22 October 2016
Uruguay used to be South America's best-kept secret, with just a handful of Argentines, Brazilians, Chileans and non–South Americans in the know popping in to enjoy the beautiful beaches, atmospheric cities, huge steaks and pulsating nightlife. Then the peso crashed, the place became much more affordable and people got curious. They came, loved it and went back home to tell their friends . . . and so it went on. Today the country isn't exactly being overrun by tourists and on this comprehensive trip you will see all the main draw cards, like Colonia del Sacramento, Punta del Este, La Pedrera, the gaucho culture in the estancias, natural reserves and national parks as well as the capital city Montevideo.
Your tour begins in Colonia Del Sacramento where you will be met on arrival and taken to Plaza Mayor Hotel located in the Old town of the City. Enjoy a walking city tour along the cobbled streets of the old town seeing the fascinating buildings, old forts and Spanish and Portuguese Museums and the most important tourist spots.
After breakfast you will be taken to the bus station to board a regular bus to take you into the capital city Montevideo. Sitting with the locals is a great way to travel to the city and on arrival you will be met and driven to your hotel. Then you will be taken on a tour of Montevideo with lunch at the lively Port Market included.
During the morning, you are taken on a wine tour to the best vineyards of Montevideo with tasting included. After lunch at one of the vineyards, continue to Punta del Este to see the most important attractions. Then carry on to Guardia del Monte, a working estancia next to the Laguna de Castillos. Here you have a beautiful landscape of wetlands, with a great variety of birds, and native scrublands. This area has been declared a Natural Animal Reserve since 1996. Visit the forest of Ombúes, where each tree has its own wonderful shape with thick, twisting roots.
After breakfast, a local guide will meet us at the Posada to start an unforgettable tour to “Cabo Polonio” Village. After a short walk around the town, we will start the trekking along the coastline that will take us towards the incredible shifting sand dunes. We will trek up the “Buena Vista Hill” from where a fantastic view of the ocean can be appreciated, to continue down towards Cabo Polonio (4 hours trek). After a delicious seafood lunch at a local seaside restaurant, we will visit the light house and sea lions reserve (one of the biggest ones in the world!). Afternoon 4x4 truck drive towards the main entrance of Cabo Polonio where a private transfer will drive guests back to the Posada Valizas where we will enjoy dinner and spend the night
After breakfast, transfer to Estancia Guardia del Monte. There we will visit the “Forest of Ombu”, a tree that curiously rarely grows in groups of more than 2 or 3 but in this area has extended into a big line of forest, possibly the only one in the world. Each tree has its own wonderful shape with thick, twisting roots spreading out over the ground, some of which are over 500 years and have a diameter of 2 meters (6 feet). After lunch, we will have the opportunity to visit the extensive “Palm Groves of Rocha”. Despite a number of stories, no one knows how the palm trees got here (some of which are more than 300 years old); they are not native but they give the landscape a very exotic look. Dinner and accommodation at Estancia Guardia del Monte (Please note that depending on the season, we might stay at Guardia del Monte or Charabon Estancia and the mentioned activities will be adapted to each option).
We wake up in Guardia Del Monte, a traditional estancia with outstanding landscape beauty and important ecosystems containing a great variety of birds and native scrublands. We will enjoy some quality bird watching along the large area of marshlands and wetlands.After a typical “asado lunch” we will enjoy some horseback riding to explore the estancia surroundings. Dinner and accommodation at Guardia del Monte (Please note that depending on the season, we might stay at Guardia del Monte or Charabon Estancia
After breakfast, drive towards the exclusive area of “Punta del Este” where we will visit the charming Jose Ignacio town with its rocky beaches and light house, drive across different small villages that follow one another along the coastline and visit the lively La Barra where we will cross the famous undulated bridge just before arriving to the Brava Beach of Punta del Este. We will visit the most important attractions: “Juan Gorlero Avenue”, the yacht's port, the residential areas and the lovely Casapueblo, a strange and attractive construction designed by the renowned Uruguayan artist Carlos Páez Vilaró where we will visit his museum. After lunch, we will drive back to Montevideo.
Today your wonderful Highlights of Uruguay tour comes to an end. Time for a last minute shop for souvenirs in Punta del Este before you are collected from your hotel and taken to the airport where you can extend your South American adventure by taking an onward flight or begin your journey back home.
Standard Rate fr £2560pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated