6, 7, 8 and 9 night rides run between October and December, and February to early May. Accommodation is in a mix of private camps, lodges and hotels.
Where In Rocha province, eastern Uruguay.
What is it like 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 and a wonderful coastline of unspoilt, sandy beaches. Overall it has superb and varied riding country. Taking you across a variety of 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 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.
Who does it suit All rides are aimed at reasonably experienced riders, but there are a couple of options to choose from depending on the time you have and also your accommodation preferences. With varied scenery and a mix of culture and countryside, these rides are a great choice if you want 'a little bit of everything'!
Why we love it Uruguay is an unexpected gem. With its mix of countryside, culture, coastline, colourful birds and exotic wildlife, its full of character and interest - as well as super South American horses.
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: 90 kgs/ 14st 2lbs
Accommodation: simple private camps, private lodge, estancia, posadas and 3* hotels
Group size: max 10 (max 6 for Beach & Estancia)
Season: October to December, late February to early May
Price: 7 night rides from USD 2690 (approx £2200) per person
Horses: Mostly the local Uruguayan Criollo breed. They are between about 14.2hh and 16hh, very well suited to the terrain and a responsive, forward going and thoroughly enjoyable ride. Tack is South American style with saddles similar to westerns, 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 and relaxed contact with the horses' mouth is required. Saddle bags are available for personal belongings and pack horses or vehicles transport most equipment.
Hours: Usually between 4 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 a walk, trot and canter and used to riding in open country and over varied terrain. A reasonably good level of general and riding fitness is required.
Accommodation on the Criollo Land itinerary is in a combination of camping, hotels and lodges Camping is in private mobile camps using simple 2 man dome tents. Other nights, and all nights of the Beach & Estancia itinerary, are in guesthouses, hotels and estancia. Rooms at the older traditional properties are all different and the level of facilities varies, but they offer a unique insight into country life on a working estancia. Bedrooms generally have private bathroom, with a shared bathroom on some rides if numbers require. Single rooms can be arranged on request.
Prices valid to December 2023
Criollo Land & Atlantic Coast (7 or 9 nights; with 5 nights camping)
Average temperature guide
Itinerary in brief - Criollo Land & Atlantic Coast (please enquire for Beach & Estancia itinerary)
|Day 1||Transfer by bus from Montevideo to Barras de Valiza in Rocha Province. Lunch and an afternoon ride to try the horses. Dinner & night Los Chaja Eco Lodge|
|Day 2||Breakfast and a full day ride to Cabo Polonia through the sand dunes and along the beach. Visit the sea lion colony and then lunch iin the town. In the afternoon ride back to Los Chaja.|
|Day 3||The ride todsay takes you rhrough ancient Ombu forest and the wetlands around Laguna Negra, with its abundance of bird life. Night is in camp set up ahead of you at Barra Grande.|
|Day 4||A full day ride heading into very different terrain of partureland and palm forest. Camp is set up in a private reserve, at El Mirador, a tremendous viewpoint.|
|Day 5||Breakfast and start riding back toward the coast, leaving the highlands. In the afternoon arrive at Don Bosco, a Silesian colony on the shores of the black lagoon|
|Day 6||A morning ride to explore the Cerro de la Virgen, an amazing 360 degree lookout and its surrounding ancient forest. The afternoon to relax, watch birds and enjoy the beautiful campsite at Don Bosco.|
|Day 7||Breakfast and set off riding through estancia lands, through palm forests and wetlands. In the afternoon continue to Los Moros next to the Atlantic Ocean where camp is set up.|
|Day 8||The morning ride takes you along the Atlantic beaches and back to the base at Vailiza. Lunch and say goodbye to the horses before a late afternoon bus transfer back to Montevideo.|
|Day 9 & 10||Two night extension to Punta del Diablo, Santa Teresa fort and La Coronilla optional.|
|Contact us at email@example.com 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).