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Trail riding in Uruguay

Gauchos, pampas and oceans

10 days / 7 riding from £ 2,765

Riding levels

Each of our trips is assigned a minimum level of riding ability required. This reflects whether there is technical riding required; the terrain to be covered; the liveliness of the horses; the length of the riding days and the riding fitness required.




For novice riders, these riding holidays will give beginners the chance to get used to being in the saddle. In general, a beginner/ novice hasn't learned how to canter and has not yet mastered rising trot. They are able to mount safely and to control a horse at a walk. 



For intermediate riders who are at ease at 2 paces (walk and rising trot and are starting to canter in a forward seat) out in open countryside. The intermediate rider is able to mount and dismount their horse unassisted, use basic riding aids, ride at a rising trot for at least 10 minutes, to change and control the pace from a walk to a trot and comfortably canter over short distances.



For experienced riders who have mastered all 3 paces (walk, rising trot, canter in a forward seat) over uneven terrain. The experienced rider rides regularly, has a good seat and is confident of their own ability. They are able to control the horse at speed and change direction of their horse at any pace and in any circumstance as needed.



For advanced riders who have mastered all 4paces (walk, rising trot, canter gallop in a forward seat) over uneven terrain on all types of horses including those that are very spirited. The advanced rider rides regularly has good physical fitness, has good soft hands and has the ability to gallop for long stretches without getting tired.



For all riders, whether they are novices, intermediate level, experienced or advanced. Each rider will be allocated a horse that is suited to their ability. These riding holidays have a level of difficulty that can be adapted to the capabilities of each rider. For example: working with cattle on a ranch, dressage training, endurance training, natural horsemanship, trail riding orcentre based safaris.



For beginners and intermediate level riders. Each rider will be allocated a horse that is suited to their ability level. These riding holidays have a level of difficulty that can be adapted to the capability of each rider. For example: working with cattle on a ranch, dressage training, endurance ridingtraining natural horsemanship and centre based safaris.



For beginners, intermediate level  and experienced riders. Each rider will be allocated a horse that is suited to their ability level. These riding holidays have a level of difficulty that can be adapted to the capabilities of each rider. For example: working with cattle on a ranch, dressage training, endurance ridingtraining natural horsemanship and centre based safaris.



For intermediate level and experienced riders. Each rider will be allocated a horse that is suited to their ability level. These riding holidays have a level of difficulty that can be adapted to the capabilities of each rider. For example: working with cattle on a ranch, dressage training, long-distance ridingtraining,endurance ridingtraining natural horsemanship and centre based safaris.



For intermediate level, experiencedand advanced riders. Each rider will be allocated a horse that is suited to their ability level. These riding holidays have a level of difficulty that can be adapted to the capabilities of each rider. For example: working with cattle on a ranch, dressage training, long-distance ridingtrainingendurance ridingtraining natural horsemanship and centre based safaris.



For experiencedand advanced riders. Each rider will be allocated a horse that is suited to their ability level. These riding holidays have a level of difficulty that can be adapted to the capabilities of each rider. For example: working with cattle on a ranch, dressage training, long-distance ridingtraining,endurance ridingtraining natural horsemanship and centre based safaris.

Comfort

Each of our rides has been assigned an expected level of comfort

Nights in luxury or boutique accommodation. Rooms have private bathrooms. 

 

EQUUS JOURNEYS Fingerpost Cottage
Hopton Wafers
Shropshire, DY140NA. UK
Phone : +44 (0) 1905 388977
INFO@EQUUS-JOURNEYS.COM

Imprimer

URUGUAY-Gauchos, pampas and oceans

10 days / 7 riding from 2765£


Activity :

Level :

Comfort :

Join traditional gauchos on this trail ride through the nature reserves of Uruguay near Rocha. Spend your days either working on horseback on Uruguayan cattle estancias or exploring trails past emerald lagoons and onto deserted beaches for exhilarating canters.

Strengths

- Experience Uruguayan gaucho culture and stay in traditional estancias
- Variety of landscapes, from the grazing pampas on the estancias, to swamplands, coastal forests, sand dunes and beaches
- More than 400 species of birds (flamingoes, herons, snow geese, black swans etc) plus the chance to see sealions and dolphins
- Exhilarating canters on pristine beaches

Private rides can be arranged for groups of two or more between late February and April and from October to mid December.

