Head to Uruguay and experience its abundant natural beauty, formidable colonial influence, friendly locals and overall laid-back atmosphere. Located close to Punta Del Este in the small hamlet of Pueblo Eden, you'll be staying in a luxury lodge, set on a traditional ranch in Uruguay, surrounded by meadows and vineyards with spectacular mountain views. The private cabins blend rustic elegance, comfort and privacy and are close to the stables where the ranch's thoroughbred Arabian horses are stabled.
Each day, you'll ride out from the ranch in a different direction, rides will take you between villages, across wooded hillsides and through vineyards and olive groves. You’ll stop at a renowned vineyard where you'll be able to taste some of the Urguayan wines and olive oils. You'll spend one afternoon visiting the local city of Minas and another riding to a waterfall with natural pools for some wild swimming.
Meals are either home-cooked and served at the ranch or taken in hand-picked restaurants. On some day rides, lunch is served as a picnic in a picturesque spot on the trail. You'll sample some traditional Uruguayan cuisine with a menu that changes daily. As well as riding, guests can relax by the pool and take in the splendid views or explore what nature has to offer on foot as the ranch is surrounded by open countryside.
This destination offers a fantastic introduction to Uruguay, one of the most laid back countries in Latin America. Experience great wines, authentic food, exciting riding and a wonderful place to stay.
Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.
Review received from HS of Waltham Cross on 07/04/2020
Arrival at Montevideo airport and take a taxi (approx $30) to Don Boutique Hotel, in the heard of Montevideo's Old Town, the main tourist neighborhood and financial centre of Montevideo. You'll be strategically located within walking distance of the best restaurants, art galleries, theatres, typical cafés and museums of Montevideo. DON Boutique Hotel Montevideo was built in 1938 and was recently renovated to provide maximum comfort while retaining its Art-Decó facade.
After breakfast at the hotel you'll be transferred to the ranch, approximately a 2 hour drive.(130km) On arrival at the ranch you'll be shown to your room, a private cabin with all amenities and then will be able to meet the horses. After an extensive home-cooked lunch out on the terrace if the weather permits, you'll get acquainted with your horse for the week on a one hour ride around the local area. In the evening dinner will be served at the ranch along with wine from local vineyards.
Breakfast will be served between 08:30/09:00 am. You'll then set out on todays ride which takes you through pine forests. You'll cross streams on horseback and be able to admire the magnificent views that surround the ranch. Lunch will be a picnic in open countryside at a handpicked spot. The ride takes about 4/5 hours. Dinner and lodging back at the ranch.
After breakfast, you'll ride in the direction of renowned local vineyard; the Viña Eden Winery, with a lunch stop at the typical Uruguayan restaurant Posta de Vaimaca. After lunch you'll continue your ride to the winery where you'll be treated to a guided tour and a tasting of their wines. Back to the ranch by private transfer and dinner back at the ranch.
Breakfast at the ranch and private transfer to pick up the horses. Today you'll ride in the direction of the olive plantation and oil extraction plant of Lote 8 with a stop in the open country for a picnic lunch. Once you arrive at Lote 8 you'll have a guided tour of their olive grove and offered a tasting of wines and samples of their products. Lote 8 is located in Eden Valley, a spot of rugged beauty, strategically located at the foot of Dos Hermanos hill, northwest of Punta del Este. Its numerous natural streams with very good water,further contribute an advantage to grow olive trees on the slopes, which has allowed an excellent production to the beauty of the rolling land. Ride back to the ranch in time for dinner. Dinner at the ranch.
After breakfast you'll have a 3 hours ride in the countryside immediately surrounding the ranch. There'll be time for lunch and wine at the ranch before a 3pm transfer to the city of Minas. You'll have the afternoon free to explore this fascinating town before being transferred back to the ranch in time for dinner.
After breakfast, ride to the waterfall, where, weather permitting, you'll be able to cool off swimming in the waterfall's natural pools. A real highlight of the week. You'll picnic next to the waterfall and ride back to the ranch for the last nights dinner.
After breakfast, say goodbye to your hosts and transfer back to Montevideo Airport (included).
