A small South American country that is unexpectedly diverse, Uruguay has fertile rolling grasslands that are ideal for cattle farming, large estancias where gauchos and horses continue to play a major role in day to day life, a wonderful coastline of unspoilt, sandy beaches and, overall, superb and varied riding country. Taking you across a variety of these large estancias, over sand dunes and deserted beaches, through palm groves and past inland lakes teeming with wildfowl these rides also include visits to historic Portuguese forts, nights in authentic working estancias and comfortable beachside hotels and a chance to see dolphins, black necked swans, parrots and capybaras (the giant guinea-pig like creatures of the South American wetlands). Added to this the company of friendly locals and skilled gauchos who tell you of their lives and traditions, make them a wonderful South American experience.
Rides are run between October and December and late February to early May. There are several different itineraries (please enquire for the Beaches & Estancias Ride information and itinerary) and set date rides will be confirmed when there are a minimum of 4 and for maximum of 8. Other rides for groups of 4 to 8 people can be run by arrangement from dates to suit on request, subject to availability, during the season above. Please call us to discuss dates, your plans and availability.
Riding: 5-7 hours a day
Horses: Uruguayan Criollo breed
Pace: moderate, with good chances to canter
Riding ability: intermediate riders and above
Weight limit: 95 kgs/15 stone
Accommodation: private haciendas, posadas and 3* hotels
Group size: max 8
Season: October to December, late February to early May
Price: 6 night trails from USD 2250 (approx £1730) per person
Horses: The horses used are mostly the local Uruguayan Criollo breed. They are between 14.2hh and 16hh, are very well suited to the terrain and are also responsive, forward going and a thoroughly enjoyable ride. Tack is South American style with saddles similar to western, covered with a large sheepskin - very comfortable for long hours in the saddle. The horses are trained western style to neck rein and a relaxed riding style with a loose contact with the horses mouth is required. Saddle bags are available for personal belongings and pack horses or vehicles transport most equipment.
Hours: There is usually between 5 and 7 hours riding a day, following routes through open grassland, palmgroves, rolling hills, sand dunes and along unspoilt beaches. Breaks for rests, lunch and sightseeing.
Pace and experience required: To take part in these rides you need to be a reasonably experienced rider. You should be comfortable, secure and in control on a well schooled horse at the walk, trot and canter and used to riding in open country and over varied terrain. You should have a reasonably good level of general and riding fitness.
Accommodation is in a combination of hotels and Estancias (ranches), all are comfortable and most have swimming pools. Bedrooms all have their own private bathrooms. Single rooms can be arranged on request. The older traditional properties have wonderful charm and offer a unique experience into country life on the working Estancias. There is an optional camping night on the Beach & Estancia Ride.
Atlantic Coast Rides:
Painted Bird Ride (7 nights)
Average temperature guide
Itinerary in brief - Painted Bird Ride (please enquire for other itineraries)
|Day 1||Met on arrival in Montevideo and transferred to a boutique hotel. Dinner (own expense) and the night in a hotel in Montevideo.|
|Day 2||Breakfast and transfer about 3 - 4 hours to Rocha province with its pristine beaches. Stop for lunch and then meet the horses and Gauchos for an introductory ride. In the late afternoon continue the drive to Fortin San Miguel. Dinner and the night at Fortin San Miguel.|
|Day 3||A short transfer to meet the horses then set off riding towards the Atlantic Coast. A picnic lunch close to the beach, then after a siesta and perhaps a swim in the sea, set off riding along the coast, 22km of deserted beaches, to La Coronilla where the night is spent in a hotel by the beach.|
|Day 4||A full day ride heading along deserted beaches of the Atlantic coast to Santa Teresa National Park. Picnic lunch and continue to Punta del Diablo. Dinner and the night Punta el Diablo.|
|Day 5||Breakfast and drive to meet the horses then set off riding - this area is a Biosphere Natural Reserve with wonderful riding over grass covered sand dunes. There are chances to canter along the beach to Cabo Polonia, a small fishing village. Dinner and night at Cabo Polonia.|
|Day 6||After visiting the light house and sea lion colony, mount up and ride inland, past the marshlands and Laguna Castillos, home to many wonderful birds. After a picnic continue riding through palm groves to a working estancia, Guardia del Monte where the night is spent.|
|Day 7||A day ride, joining the gauchos working with the cattle and visiting a neighbouring estancia for lunch. In the afternoon return by a different route to Guardia del Monte for dinner and the night.|
|Day 8||Breakfast and a morning ride to the small town of Castillos where you can visit the local gaucho store. A picnic lunch than say goodbye to the horses and gauchos. Afternoon transfer to Montevideo airport or ferry port for your onward journey.|
|Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on tel (+44) (0)1837-82544 / 825440 for further information, detailed itineraries, dates and answers to questions.|
The meeting point for these rides is Montevideo. Flights to Montevideo are usually either via Buenos Aires or via Sao Paolo, though one can also fly with one of the US airlines via North America. Rates vary with the season and airline but expect to pay between £850 and £950 per person for an economy return. Please call us if you would like further information on flights or for a quote. We would be happy to book flights for you (our ATOL number for flight bookings is 6213).