Itinerary

Day 1: LONDON - MONTEVIDEO -

There are no direct flights from the UK to Montevideo. You can either fly via a European hub city such as Madrid, or fly to Buenos Aires and either fly or take a ferry across the estuary to Montevideo.

Day 2: MONTEVIDEO - No riding

Accommodation : HOTEL DON BOUTIQUE

You will be met on arrival at Carrasco International Airport and driven along the wonderful coastline called “Rambla” to your downtown hotel. After checking in, you explore the charming and quiet city of Montevideo - its museums, street markets, and friendly people- rythmed by the Rio de la Plata, Tango or Candombe music. You will enjoy your lunch at the market by the harbour. Dinner to your own account.

Overnight in the Don Boutique hotel or similar.

Day 3: MONTEVIDEO - LA CORONILLA - SAN MIGUEL - 3-4 hours riding

Accommodation : HOTEL FORTIN DE SAN MIGUEL

After breakfast you will be driven to the Brazilian border and into Rocha, arguably the most beautiful province in Uruguay with pristine beaches, emerald shores and a great network of lagoons. You will visit ‘Chuy', a very curious town straddling the border where you can step into Brazil and hear the locals speak a strange language consisting of a mix of Spanish and Portuguese. On arriving at your hotel, built in the same stone as the nearby Portuguese fortress, you can admire the views out across an enormous stretch of fresh water - one of the largest fresh water reserves in South America, the "Merín Lagoon".

After lunch you meet the gauchos and horses for an afternoon ride around the rolling hills of San Miguel, where there is a wonderful panoramic view of the area from the top of the boulder covered ‘Cerro Picudo'. The view across the flat lowlands and the huge lagoon provides a very different landscape to the following days' rides. This area is home to a wide variety of birds and many different native trees and bushes. You should also see the Cimarron cattle – the first cattle introduced to Uruguay by Spain in the 17th century.

You overnight at the “Fortín de San Miguel" Hotel with its gardens, swimming pool and relaxed atmosphere.

Day 4: SAN MIGUEL - BARRA DE CHUY BEACH - 3-4 hours riding

Accommodation : HOTEL PARQUE OCEANICO

After breakfast, you will be driven c. 5mins to the horses for your ride towards the coast. After a special picnic lunch, there is time for a pleasant “siesta” where you can try out your gaucho saddle as a pillow!

In the afternoon, there's a fast-paced ride along the wonderful, isolated ocean beach of ‘Barra Chuy'. Visitors seldom reach this beach so you can experience a long, exhilarating canter with no signs of habitation as you ride across the pure white sands alongside the Atlantic Ocean. You arrive 22km (12 miles) further south at "La Coronilla" and stay at small beachside hotel.

Day 5: CHUY - SANTA TERESA NATIONAL PARK - PUNTA DEL DIABLO - 6 hours riding

Accommodation : HOTEL TERRAZAS DE LA VIUDA

Today you ride south alternating beaches, sand dunes, pine forests and coastal hills from where you might be lucky enough to see dolphins feeding before arriving at the immense Santa Teresa National Park. The centre 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 3,000 hectares of forest containing over 2 million trees, most from other parts of the world.

After a picnic lunch you ride along the forest trails and down to the beach where you'll pass a shipwreck buried in the sand, one of many along this treacherous coast; indeed, Cabo Polonio (where you ride later in the week) is named after a Spanish galleon that sank 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 and most likely starting to formulate his theories of evolution. Continue riding along the coast towards the lovely town of Punta del Diablo.

Overnight in the posada Terrazas de la Viuda.

Day 6: PUNTO DEL DIABLO-VALIZAS - 6 hours riding

Accommodation : HOTEL POSADA VALIZAS

Today starts with a drive to the coast where you will meet your horses and ride into the desert! This area has been declared a natural animal reserve and a Biosphere Natural Reserve by UNESCO. You will ride to Cabo Polonio, a charming fishing village which can only be reached by horse or four wheeled drive. This area is fascinating due to its huge shifting sand dunes - as you ride through it is possible to imagine that you are in the middle of the Sahara.

After lunch at a typical restaurant on the beach you may 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 you may also spot a migrating whale. If you wish then you can swim here, on one of the most beautiful beaches in the country.

