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Cuba’s colonial gem

Gringo the Polo Star

by Mike

One of many highlights from my recent trip to Cuba was the colonial city of Trinidad . It is a wonderful place just to wander around and explore the maze of cobbled streets that link lively plazas and local markets. When even this seemed a little too energetic, I’d order a take-away mojito from one of the numerous street vendors and sit on the church steps and people watch to my heart’s content!

Founded by Diego Velazquez in 1514 and declared a World Heritage Site in 1988, Trinidad truly feels like stepping back in time. Isolated from the rest of Cuba for many years, the city experienced little developed so kept much of its original charm and lay-out. Today, the city has been wonderfully restored and has the feeling of an open-air museum. Many of the town’s finest buildings are testimony to the wealth of landowners who made their money from the Sugar Mills in the surrounding valley. I found a visit to these Sugar Mills both interesting and poignant. Many of the mills have observation towers that afford excellent views over the fertile plains that were once the centre of the global sugar cane industry. Their purpose, however, was to supervise and watch over the slaves that worked the land and was a timely reminder of the pain and suffering that much of Trinidad’s wealth was built upon.

I found Cuba to be unique, fascinating and thought-provoking and there was no better example than this colonial gem of a city.

Gringo the Polo Star

Gringo the Polo Star

by Julia

Mallet in hand, I griped the reins with one hand moving them up the horses neck, a signal for him to move forwards, at the same time as giving him a good kick. Gringo, my polo pony for the day, sprung into action and the chase was on. Darting and weaving past the other players, little white ball fever had well and truly gripped me, as we sped after the ball trying to get to it first. It was all set up, world class polo pony, other players who also had no idea what they were doing behind us, some of which had never ridden a horse before arriving on the Estancia, and the words of advice from Argentina’s Ladies Polo Playing champion ringing in my ears. As we neared the ball I lowered the mallet lined it up with the ball and swung, I heard the satisfying clunk as the mallet found its mark. Elation filled me as I turned to my team mates expecting to see happiness; I was met instead with cries of “Wrong way!” I had hit the ball towards our goal, but this meant the race was on again and Gringo knew just what to do as we wheeled round to line up the ball once again.

The Polo at Estancia Los Potreros, Córdoba Argentina was something I had been rather nervous about. As a horse rider in the past I had very much been looking forward to the visit to the estancia but having watched many a game of polo I knew how vicious and brutal it could be and wasn’t sure if my rather rusty horse riding skills would stand up to the challenge. However with the expert polo pony Gringo helping me, he even kicked the ball and moved back under me when I lent a bit too far, I was in safe hands. Instead of the terrifying experience I had thought it to be it became the highlight of my entire trip.

M/V Origin

Custom-designed for sustainability and comfort, the M/V Origin offers luxurious amenities while minimising its environmental impact. Up to 20 passengers can be accommodated in the 10 spacious and comfortable staterooms. The cabins boast large windows, private bathrooms and plenty of storage space. Relax on the spacious sundeck, which is equipped with day beds, chaises lounges, tables, hammocks, a four-person Jacuzzi, outdoor shower and a wet bar.

Hilary Davenport

Our newest member to the team, Hilary joined Distinctive to be immersed in her best-loved continent. Her interest in Latin American countries and culture steered her to studying Spanish in Chile. And now, amidst the Americas paperwork, we’re hoping she’ll fit in a few language lessons for the rest of us! Ojalá!

Wyndham Costa del Sol Trujillo

Enjoying a fantastic location, the Wyndham Costa del Sol Trujillo puts you a short drive away from historic sites like Chan Chan, Huaca del Sol y de la Luna, several cathedrals and the white sandy beaches & surf of Huanchaco. The 120 rooms boast tasteful décor, free WiFi and TVs. Facilities here include lush gardens, an outdoor pool, sundeck, sauna & massage services, hot tub, exercise room and a restaurant.

Aranwa Boutique Hotel

The Aranwa Boutique Hotel is an elegant hotel within a converted 16th Century mansion, declared a National Historic Landmark it has one of the best preserved façades in Cusco. The hotel has a nutritionist, hair salon, steam room, dry sauna and massage Space. It has 43 rooms and suites, each equipped with an intelligent oxygen system to help alleviate any stress on the body due to the high altitude.

Hotel de Autor

This is a stunning bright and airy hotel, it boasts a multitude of unique features, including some fantastic pieces of art. Hotel de Autor is located in mid Miraflores; between Parque Kennedy and Larcomar and walking distance to Barranco. The three suites feature an elegant and romantic decor.

Inkallpa Valle Sagrado

Inkallpa Valle Sagrado offers 24 spacious rooms, each with a balcony. Situated in the Sacred Valley,it is only a 15 minutes´ drive from the train station to Machu Picchu. Sama Restaurant offers international and vegetarian dishes which can be ordered for dinner.

Los Portales

Overlooking El Sol Avenue, with uninterrupted views of the sacred Koricancha Temple, this contemporary boutique hotel is only a few blocks from the Main Square. There are 46 rooms and four suites and all have Wi-Fi, electronic locks, minibar and room service. Facilities include a restaurant, lounge, laundry service and Spa.

Allpa Hotel & Suites

Found in the heart of the fashionable Miraflores district, putting you close to many of the city’s main attractions, Allpa Hotel & Suites is ideally located close to numerous restaurants, bars and cafes. The 38 spacious rooms are elegantly decorated.