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Cobblestone street in Colonia del Sacramento

Best of Uruguay Self-Drive

Example 11 Day Tour
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Explore the highlights of Uruguay during this 11-day self-drive tour. Begin your journey in the romantic city of Colonia del Sacramento, explore the charming cobblestone streets and learn about the Portuguese and Spanish influence. Drive northwest along the coast where you will spend two days in the Carmelo region, enjoy a sunset cruise on the Uruguay River, visit wineries and Jesuit Ruins. Head to Uruguay's capital, Montevideo for a taste of both the historic city center and the La Ciudad Nueva's tree-lined streets and modern shops. Spend two days in the Puerto Eden region overlooking the picturesque winery filled hillsides before heading south to the beaches of Jose Ignacio for your final days on your Uruguayan adventure.
South American food and wineSunset in MontevideoVineyard in UruguayCasapueblo in Punta del Este, UruguayCoast of MontevideoCobblestone street in Colonia del Sacramento
  • Visit multiple local wineries and taste their fantastic Uruguayan wines
  • Explore Montevideo both 'La Ciudad Nueva' and the Old City
  • Relax on the beaches of Jose Ignacio
  • Taste traditional mate and walk the cobbled streets of old town Colonia
Places Visited
Trip Type:
  • Adventure Life Exclusive
Activity Level: Relaxed

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive Colonia | Walking Tour

Arrive in “Colonia Del Sacramento” and transfer to your hotel, located in the Old Town district of the city. Meet your guide for a walking tour to explore the city, declared a World Heritage by the UNESCO. Founded by the Portuguese and disputed for years by the crowns of both Spain and Portugal, Colonia´s magical history remains intact. Walk along the charming cobbled streets and discover the different sites such as the old city gate (Porton de Campo), the historical street Calle de los Suspiros (Street of Sighs), the lovely squares and the local church Iglesia Matriz. Take a break and enjoy a mate tasting before returning to your hotel. 

Day 2: Carmelo | Puerto Camacho Sunset Cruise

  • 1 Breakfast
This morning your rental car will be delivered to your hotel. Drive from Colonia del Sacramento to Carmelo (without your guide).

Along the way, stop for an optional visit of Calera las Huérfanas National Monument (estimated distance: 70 km/43.5 mi - one hour enroute). During the XVIII century the Jesuits settled in the north of the Province of Colonia in Uruguay, where they continued their mission and built the first buildings in 1741. This is where Indians, slaves, and priests would gather. After the Jesuits were expelled by the Spanish crown, Don Juan de San Martín took the administration of the estancia and planted 1500 stocks of grapevine; this is how wine production was born in Uruguay.

This afternoon, drive to Puerto Camacho where you will embark on the Rio de la Plata Sunset Cruise (approximately 1.5 hours). Board the classic boat just before sunset and enjoy a relaxing tour sailing through the islands of the Delta, where the waters of Río de la Plata and Rio Uruguay meet; this spot is considered to be “kilometer 0” of both rivers. Discover the legends of the Uruguayan coasts and its shipwrecks and toast to an amazing sunset!  Drie

Day 3: Jesuit Ruins Tour & Winery Visit

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
After breakfast, meet your guide, for the Tour Jesuit Ruins & Carmelo's Wineries. Tour two wineries of the Carmelo’s region. Bodega Cordano is a small family-run winery which is led by Ana Paula Cordano, a 5th general win maker, and her family. Discover the “Almacén de la Capilla”, a vintage grocery shop founded in 1855 by Antonio Cordano. Tour the production areas and enjoy a beautiful walk through the vineyards and a wine tasting. You will feel like you traveled back through time. 

Next, you will tour Bodega El Legado, a boutique family-owned winery. The winery’s name, meaning “Legacy” was named in honor of Luis Mazurca, who bought the land and planted the first grapevines. Bodega El Legado not only refers to the material legacy but to The Legacy of passing toward the new generations the passion of the work and the love for the land. Enjoy a wine tasting and a typical "asado" lunch (the traditional uruguayan barbecue).

Day 4: Montevideo Old City Walking Tour

Drive from Carmelo to Montevideo where you will meet up with your local guide for a Montevideo Walking Tour of the Old City. Discover the historic city center of Montevideo in depth. Learn about the history of the buildings, including the historic Palacio Salvo, the President´s office and the mausoleum of national hero José Artigas. Stroll along Sarandi pedestrian area, and walk thorough to the Matriz Square, where the Cathedral of Montevideo and the town´s Cabildo are located. Continue through the streets of the historic city center, until arriving at the Port Market, which is nowadays a vibrant market hall, with a huge variety of restaurants and typical Asado Grills. A perfect spot to enjoy lunch.

Tour your choice of two museums: the MAPI – Museum of Pre-Columbian and Indigenous Art, the Torres Garcia Museum and the Gurvich Museum, mainly dedicated to their eponymous artists. After finishing your tour, you will be taken back to your hotel. 

Please note the tour order is subject to the opening/closing times of the museums. Your choice of museums should be communicated in advance..

