Uruguay's Estancias

Historic family ranches are found throughout Uruguay, and these estancias provide a glimpse into the history and culture of a time when gauchos and grazing cattle were abundant across the rolling hills and green pastures of Uruguay. This Uruguay tour focuses on the estancias with visits in Colonia del Sacramento, Montevideo, and the coast to Cabo Polonio. There is ample time for horseback riding, hiking, birdwatching, or just sitting back and enjoying the scenery.

Day 1

Arrive and visit Colonia. Estancia La Vigna

Arrive today to Colonia del Sacramento by ferry from Buenos Aires and begin 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.

In the afternoon, you will be transferred to the bus station and take an hour and a half ride to Colonia Valdense where you will be met by a local guide from Estancia La Vigna who will take you to their charming farm for dinner and your overnight.

Day 2

Montevideo

After breakfast, visit Martilu or La Brida Farms, local producers of blue cheese.  After the second world war, many Swiss immigrants settled in this area of Uruguay, founding “Colonia Suiza” and “Colonia Valdense”, and creating some of  the best cheeses in Uruguay.  After lovely cheese tastings and lunch at La Vigna, an hour and a half bus ride will take you to Montevideo, and a private transfer will drive you to your hotel in the Old Town.  The evening is free to enjoy dinner at one of Montevideo's restaurants or the nightlife that ranges from cozy tango bars to trendy, modern discos.

Day 3

Montevideo City Tour and Wine Tasting

This morning take a guided city tour of this cosmopolitan city and visit the lively Port Market and the Ciudad Vieja (the colonial historic neighborhood).  In the afternoon, take  a wine tour to the best vineyards near Montevideo (typically visit Bodegas Bouza and Juanico) with tastings included. 

A bus (four hour bus trip) will take you to the province of Treinta y Tres named after the thirty-three soldiers that fought in one of the most important battles that were won for the Independence of Uruguay.  You are met and transferred to Estancia Pinos de la Quebrada, a lovely estancia located next to the Quebrada de los Cuervos National Park.

Day 4

Estancia Balcon del Abra and Salamanca Grottos

After breakfast, a private vehicle drives you along the winding trails towards the province of Rocha near the coast.  Visit Salamanca Grottos to enjoy a picnic lunch and a short hike to the caves. Return to the Estancia Balcon del Abra in the afternoon and to relax in the evening.

Day 5

Estancia El Charabon

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Estancia el Charabon. The 950 hectare estancia is surrounded by streams, rolling meadows, eucalyptus forest, and natural fields full of flora and fauna. Your afternoon is free for hiking, horseback riding, or relaxing at the pool.

Day 6

Estancia Guardia del Monte

Today you will transfer 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.

Day 7

Estancia Guardia del Monte

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.

Day 8

Cabo Polonio. Return to Montevideo

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 continuing 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!).  This afternoon take a bus for a four hour return to Montevideo.  We can arrange additional hotel nights or transportation to the airport for an evening flight to return home or to the port for a ferry to Buenos Aires.

$2590
Tour Cost
$2590
Total Cost (USD)

Notes

$580 single supplement

Trip has a combination of private transfers and public buses. Please contact us if you prefer private transfers for the entire trip.

Included

  • 7 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 6 Dinners
  • 8 Nights Accommodations
    • 1 Night Hotel
    • 7 Nights Lodge
  • 3 Days Private Guide Service
  • 6 Days Locally Hosted Guide Service
  • Both International Arrival and Departure Transfers are included.

Excluded

  • International Flights

Recommended Budgeting

  • $150 Meals not Included
  • $30 Airport Departure Tax
  • $5 Park Entrance Fee
    • Quebrada de los Cuervos National Park
  • $100 Optional Excursions
  • $75 One-Way Ferry Ticket from Buenos Aires to Colonia
  • $115 One-Way Ferry Ticket from Montevideo to Buenos Aires