After this ride full of surprises and diverse scenery, you overnight at a lovely and charming working estancia in the area.

Day 7: VALIZAS - GUARDIA DEL MONTE - 5 hours riding

Accommodation : ESTANCIA GUARDIA DEL MONTE

Today you will experience a very different day from yesterday as you will ride inlands along a large area of marshlands teeming with bird life - more than 400 species- making for another very varied ride and giving you the chance to see the graceful black-necked swan (largest population in the world found here), the rare white goose and many ducks and other birds such as the largest bird in South America - the ‘ostrich-like' “ñandú” (American rhea). Otters, coypus and capybaras inhabit the marshlands and streams. At several points on the trip you should see the pink flamingo – a species of flamingo with very bright pink pigment which is quite common in Uruguay. Once in Guardia sel monte, you will be welcomed in an authentic working estancia.
Diner and overnight there.

Day 8: CATTLE AND SHEEP WORK ON THE ESTANCIA - 4-6 hours riding

Accommodation : ESTANCIA GUARDIA DEL MONTE

The day starts with a lovely breakfast of homemade bread, jams and cakes, admiring the views of the countryside. Today you will work alongside the gauchos and their trusty dogs as they tend to the cattle and sheep on this working ranch. The work varies depending on the time of the year, but the gauchos always welcome a bit of help 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, ‘bombachas' (riding trousers) and with 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. Their dogs are very much work animals and it is an amazing sight to see four dogs working in unison moving a herd of cattle. The dogs unfortunately cannot count and that gets very tricky for you, especially with the sheep - a recount is often required!

After lunch, ride to the nearby wetland area hoping to see some herons or other migrating birds. In the evening, you will experience a typical “cordero asado”, specially cooked for you by one of the gauchos!

Day 9: GUARDIA DEL MONTE - MONTEVIDEO - 2 hours riding

Depending on the timing of your flights, you should be able to enjoy a final morning ride through the eucalyptus forest and the grassland to say goodbye to your horses. After a quick lunch, you will be transferred back to Montevideo (about 2h30 car drive) – to the airport, port, the city, or to start an extension tour.

If departing Uruguay then your flight will likely depart in the early evening. Departure to Montevideo is usually scheduled around 14:00, arriving approximately at 17:00 - please do not book flights earlier than 19:00.

Day 10: UK -

Arrival back in London during the morning.


Price details

- International flights are not included

- The group is composed of a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 8 riders plus English speaking guide

- There is a small group supplement payable if the group is only 3 riders. This amount is c. £765 per person. Once the group is 4 riders or more the supplement is reimbursed (if already paid)

- There is a single supplement of c. £390 if you end up in a single room. If we find a sharer for you then we will refund the supplement to you

- Rider weight limit is 95kg. If you weigh more than 95kg then it may be possible to join the ride on payment of a supplement of c. £325 so that a second horse can be provided for you
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

PRICE INCLUDES

Support Team

1 English-speaking horse guide
1 local horse guide

Logistic

1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle per rider
1 support vehicle

Inland transports

Private bus
Airport transfers - your return flight should depart after 19:00

Accommodation

Double room in hotel standard 3/4*
Nights in hacienda

Meals

Full board from breakfast D2 to lunch D9

Additional equipment

First aid kit

Extra

Visit of Montevideo

OPTION

Accommodation

Single room supplement

PRICE DOESN'T INCLUDE

Meals

Beverages and personal extras
Free meals in Montevideo D2

Transports

International flights
Airport local fees
Private transfer from and to Airport - if you arrive outside of suggested times

Extra

Tips to local team
Small group supplement. For price list see above in prices details

Insurance

Cancellation and travel insurances are not included. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend to take out an insurance policy as soon as your travel is booked in case of cancellation.

TIPS

While tipping rests entirely at your discretion, it is customary to leave a tip of around 10%.

HORSES

You ride Criollo horses which have been bred and raised on the estancia's for working cattle. They are robust, independent and generous natured. You will ride a number of different horses during the week as each estancia has it's own herd. The horses are the local Uruguayan Criollo breed and criollo cross: ideally suited to the terrain. Criollo is the horse breed in Uruguay, Argentina and the south of Brazil. The breed was developed from horses that were brought from Spain in the 17th century and then bred in this region. Criollo is a strong horse with an excellent walk and good character.
Saddles are traditional and consist of a basic frame with a sheepskin on top for comfort. The horses respond to neck-reining.

