Unforgettable Uruguay

Uruguay Uruguay: (IT-URRT04)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/Uruguay_Unforgettable_Uruguay.aspx

Uruguay Uruguay
Wonderfully tranquil and relatively unexplored, Uruguay offers a diverse landscape of sandy beaches, colonial towns, coastal reserves, grassy plains and cattle ranches.

This 12-day ride gives you the opportunity to explore 3 different areas. You will start with the exploration of the fishing village of Jose Ignacio, now arguably one of the most chic places in South America, and then continues to the beautiful province of Rocha, famous for its pristine white sand beaches, azure shores and lagoons. The trip ends with an inland excursion to the beautiful guest estancia Balcon del Abra, located in the true Uruguayan countryside.

This tour is designed for intermediate riders looking at a fast-paces ride across grassy pastures and sandy beaches. You will ride three different sets of horses during the trail. All horses are local Uruguayan Criollos and Criollo crosses which are ideally suited to the terrain.


This is a progressive ride, so you will be staying in different locations during the trip.

The accommodations provided in this program include interesting and charming seaside hotels and ranches available in the areas we visit, all of which include private bathrooms (except Posada Valizas where, depending on group size, clients may have to share bathroom). Accommodations are clean, comfortable, and provide very good service. You will be able to get good night’s sleep in the pleasant surroundings. If you are sharing your room, please let us know in advance if you prefer twin or double beds. 

There is access to laundry facilities during this trip for an extra fee.

Night 1: Don Boutique Hotel in Montevideo
This charming boutique hotel is located only a 5-minute walk from the beach and features an art deco architecture with modern interiors. Each room is unique and all include free high-speed Wi-Fi, LED TV´s, air conditioning, mini-bar, phone, safe box and a private bathroom. The hotel also has a panoramic rooftop with amazing views of the city and an outdoor pool.

Night 2: Chacra La Magdalena
This Chacra (Uruguayan farm) can accommodate up to 24 guests in bungalows or small houses, set in the beautiful and relaxing Uruguayan countryside. The accommodations are simply decorated with local crafts. The Chacra has air conditioning/heating, a fireplace, Wi-Fi access, a TV and a washing machine.

Nights 3 & 4: Posada Terrazas de la Viuda in Punta del Diablo
This accommodation is located only 50 meters away from Punta del Diablo’s beach. Rooms are simple and brightly decorated, featuring large windows, a TV, small fridge, coffee machine, A/C and a private bathroom. There is free Wi-Fi available in public areas and an outdoor swimming pool.

Night 5: Hotel Parque Oceánico in La Coronilla
This hotel is set amongst a beautiful park with elegant palm trees, just on the outskirts of La Coronilla, facing the Atlantic Ocean. The rooms are all air-conditioned and heated, depending on the season. Each room is equipped with wireless internet access, a TV and a private bathroom. Guests are welcome to walk in the garden or go for a swim in the indoor or outdoor swimming pool.

Night 6: Posada La Viuda de Jose Ignacio
This posada is located close to the beach and offers a quiet setting with comfortable accommodations. All rooms are air-conditioned and equipped with a TV and a private bathroom. The posada also has a garden and an outdoor swimming pool.

Night 7: Posada Valizas in Rocha
This small coastal accommodation only has 6 guestrooms (2 of which with ensuite bathrooms) that are simply decorated and comfortable at the same time. There is a common area where guest are welcome to play board games or read a book. The property also has a lovely garden and an outdoor swimming pool. WiFi is available in all areas and is free of charge.

Nights 8: Estancia Guardia del Monte in Castillos
This estancia offers simple accommodations, in a charming building made out of stoned walls and surrounded by nature. The estancia is decorated with local objects that each tells a story. There is a big common area where guests can relax by the wood stoves. Each bedroom has a private bathroom and Wi-Fi is available.

Nights 9, 10 & 11: Balcon del Abra

Nestled among green rolling hills the Posada de Campo el Balcon del Abra provides comfortable accommodations.  Inside the hotel, guests will find a hearty welcome and a warm and cozy ambience.   The rooms feature wood stoves, sofas and private bathrooms.  There is also a common room where guests can surf the internet, watch TV or simply enjoy the view of the surrounding garden.

Room Occupancy
If you attend as a single rider willing to share but we are unable to find another rider to share, the single supplement fee applies.

All meals are included on this trip, except for dinner in Montevideo on the first day.
After a full day riding, it is comforting to know that you can return to fully prepared meals that reflect the local cuisine. All meals are prepared with completely natural and fresh products of the region. Red meat, fish and wine are specially recommended. All breakfasts and dinners are eaten at the accommodations where we spent the night. Lunches are picnic-style and out on horseback.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to all dietary restrictions with advanced notice.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.


