Rider rounding up cattle in Uruguay

Expedition in the Rocha

On this trail ride, discover the hidden beauty of the Uruguayan lands and embrace the cultural traditions of the Gauchos. Ride across the most natural and beautifully diverse landscapes, exploring trails through grassy wetlands or enjoying gallops across endless beaches. Uncover the history of this magnificent country by stepping away from typical tourist hotspots. This riding holiday is perfectly suited to the more adventurous riders as you head back to basics and camp out under the stars.
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Trail Riding
10 days / 7 riding
From £1,795
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Itinerary

Highlights

- Discover the culture of the Uruguayan Gauchos
- Enjoy a ride on beautifully bred Criollo horses.
- Explore a variety of landscapes, from the grazing pampas on the estancias, to swamplands, coastal forests, sand dunes and beaches.
- Spot more than 400 species of birds (flamingos, herons, snow geese, black swans etc) plus the chance to see sea lions and dolphins.
- Experience exhilarating canters on pristine beaches.
  • Day 1 1: EUROPE - MONTEVIDEO

    There are no direct flights from the UK to Montevideo. Connect through a European hub city, or fly to Buenos Aires where you can take a ferry across the estuary to Montevideo.

    Your flight should land the following morning on time for your transfer from the Tres Cruces bus station at 09:00 am. If your flight plans do not match, then you need to arrive a day early.

    Flights are not included but can be booked upon request.
  • Day 2 2: MONTEVIDEO- BARRA DE VALIZAS- LOS MOROS - 2 hours riding

    Rocha camp
    Upon arrival at the airport, you will need to make your way to the Tres Cruces bus terminal where your guide will be waiting to take you on the public bus towards Barra de Valizas where you will start your 4-hour drive (meeting point is 9:00 am). We can also organise a minibus transfer from the airport at an additional cost (see dates and prices).

    On the road, you will be able to see the first of the large meadows where herds of cattle graze on the pasture lands, guided by gauchos on horseback.

    On arrival, you will meet your fellow travellers and team. After a spot of lunch, you will be ready to embark on your journey with the special Criollo horses. You start your riding adventure with a ride through the woods to a hidden lagoon. As you pass through Aguas Dulces, the nearest coastal village, you start the magnificent ride along the Endless Beach towards Los Moros. Here, you set up your camp beside the horses and prepare yourself for a night of dining by the fire under the clear Uruguayan sky.
  • Day 3 3: LOS MOROS- BLACK LAGOON- CERRO DE LA VIRGEN - 5 hours riding

    Rocha camp
    After breakfast, you ready the camp and prepare your horses for the day ahead. As you set off on an inland ride towards the Black Lagoon shores, you will pass through the Palm Tree Forest. With more than 7000 trees per hectare, this natural forest is particularly dense! A perfect spot for a picnic lunch and to laze in the shade of the large palm tree leaves whilst listening to the histories of the land. You continue your journey on horseback to reach the inky shores of the Black Lagoon, from which you will see the Cerro de la Virgen and its beautiful Higuerones forest. An idyllic place to camp whilst watching the sunset over the dark waters of the lake.
  • Day 4 4: CERRO DE LA VIRGEN- EL MIRADOR - 5 hours riding

    Rocha camp
    This morning, you will leave the Atlantic Coast behind you and pick up the pace where you will race across the high lands. You will be welcomed by the different species of Woodpeckers, Churrinches and Bandurrias, which are just some of the birds you are likely to spot along the way. In the afternoon you will arrive in the private reserve of El Mirador, located on one of the highest hills in the area. From there, you will have a breathtaking panorama view in which you can retrace the route you have so far taken. After a day in the saddle, set up your campsite close to the famous Tiger Cave, and hear your guide retell the legends and tales that are so famously known about this place.
  • Day 5 5 : EL MIRADOR- ESTANCIA TRES LUNAS - 4 hours riding

