On this 7-day Coastal Gems of Uruguay Tour, explore José Ignacio, akin to the Hamptons for New Yorkers, which offers an escape, showcasing a distinct South American bohemian charm that's truly captivating. On the second half of the tour, explore the Rocha Province, a UNESCO-recognized part of the Bañados del Este Biosphere Reserve, celebrated for its remarkable biodiversity, housing birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. This tour explores highlights such as Cabo Polonio's sand dunes and sea lion sanctuary, Cerro Verde's green turtles, and Laguna de Rocha Lagoon, where travelers engage with the fishing community and relish a meal at "Cocina de la Barra."
Discover the Rocha Province, a UNESCO-recognized part of the Bañados del Este Biosphere Reserve
Experience the sand dunes and sea lion sanctuary of Cabo Polonio
Encounter green turtles at Cerro Verde
Engage with the fishing community at "Cocina de la Barra"
Upon your arrival at the hotel, meet with your local guide for the following tour:
Experience the Punta Del Este City Tour with a Picnic at the Sculpture Park. Visit the fascinating "Casapueblo," a magnificent property perched on the Atlantic Ocean hillside, designed and constructed by the renowned Uruguayan artist Carlos Paez Vilaró. Explore "Mansa" beach and uncover the area's pirate legends in "Las Delicias," situated in front of "Gorritti Island." Also, have the opportunity to observe the sizeable sea lion population near the marina and port, where they gather to feed on fish provided by local fishermen.
The excursion continues to the undulating, whimsical bridge of La Barra and the charming local towns renowned for their antique shops and inviting atmosphere. The tour concludes with a visit to the Atchugarry Foundation and Sculpture Park, where you can relish a picnic lunch.
After breakfast, you are transported to Estancia Anastasio, where you embark on a cycling adventure along rustic trails, passing by private ranches until you reach the Anastasio Stream. From this point, switch to kayaking and paddle your way to the lagoon. This particular lagoon connects to the sea during the winter season, making it a haven for various bird species such as flamingos, swans, herons, storks, and more. A classic picnic lunch is served, and afterward, pedal back to Jose Ignacio. If you prefer, this tour can be modified to include horseback riding instead of cycling.
Travel to Bodega Garzón for a Tour, Lunch, and Tasting: Exploring Garzon, Often Called the "Tuscany of Uruguay"
The excursion commences with a visit to the tranquil town of Garzon, often likened to the "Uruguayan Tuscany." Here, pause at the central square, chapel, and train station. Next, proceed to Garzon Winery for a comprehensive visit that includes wine tasting and a delightful lunch. Perched atop a rocky formation, the winery provides breathtaking views of the vineyards nestled on the hillside, featuring mineral-rich, well-draining soils that contribute to the production of high-quality grapes. Following the meal, you'll be transported back to your hotel.
Transfer from Punta del Este Airport to La Pedrera. Once arrived at the entrance of Cabo Polonio Village, meet up with your local guide for the following adventure:
Get ready for a full-day exploration of the Sand Dunes of Cabo Polonio. The adventure commences in the quaint town of Valizas, where travelers will cross the stream aboard a local angler's boat, embarking on an incredible 4-hour barefoot trek across the sand dunes leading to Cabo Polonio. Along the way, relish the splendid vistas of the ocean from Buena Vista Hill before reaching the charming fishing village. Savor a seaside restaurant lunch with a view of the ocean, and ascend the lighthouse to witness one of the largest sea lion colonies in South America. In the afternoon, take a rugged 4-wheel monster truck from the village back to the entrance.
Day 5: Full-day La Coronilla to Santa Teresa National Park Hiking
Exploration of the Hiking Trail from La Coronilla to Santa Teresa National Park
The adventure commences in the charming town of La Coronilla, where the first stop is at the visitor center of the local NGO Karumbé, meaning "turtle" in the local Guaraní language. Here, a specialist will provide insights into their various conservation activities in the region and lead us on a hike to the Green Hill Protected Area. During the trek, which takes place from November to March, be on the lookout for green turtles and dolphins.
Upon reaching Santa Teresa National Park, relish a traditional local picnic lunch and delve into the history of the area, exploring the Portuguese fortress and learning about the region's local heritage.
Gather with your local guide. The adventure begins with a transfer to the natural reserve of Laguna de Rocha. This semi-freshwater lagoon, which flows into the sea, is renowned as a haven for birdlife, housing around 220 species including migratory waders, flamingos, black-necked swans, herons, and storks.
Pay a visit to the nearby fishing community and relish a meal at "Cocina de La Barra," a charming small restaurant run by the wives of the local fishermen. Following lunch, set out with a local friend, Pepe, who will guide us on a boat expedition to explore the diverse bird species residing on the lagoon.
Day 7: Last day at La Pedrera
After breakfast, from here you will be transferred to the airport, and the port, or feel free to stay an extra day or two. Transfer back to Montevideo.
The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.