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URUGUAY - ESTANCIAS & BEACH RIDE

8 nights - 8 days riding

 

 

Higlights


We start our ride in the amazing coastal province of 'Rocha' - protected area and declared world biosphere reserve - when we arrive at a hotel built in the same style as the nearby 17th century fort, right on the border with Brazil. We ride along isolated beaches, over shifting sand dunes, through palm groves and shady woodlands and on along the shores of the wetlands. The variety of birds - hummingbirds, flamingos, kingfishers, flycatchers, rheas (similar to ostriches) - that we see in these habitats is incredible. The pace will be many times quite fast (lots of canters) - the grassy pastures and firm beaches allow this on strong and well-trained criollo and criollo cross horses.  
While staying at charming seaside inns and working ranches – estancias – where ride with and help the gauchos with cattle drives, you will be able to feel connected with the traditions of this unexplored country. On this ride you'll skirt the most diverse landscapes, surprising wines, excellent food !  and experience the hidden treasures found on paths less travelled.

Regular Dates 2011:   Oct 22-29 ;  Nov 19-26 ; Nov 19-26 ; Dec 03-10 

Rates 2011: U$D 2550. Single supl. + 380

Include: Accommodations, meals and mineral water (except day 1), English speaking guide,  8 riding days, horses and grooms services & 8 nights (private bathrooms), transfers to and from airports, Montevideo city tour.

Not included: Soft and alcoholic drinks, personal expenses and tips. 

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

 ASK FOR OTHER AVAILABLE DATES FOR CLOSED GROUPS
Our riding season goes from October to April

 CONTACT US for direct bookings: info@lares.com.uy

Tel: (598 2) 9019120 – Wilson Ferreira Aldunate 1341, Montevideo, Uruguay

 Specialized agencies that offer our products:

Hidden trails ; Ride World wide ; Pegassus; Ride Andes; Equestrian safaris; Greenways travel;In the Saddle  

 

  Detailed Itinerary

 

 

Day 1: Montevideo – Tango & Candombe

Today is set aside to relax and explore the seaside city of Montevideo the most important city as well as the capital. Guests are met at the Carrasco International Airport and driven along the wonderful coastline called “Rambla” to the downtown hotel. Free time for lunch ( a luxury barbecue at the Mercado del Puerto is strongly recommended !) explore the downtown streets and experience the typical Rio de la Plata music, the Tango or Candombe with the rhythms and coloured costumes.  Short city tour to discover Montevideo, a very quite and safe city that combines museums, street markets, nice restaurants and very friendly people. Overnight at  a nice centrally located 3 to 4 star hotel. (meals are not included today)

   

 

Day 2: 18th century Fortín de San Miguel

After breakfast we will be driven to the Brazilian border and into Rocha, arguably the most beautiful province in Uruguay with its pristine beaches, emerald shores and network of lagoons. We will visit ‘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.  As we arrive at the hotel built in the same stone as the nearby Portuguese fortress we can admire the views out across an enormous stretch of fresh water  -one of the largest fresh water reserves of South America, the "Merin Lagoon". We are right on the Brazilian border. After lunch we will met gauchos and horses, to ride around the rolling hills of San Miguel enjoying 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. We can smell the sea and on clear days view the coast. This area is home to a wide variety of birds and we will see many different native trees and bushes. We will also have the chance to see the Cimarron cattle – the first cattle, introduced from Spain in the 17th century and depending on what the gauchos are doing, they may need a hand to work these tame animals. We will stay at the " Fortín de San Miguel", guests can enjoy the gardens, swimming pool and the relaxed atmosphere. AB, L, D

 

Day 3: Barra de Chuy beach  – Brazilian border & ride along a pristine beach.

In the morning we will have a nice 3-4 hours ride along the Brazilian border, sometimes riding in Uruguay and others in Brazil ! After a special picnic lunch at a working estancia, riders may have a pleasant “siesta” discovering that gauchos saddles are so comfortable to ride as to sleep! . Then we will have 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 at "La Coronilla" and stay at small beachside hotel. AB, L, D  

   

Day 4: Santa Teresa national park, dolphins & shipwrecks.