    Rocha camp
    The early risers will get to enjoy the spectacular sight of the sunset from the top of the hill. Another day on horseback where you will cross fertile farmers' lands, before stopping for a bite of homemade local food. You will picnic next to one of the oldest country houses in the area, with a marvellous view over the valley and the palm tree forest. In the afternoon, you arrive at Tres Lunas, a working Estancia where you have the opportunity to help the gauchos with cattle work. To celebrate your arrival, the gauchos will prepare a traditional asado lamb. After an exciting day ride, enjoy your evening under the starry night sky.
  • Day 6 6: ESTANCIA TRES LUNAS- ESTANCIA GAURDIA DEL MONTE - 6 hours riding

    Rocha camp
    A full-day ride awaits! After an early wake up call followed by breakfast, you will leave the comfort of your camp to explore the eucalyptus forests and rocky highlands. At midday, you arrive at La Barra Grande, a private reserve on the edge of the UNESCO Biosphere reserve Bañados del Este. After a very special lunch and some well-deserved rest, Mario, a local Gaucho will lead you through the wetlands bordering the Castillos Lagoon. It is home to more than 250 different species of resident and migratory birds, including Flamingos, the South American Screamer, Rhea and the beautiful black-necked swan. After a long day's ride, you set up camp next to Estancia Guardia del Monte, the oldest Estancia in the area. Take a step back into Colonial history to see how the Spanish military would guard the royal road that connected Montevideo and Rio Grande, both Spanish territories during this time.
  • Day 7 7: ESTANCIA GUARDIA DEL MONTE- LOS CHAJA - 5 to 6 hours riding

    The day begins with a special homemade breakfast watching the black-necked swans from the comfort of your camp. Here you begin your ride towards the Atlantic Coast. In the morning you will cross through the lands of old Estancias, prairies and wetlands before discovering the unique Ombu Forest. This distinctive setting is another opportunity to see an assortment of wildlife in their natural habitat. You might be lucky enough to spot the bright colours of the Pink Egret, the armour-like shell of the Armadillos, and the native mammals Capybaras. Through the ancient pasturelands bordering the beautiful Valizas river, the natural connection between the Castillos Lagoon and the Ocean, you arrive at Barra de Valizas. The sign at the entrance of the village reads "Simple and Natural", a perfect description of this legendary fishing village. A warm welcome into Los Chajà, the home of your guide, where you will enjoy dinner and a well deserved rest in the comforts of a bungalow.
  • Day 8 8: LOS CHAJA- CABO POLONIO- MONTEVIDEO - 4-5 hours riding

    Don Boutique hotel
    Your last day on horseback starts by crossing the horses through a small estuary, either by riding or boat depending on the tide to reach the Cabol Polonio National park. You will pick up the pace through the incredible shifting sand dunes that border the local fishing village- the only accessible way, making this small village even more fascinating. Lunch will be served at a traditional local restaurant where you get to taste fresh fish and paella. Take in the last of the scenery and pass through the pine forest to reach Valizas. If the weather conditions permit, you will enjoy your last moments swimming with the Criollo horses. Say goodbye to your horse and the wonderful team before taking a bus transfer to Montevideo. Arrival at the bus station and transfer to the hotel (taxi to your own account). Here you will stay over night in a hotel prebooked for you. If you would like to organise your own accommodation tonight, we will deduce the cost of the hotel from your invoice, please let us know in advance.
  • Day 9 9: MONTEVIDEO- EUROPE

    A relaxing day after a busy week. After breakfast, you will have the opportunity to visit Montevideo at your leisure. A last lunch in Uruguay (not included) before making your own way to the airport for your overnight flight to Europe.

    If you would like to continue your stay in Uruguay or South America, please contact us for any advice or assistance.

  • Day 10 10: EUROPE

    Arrival in Europe.

Dates & prices

Price details

- Flights to your destination (international/domestic) are not included, but can be booked on request - please contact us for rates.

- Rates are per person, based on two riders sharing a twin or double tent/room.

- Groups are composed of a minimum of 4 international riders and a maximum of 10 riders, plus guides.

- Please note: the ride will also confirm for 2 riders on payment of a supplement of c. $400/€360/£315 per person. Once the group has reached 4 people, we will remove this supplement from your invoice and refund you if you have already paid it.

