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La Pedrera beach, Uruguay

Highlights of Uruguay

Estancias and Beaches - Example 8 Day Tour
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Uruguay is famous for its estancias and beaches, and this 8 day Uruguay tour offers both. Visit Colonia and Montevideo before heading east to a traditional estancia for two nights for horseback riding and a glimpse at the gaucho culture. The trip ends with two days in the coastal village of Jose Ignacio at an ecolodge located on the beach.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Arrive Colonia
Day 2 : Montevideo City Tour
Day 3 : Winery and Estancia
Day 4 : A Traditional Estancia
Day 5 : Cabo Polonio Sand Dune Trekking
Day 6 : Rocha Lagoon | On to Jose Ignacio
Day 7 : Jose Ignacio Free Day
Day 8 : Return to Montevideo


  • Explore Montevideo and its fantastic local wineries
  • Horseback ride in the palm forests and along the estancia fields
  • Trek among the Cabo Polonio Sand Dunes
  • Canoe in the Rocha Lagoon, while looking for wildlife

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Adventure Life Exclusive

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

La Pedrera beach, Uruguay Wander historic streets in Colonia, Uruguay Riders on horseback in Uruguay Cultural cousine experience Sunset in Montevideo Restaurant in Montevideo Trees of Laguna Negra

Day 1 Arrive Colonia

Arrive to “Colonia Del Sacramento” and transfer to Charco Hotel, located in the Old Town district of the city. Enjoy a bike tour along the cobbled streets of the Old Town
of Colonia and the riverside boulevard to the Casa de los Limoneros, where you can enjoy refreshments in their beautiful garden. Take an afternoon ride back to Colonia, where you can discover its cobbled streets full of small bars, excellent restaurants, art and craft shops, museums and a yacht harbor. Optional: Normal private city tour instead of bike tour.

Day 2 Montevideo City Tour

Transfer to the bus terminal. After a bus transfer to Montevideo, enjoy lunch at the vibrant port market. Take a walking tour of the Ciudad Vieja (the colonial
historic neighborhood) visiting the most important museums of Montevideo Old Borough. Spend one night in the capital of Uruguay at Hotel Don Boutique.

Day 3 Winery and Estancia

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning, you are picked up for a short panoramic city tour of the rest of the city and a visit to one winery in the region of Montevideo. Afterwards, take a bus ride to Castillos, where you arepicked up and taken to Estancia Guardia del Monte (without guide), where you may enjoy the last hours of the day on the Castillos Lagoon. (Please note that depending on the season, you might stay at Guardia del Monte or Charabon Estancia and the available activities will be adapted to the area.) Enjoy dinner at the Estancia.

Day 4 A Traditional Estancia

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Wake up in Guardia Del Monte/Estancia El Charabon, a traditional estancia with outstanding landscape beauty and important ecosystems containing a great variety of birds and native scrublands. Enjoy some quality birdwatching along the large area of marshlands and wetlands, both of which are teeming with bird life (more than 400 species in this area), otters, coypus and capybaras. Spot the graceful black-necked swan (largest populations in the world found here), the rare white goose, the pink flamingo (a species of flamingo with very bright pink pigment and quite common in Uruguay) and many ducks and other birds such as the largest bird in South America - the ‘ostrich-like’ “ñandú” (American rhea).
After a typical “asado lunch," enjoy some horseback riding to explore the estancia surroundings. Enjoy dinner and accommodation at Guardia del Monte (Please note that depending on the season, we might stay at Guardia del Monte or Charabon Estancia and the available activities will be adapted to the area).

Day 5 Cabo Polonio Sand Dune Trekking

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
After breakfast, transfer to small village Barra de Valizas, where a local guide meets you to start an unforgettable tour to “Cabo Polonio” Village. After a short walk around the town, start the trekking along the coastline towards the incredible shifting sand dunes. Trek up the “Buena Vista Hill," where a fantastic view of the ocean can be appreciated. Continue down towards Cabo Polonio (4 hours trek). After a delicious seafood lunch at a local seaside restaurant, visit the light house and sea lions reserve (one of the biggest ones in the world!). In the afternoon, take a 4x4 truck drive towards the main entrance of Cabo Polonio. Transfer to Zen in La Paloma (or similar) where you spend the night.

Day 6 Rocha Lagoon | On to Jose Ignacio

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Begin at the lighthouse of the small town of La Paloma where you bike to the lovely Rocha Lagoon, a semi-freshwater lagoon of 72 km (28 sq mi). The lagoon has an outlet to the sea during winter months and constitutes a bird paradise with 220 species which have been recorded like migratory waders, flamingos, swans, herons and ducks, among others.  This unique protected natural area is part of what we call the wetlands of the “Eastern Biosphere Reserve," internationally recognized within the framework of the Man and the Biosphere (Man and the Biosphere, MAB) of UNESCO since 1976.  On arrival to the local fishermen´s town, your canoe is waiting for you. Paddle along the lagoon, where you are able to see various bird species, local wildlife and native vegetation. At midday, enjoy a typical picnic lunch. Transfer back to Jose Ignacio.

Day 7 Jose Ignacio Free Day

Enjoy a free day in the beach village of Jose Ignacio. Stroll through the village, climb the lighthouse, enjoy good food in one of the many local restaurants or just lay back and relax on the beach.

Day 8 Return to Montevideo

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast, return to Montevideo by group bus. From here a private transfer takes you either to the port for the ferry to Buenos Aires or to the airport for your flight onward.

Colonia - Hotels

El Charabon

Montevideo - Hotels

Posada del Faro

Zen Boutique Hotel

Per person starting at


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  • 7 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 2 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Arrival Transfer
  • Departure Transfer
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Professional, bilingual guide service as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed


  • Meals not Included
  • International Flights
  • Airport Departure Tax
  • Optional Excursions
  • One-Way Ferry Ticket from Montevideo to Buenos Aires
  • One-Way Ferry Ticket from Buenos Aires to Colonia
  • 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
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Jess H

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Kate was great to work with in the planning stage. She was prompt, helpful, and efficient. Our tour guide, Edwin, was knowledgeable and passionate. We were very happy to have traveled with Adventure Life, it made the trip easy and a true pleasure. We could concentrate on enjoying the experience rather than the details of travel.
Lisa Bridge

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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