Coast of Uruguay
note: Single supplement varies by season between $625-$775
- Punta del Este
- Cabo Polonio
- La Pedrera
- Forest of Ombues
Sunsets, sand dunes, sea lions, whales, remote lighthouses, and trendy nightclubs- Uruguay's coast offers something for all travelers. Our Uruguay trip explores the shores of the Rio Plata and Atlantic Ocean with visits to Colonia del Sacramento, Montevideo, Punta del Este, and Cabo Polonio. Relax in comfortable beachfront lodges or in a traditional estancia (working ranch) to witness firsthand the gaucho culture of Uruguay, and have ample time for horseback riding or simply relaxing at the beach. And a Uruguay tour should always involve a sampling of Uruguay's finest wine and cuisine!
- Day 1 Arrive Colonia
- Day 2 Montevideo
- Day 3 Wine Tasting and Punta del Este
- Day 4 Laguna Garzon Free Day
- Day 5 Forest of Ombues and Castillos Lagoon
- Day 6 Estancia Guardia del Monte
- Day 7 Sand Dunes of Cabo Polonio
- Day 8 La Pedrera Free Day
- Day 9 Return to Montevideo
- Cultural ActivitiesIncludes cultural activities such as a visit to a traditional village or a local market to give a unique perspective.
- HikingIncludes guided hiking excursions. Hikes may vary from easy and optional three hour hikes to more difficult multi-day treks.
- HistoryVisit ancient ruins and historical sites.
- Nature ViewingIncludes intentional opportunity to observe flora or fauna with an experienced guide.
Arrive today to Colonia del Sacramento by ferry from Buenos Aires and transfer to your hotel in the historic district. In the afternoon take a walking city tour along the cobbled streets of the old town of Colonia. This is an exciting opportunity to visit the best sights of the city of Colonia. Due to its colonial beginnings, the city's layout is different from the majority of Uruguayan cities. Its cobbled streets and houses alternate with small bars, excellent restaurants, art and craft shops, museums and a large yacht harbor. The trip can be customized based on the specific interests of the group, but travelers will often visit the beach promenade, Real de San Carlos with its bullfighting arena, the Old Town, and the museums.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the bus station to board the bus to Montevideo for a 3 hour drive along the coast. In the afternoon, take a guided city tour of this cosmopolitan city and visit the lively Port Market and the Ciudad Vieja (the colonial historic neighborhood). The evening is free to enjoy dinner at one of Montevideo's restaurants or the nightlife that ranges from cozy tango bars to modern beachfront discos.
The day begins with a wine tour to the best vineyards near Montevideo (typically visit Bodegas Bouza and Juanico) with tastings and a delicious lunch included. Continue east to Punta del Este, one of South America's most glamorous beach resorts. The beaches are glorious white sand along this stretch of Uruguay's Riviera coastline where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Rio de la Plata. Elegant seaside homes, a yacht harbor, and expensive hotels and restaurants combine with a hyperactive nightlife to give Punta del Este a feel of exclusivity and glamor. Spend the afternoon with your guide who will show you the main attractions, like Carlos Paez Vilaro's unique Casapueblo, and "La Mano", a sculpture of a buried hand protruding from the sand.
In the evening, we will cross the waved bridge of La Barra, leaving Punta del Este's glitz and glamor behind and continue our short journey to Laguna Garzon, our home for the evening, where we are welcomed at the Miradores de la Laguna Garzon Lagoon Lodge with dinner and a relaxing evening on the coast.
Laguna Garzon has become home to many artists as well as an exclusive celebrity hideaway. Surrounded by almost undiscovered beaches and lagoons, visitors can expect to find natural pastures with free-ranging cattle, local fishermen providing the “catch of the day”, water sports, and word-class quality restaurants in the nearby beachside town of Jose Ignacio .
At the lagoon lodge guests can enjoy kayaks, canoes, and sailing (additional charge), and horseback and bike riding can also be arranged. The day is free for you to choose your activity in this majestic stretch of land wedged between the lagoon and the coast. The lodge can arrange transportation to Jose Ignacio for a meal and stroll to its picturesque lighthouse and harbor.
After another restful morning at the lagoon lodge, transfer in the afternoon to Estancia Guardia del Monte, a working estancia and wetlands refuge located on the Castillos Lagoon, home to a variety of birds and native scrublands. Visit the Forest of Ombúes, a unique tree that grows in fantastic shapes with thick, twisting roots that spread out over the ground and is typically a solitary plant in other parts of Uruguay. But here, centuries-old ombúes (some over 500 years old) grow in clusters and have trunks with a diameter of six feet. The afternoon will be spent exploring the forest and the Castillos Lagoon before returning to the estancia for dinner.
Today is a free to enjoy the estancia and its surroundings. Horseback riding, fishing, bird-watching, hiking, or simple relaxation are all options for today. Mount up on horses for a ride to the mysterious palm forests; despite a number of stories, no one knows how the palm trees (some 300 years old) got here since this species is not native to the area. Experience the gaucho lifestyle and participate in the rural activities of the day, or head out for some bird watching. The wetlands are teeming with bird life with more than 400 species in this area, including the graceful black-necked swan (world's largest population is here), the rare white goose, and the largest bird in South America, the ‘ostrich-like’ ñandú (rhea). Otters, coypus (a "beaver without the tail"), and capybaras also inhabit the marshlands and streams.
In the morning, travel to Valizas Village where a local guide will be waiting to start an unforgettable tour to Cabo Polonio Village. Start the adventure by crossing the Valizas Stream by boat before we continue on foot or horseback (just let us know your preference) for a 4 mile hike along the sand dunes and sea lion colonies until Buena Vista Hill with its fantastic views of the ocean and Cabo Polonio. Visit the lighthouse and sea lion reserve (the biggest one in the world!). In the evening, travel by vehicle to La Pedrera, a quaint coastal village on the emerald coast of Uruguay.
Relax and enjoy the beach and scenery of La Pedrera. The geological rock formations on this part of the coast create the perfect balcony to watch the big ocean, and its sandy beaches and clear water are inviting. Also known for its casual atmosphere, La Pedrera is that kind of place where time flows freely: You sleep when you need it, you eat when you are hungry, and you dress comfortably all the time.
Day 9 Return to Montevideo (B)
After breakfast, a private transfer will take you to Montevideo to either the port (to return to Buenos Aires) or to the airport for an evening flight to your next destination or to return home.