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Horses at an estancia

Uruguay's Estancias

Example 8 Day Tour
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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 to Montevideo, the countryside and the coast to Cabo Polonio. There is ample time for horseback riding, hiking, birdwatching, or just sitting back and enjoying the scenery.
Vineyard in UruguayWatching the herd Barbecue at the Mercado del Puerto in MontevideoRiders on horseback in UruguayWine cellarSand dunesFlowers and grape vines at Bodega JuanicoHorses in the grassOld House in ColoniaCattle resting at an estanciaTrees of Laguna NegraHorses at an estancia
  • Visit a winery, learn about production and sip the fruits of their labor
  • Join in on chores around the ranch and explore the grounds on horseback
  • Ride horseback through the mysterious palm forest
  • Hike the sand dunes for incredible ocean views
Places Visited
  • South America
  • Uruguay
  • Montevideo
  • Bosque de Ombues
  • Cabo Polonio
  • Estancia Balcon del Abra
  • Estancia Guardia del Monte
  • Estancia Los Platanos
  • Mariscala
  • Quebrada de los Cuervos
  • Treinta y Tres
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive Montevideo | Wine Tasting

Arrive today to Montevideo and transfer to your hotel in the historic city center. This afternoon visit a winery on the ouskirts of Montevideo. Tour the winery and learn about the production processes. Finish with a tasting of the emblematic Uruguayan wine know as "Tannat" (it is to Uruguay what Malbec is to Argentina). Return to Montevideo in the evening.

Day 2: Explore Montevideo | Drive to Estancia Los Platanos

After breakfast, enjoy a guided walking tour of this cosmopolitan city. You will visit the lively Port Market and the colonial neighborhood of Ciudad Vieja. Next a public bus will take you to the province of Treinta y Tres, named after the thirty-three soldiers that fought for Uruguay's Independence. Once you arrive, head to the Estancia Los Platanos to enjoy your evening in the countryside.

Day 3: Free day at Estancia Los Platanos

Discover the Uruguayan countryside and enjoy life on a traditional Ranch. The captivating landscape is the perfect place to experience the authenticity of the Uruguayan countryside and to enter the world of the Gauchos. Explore the land by horse, horse cart or walks and join in the daily ranch chores and activities. After a long day of rustic life, enjoy homemade Uruguayan food.

Day 4: Quebrada de los Cuervos

Today experience one of the most natural landscapes of Uruguay and encounter a variety of flora and fauna. The Yerba Chico stream created a canyon and formed a fascinating gorge with cliffs up to 120 meters. A narrow footpath leads you down the rocks, accompanied by the sound of the wind and the rustling of vultures flying overhead.

After a traditional lunch, transfer to the local bus station in Treinta y Tres to board the bus to the city of Rocha. You will be picked up at the bus station and transferred to Estancia Balcon del Abra.

Day 5: Estancia Balcon del Abra

Enjoy a full day at Estancia Balcon del Abra. This estancia is dedicated to the breeding of horses and is surrounded by the rolling hills of the Lavalleja Province. You can organize some trekking to the nearby hills, a riding tour to the nearby estancia (extra cost) or just relax at the natural pool. Enjoy horseback riding, fishing, bird-watching, hiking, or simple relaxation at the estancia. 

Day 6: Estancia Guardia del Monte

After breakfast transfer to Estancia Guardia del Monte, a working estancia overlooking Laguna Castillos. 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. Enjoy horseback riding, fishing, bird-watching, hiking, or simple relaxation next to the lagoon. 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. 

Day 7: Trek Cabo Polonio

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 private transfer to Estancia Guardia del Monte.

Day 8: Return to Montevideo

  • 1 Breakfast
Return to Montevideo.


Estancia Guardia del Monte

Estancia Guardia del Monte
Estancia Guardia del Monte
Estancia Guardia del Monte

Estancia Balcon del Abra

Estancia Balcon del Abra
Estancia Balcon del Abra
Estancia Balcon del Abra

Estancia Los Platanos

Estancia Los Platanos
Estancia Los Platanos
Learn about the 100+ years of history on this working ranch & hotel

Montevideo - Hotels

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Trip has a combination of private transfers and public buses. Please contact us if you prefer private transfers for the entire trip.
  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Airport Departure Tax
  • One-Way Ferry Ticket from Montevideo to Buenos Aires
  • Park Entrance Fee: Quebrada de los Cuervos National Park
  • One-Way Ferry Ticket from Buenos Aires to Colonia


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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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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