MINIMUM RIDING ABILITY

You must be capable and comfortable in all paces. There are horses suitable for experienced riders and also gentle horses for more nervous riders.

Rider weight limit: 95 kgs. Heavier riders can join the ride if they are willing to pay a supplement (that will allow your guide to bring a second horse for you)

PACE

The pace is mixed to include canters and occasional gallops, but there will also be long stretches of walk. When working with cattle the pace is usually slow, but the rides along the beaches and on grassy stretches can be faster.

TACKING ABILITY AND PARTICIPATION

You will be asked to help tack and untack, groom the horses, etc.

TRIP CONDITIONS AND REQUESTED EXPERIENCE

During the ride every effort will be made to maintain the same set of horses throughout the whole tour. The intention is that then a rider can build a bond with their horse and enjoy not only the landscape and ride but also the company of their horse! The group will also be accompanied by one or more additional horses in case a change is needed.

EQUESTRIAN EQUIPMENT

Saddles used are ‘western' type with a sheep skin. The horses respond to neck reining (western ‘one-hand riding). Help will be given in adjusting to this tack which is very suitable for long days in the saddle.

COMFORT

During the trail you stay in working estancias which have been converted into comfortable guesthouses. Some are luxurious whereas others are more homely, but all are typical of the area. Some of the estancias have pools and/or saunas.

The first night is spent in a hotel in double, twin or triple rooms with private bathrooms.

CLIMAT

The weather in Uruguay is variable, but you can expect somewhat warm spring and autumn temperatures, although we might also get some cool days (especially early in the morning or at night) and perhaps some rainy days too. The average temperature at this time of year is 65 F, average lows are 54 F, and average highs are 74 F.

Meals

After a full day in the saddle, you will be greeted by fully prepared meals that reflect the local cuisine. All meals are prepared with natural and fresh regional products. The local red meat, fish and wine are highly recommended, but vegetarians can easily be catered for.

Please be careful with the water and always make sure it is drinkable.

Support Team

Guide and local team

Since 2000, our partner Paola has worked to surrounded her company with the best partners to create their non-traditional treks working with locals in charming inns, small boutique hotels and estancias. Your guiding team will be made up of English-speaking, knowledgable guides.

HORSE GUIDE

  • Paola PERELLI

Packing list

PACKING LIST
Head
- A riding helmet is compulsory and we recommend that you take your own to ensure a correct fit. Helmet makers (GPA, HKM, LAS Helmets, Lamicell, Troxel, Equithème) now offer horse-riding helmets that are ventilated, strong, light and comfortable. You also have the option of buying protective shells to go under your hats (Ranch & Rider, Lexington Safety Products) or western hat helmets (Troxel).
- Sunhat (indispensable)
- Sunglasses with high protection lenses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana for protecting your neck and face from the sun, wind or rain

Upper body
- Thermal underwear (t-shirts with long or short sleeves)
- T-shirts in cotton and long-sleeved shirts (to protect against the sun) or t-shirts made from rapid-dry material
- 1 lightweight fleece or jumper
- 1 lightweight waterproof jacket made from Gore-Tex or a similar material that is waterproof and breathable

Legs
- 2 pairs of lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- 1 change of riding trousers or jeans
- A swimming costume and a towel
- Non-irritant cotton or synthetic underwear

Hands and Feet
- 1 pair of comfortable riding or walking boots. We recommend short boots with half-chaps specifically for riding. We don't recommend taking your favorite leather boots in case they get damaged
- 1 pair of lightweight shoes or trainers for the evenings
- Several pairs of warm socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun whilst riding

Our Recommendations
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (camera, sunscreen, lip balm etc)
- A soothing cream may be useful to treat areas irritated by long hours in the saddle
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!

