Browse the Itinerary for this Ride
Montevideo – Tour of the capital city & Port Market
Today is set aside to relax and explore the city of Montevideo, a tranquil capital on the banks of the wide Rio de la Plate estuary, with beaches and the wonderful shoreline called the “Rambla”. Guests are met at the airport (or port) and driven to the downtown hotel. Enjoy lunch at the lively Port Market and a short walking tour of the “Old City” of Montevideo. Accommodation at Don Boutique Hotel or similar. (Dinner not included, restaurant recommendations can be made depending on your tastes. The guide will also help with changing money and anything else you need to arrange)
18th Century Fortin de San Miguel
After breakfast, you will be driven north-east almost to the Brazilian border-into Rocha, arguably the most beautiful province in Uruguay with pristine beaches, emerald shores and a great network of lagoons. The group will arrive to Estancia “La Rosada” located inland of the small beach resort of La Coronilla. After lunch, enjoy a wonderful ride on the estancia lands in order to get to know your horses and local tack (2hrs). After a typical “merienda”, we then ride off towards La Coronilla (1-2hrs) and continue by vehicle to Fortin de San Miguel (30 mins), on the border with Brazil. The hotel is built in the same stone as the nearby Portuguese fortress. We can admire the views out across the lowlands of Brazil, enjoy the swimming pool and relax in the gardens. Dinner and accommodation at “Fortín de San Miguel" Hotel.
Brazilian border– Along a pristine beach to the ocean
After breakfast, you will be driven to ‘Chuy’, a very curious town straddling the border where guests can step into Brazil and hear the locals speak a strange language made of a mix of Spanish and Portuguese. Continue on for a very short drive to join the horses to start the ride towards the coast!
After a picnic lunch, riders may have a pleasant “siesta” discovering that gauchos’ saddles are comfortable to sleep on! In the afternoon, you will enjoy a fast-pace ride along the wonderful, isolated ocean beach of ‘Barra Chuy’. Visitors seldom reach this beach so we can enjoy a long, exhilarating canters over firm sand on empty stretches of beach and splashing along the Atlantic coast. You will arrive 22km (14 miles) further south at "La Coronilla", (ride 4hrs) and stay at small beachside hotel with 2 outdoor pools, 1 indoor pool, a Jacuzzi and a whole ocean to laze in.
Santa Teresa National Park, - Dolphins and Shipwrecks
Today you will ride south, alternating beaches and pine forests and coastal hills where you might see dolphins feeding before arriving at the Santa Teresa National Park. The center piece of the park is a fort started in 1762 by the Portuguese to defend the edge of their territories then completed by the Spaniards who took it by assault just a year later. This was just the start of a succession of conquering, losing and reconquering the fort; it was not until 1825 that the newly forming ‘Uruguay’ finally captured and held the fort. The fort is surrounded by 3000 hectares of forest containing over 2 million trees, most from other parts of the world. After a picnic lunch the group will enjoy riding along the forest trails and down to the beach and will pass a shipwreck buried in the sand, one of many along this treacherous coast; indeed, Cabo Polonio (where you’ll ride later) is named after a Spanish galleon that went down just off the point. Luckily ‘Beagle’ with Charles Darwin aboard did not succumb to this fate and Darwin spent quite some time in Uruguay collecting species. After a traditional picnic close to the fortress or on the beach, depending on the weather, continue along the coast towards the lovely beach village of Punta del Diablo. Ride 5-6 hrs. Dinner and accommodation at Posada Terrazas de la Viuda.
Cabo Polonio – sand dunes & sea lions
The day starts with a drive south further along the coast. Meet the horses and ride into the desert! We ride through the area which has been declared a natural animal reserve and a Biosphere Natural Reserve by UNESCO to Cabo Polonio, a charming fishing which can only be reached by horse or four wheeled drive. The fascinating part of the area is the huge area of shifting sand dunes. Arriving at the village, guests can swim in the ocean and after lunch at a typical restaurant right on the beach you will see seals and sea lions that populate the small islands and make up one of the largest populations of seals in the world; very occasionally spectators spot a migrating whale (these whales and sea lions seasonally dependent). Continue the ride to Valizas, another village further along on the beach. Ride 5 ½ hrs. Dinner at Masa Madre Restaurant, a typical local “rancho valicero” where the chef will cook specially for the group. Accommodation at Posada Valizas.
Wetlands, Lagoon & Ombu Forest
After breakfast, the ride starts away from the beach towards the pastures. You will ride along the shores of Castillos Lagoon and across an amazing untouched landscape of Palm groves, Ombu forests and wetlands. The bands of palm trees are quite unexpected and it is disconcerting to see sheep grazing beneath them. The Ombu is a fascinating ‘tree’ and seldom grows in groups as it does here. You will enjoy a picnic lunch on the way before reaching the charming Estancia Guardia del Monte, a traditional working farm in an idyllic location close to the lagoon shores. 26km (17 mile) ride. Accommodation and dinner at Guardia del Monte.
Castillos & Barra Grande Estancia
The day starts with a lovely breakfast of homemade bread, jams and cakes, admiring the views of the countryside and across the lagoon.
You will ride towards the small town of Castillos where the group will visit a local “gaucho store”. Traditional bridles, typical riding “bombachas” (riding trousers), gaucho hats and colorful ponchos will be available to admire and buy! The leather boots always prove very popular, often with old car tires as soles. You will then continue onto Barra Grande Estancia where a delicious lunch will be waiting for us! Afternoon ride back to Guardia del Monte. 5-6 hours ride. Time for afternoon tea & to relax in the courtyard or in one of the hammocks before enjoying a typical “cordero asado”, cooked for us by one of the gauchos!
Cattle and sheep work with the gauchos on the estancia
Morning ride through the estancia’s fields (3-4 hours). You will have the chance to work alongside the gaucho and his trusty dogs tending to the cattle and sheep on this working ranch. The work varies depending on the time of the year, often involving checking and moving the stock or putting animals in the corrals. Sometimes a lame animal has to be caught and tended to. The wonderful, friendly gauchos with their berets and their knives tucked into their colorful belts all seem to have been born on a horse and it is a delight to be riding with them. Last chance to try the famous ‘mate’ drink served in a gourd and sipped through a silver ‘bombillo’. After a quick lunch, you will head back to Montevideo – to the airport, port, the city, or to start an extension tour.
Please note that the last day includes riding during the morning and a quick lunch. Departure to Montevideo is usually scheduled around 2pm, arriving approximately at 5pm. This means that riders leaving on the same day should not book flights earlier than 7pm. If necessary you can get to Montevideo airport/port earlier, but an extra charge will apply.
This itinerary if flexible and may be modified at the guide's discretion due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.