lovely and sunny during the day (shirt-sleeves) but cool in the evenings. During the polo season, November, December and January, things are busy on the tournament calender and polo takes place early morning and at sunset so that you can rest with a siesta or lie by the pool during the heat of the day.

What to bring:

For hacking and for polo you only need to bring a pair of riding boots. Everything else will be provided.

Sight-seeing extensions

Why not combine a polo course with a few days in the capital or a few days touring to other parts of Argentina. We can organise this for you, whether you would like to visit Salto or another region, visit the famous Iguassu waterfalls, or visit Patagonia and the south. You could also combine a polo course with riding in another part of Argentina and participate in an 'Estancia to Estancia' ride.

VERY IMPORTANT and to be taken into account for any Polo programmes:

- Please note that LA SOFIA is not obliged to refund any amounts for eventual reductions in the scheduled polo training programme due to “last minute changes” or individual fitness (lack of fitness).

-Certain weather conditions (heavy rain) might delay or shorten a training programme (worst case!). La Sofia cannot take any responsibilities for such weather conditions and is not obliged for any refunds due to extraordinary weather conditions.

At La Sofia we always will do our best to fullfill a scheduled programme.

-Any guest training at La Sofia is asked to become a temporary member of La Sofia Polo Club and the AAP (Argentinian Polo Association) which includes an insurance for eventual accidents (fee of US$ 100, or about £60 paid directly on arrival).