Other useful items
- Travel bag 60-80 liters (hold luggage)
- Travel bag 25-30 liters (cabin bag)
- Double saddlebags are available on request; Only iIn some places saddlebags are included
- Water bottle (1.5 liters or 2 equivalent) better 2 bottles of 0.5l
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Toiletries
- Protein or cereal bars for the longer stretches of riding
- Toilet paper and a lighter to burn it after use
- Swiss army knife or equivalent (in checking-in luggage!!)
- Small plastic bags for you rubbish
- Ear plugs (may be useful)
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- A pair of binoculars

Medical kit
Make sure any allergies (to medication or otherwise) and clearly stated in your medical kit
- Any medication you regularly take
- Painkillers
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhea medication
- Vitamin C tablets
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Eye drops
- Hydrating/ soothing cream
- Plasters
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc..
- 10cm wide bandage
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Re-hydration sachets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel

General information
- The airline allows only one bag to be checked-in per passenger. Make sure it weighs no more than the specified weight limit; if it exceeds this weight, you will have to pay excess luggage fees at check-in
- Hand luggage mustn't contain any sharp objects (knives, scissors, nail file or nail scissors, etc.) and the quantity of liquid allowed per passenger is limited to 100ml per container. Check with the airline for their imposed weight limits for hand/ hold luggage.
- If you wish to travel 'light' and wash your clothes throughout the ride, please bring with you laundry detergent that is biodegradable
- All waste that could be considered toxic (batteries, aerosols, batteries, empty cream tubes, film) needs to be kept with you and transported back to the UK, where recycling is done well and efficiently. Avoid, wherever possible, to bring with you unnecessary packaging

Equipment provided
- Group pharmacy
- 1 pair of medium saddlebags
- 3-man tent (sleeps 2)
- Foam mattress
- Duvet

In your hold luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant over 100 ml and all bottles can be decanted into small, clear, plastic Ziplock bags. We recommend biodegradable washing products where possible.
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
- In your hand luggage carry any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.

ENTRY FORMALITIES

To enter Uruguay, a passport valid for the duration of stay is required by all Australian, British, Canadian, USA and other EU nationals.
Visas:
Visas for Uruguay are not required by nationals referred to above for stays of up to three months.
Nationals not referred to above are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements for Uruguay.

Addresses of consulates

  • Paris | Ambassade d'Uruguay
    15, rue Le Sueur
    75116 PARIS
    Tél. : 01.45.00.81.37
    Fax :
    amburuguay.urugalia@fr.oleane.com
  • Ambassade de France en Uruguay
    Avenida Uruguay 853
    CC 290 Montevideo
    Tél. : +598 21705 0000
    Fax :
    cad.montevideo-amba@diplomatie.gouv.fr
  • Uruguayan embassy
    125 Kensington High Street
    W8 5SF London
    Tél. : 020 7937 4170
    Fax : 020 7376 0502

HEALTH

There are no vaccinations legally required to travel to Uruguay. There is one exception though. You need a yellow fever vaccination if you have travelled to a country (7 days or less before entering Uruguay) where that disease is widely prevalent.
It's a good thing to get your vaccinations in order before travelling to Uruguay. The general vaccination against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP) is recommended. Also a hepatitis A vaccination is recommended and vaccination against hepatitis B, rabies and typhoid are also sometimes recommended for stays longer than 3 months.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.

TELEPHONE AND JET LAG

The telephone dialling code is +598

Roaming agreements exist with some international mobile phone operators. Visitors should check with their service provider before travelling. Mobile phones and SIM cards can also be easily obtained locally and are usually a less expensive option, especially for longer stays. Coverage is good in urban areas and patchy elsewhere.

Time zone is GMT -3

BUDGET AND MONEY

The currency is the Uruguayan Peso (Ur$). Banknote values are five, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000. There are coins of 50 centavos, one, two, five and 10 pesos.

MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Diners Club are the most commonly used credit cards. All are widely accepted in major tourist and business destinations including Montevideo, Punta del Este and Colonia del Sacramento. In rural areas, it's best to carry cash as many businesses will not accept credit cards.

ATMs marked with the green Banred or blue Redbrou logo are reliable and available in all cities, as well as some smaller towns. These serve all major international banking networks, including Cirrus, Visa, MasterCard and Maestro.

VOLTAGE

220 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style round two-pin plugs and Australian-style flat, angled three-pin plugs are used

ACTIVITY :Trail Riding

LEVEL :Help

COMFORT :Help

Join traditional gauchos on this trail ride through the nature reserves of Uruguay near Rocha. Spend your days either working on horseback on Uruguayan cattle estancias or exploring trails past emerald lagoons and onto deserted beaches for exhilarating canters.

