It begins unlike any other polo match you’ve ever seen, a Mayan priest signaling the start with the evocative call of the conch shell. The scent of sacred sage wafts through the well-dressed audience above the field, and the game begins. This is the El Rey Polo Country Club.
Polo was first introduced to Mexico by British miners during the 1880′s, and though this serene spot in the thickly jungled Yucatan seems an unlikely place for such a sport to thrive, El Rey Polo has become one of the region’s most popular equestrian attractions. Located just 41 kilometers (25 miles) from Cancun proper (and ten minutes from the beach), the field lies along the Ruta de los Cenotes close to Puerto Morelos. Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy a game.
Polo season runs from November through June, when Cancun is at its sunniest and most temperate. Travelers are invited to watch, play, take lessons from a pro, or simply relax in the luxurious clubhouse, modeled after a Mexican hacienda. With its elevated and air-conditioned viewing platform, complete with a good eatery and full bar, this is a finer place than you might expect to enjoy the quintessential gentleman’s sport.
The highlight of the season is the Copa del Rey International Polo Tournament, held since 2007, featuring top players from all over the globe. The event, held in late May, is a must among Cancun’s high society, and includes fashion show, cocktail parties, and other upscale events you might not expect to find in Mexico.
In addition to watching polo matches, guests are invited to take polo and jumping classes, play in polo games, take guided horseback and ATV treks through the rainforest, rent horses and participate in many other equestrian delights. The country club is also the centerpiece of a world-class resort development, with two clubhouses, eco-residences and bungalows, swimming pool, events space and a full-service spa.