Riding Experience
We can accommodate all levels (from someone who has been on a horse but who does not necessarily feel comfortable at all paces to advanced) of riding for this trip and adjust the itinerary as need-be. Groups can be separated based on riding levels. We ride between 3-6 hours per day, which can also be adjusted.

During our rides we work very hard to maintain the same set of horses throughout the whole tour. Our intention is that riders can actually build a bond with their horse and enjoy not only the landscape and ride but also the company of their horse. Depending on the size of the group, one or more spare horses will accompany us in case a change is needed. The horses are the local Uruguayan Criollo breed and criollo cross, ideally suited to the terrain.

We use local, ‘western’ type saddle with a sheepskin. 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. 

In case of accident, our guides will always carry a mobile phone, which they will use to contact local assistance. All of the towns along our route count on a medical emergency service.

Weight Restrictions
If your weight is more than 95 kilos (~210lbs) there is a surcharge so we can take an extra horse - so the weight is not too demanding for one horse.

Non-riders are welcome on this trip. Non-riding activities include sight-seeing, hiking, fishing, surfing, biking, trekking, canoeing and bird watching.


Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Day 1: Montevideo – Tour of the capital city & Port Market
Today is set aside to relax and explore the coastal city of Montevideo. Transfer along the wonderful coastline called “Rambla” 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. L.

Day 2: Ride to the Atchugarry Foundation
After breakfast, we will drive to our horses and ride to the Atchugarry Foundation founded by Pablo Atchugarry, renowned Uruguayan artist. We will ride along private trails, bordering local estancias and studs until we get to the “Sculpture Park” and exhibition Centre. Enjoy a picnic lunch and then continue riding onto the vineyards of Aguaverde. Late afternoon ride to Chacra La Magdalena. Dinner and Accommodation. B, L, D  

Day 3: Riding trek to Jose Ignacio
After breakfast, ride along the beach towards the isolated beach of “La Boyita”. Experience the freedom of cantering along the coast before arriving to the town on Jose Ignacio. Enjoy lunch in the town and continue riding along the beach to La Viuda de Jose Ignacio. Accommodation. B, L.

Day 4: Swimming with horses
After an early breakfast, drive to the area of Laguna Garzon where we will ride along the Garzon Lagoon and into the Protected area of “El Caracol” where we will enjoy a typical asado in the middle of the forest! We will then ride towards “La Lengueta”, where the Garzon Lagoon reaches the ocean! For the adventurous ones, we offer the possibility to swim with the horses at the lagoon before continuing to Posada La Viuda de Jose Ignacio. Accommodation at Posada La Viuda de Jose Ignacio. We will enjoy dinner at the town of Jose Ignacio. B, L, D.

Day 5: Barra de Chuy beach – Brazilian border & a ride along a pristine beach
After breakfast, we will be drive 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 onto our horses to start a nice 3-4 hours ride towards the coast! After a picnic lunch, riders may have a pleasant “siesta” discovering that gauchos’ saddles are so comfortable to ride as to sleep! In the afternoon, we 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 canter with no signs of habitation as we ride across the pure white sands alongside the Atlantic Ocean. We arrive 22km (12 miles) further south to "La Coronilla" and stay at small beachside hotel. AB, L, D.

Day 6: Santa Teresa national park, dolphins & shipwrecks
Today we will ride south alternating beaches, sand dunes, pine forests and coastal hills where we might see dolphins feeding before getting to the immense 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 we will enjoy riding along the forest trails and down to the beach and we will pass a shipwreck buried in the sand, one of many along this treacherous coast; indeed, Cabo Polonio (where we 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 and most likely starting to formulate his theories of evolution. After a traditional picnic close to the fortress or on the beach, depending on the weather, we will continue along the coast towards the lovely town of Punta del Diablo. Dinner and accommodation at Posada Terrazas de la Viuda. AB, L, D.

Day 7:  Cabo Polonio – shifting sands & sea lions
The day starts with a drive to the ocean coast where we will ride into the desert! This area has been declared a natural animal reserve and a Biosphere Natural Reserve by UNESCO. We will ride to Cabo Polonio, a charming fishing village which can only be reached by horse or SUV trucks. The fascinating part of the area is the huge area of shifting sand dunes, as we ride through it is possible to imagine that we are right in the middle of the Sahara. Lunch at La Perla Seaside restaurant and visit to the light house, the seals and sea lions that populate the small islands and make up one of the largest populations of seals in the world; very occasionally we spot a migrating whale. Riders can swim in one of the most beautiful beaches of the country. We will then begin our ride towards the small town of Valizas where we will enjoy dinner and spend the overnight at Posada Valizas. AB, L, D.

Day 8: Wetlands, Lagoon & Ombu Forest
After breakfast, we 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. We will enjoy a picnic lunch on the way 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. B, L, D.

