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Birding & Wild Life
Uruguay, a journey through the land of the Gaucho, fresh water and colorful birds

Uruguay means in the natives language "River of the painted birds". The country concentrates more than 400 species of temperate areas birds that During the austral spring the have a very intensive activity and, with an experienced guide are very easy to see and admire.




Birding in the unknown Uruguay

 

The unkown & fascinating Uruguay
Uruguay continues to be out of the itinerary of most tourists. All travellers that arrive fall in love with this safe country full of friendly people and easy watching birds. Along the tour we will see different provinces of the country and visit natural reserves such as the “Humedales del Este”, a huge complex of coastal wetlands, extending in a north-south direction from the Brazilian border.

The site embraces the Uruguayan portion of the large, international lagoon, Laguna Merín (shared with Brazil) as well as the whole of Laguna Negra and Laguna de Castillo, and parts of several rivers. The area is of generally low relief, except for the dune barrier which separates the wetlands from the Atlantic Ocean, and much of the site is liable to seasonal flooding.
 

 

The region supports a now endangered, endemic palm Butia capitata. The wetlands are important for at least 17 species of migratory shorebirds which breed in the Nearctic realm spending the boreal winter in Uruguay, as well as for locally nesting species.



 



In the “Birding Unknown Uruguay” tour, birdwatchers will be able to:

-          See most South American temperate bird species in a single trip.

-          See high number of bird families per day (from hummingbirds to rhea).

-          Enjoy birding in a gentle countryside.

-          Cover all main environments.

-          Have an experienced and professional guide at your service all day long.

-          (1 guide per 6 birders or fraction )- See guides references after the day by day itinerary.


Dates
Length
Tour cost *Double
occupancy
Optional single
supplement
Group size
Upon request. Every sunday from Setember 15 to November 30
8 days
/ 7 nights
birding
U$S 2.500
U$S 300 (limited single rooms available)
min 04
max 12
# Montevideo airport

*Included
Guide(s) services;  all accommodations; all meals; mineral water; land transportation; routine tips for meals & porters.
*Not Included
Airfares, airport taxes; items of a personal nature (souvenirs, phone calls, etc.); alcoholic drinks; and medical insurance

Extensions in Uruguay (Montevideo - Punta del Este - Estancias), Argentina (Buenos Aires - Iguaçu Falls ...) and Brazil are easily arranged.


 

 

Accommodations: The accommodations provided in this program include the most interesting estancias (ranches) or inns available in the areas we visit, all of which include private bathroom and are clean, comfortable, charming and very attractive. You will be able to get good night’s sleep in pleasant surroundings. If you are sharing you room, please let us know in advance if you prefer twin or double beds..

 
 
 


 

IMPORTANT NOTES
Lares terms & conditions apply.
A booking is confirmed only upon receipt of the corresponding deposit.
We reserve the right to alter the itinerary due to circumstances beyond our control.
Appropriate medical insurance is mandatory and the responsibility of each guest/booking agent.
Guests comments and pictures may be use for promotion.


 
DAY BY ITINERARY:
Pre/post tour extensions in Montevideo, Punta del Este, Buenos Aires/Argentina & Brazil available. Please ask for details.


Day 1: Montevideo & Surroundings
Arrival to Montevideo, the capital city. Guests are met at the Carrasco International Airport and driven along the wonderful coastline called “Rambla” to the Balmoral Hotel or similar.

Optional city & birding tour and introductory talk. During the evening we will have dinner at the lively “Old City”. Overnight at the hotel. .
 


Day 2: Punta del Este, Isla de Lobos & Garzón Lagoons


 
Early transfer from the hotel to Punta del Este and boat visit to “Isla de Lobos” (Seal Island), looking for shore and seabirds like Great Grebe, Black-browed Albatross, Yellow-nosed Albatross, Cape Petrel, Southern Giant Petrel, Olivaceus Cormorant, American Oystercatcher, South American Stilt, Greater Yellowlegs, White–rumped Sandpiper, Snowy Sheatbill, Black Skimmer, Kelp Gull, Brown-hooded Gull, Snowy-crowned Tern, Yellow-billed Tern, and Royal Tern. Isla de Lobos is the shelter for one of the largest South American sea lions & fur seals colony.

After an excellent lunch at Punta del Este port, birding at the coastal lagoons José Ignacio, Garzón and eventually Rocha, looking for Chilean Flamingo, Black-necked Swan, Coscoroba Swan, Southern Wigeon, Brown Pintail, South American Tern and Cayenne Tern. Short drive to Estancia Guardia del monte or Los baguales both authentic working Uruguayan ranch. Typical dinner and overnight at this charming estancia.


