Explore the vineyards, beaches and countryside of Uruguay, one of Latin Americas most underrated destinations. Enjoy wine-tasting, visit local studs, and enjoy the thrill of galloping along a pristine beach before cooling off in a turquoise lagoon. As well as enjoying the spectacular scenery, riders can sample some of the best food this region has to offer with a hand-picked selection of restaurants.
This trail is ideal for riders who want to combine a unique horse-riding experience with plenty of cultural sightseeing; guests can partake in a traditional mate tea tasting and enjoy a visit to the world-renowned sculpture park of Uruguyan artist Pablo Atchugarry. This destination offers comfortable accommodation in carefully selected guesthouses and hotels and dinners in some of Uruguay's best restaurants are also included. The trail ends with a trek to the remote culinary destination of Garzon, a treat for all riders who want to enjoy excellent quality, authentic cuisine.
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Today is set apart to arrive and relax. Transfer from Montevideo or Punta del Este Airport and transfer to your accommodation in La Barra.
Arrival and transfer to “Aguaverde Vineyards”. Start your horseback riding adventure by choosing your horse! Ride along the vineyards and through internal trails towards that will take us to lovely landscapes of hills and countryside. We will enjoy lunch and then head to our local hotel. Dinner and accommodation will be provided at La Rosita B&B (or according to availability we could also use an alternative option).
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 along the rural side of Manantiales until we reach the “chakra” (rural accommodation similar to a farm), where we will spend the night. We will enjoy a dinner at the “chakra”. Depending on availability we will stay at Chacra La Magdalena or Las Taperas.
After breakfast, ride along “Camino Medellin” and onto the isolated beach of “La Boyita”. Experience the freedom of cantering along the coast before arriving to the Jose Ignacio Lagoon where we will stop to enjoy lunch at trendy “La Huella”. Discover the charming town of Jose and continue along the beach towards our next stop. We will cross a lovely pine forest before reaching our horse barn. Accommodation at Posada La Viuda de Jose Ignacio. Tonite you are free to enjoy one of the amazing restaurants of the area!
After an early breakfast, ride in between estancias where we will see some of the last big ranches left in the area before we cross the circle bridge of Laguna Garzoon. Continue along the coastline of the Garzon Lagoon. We will enjoy lunch at the protected area of “El Caracol”, in the middle of the forest. After lunch, we will continue along a virgin isolated beach 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 cross country along private trails of local private estancias back to our horse barn. Accommodation at Posada La Viuda de Jose Ignacio. Enjoy another free evening to discover the local cuisine!
After an early breakfast, drive to our horse barn from where we will ride cross country into the deep Uruguayan countryside. We will cross wetland areas, native forest and private estancias discovering a great diversity of landscapes. We will enjoy a typical “picnic lunch” and then continue onto a local estancia where our horses will spend the overnight. We will drive to our next accommodation in the region of the small and sleepy town of Garzon. There are various versions as to when Garzon was founded. Around 1890, the first settlers arrived to these lands and established next to the local stream where people would make a stop when travelling towards the province of Rocha. The train had would have 4 daily services (2 of them towards Rocha and another 2 towards Montevideo) and a bus service to San Carlos plus various carriages that would transport people around the area. Carnival was celebrated with a big party; the town had a theatre and a local orchestra. Unfortunately, times of economic crisis arrived and the mill was closed, the trains ceased to arrive and most of the inhabitants had to move either to San Carlos or Rocha. Only some 200 people dedicated to rural activities and stayed in the now quiet and sleepy town. In 2004, the renowned Argentinean chef Francis Mallmann partnered with the Argentinean winemaker Manuel Mas, and founded the Garzon Restaurant and Hotel which brought a new “hippie chic” spirit to the area. Word began to spread about the town’s old-time charms: gauchos riding on horseback along tidy gravel streets, residents greeting one another by name, and children playing in a flower-filled central plaza. Depending on the time of the year, we will stay in town or in one of the local available accommodations. Dinner will be provided at the hotel.
The day begins with a drive to Bodega Garzon. Discover why this area is known as the “Tuscany of Uruguay”. After a visit to the winery with tasting, we will ride along hilly trails surrounded by landscapes of Olive Plantations and vineyards. We will ride towards the town, discover local streams and enjoy a picnic lunch before we reach the old train station and arrive back to the town, where we will say goodbye to our horses. Depending on the time of the year, we will stay in town or in one of the local available accommodations. Farewell dinner will be provided at the hotel.
After breakfast, transfer back to Punta del Este or Montevideo airport.
Heavier riders can be accommodated by having an extra horse along to enable more frequent changes. There is a supplement of $250 for this service in 2019.
Non-riders will be driven between stops to meet with riders for lunches and each evening. There will be various activities each day including sight-seeing, hiking, fishing, surfing, biking, trekking, canoeing and bird watching.
Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.
The horses are the local Uruguayan Criollo breed and Criollo cross and are ideally suited to the terrain.
Criollo is the local horse breed found 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. The Criollo is a strong horse with an excellent walk and good character.