Today we will ride south, alternating beaches with coastal hills, sand dunes, pine forests into 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, loosing 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 the majority from other parts of the world and, after a picnic lunch we will enjoy riding along the forest trails, down to the beach. We pass a shipwreck buried in the sand – one of many along this treacherous coast. Indeed, 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. Most days there is the wonderful sight of dolphins feeding in the bay. After a traditional picnic close to the fortress or on the beach depending on the weather ,   we can choose between  been driven  or canter back along the water’s edge to the hotel for barbecued fresh fish, Uruguayan wine and a pleasant overnight listening to the waves. AB, L, D  

 

Day 5: Don Bosco – tropical palm groves & Laguna Negra

After an early breakfast, we will be driven along a very scenic road near to the famous "Laguna Negra"  (the ‘black lagoon’, named after the dark waters). We will meet the horses and ride into the native vegetation on the Don Bosco hills from where we will be able to enjoy an incredible view of the unique extensive palm groves and Laguna Negra. Despite a number of stories, no one knows how the palm trees got here -some 300 years old; they are not native but they give the landscape a very exotic look. During the trip we will pass many roadside stalls selling the fruit and the less innocent ‘hooch’ brewed from the palm nuts. The cloudy, sticky liquid is so potent that if you leave the cap off the old bottles it is sold in the liquor evaporates in a flash! Descending the hills we ride alongside the lake where we will surely see ibis, herons, egrets, storks and a legion of migrating birds (birds arrive here from as far as Alaska and the Falkland Islands). After a typical lunch on the lagoon shores, we ride on eastwards through the palm groves and back towards the coast where we meet the vehicle and head to a nearby working Estancia El Sauce for overnight. AB, L, D

   

Day 6: An authentic estancia – ‘mate’ tea & the gaucho life

We wake up on a farm - El Sauce is a working estancia run by its owners where we will enjoy a full day riding around the crops and very varied vegetation on the property. The estancia, built in 1920, is very comfortable –it is not a hotel but the family house that we have been invited to stay as guests of the owners, offering us an incredible experience and a very special insight into the life in the country. For example, guests can sample the ‘mate’ sipped hot out of a dry gourd. The gauchos and their mate are inseparable and a ceremony has developed around drinking mate.  In addition to the cattle grasslands this estancia has a large area of marshlands and also rice crops both of which are teeming with bird life (more than 400 species in this area) making another very varied ride and giving us the chance to see the graceful black-necked swan (largest populations 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” (rhea). Otters, coypus and capybaras inhabit the marshlands and streams. At several points on the trip we will see the pink flamingo – a species of flamingo with very bright pink pigment and quite common in Uruguay. Overnight at this authentic working estancia. AB, L, D 

 

Day 7: Cabo Polonio – shifting sands & sea lions

The day starts with a drive to the ocean coast . We will met  our horses and ride into the desert! We ride through the area which 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 four wheeled drive. 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. After lunch at a typical restaurant on the beach we will 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 we spot a migrating Right Whale. Riders can swim in one of the most beautiful beaches of the country. After this ride full of surprises and diverse scenery, we will stay at a lovely comfortable working estancia, El Charabón.  AB, L, D  

 

Days 8: El Charabón  working estancia – open praires an beach ride

We continue our Uruguayan ride experience at Estancia El Charabón (Charabón means small rhea). El Charabón is a 1200 ha, beautiful working estancia specialized in calving and lambing. Today we will enjoy new horses and a long ride to the nearby beach to have a picnic lunch. Ride back to the estancia and relax in the open swimming before  having a wonderful  sunset tea time.  Uruguayan wine, lamb barbecue and the homemade specialties are a special complement  for beautiful cantering days at this charming estancia.  AB, L, D  

 

