- 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.
Day 1 1: EUROPE - MONTEVIDEOThere 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 2: MONTEVIDEO - No ridingDon Boutique hotelYou 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 lively Port Market by the harbour followed by a short walking tour of the "Old City" of Montevideo. Dinner to your own account.
Overnight in the Don Boutique hotel or similar.
Day 3 3: MONTEVIDEO - LA CORONILLA - SAN MIGUEL - 3-4 hours ridingFortin de San Miguel hotelAfter breakfast you will be driven into Rocha, arguably the most beautiful province in Uruguay with pristine beaches, emerald shores and a great network of lagoons. 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 overnight at the “Fortín de San Miguel" Hotel with its gardens, swimming pool and relaxed atmosphere.
Day 4 4: SAN MIGUEL - BARRA DE CHUY BEACH - 5-6 hours ridingParque Oceanico hotelAfter breakfast, you will be driven to the Brazilian border to 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. Hop on your horse for your 3-4h 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 5: CHUY - SANTA TERESA NATIONAL PARK - PUNTA DEL DIABLO - 6 hours ridingTerrazas de la Viuda hotelToday 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 6: PUNTO DEL DIABLO-VALIZAS - 6 hours ridingPosada Valizas hotelToday 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 will then begin your ride towards the small town of Valizas where you will enjoy dinner and spend the overnight at Posada Valizas.
Day 7 7: VALIZAS - GUARDIA DEL MONTE - 5 hours ridingEstancia Guardia del MonteAfter breakfast, you will ride along the beach of Valizas and to the hidden Brioso Lagoon to continue onto the wetlands of Rocha across an amazing untouched landscape of Palm groves. Enjoy a picnic lunch before reaching the Castillos lagoon and then continue onto the Ombu Forest and charming Estancia Guardia del Monte, a traditional working estancia. Accommodation and dinner at Guardia del Monte.
Day 8 8: AROUND GUARDIA DEL MONTE - 4-6 hours ridingEstancia Guardia del MonteThe day starts with a lovely breakfast of homemade bread, jams and cakes, admiring the views of the countryside. You will start your ride towards the neighbour estancia Barra Grande. In the saddle, you will cross wetlands and the forest of Ceibos, Coronillas and native trees. You will enjoy lunch a typical ¨Uruguayan asado¨ before riding back to Guardia del Monte where you will spend the night.
Day 9 9: GUARDIA DEL MONTE - MONTEVIDEO - 2 hours ridingMorning ride along the estancia's fields. There, you will have the chance to 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 and their knives tucked into their colourful belts all seem to have been born on a horse and it is a delight to be riding with them. Lunch will be had at Guardia del Monte before riding towards the small town of Castillos where we will visit a local “gaucho store”. Traditional bridles, typical riding “bombachas” (riding trousers), gaucho hats and colourful ponchos will be available to admire and buy! Say goodbye to the horses before heading back to Montevideo
Transfer 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.
Extensions are possible (Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Maldonado...). Please contact us for details.
Day 10 10: EUROPEArrival back home during the morning.
Dates & prices
- Flights or transportation 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 room during the ride.
- The group is composed of a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 8 riders plus English speaking guide
- Please note: the ride will also confirm for 3 riders on payment of a supplement of c. $850/£650/€720 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.
- Transfers are included. On the last day of the ride, departure to Montevideo is usually scheduled around 14:00, arriving approximately at 17:00. This means that riders leaving on the same day should not book flights earlier than 19:00.
- 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. $500/£385/€420. You will then be reimbursed if a sharer is found for you at a later date. Single rooms are limited on this trip to a maximum of 3 per ride, which means they will be allocated on a first served, first come basis. Please note that single rooms at Valizas have shared bathrooms.
- Rider weight limit is 95kg / 210 lbs / 15 st. If you weigh more than 95kg then it may be possible to join the ride on payment of a supplement of c. $350/£270/€300 so that a second horse can be provided for you
- Private groups of 4+ riders can request private dates from October to late April - please contact us.
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.
1 local horse guide
1 support vehicle
Nights in haciendas
Price doesn't include
Free meals in Montevideo
Airport local fees
Private transfer from and to Airport - if you arrive outside of suggested times
Small group supplement. For price list see above in prices details
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
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)
Tacking ability and participation
Trip conditions and Requested experience
The first night is spent in a hotel in double, twin or triple rooms with private bathrooms.
Please be careful with the water and always make sure it is drinkable.
Guide and local team
- 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
- 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
- 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
Other useful items
- 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
- Protein or cereal bars for the longer stretches of riding
- 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
Make sure any allergies (to medication or otherwise) and clearly stated in your medical kit
- Any medication you regularly take
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhea medication
- Vitamin C tablets
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Eye drops
- Hydrating/ soothing cream
- 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
- 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)
- 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!
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
- 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.
Visa & Health
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
Tél. : 01.45.00.81.37
- Ambassade de France en Uruguay
Avenida Uruguay 853
CC 290 Montevideo
Tél. : +598 21705 0000
- Uruguayan embassy
125 Kensington High Street
W8 5SF London
Tél. : 020 7937 4170
Fax : 020 7376 0502
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.
Budget and money
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
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
Did you know?
Did you know?
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.