Transfers from the hotel on Day 2 to the ranch and back to the airport on Day 8 are included for a minimum of 3 guests. If there are less than 3 guests, a transfer fee of US$160 each way per car is payable on site in cash.
If you would like to extend your stay in Uruguay, we offer an additional one or two night programme that includes fantastic beach riding on Uruguays' spectacular coastline.
Option 1 - 1 additional night
• 8 am Breakfast at the ranch • 9 am Transfer from Las Tordillas to Cabo Polonio ( a 150 km/2 hour drive) • Horseback Riding on the Beach for around 5 hours • Lunch • Transfer back to the ranch at the end of the day • Farewell Dinner at Las Tordillas
Breakfast before transferring back to Montevideo airport.
Option 2 - 2 additional nights
• 8 am Breakfast at the ranch • 9 am Transfer from Las Tordillas to Cabo Polonio ( a 150 km/2 hour drive) • Horseback Riding on the Beach for around 4-5 hours • Lunch • At the end of the day to Guardia del Monte, a working estancia close to the coast • Dinner and lodging at Estancia Guardia Del Monte (Comfortable double/twin rooms with private bathroom).
• Breakfast • Todays ride will take you around the estancia; Guardia del Monte • Tour of the forest with local guide • Around 3 hours riding • Lunch at Guardia Del Monte • Transfer back to the ranch (152 km / 2 hours ) • farewell dinner at Haras las Tordillas • Lodging at the ranch
Breakfast before transferring back to Montevideo airport.
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 ranch has 8 thoroughbred Arabians available for you to choose from. Their ages vary between 6 and 10 years and they live outside in the herd year-round, only being occasionally stabled in bad weather. The horses are schooled and well trained for long distance trail riding, you can expect a mount that is forward going, spirited, responsive and in excellent condition. Some of the horses are suitable for intermediate riders and some are only for advanced riders. Every effort is made to match horse and rider. Tack is of a very high standard and is kept in good condition. All the saddles are American Western style. A small saddlebag is provided to carry water bottles (supplied) and personal items for the day.
Except for the first day, all day rides are 3-5 hours. This is broken up by lunch (minimum 1 hour) and sometimes an extra refreshment stop. Horses are unsaddled for lunch. After each stop riders lead the horses for a few minutes to loosen the horses' (and the riders') muscles before mounting. Ride pace is varied and moderate and allows fast canters.
Maximum weight is 85 kilos. Advanced riders up to 90 kilos will be considered depending on their height.
For the horses sake: It is important that you give us your accurate weight (even if you are not close to the weight limit) because of the size and light frame of the Arabian horses, the pace of the rides, the hot weather in summer and the partly steep terrain. Groups are planned carefully according to the rider abilities and weight so that is it suitable for the horses and more enjoyable for you!
On the hottest summer days rides begin very early in the morning and return early afternoon to spend the afternoons relaxing near the swimming pool. The ride pace is adjusted to the weather and terrain conditions (slower pace in hot, humid and/or wet weather, slippery trails). In case of severe weather warnings (severe rain or storms) and local bush fire danger rides may be unable to go ahead due to safety concerns. In this situation an alternative programme will be arranged (Wine Tasting Tour, Jose Ignacio tour), this is very unlikely but is possible.
Riding holidays at this destination are for experienced (intermediate to advanced) riders only. For the minimum riding ability required (intermediate) you are expected to have a firm and balanced seat, had formal riding lessons to master the basic horse riding aids and skills, be confident and capable to control a fit and forward going horse in all paces (including long stretches of posting/rising trot and gallops) in open, varied, sometimes challenging country and to be able to mount and dismount unassisted. It is a great advantage if you are a fit and proficient rider. Wearing a riding hat is compulsory and you must bring your own as these are not available to borrow at the ranch.
Beginner, novice riders and children are not suitable for these rides which go into remote and isolated areas, with limited mobile phone reception and assistance from third parties not immediately available.
Maximum weight is 85 kilos. Advanced riders weighing up to 90 kilos will be considered depending on their height.
For the horses sake: It is important that you give us your accurate weight (even if you are not close to the weight limit)
because of the size and light frame of the Arabian horses, the pace of the rides, the hot weather in summer and the partly
steep terrain. Groups are planned carefully according to the rider abilities and weight so that is it suitable for the horses and
more enjoyable for you!