  • Riding with the gauchos
    Uruguay and gauchos
  • Beautiful beach rides... In good company!
    Discover Uruguay on horseback
  • Trail ride with the Uruguayan gauchos
    Gauchos and Uruguay on horseback
  • Bathing with the horses in the ocean
    Horseback riding trails in Uruguay
  • Riding in the tropical forest in Uruguay
    Horseback riding trails in Uruguay
  • Trail riding the Uruguay pampa
    Horseback riding trail in urugayan pampa
  • Uruguayan gauchos on the beach
    Horses on the beach in Uruguay
  • Sea lions enjoying the sun
    Uruguay and sea lions
  • Riders on the Uruguayan wild coast
    Horseback trail in Uruguay
  • Trail riding in Uruguay
    Horseback riding trails in Uruguay
  • Yummy! Enjoy the Uruguayan gastronomy after your ride
    Uruguayan gastronomy
  • Trail riding in Uruguay
    Horseback riding trails in Uruguay
  • On horseback in the dunes
    Horseback riding trails in Uruguay

STRENGTHS

- Experience Uruguayan gaucho culture and stay in traditional estancias
- Variety of landscapes, from the grazing pampas on the estancias, to swamplands, coastal forests, sand dunes and beaches
- More than 400 species of birds (flamingoes, herons, snow geese, black swans etc) plus the chance to see sealions and dolphins
- Exhilarating canters on pristine beaches

Private rides can be arranged for groups of two or more between late February and April and from October to mid December.

ITINERARY

Day 1: LONDON - MONTEVIDEO -

There are no direct flights from the UK to Montevideo. You can either fly via a European hub city such as Madrid, or fly to Buenos Aires and either fly or take a ferry across the estuary to Montevideo.

Day 2: MONTEVIDEO - No riding

Accommodation : HOTEL DON BOUTIQUE

You will be met on arrival at Carrasco International Airport and driven along the wonderful coastline called “Rambla” to your downtown hotel. After checking in, you explore the charming and quiet city of Montevideo - its museums, street markets, and friendly people- rythmed by the Rio de la Plata, Tango or Candombe music. You will enjoy your lunch at the market by the harbour. Dinner to your own account.

Overnight in the Don Boutique hotel or similar.

Day 3: MONTEVIDEO - LA CORONILLA - SAN MIGUEL - 3-4 hours riding

Accommodation : HOTEL FORTIN DE SAN MIGUEL

After breakfast you will be driven to the Brazilian border and into Rocha, arguably the most beautiful province in Uruguay with pristine beaches, emerald shores and a great network of lagoons. You will visit ‘Chuy', a very curious town straddling the border where you can step into Brazil and hear the locals speak a strange language consisting of a mix of Spanish and Portuguese. On arriving at your hotel, built in the same stone as the nearby Portuguese fortress, you can admire the views out across an enormous stretch of fresh water - one of the largest fresh water reserves in South America, the "Merín Lagoon".

After lunch you meet the gauchos and horses for an afternoon ride around the rolling hills of San Miguel, where there is a wonderful panoramic view of the area from the top of the boulder covered ‘Cerro Picudo'. The view across the flat lowlands and the huge lagoon provides a very different landscape to the following days' rides. This area is home to a wide variety of birds and many different native trees and bushes. You should also see the Cimarron cattle – the first cattle introduced to Uruguay by Spain in the 17th century.

You overnight at the “Fortín de San Miguel" Hotel with its gardens, swimming pool and relaxed atmosphere.

Day 4: SAN MIGUEL - BARRA DE CHUY BEACH - 3-4 hours riding

Accommodation : HOTEL PARQUE OCEANICO

After breakfast, you will be driven c. 5mins to the horses for your ride towards the coast. After a special picnic lunch, there is time for a pleasant “siesta” where you can try out your gaucho saddle as a pillow!

In the afternoon, there's a fast-paced ride along the wonderful, isolated ocean beach of ‘Barra Chuy'. Visitors seldom reach this beach so you can experience a long, exhilarating canter with no signs of habitation as you ride across the pure white sands alongside the Atlantic Ocean. You arrive 22km (12 miles) further south at "La Coronilla" and stay at small beachside hotel.