Day 9 : Estancia cattle drives and traditional meals

At day nine, in addition to very nice ride on the excellent horses bred at the estancia, we will have the chance of helping the gauchos and their working dogs on cattle and sheep drives. The landscape is absolutely different from the days before. El Charabón combines open prairies with a large Eucalyptus forestry. After the morning ride at the estancia, we will have the goodbye lunch and be driven to Montevideo airport or extensions. L

 

   

Testimonials

“Fast pace riding along the firm sandy beaches and across the grasslands on excellent horses. Traditional barbecues then riding on over the dunes, through palm groves, beside inland lakes teeming with wildfowl and on to old Portuguese and Spanish forts or beachside hotel to admire a stunning sunset. Dolphins feeding in the beautiful bays, black-necked swans gliding across the lagoons, chattering parrots flying over, capybaras wading in the reeds. Incredibly friendly locals and charming, skilled gauchos to accompany us and talk of their unique lives and their traditions. Fascinating stories of battles and shipwrecks, including one of nelson’s fleet ... and all this in one of the safest south American countries, still remarkably untouched by tourism!” Sally, March 2003

"Thank you for including me on your premier horse trek in Uruguay! It was absolutely wonderful. In a place as exotic as this, I expected both the people and the scenery to be unique from any past riding experiences I have had elsewhere in South America, and I was not disappointed in the slightest. The gauchos we rode with were truly delightful and 'authentically Uruguayan', from their clothing and horses down to their accents, and the countryside rich in vistas and culture." Adele, March 2003.

 "I thoroughly enjoyed the recent riding holiday in Uruguay. The country has diverse and beautiful terrain and the itinerary ensured that the ride incorporated all of the 'must see' areas. Guides competently matched the horses with riders on the tour and with accompanying gauchos, our every need was met! " Susan March 2004

 "I can't really pick out my favorite part of the holiday as I enjoyed everyday. The horses and the people were particularly special. Both of my horses were totally genuine and willing with big hearts. Neither of them put a hoof wrong and I felt v safe at all times no matter what the pace or terrain (which was surprisingly varied). The horses back in England could learn a lot! ... I will also have fond memories of the people who were so kind and keen to welcome us into their homes and to teach us about their farms...Sarah, November 2003

 "Thanks a lot for Uruguays Horse Adventure. Ride on the beach was one of my best in my life. Great time, great rides, great people. My best time during South America´s trip Peter April 2004

"My horse was responsive, fast and as you probably guessed, I had enormous fun riding her. The scenery, whilst not dramatic, was tranquil and gave a great sense of space with the coastal sections being particularly enjoyable.
The accommodation was comfortable and special mention must be made of our numerous hosts for their kindness and warm hospitality. I would also like to pass on my sincere thanks to Alejandro and Paola and his team for their hard work. The organization as a whole was impressive and, if you were all paddling away like fury beneath the water, everything seemed pretty serene on the surface to me!"
Simon, November 2003

 "Thank-you for a fabulous holiday. Uruguay is a gentle country with vast, open skies and beaches, humorous people and lively, eager horses. Each day was varied, enormous fun, the estancias were all idyllic and their owners charming and welcoming. .... Kirstin , November 2003

 Once more a big thank you for the excellent tour. Pictures look excellent. We hope to see you all in october in Belgium for the after-party. Mark, april 2004

 Just wanted to write a note of thanks for the great vacation.  Back at it, raining here..........  We have some wonderful photos as well as some very wonderful memories.    Thanks again..Shelia, March 2005

 We loved our holiday and all of us said that it was the best with the most amount of laughs!. We certainly will recommend Uruguay to friends and would love to come back.  Thanks again for looking after us so well.  We had such a great time. Claire, Feb 2006