Guests can offer to help with the horses and get their horse ready in the morning, saddle/unsaddle and wash & clean up the horse and tack, if they want (always supervised), but this is by no means compulsory or expected.
The weight limit for this ride is 187 lb/85 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
The ranch is a 30 acre property. The main residence has a large communal dining/living room and wide veranda, which overlooks the horses grazing in the field and the pool and garden complete with native plants and trees.
There are 4 separate studio-style cabins for single/double/twin occupancy. Rooms are warm and comfortably furnished. All cabins have their own bathroom with shower and toilet and towels are provided.
The emphasis at this destination is on fresh home-cooked meals and light salad lunches. The continental style breakfast is generally served as toast, condiments, cereals, yogurt and eggs (any style). For lunch out on the trail you can expect light picnic lunches such as salads and sandwiches. Dinner is the main meal of the day and you'll be served international and Uruguayan specialities: beef, pasta, chicken, roast dinner, barbecue. Vegetarians diets can be catered for with advance notice. Soft drinks (coke and diet coke ), water, tea and coffee are freely available on a self-serve basis. Local red or white wine is served with dinner.
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 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.
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.
Free WiFi internet access is available at the ranch. Cameras and batteries can be charged overnight at the ranch.
Riding hat (compulsory and not available to borrow so you must bring your own)
Suitable riding boots or shoes (with a small heel to prevent slipping through stirrups)
Jodhpurs or riding trousers
Lightweight rain / wind jacket that fits into the (provided) saddlebags.
Riding helmet - hats are not provided on-site.
Long sleeved shirts (protection from sun and branches)
Warm slippers for winter evenings
Towels in the cabins and for the swimming pool are provided.
This is an 8 day/7 night programme with 5 days riding available on set dates.
2020: 16 Jan; 13 Feb; 1 Mar; 2 Apr (FULL); 14 May; 27 Aug; 17 Sep; 22 Oct; 19 Nov; 10 Dec.
|Riding days||Product item description||£|
|2019/20 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||Double pp for 2 riders||2,449|
|2019/20 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||Double pp for 3 riders||2,305|
|2019/20 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||Double pp for 4 riders||2,055|
|2019/20 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||single supplement||249|
|Riding days||Product item description||€|
|2019/20 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||Double pp for 2 riders||2,705|
|2019/20 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||Double pp for 3 riders||2,545|
|2019/20 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||Double pp for 4 riders||2,275|
|2019/20 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||single supplement||275|
|Riding days||Product item description||$|
|2019/20 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||Double pp for 2 riders||3,069|
|2019/20 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||Double pp for 3 riders||2,889|
|2019/20 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||Double pp for 4 riders||2,579|
|2019/20 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||single supplement||309|
|Riding days||Product item description||SEK|
|2019/20 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||Double pp for 2 riders||28,509|
|2019/20 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||Double pp for 3 riders||26,835|
|2019/20 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||Double pp for 4 riders||23,959|
|2019/20 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||single supplement||2,875|
Non-riders are accepted but it is recommended that they have a rental car to explore the area. The non-riders can sometimes travel with the support vehicle to the lunch spot. They can join the riders at the following parts of the itinerary:
VIÑA EDEN WINERY
Local vineyards sit on Pueblo Eden's stony mountains slopes. The mineral character of the soil create the ideal conditions for the sustainable production of unique wines. Just minutes away from Punta del Este, on the panoramic Route 12, which is begins on the Atlantic coast and makes its way across the mountains, you will find Viña Eden one of Uruguay's most picturesque spots.
Lote 8 is located in Eden Valley, a spot of rugged beauty, strategically located at the foot of Dos Hermanos hill, northwest of Punta del Este, past La Barra and José Ignacio. Its numerous natural streams with very good water, further contribute to growing olive trees on the slopes. The estate has enough water, a key element in plant development, to ensure a growing speed similar to that of the Mediterranean basin, the main area of olive production in the world. Its climate is very much like the Mediterranean, with mild winters, rainy falls and springs, dry and warm summers. The Extra Virgin olive oils here are produced from olives harvested by hand.
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.