Day 5: CHUY - SANTA TERESA NATIONAL PARK - PUNTA DEL DIABLO - 6 hours riding

Accommodation : HOTEL TERRAZAS DE LA VIUDA

Today you ride south alternating beaches, sand dunes, pine forests and coastal hills from where you might be lucky enough to see dolphins feeding before arriving at the immense Santa Teresa National Park. The centre 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 3,000 hectares of forest containing over 2 million trees, most from other parts of the world.

After a picnic lunch you ride along the forest trails and down to the beach where you'll pass a shipwreck buried in the sand, one of many along this treacherous coast; indeed, Cabo Polonio (where you ride later in the week) is named after a Spanish galleon that sank 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 and most likely starting to formulate his theories of evolution. Continue riding along the coast towards the lovely town of Punta del Diablo.

Overnight in the posada Terrazas de la Viuda.

Day 6: PUNTO DEL DIABLO-VALIZAS - 6 hours riding

Accommodation : HOTEL POSADA VALIZAS

Today starts with a drive to the coast where you will meet your horses and ride into the desert! This area has been declared a natural animal reserve and a Biosphere Natural Reserve by UNESCO. You will ride to Cabo Polonio, a charming fishing village which can only be reached by horse or four wheeled drive. This area is fascinating due to its huge shifting sand dunes - as you ride through it is possible to imagine that you are in the middle of the Sahara.

After lunch at a typical restaurant on the beach you may 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 you may also spot a migrating whale. If you wish then you can swim here, on one of the most beautiful beaches in the country.

After this ride full of surprises and diverse scenery, you overnight at a lovely and charming working estancia in the area.

Day 7: VALIZAS - GUARDIA DEL MONTE - 5 hours riding

Accommodation : ESTANCIA GUARDIA DEL MONTE

Today you will experience a very different day from yesterday as you will ride inlands along a large area of marshlands teeming with bird life - more than 400 species- making for another very varied ride and giving you the chance to see the graceful black-necked swan (largest population in the world found here), the rare white goose and many ducks and other birds such as the largest bird in South America - the ‘ostrich-like' “ñandú” (American rhea). Otters, coypus and capybaras inhabit the marshlands and streams. At several points on the trip you should see the pink flamingo – a species of flamingo with very bright pink pigment which is quite common in Uruguay. Once in Guardia sel monte, you will be welcomed in an authentic working estancia.
Diner and overnight there.

Day 8: CATTLE AND SHEEP WORK ON THE ESTANCIA - 4-6 hours riding

Accommodation : ESTANCIA GUARDIA DEL MONTE

The day starts with a lovely breakfast of homemade bread, jams and cakes, admiring the views of the countryside. Today you will work alongside the gauchos and their trusty dogs as they tend to the cattle and sheep on this working ranch. The work varies depending on the time of the year, but the gauchos always welcome a bit of help 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, ‘bombachas' (riding trousers) and with 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. Their dogs are very much work animals and it is an amazing sight to see four dogs working in unison moving a herd of cattle. The dogs unfortunately cannot count and that gets very tricky for you, especially with the sheep - a recount is often required!

After lunch, ride to the nearby wetland area hoping to see some herons or other migrating birds. In the evening, you will experience a typical “cordero asado”, specially cooked for you by one of the gauchos!

Day 9: GUARDIA DEL MONTE - MONTEVIDEO - 2 hours riding

Depending on the timing of your flights, you should be able to enjoy a final morning ride through the eucalyptus forest and the grassland to say goodbye to your horses. After a quick lunch, you will be transferred back to Montevideo (about 2h30 car drive) – to the airport, port, the city, or to start an extension tour.

If departing Uruguay then your flight will likely depart in the early evening. Departure to Montevideo is usually scheduled around 14:00, arriving approximately at 17:00 - please do not book flights earlier than 19:00.

Day 10: UK -

Arrival back in London during the morning.

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YOUR ADVISOR

Did you know ? 

Discover gauchos

In Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, Tarija (Bolivia) and in Uruguay, the gaucho is one of the riding herdsmen of the South American pampas.

The gaucho culture was born in the flooded plains of the River Plata in the 18th century.

Since then, Uruguay shares with Argentina the romantic idea of the gaucho, as the emblematic rider of the pampa who embodies courage, honour and freedom.