 We had a wonderful ride, and enjoyed your country and the people we met VERY much !! . We enjoyed Macarena, and all her insights into that area of Uruguay where she was from, and Nacho is a real natural at this kind of work !! The picnics were lovely and well planned, the horses were fine, and the gauchos did their jobs well. We also enjoyed all the different places that we stayed. The group was friendly and fun, and as riders, everyone was strong and capable, which always helps. If you have any specific questions about anything and how it went, please don't hesitate to ask me !!  Thanks also to you and Lares for arranging all our transfers and stays etc. before and after the ride. Everything went very smoothly. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to return to Uruguay someday soon, and if so, I'll be sure to be in touch. Elise, Oct 2006

 Country of Uruguay: awesome, beautiful, calming and uncomplicated - suited me very well and I hope to return one day.Gauchos: experienced, professional, good at horsemanship and navigatingthe terrain - enjoyed them very much and felt that they took excellent careof the group and the horses.Guides: Nacho and Macarena along with our bus driver were wonderful knowledgeable (about your country, history, sites, etc.), fun, good ridersand great company. I would send anyone to you and know they would be ingood hands.Estancias: very charming, comfortable and welcoming - I liked going from place to place each one was special in its own way. Food: very good, fresh, local choices all very much enjoyed. Loved the wines. Horse: very good. Even though I got unseated and took an early spill, I felt very comfortable with the horses. I found them to be well trained, very willing, very responsive and possessing even/good temperaments. I really thought you and the gauchos did a nice job of matching horses and riders .Rides: very nice, varied and fun - my only suggestion here would be to describe the ride as intermediate + with a moderate pace (mix of fast and slow with some less intense days to give horses and riders a break). I know the slower days were not as well received as the faster days or as the days which provided for a mix of fast and slow gaits.Lares Tour Organization: There was a lot to organize and coordinate. I thought Lares did a very nice job of managing same. Susan, Nov 2006

It was a super, super trip which I thouroughly enjoyed. The organisation was perfect all the way through. Special thanks to you, Macca and the guide from Montevideo (he was very, very committed, but I cannot remember his name, sorry..). And a big thanks to our enthousiastic and very kind busdriver and to the gauchos who accompanied us most of the way. They were so well organised, it was astonishing! Sybilla, Oct 2006

Thank you again to Nacho and Alexandro for introducing us to your wonderful country. I know we will return. Penny, Nov 2006

Thank you, thank you to all for making my vacation so brilliant!!  I would love to see your photos! Look forward to hearing from  you all, and best wishes to those lucky enough to still be enjoying the South American hospitality & weather. Nan, Nov 2006

 Just a quick email to thank you very much for a great visit to Uruguay.  It was a pleasure to meet you and we very much enjoyed our holiday.  The horses were always excellent as was the accommodation, and Jan and yourself were good company.Terence, March 2007

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

       

       

      

 

     

 

  

 

 

 

About us

 LARES is a small Uruguayan company run by Paola Perelli and Alejandro Ferrari. Paola borne in 1976 has been working in eco-tourism since 1998. Alejandro, an agribusiness consultant and hobby rider born in 1966 is part of the company since 2002. Since 2003 we have being sucesfully operating our riding tours and receiving people fom UK, USA, Canada, Sweden, France and Germany. We are the first and only one Uruguayan riding operator officially registered in the Tourism ministry. To be included in that register as an operator the company have to deposit liabilities as guaranty for the services. 

 

 

Notes 

  • Lares & Ride Andes 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.

  • It is the responsibility of the individual guest/booking agent to ensure that participants have the necessary riding skills to take part in the tour chosen.

  • Guests are strongly advised to wear their riding helmets while riding.

  • Guests will be required to sign a responsibility release before starting a tour.

 Horses & tacks: there will normally be three changes of horses during the ride. As always one or more spare horses will accompany us. 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 breaded in this region. Criollo is a strong horse with an excellent walk and good character. We use local, ‘western’ type saddle with a sheep skin. 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.

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.

 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 for direct bookings: info@lares.com.uy

Tel: (598 2) 9019120 – Wilson Ferreira Aldunate 1341, Montevideo, Uruguay

ASK FOR OTHER AVAILABLE DATES FOR CLOSED GROUPS
Our riding season goes from October to April