- If you sign up to the ride as a solo rider and there are no other riders likely to share your room, you will be charged a single room supplement of approx. $100/€85/£75 during the ride, and $40/€30/£25 for the hotel night on the last day. You will then be reimbursed if a sharer is found for you at a later date.

- Transfers are included to/from the Tres Cruces bus station. You will need to organise your own transfers (public transportation around €10/£9 return, or taxi) from and to the airport, as well as from the station to your hotel on the last night. If your flight plans do not match the transfer times, we can organise a minibus from or to the airport at €410/£350 each way (up to 8 riders).

- Rider weight limit: 90kg / 14.1 st / 198 lbs. 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: approx. €360/£310 (up to 100kg)
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
Transfers to and from the Tres Cruces train station to the ride at set times

Accommodation

5 nights camping, 1 night bungalow, 1 night in a hotel in Montevideo

Meals

Full board from lunch D2 to lunch D8

Additional equipment

First aid kit

Price doesn't include

Meals

Beverages and personal extras
Meals outside of the ride

Transports

International flights
Airport local fees
Transfers between the airport and the Tres Cruces bus station
Transfer between the Tres Cruces station and the hotel on the last night
Transfer between the hotel and the airport on the last day

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.

Optional

Accommodation

Single room supplement

Transport

Airport transfers - outside of those stipulated in the itinerary
  • March - April 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    20/03/2021 29/03/2021 £1,795 Open Book now
    10/04/2021 19/04/2021 £1,795 Open Book now
  • May - June 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    01/05/2021 10/05/2021 £1,795 Open Book now
  • September - October 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    23/10/2021 01/11/2021 £1,795 Open Book now
  • November - December 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    13/11/2021 22/11/2021 £1,795 Open Book now

Equestrian info

Horses

On this trail you will ride Uruguayan Criollos and Criollo cross horses. 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. Your guide has bred and trained them from a young age on the estancia for working cattle. They are extremely well looked-after: your guide Mauro is a veterinarian and regularly checks the health and well-being of each horse. They are ideally suited to the terrain, and will give you a confident ride across the wetlands, high hills and dunes. Each estancia has its own herd consisting of around 20 horses, you will be paired with a horse that matches your riding abilities and preferences. They are well natured, and have great individual characters which you will get discover as the week goes on.

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

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: 90kg / 14.1 st / 198 lbs. 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 (please see dates and prices)

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 slower, 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 and help assist with general duties to care for your horse.

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.
For safety and hygiene, your own helmet is highly recommended.

Travel info

Comfort

Most of the nights are spent camping out: 5 nights in a 2-person tent with mattress and sleeping bag provided.
One night is spent in a bungalow, double room with private bathroom.
Your last night is in a hotel in Montevideo.

Single tents can be provided at an extra cost.

Meals

You will start your day with a breakfast of teas/coffee and local produce.
A picnic lunch consisting of a freshly made assortment of foods. Days 6 and 8 you will be dining at a restaurant where you can try the local fish.
After a full day in the saddle, you will be greeted by a lit campfire and a delicious local delicacy.
Water is provided during hikes and meals. If you wish to treat yourself to a glass of alcohol, you must inform your guide at the beginning of the trip so they can purchase it before the ride begins (any alcohol or supplementary drinks will be charged at your expense).

Climate

The weather in Uruguay is variable, but you can usually expect warm spring like temperatures with some rainfall. Although you might get some cooler days, particularly in the morning and at night, the average temperature in winter is usually between 10° and 16° C (June to September) whilst the summer time you can expect a lovely hot day with temperatures ranging from 21° to 28° C.

Guide and local team

Mauro is a veterinarian who has had years of experience training and caring for horses, his sister Macarena has been riding for over thirty years. They were joined by Laura a few years ago where she came from Italy and never left. Together, with the help of the local team of gauchos, you can be assured you are in the hands of a capable team. The team are extremely dedicated to the preservation of the environment and regularly participate in the census of marine animals and environmental care.

Tips

Whilst tipping rests entirely at your discretion, it is customary to leave a tip of around 10% if you are happy with your experience.

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

General information

- 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
- Sleeping bag liner

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.

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

Visa & Health

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.

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.

Voltage

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

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.

Telephone and jetlag

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