Day 5: Montevideo New City Tour

After breakfast, meet your local guide for a tour of modern Montevideo. Enjoy a tour of the different neighborhoods of Montevideo which started developing after the demolition of the Old City Walls in 1829. Unlike the Old City, La Ciudad Nueva (the new city), was planned with wide and tree lined streets, with magnificent stores and residences. From the Plaza Independencia, admire the surrounding buildings of different heights and styles, which clearly define it as a city facing the future. A few blocks away, visit the Plaza Fabini or “Plaza del Entrevero", with a magnificent sculpture of a horse battle between the first Spanish settlers and the native inhabitants, masterpiece of the Uruguayan artist José Belloni. Continue onto the “Ciudad Abierta” (the open city), the area of Montevideo which gradually grew into an open city of green parks, famous monuments and residential areas. See the famous “Estadio Centenario”, Monumento a la Carreta and the residential area of Carrasco and Punta Gorda. You will also visit the studio of Lobo Nuñez, an Afro-Uruguayan drums luthier and percussionist considered a “legend” within the Uruguayan Candombe music genre. Learn about the first signs of Carnival in Uruguay traced back to 1760, when slaves were only allowed to celebrate in certain special dates. This is a memorable cultural encounter that will give you insider access to the secret world of the Uruguayan drums!

Day 6: Drive from Montevideo to Sacromente

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Today, drive from Montevideo to Sacromente, near to Pueblo Edén (without a guide). Upon arrival, enjoy a welcome wine tasting on top of the hill, overlooking the hills of the “Sierras de Caracoles” with champagne and lunch.

Day 7: Pueblo Eden Olive Oil & Winery Tour

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
This morning, your guide will pick you up at your hotel, for a day tour of Pueblo Eden. The day begins at an olive oil plantation where you will learn about the olive oil production in Uruguay and enjoy a tasting. Continue on to Viña Eden located on the rocky outcrops of Pueblo Eden, an exceptional spot where the climate of the hills and freshness of the Atlantic ocean create the a unique wine growing microclimate. Enjoy a tasting of the Eden Wines including a Chardonnay, a typical Tannat Reserva and the Cerro Negro wine. Hectares of olive trees and vineyards surround the village, making this region known as the "Uruguayan Tuscany". Continue onto Altos de la Ballena Winery where you will enjoy a lovely picnic lunch overlooking the vineyards. 

Day 8: Punta del Este City Tour

Drive from Sacromente to Punta del Este where you meet your local guide, for a half day Punta del Este city tour. Punta del Este is one of South America’s most glamorous resort towns. You will be able to see many beaches, elegant seaside homes, high-rise apartment buildings, luxury hotels and glitzy restaurants. The tour will take you through Punta del Este’s attractions: the main Avenue, Juan Gorlero, the artisans market, the yacht's port, the church Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, the lighthouse, the beaches and the residential neighborhoods of Golf, San Rafael, Beverly Hills, Rincón del Indio and Cantegril. Drive over the undulated bridge to La Barra with its beaches chosen by surfers, colorful houses, many restaurants and a more relaxed atmosphere. Stop in Punta Ballena where you will see Casapueblo, a unique and quirky building constructed by the famous Uruguayan artist Carlos Paez Vilaró . Here you can see stunning views of the ocean and a spectacular sunset.

Day 9: Bodega Garzón

This morning after breakfast, drive approximately 45 minutes to Bodega Garzón, for a winery tour. Enjoy a beautiful view of the vineyards, learn about their terroir and the strains they develop, visit the winery and learn more about the production processes while tasting 3 of their Estate wines during the tour. Enjoy a four course lunch at the Bodega Garzon Restaurant while taking in the stunning view of the countryside, the hills and the vineyard. 

Day 10: Free Day

Free day to enjoy exploring as you please.

Day 11: Return to Montevideo

  • 1 Breakfast
Drive back to Montevideo’s Airport.


Colonia - Hotels

Montevideo - Hotels

Jose Ignacio - Hotels

Dates & Prices

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  • 10 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 2 Dinners
  • 10 Nights Accommodations
  • 2 Days Locally Hosted Guide Service
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Professional, bilingual guide service as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Recommendations for Uruguay
    -Local guides: $10-$20 per traveler per day
    -Drivers: $5-$10 per traveler per ride
    -Support staff (porters, horsemen, doormen, camp crew): $2-3 per traveler per day
    -Taxi Drivers: For taxis, rounding up the fare is approperiate
    -Baggage Handlers: $1 per bag
    -Hotel Hospitality: $1 per room per day for the cleaning staff
    -Restaurants: In Uruguay, the standard tip is 10% of the bill

    Budgeting for Meals
    In remote areas we provide the food, but in-town meals are typically not included in the cost of your trip.  This allows our travelers to choose restaurants or local cafes to suit each personal palette. For details on meals included/excluded, please review your itinerary.

    The following are recommendations to help you plan your personal meal budget.  These guidelines are based on per person expenses and include water and/or soda.

    Recommendations for Uruguay
    Prices typically include an appetizer, main course, and dessert.
    -Mid-range lunch: $15-$35 per person
    -Mid-range dinner: $20-$40 per person
    -High-range lunch: $35-$50 per person
    -High-range dinner: $50-$90 per person
    -Domestic beer: $2-$4 a bottle
    -Imported beer: $3-$4 a bottle


When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.

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