Day 3: Cabo Polonio, shifting sand dunes & the Forest of Ombúes


We will start our “Humedales del Este” biosphere reserve trip with an early birding at the estanciaGuardia de Monte on the shores of the Castillos Lagoon, searching for Greater Rheas, Spotted Tinamou , Short-billed Pipit,  Limpinks, White-necked Heron, Striated Heron, Ringed Kingfisher, Snail Kite and Roadside Hawk. We also visit, the Ombúes Forest looking for Diademed Tanager, Blue and Yellow Tanager, Hepatic Tanager, Chalk-browed Mockingbird, Tropical Parula and Creamy-bellied Thrush. The Ombú curiously rarely grows in groups of more than 2 or 3, the forest of Ombúes that we visit is possibly the only one in the world. Each tree has its own wonderful shape with thick, twisting roots spreading out over the ground; some are over 500 years and have a diameter of 2 metres (6 feet). Then we will be driven by truck to Cabo Polonio, a small fishing village which can only be reached by horse or four wheeled drive. The fascinating part of the area is the huge area of shifting sand dunes where we can see good numbers of
seabirds in addition to the sea lions and migrating Franca Whale that is commonly spot during the south spring.  Lunch at a typical restaurant on the beach, Dinner and overnight al La Perla seaside inn.



Day 4: Marshlands & the National Park of San Miguel, the heart the “Eastern Wetlands”


Sunrise breakfast and short drive to the “Laguna Negra” (black lagoon); All of this area is mostly covered by marshlands with plenty of birds like de Black-necked Swan, Coscoroba Swan, Ringed Teal, Brazilian Duck, Speckled Teal, Bare-faced Ibis, White-faced Ibes and Plumbeous Ibis, Spot-flancked Gallinule and Straight-billed Reedhaunter. It is also a stronghold for threatened birds like Saffron-cowled Blackbird, Black-and-White Monjita, Marsh Seadeater and White-collared Seedeater. In the morning we wil walk into the native vegetation on the hills from where we will be able to enjoy an incredible view of the unique extensive palm groves, the big lagoon and the huge marshlands. Despite a number of stories, no one knows how the palm trees got here -some 300 years old; they give the landscape a very exotic look. After a typical barbecue at the black lagoon shores we will be driven along a very scenic road to the "Bañado de los indios" (Indians marshlands) an incredible place full of birds in the heart of the “Humedales del este” biosphere reserve. Dinner and overnight at El Fortín de San Miguel, right in the Brazilian border. .


Day 5: The Cebollatí River & the State of “33”  


 

After a pleasant night at this inn built in the same stone as the nearby Portuguese fortress we will reach and navigate the Cebollatí River, an important meandering river with a wide and well conserved gallery forest. Here we will see good numbers of Limpinks, Ospreys, Herons, Snail Kites and three different Kingfishers.

IIn the afternoon we visit a large nest colony of Roseate Spoonbill and Herons in Da Fonseca Ranch, where a hide has been built. During the afternoon, we will travel to the city of 33, which takes its distinctive name from a crusade from Argentina to Uruguay by 33 men in the early 1800’s. This movement led, four months later, to Uruguay’s independence from the Portuguese. Overnight at the local hotel (guests will be able to enjoy the hot water pool of this modest hotel).


Day 6: The fantastic, “Quebrada de los Cuervos”  


Full day visiting the famous “Quebrada de los Cuervos” (Vultures’ Ravine); the Yerbal Chico stream cuts deeply into the rocky hills of this gorge. This protected area is considered the southernmost spot of Atlantic Forest. We will enjoy some trekking in the Quebrada; as we walk down, the humidity rises and the vegetation gets really dense.

In this unique area you can find 70% of Uruguay’s native flora and over 100 bird species. During the afternoon we drive south leaving the province of 33, through Lavalleja province until we reach the town of “Aigua” and its surrounding hills. Dinner and overnight at country inn Estancia La Laguna. At estancia “La Laguna”, our ancestor’s way of life is recreated and even though the accommodations are very comfortable, there is no electricity, T.V. or music different from the birds singing

.