Local ‘western’ type saddles are used with a sheepskin cover. The horses are trained in neck-reining (western ‘one-hand' riding). Help will be given in adjusting to this tack and riding style which is very suitable for long days in the saddle.
Comfortable at walk, trot and canter. Weight limit is 95kg, an additional supplement will be charged to riders exceeding this weight in order to provide an extra horse.
The weight limit for this ride is 209 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
The accommodations provided in this programme includes hotels, lodges and historic estancias, all with private bathrooms. They are clean, comfortable, individially decorated with character and provide a good service.
The hotel on nights 3,4 and 5 has an outdoor swimming pool which guests can use. If you are sharing your room, please let us know in advance if you prefer twin or double beds.
After a full days riding it is comforting to know that you can enjoy 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 especially recommended but vegetarians can easily be catered for.
This trail includes several dinners at restaurants which have been hand-picked to provide superb quality, authentic cuisine and the food is a big feature of this ride.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If visas are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.
British passport holders do not require visas for entry into Uruguay and can usually stay for up to three months. You can apply to extend your stay for a further three months if necessary to the Dirección Nacional de Migración. You may wish to obtain further information from their official website page: www.minterior.gub.uy/webs/migracion/.
The Uruguayan Embassy in the U.K can be found at 2nd Floor, 140 Brompton Road, London, SW3 1HY. Telephone: (020) 7589 8835. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The British Embassy in Uruguay can be found at Calle Marco Bruto 1073, 11300 Montevideo, P O Box 16024. Telephone: (598) (2) 622 3630. Email: email@example.com.
The Foreign and commonwealth office gives travel advice on www.fco.gov.uk or on 0207 008 0232/0233.
The climate of Uruguay is similar to that of the Pampas region of Argentina and because of the level nature of the country there is little variation of weather and climate within Uruguay. The table for Montevideo (below) is representative of the coastal districts and there are only slight differences between these and the areas farther inland.
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.
Most of Uruguay has a moderate annual rainfall of about 1,000 mm/40 in; this is well distributed throughout the year but the autumn months tend to be slightly wetter. Rain falls on a comparatively small number of days; about one day in five in all seasons. Thus the rainfall when it occurs is often moderate to heavy.
The summers are warm but not as hot as in some other countries in similar latitudes, such as the southern Atlantic coastlands of the USA or parts of southeast Australia. Winters are mild and frost and snow are very rare. Southerly winds can bring occasional spells of colder weather, which may be associated with squally winds or gales in the estuary of the river Plate. However, such outbreaks of colder polar air from Antarctica are much modified after they have crossed some thousands of miles of warmer water in the South Atlantic.
Inland the summer temperatures are a little higher than those found on the coast. Sunshine hours are high in Uruguay, ranging from five to six hours a day in winter to as much as nine to ten in summer. The climate of Uruguay is rarely uncomfortable or unpleasant and can be described as healthy for most of the year.
There are no specific health requirements in place for visitors to Uruguay. Ask your GP for advice before travelling.
For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website is www.masta.org. You can also check the Department of Healths website at www.dh.gov.uk.
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.
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.
The places we will be visiting in the countryside are completely safe.
The voltage in Uruguay runs at 220V (the U.K is 230V) and 50Hz frequency. Most appliances such as battery chargers for videos, hair dryers etc. can be plugged in with appropriate adapters. These are available for purchase at most airports and travel shops.
You will have access to electricity to recharge camera and battery equipment on every night. We suggest you purchase any special film or batteries before leaving home as outside Montevideo there will be limited opportunities to do so.
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 trainers) bathing suit and wet weather gear and camera.
This is an 8 day/7 night programme available on request throughout the year excluding winter (July-September).
2020: Departures available on request from October to April
Single rooms are available for an additional cost.
Non-riding options - Sight-seeing; hiking; fishing; surfing; biking; trekking; canoeing; bird watching.
Variety of birds - hummingbirds, flamingos, kingfishers, flycatchers, rheas (similar to ostriches)
Uruguay is a little smaller than the United Kingdom and about the same size as the state of Washington. It lies on the east coast of South America between 30° and 35°S. It is bordered on the north by Brazil and on the west by the river Uruguay, which forms the border with Argentina. Most of the country is low-lying and rather flat, with the highest hills rising to about 450 m/1,500 ft.
Uruguay's original inhabitants were the Charrúa Indians, a hunter-gatherer people. They killed the explorer Juan Diaz de Solís and most of his party when the Spaniards encountered them in 1516. But by the 17th century, the Charrúas had prospered, abandoned hostilities, and begun trading with the Spanish. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the territory changed hands between the Spanish and Portuguese several times. By 1832 virtually all Charrúas had been killed or forced to leave, leaving Uruguay with no indigenous people (the only such country in Latin America). Uruguayans are virtually all of European descent, mostly of Spanish and Italian stock. Uruguay gained independance in 1828.
The second smallest country in South America, Uruguay borders two giants, Brazil and Argentina. Just under half the population lives in Greater Montevideo, one of South America's most interesting capitals, charming colonial towns, the hilly interior (true gaucho country) and a cluster of internationally renowned beach resorts.
Uruguay is three hours behind GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram.
The international dialling code is +598.