The Emerald Coast, Uruguay
- long canters along remote pristine beaches
- have a taste of 'mate' tea and the gaucho life
- incredible coastal wildlife watching
“Uruguay” – meaning River of the painted birds in the local language - is made for riding! On this horse riding tour riders will see the huge variety of birdlife, as well as enjoy varied paced riding in incredibly diverse landscapes: pristine beaches, palm groves, pasturelands, rice fields, sand dunes, forests & forts…
Today is set aside to relax and explore the city of Montevideo, on the riverbank of the immense ‘Rio de la Plata’ estuary. Your guide will take you on a tour of the charming city, including a traditional barbeque lunch (‘asado’) at the lively old Port Market. The guide will offer some options for dinner and help guests, for example, exchange money.
We will be driven to the Brazilian border and into Rocha, arguably the most beautiful province in Uruguay with pristine beaches, emerald waters and a network of lagoons. We will visit Chuy, a very curious town straddling the border, after which we will meet the gauchos and horses to ride around the rolling hills of San Miguel National Park, enjoying a wonderful panoramic view of the area. We will stay at the “Fortín de San Miguel" Hote,l where guests will be able to enjoy the gardens, swimming pool and the relaxed atmosphere.
After a 3 - hour ride towards the coast, we will enjoy a fast-pace ride along the wonderful, isolated ocean beach of ‘Barra Chuy’. Visitors seldom reach this beach so we can enjoy exhilarating canters with no signs of habitation as we ride across the pure white sands alongside the Atlantic Ocean.
Today we will ride south alternating beaches, sand dunes, pine forests and coastal hills where we might see dolphins feeding in the bays before arriving at the Santa Teresa National Park. After a picnic lunch we will enjoy riding along the forest trails and down to the beach and we will pass a shipwreck buried in the sand, one of many along this treacherous coast. We will continue along the coast towards the quaint seaside village of Punta del Diablo.
We wake up at “El Sauce”, a working estancia run by its owners where we will enjoy a full day riding around the grasslands & rice fields. The estancia, built in 1920, is very comfortable –it is not a hotel but a family house where we have been invited to stay as guests of the owners, offering us an incredible experience and a very special insight into life in rural areas. The marshlands and streams are home to around 400 species of birds, including the pink flamingo, as well as otters, coypus and capybaras.
We ride through the area which has been declared a natural animal reserve and a Biosphere Natural Reserve by UNESCO. Our destination is Cabo Polonio, a charming fishing village hamlet surrounded by shifting sand dunes and only be reached by horse or four wheeled drive. We can 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 whale. Riders can swim in one of the most beautiful beaches of the country.
A fascinating day riding in an area of outstanding beauty with special ecosystems and a great variety of birds and native plants awaits us; this area has been declared Natural Animal Reserve since 1996. We will have the opportunity to ride into a unique forest of Ombúes, some specimens over 500 years old. The gruesome sounding Strangler Figs are also found here. After lunch, we will ride to a nearby palm grove; no one knows how hundreds of years ago, palm trees arrived on these shores.
We will enjoy a full morning working alongside the gauchos and their trusty dogs as they tend to the cattle and sheep on this working ranch. The wonderful, friendly gauchos still wear their very traditional attire –berets, ‘fajas’ & ‘bombachas’ (riding trousers) and with their knives tucked into their colorful belts all seem to have been born on a horse and it is a delight to be riding with them. After a quick lunch we say goodbye to the horses and head back to Montevideo.