Day 7: La Laguna, one of the biggest private preserved areas of the country


La Laguna has one of the biggest private preserved areas of the country, where no cattle is fed. We will spent a whole day birding in the hilly area of  “Cerro Catedral” (Catedral hill) , highest point in Uruguay looking for other forest birds like Dusky-legged Guan, Scissor-tailed Nightjar, Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper, Glaucous Blue-Grossbeak and Chestnut-backed Tanager.

We also see open areas birds like Turkey and Black Vultures, White-tailed Hawk, Red-legged Seriema, Burrowing Owl, Field Flicker,  White Monjita, Gray Monjita, Vermillion Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Rufous-browed Peppershrike and Brown and Yellow Marshbird. We will walk and hike the beautiful hills to the natural small waterfalls and lagoon that gives the name to the estancia. Depending on the weather people can have a nice bath in its absolutely fresh water. Typical candle dinner and overnight at the estancia.


Day 8: : “Sierra de Caracoles” hill and return
Early morning  birding at “Sierra de los Caracoles” near to La Laguna in search for woodland birds like Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Spot-winged Pigeon, Picazuro Pigeon, White-tipped Dove, Guira Cuckoo, White-throated Hummingbird, Mottled Piculet, White Woodpecker, White-spotted Woodpecker, Green-barred Woodpecker, Stripe-crowned Spinetail, Rufous-capped Antshrike, Variable Antshrike, Small-billed elaenia,  Blue-billed Black-Tyrant, Crested Black-Tyrant, Rufous-bellied Thrush,  White-browed Warbler,  Diademed Tanager, Red-rumped Warbling-Finch, Yellow-rumped Marshbird and Chopi Blackbird.

At sunset, we will look for owls such as the Tropical Screech-Owl. Traditional lunch and drive to the airport or pre arranged extensions 


 
 

Guides’ background

 Agustin Carriquiry: He was born in Uruguay in 1959, and he has been birding Uruguay for more than 30 years.  He joined AVES URUGUAY, the Birdlife Association in Uruguay, in 1987, and he has been its president for the last four years. He has collaborated in the most important books about birds of Uruguay published in the last ten years, and his photographs illustrate them. A serious birdwatcher, he has become an experimented guide, leading tours for visitors from USA and Europe, in the last 3 years.

 Juan Carlos Gambarotta: He was born in Uruguay in 1960. Since 19 he has traveled a lot in South America’s wilderness. Graduated as a National Park Ranger in Bariloche (Argentina) he has been in charge of the Laguna de Castillos Protected Area since 1991. He has attended events related to nature conservation in Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Poland, Japan and South Africa. He organized the study of bird colonies in the Uruguayan Scientific Base (Base Artigas) in Antarctica. He has been a nature guide for Elderhostel programs in Uruguay for 5 years. He has written and illustrated ten books, (tenths of thousands sold) nine of them for children about Uruguayan environment, and native animals and plants which are very used in schools in the country. A serious birdwatcher, has added five new species to the Uruguayan avifauna.

 Adrian Stagy: He was born in Uruguay in 1968) is Bachelor of Science (Biological Sciences), member of Aves Uruguay-G.U.P.E.C.A. (Uruguay Group for Study and Conservation of Birds - Birdlife Uruguay) and between 1989 and 2003 he had been collaborator in the Department of Vertebrate Zoology in the Faculty of Sciences. He has been active as a field Ornithologist in Uruguay and has worked in most parts of the country.  He has participated in many expeditions or coordinated surveys of the avifauna of South America (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Seabirds around Falklands Island or in the Uruguayan waters) and in others part of the world (Australia, Hawaii, New Zealand and South Africa).

 

F.A.Q.

Accommodations: The accommodations provided in this program include the most interesting and charming hotels, lodges and ranches available in the areas we visit, all of which include private bathroom. They are clean, comfortable and provide a very good service. You will be able to get good night’s sleep in pleasant surroundings. If you are sharing your room, please let us know in advance if you prefer twin or double beds.

Natural Meals: 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.

Climate: 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.

Clothes and Equipment: Clothes and equipment should be light to accommodate for riding. 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 transfer from accommodation to accommodation by car, you can pack as much cloth as you want to feel comfortable.

Emergencies: 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.

Health services: In general, public sanitation and health care in Uruguay are very good. In the event of illness or accident during your stay, you should be prepared to pay for assistance. Upon return home you can submit a claim for reimbursement according to the specifications of your insurance policy. Visa and Master card are credit cards commonly accepted.

Safety: The places we will be visiting in the countryside are completely safe.

Contact us: info@lares.com.uy

   

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