Day 9: The incredible wetlands of the Castillos Lagoon
The day starts with a lovely breakfast of homemade bread, jams and cakes, admiring the views of the countryside. We will start our ride towards the neighbour estancia Barra Grande. We will cross wetlands and a magic forest of Ceibos, Coronillas and native trees. We will enjoy lunch a tyipical ¨Uruguayan asado¨ before riding back to Guardia del Monte. Afternoon ride along the estancia´s fields. We 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 colorful belts all seem to have been born on a horse and it is a delight to be riding with them. Aftrenoon transfer to the Province of Lavalleja where we will enjoy dinner and accommodation at Posada Balcon del Abra.  B, L, D.

Day 10: Balcon del Abra
After breakfast, we will meet our new horses and ride towards a nearby estancia where we will see local cattle and a stud. The landscape is very beautiful and we will go through one way and return through another one. We will enjoy lunch at Balcon del Abra. During the afternoon, we will ride to the “Mar de Piedra” where they will enjoy a long lovely ride along the hills. Dinner and accommodation at Balcon del Abra. B, L, D.

Day 11: Riding to local private cemetery  
The day starts with an early ride towards a local neighbor estancia where we will pass by an abandoned private cemetery and return along a different trail back to Balcon del Abra. Lunch and afternoon ride along the countryside enjoying the landscape of the hills. Dinner and accommodation at Balcon del Abra. B, L, D.

Day 12: Return
Transfer back to Montevideo airport.

Non-riders are more than welcome to attend! Non-riding activities: Sight-seeing; hiking; fishing; surfing; biking; trekking; canoeing; bird watching.

Rates and Dates for Unforgettable Uruguay

Rates include:

Accommodations at estancias/inns, all meals (except dinner on Day 1 & 3) with mineral water, English speaking guide, 11 riding days with groom services, transfers to/ from Montevideo airport, Montevideo City Tour.

Packages and Options

  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    201912 day trip, AP$5365

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:

2019 Transfer to/from Montevideo Airport is included $0
2019 Single supplement $1,045
2019 Small group supplement (2-3 pax), pp $525
2019 Supplement for extra horse (riders 95+ kg) $455

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 11/16 - 11/27 12d / 11n 12 day trip, AP 4 /8 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Dinner on Day 1 and 3, flights & departure taxes, beverages (soft and alcoholic drinks), personal expenditure (bar or hotel bills, telephone calls), gratuities and mandatory Medical Insurance.
Please, provide your passport information when booking this trip.

Other Info
Meeting: Montevideo
Airport: Carrasco/General Cesáreo L. Berisso International Airport (MVD)
Transfer: Carrasco/General Cesáreo L. Berisso International Airport (MVD)

                                        José Ignacio area














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Source: NOAA

The weather in Uruguay is variable, but you can expect somewhat warm spring and autumn temperatures, although we can also get some cool days (especially early in the morning or at night) and some rainy days too. Except for the winters (July to September) the climate is usually mild with rainfalls scattered throughout the calendar. 

What To Bring:
Clothes and Equipment: Clothes and equipment should be light to accommodate for riding. We suggest to dress in layers.

You will also need: Sun block, insects repellent, a warm coat, jacket or sweater, hat (sun/rain), footwear (boots or sneakers) bathing suit and wet weather gear for the eventuality of rainy days. Don’t forget to bring your camera and binoculars. Remember that as your bags will be transferred from accommodation to accommodation by car, you can pack as many clothes as you want to feel comfortable.

The use of helmets is not mandatory in Uruguay. However, we encourage our guests to use it. Please let us know in advance if you need us to provide one.

This list is only a guideline for you


Travel documents and Voucher

Flight tickets


Visa (check with your consulate)



2 Pairs of riding trousers (or jeans with full or half chaps)

T-shirts and long sleeved tops (cotton polo necks are good for layering)

Riding boots (well broken in) or ankle-high multi-purpose ride/walk boots which work well when worn with half-chaps and can comfortably be worn for walking too

Riding helmet (riders not wishing to wear a hard hat do so at their own risk)

1 Pair of insulating and quick-drying gloves for riding

Wool cap or other warm hat

Waterproof/windproof (gortex or other suitable fabric) jacket with hood

Waterproof pants



Wool sweater or fleece

Fleece Jacket or waistcoat

Sun hat or visor

Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts




2 Pairs of socks (including a couple of knee-high socks for riding)


Bag for dirty clothes


2 Bandannas or scarves



Personal Toiletries

Insect protection

Personal medications

Sore cream (for the emergency)

Sewing kit

Camera and enough extra films

Waterproof camera bag (or bring plastic bags to cover when in saddle bags i.e. Ziplocks)

Belt pack

Address book and pen (for pictures postcards!)

Sun glasses with strap

Sun tan lotion and lip balm

Minimum 1 Litre water bottle or two half-litre bottles