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The Painted Birds Trail takes place in the province of Rocha and crosses the Banados del Este Biosphere reserve, a UNESCO site. This is a unique place. Within a relatively small area you find wetlands, native forest, palm groves, sandy and rocky beaches, rivers, coastal lagoons and savannahs; all filled with more than 400 species of birds.
Other wildlife you may see include the endangered capybara, deer, sea turtle and the Franca whale.
The trail takes you along beaches and over shifting sand dunes; through palm groves and along the shores of the wetlands, some of the largest expanses of inland water in South America.
If you wish to extend your holiday in Uruguay you can choose to visit the once obscure fishing village of Jose Ignacio. This is now arguably one of the most chic places in South America, popular with supermodels and Hollywood actors. There may also be the chance to swim with your horse at Gazon Lagoon and ride into the Protected area of ‘El Caracol’. Further inland, luxurious Balcon del Abra nestles in the hills of Lavalleja province just minutes away from the small town of Mariscala. The riding here offers a great contrast to the beaches of Rocha.
These options also work well if you prefer a centre based or two centre ride rather than a trail.
You should be a strong intermediate or experienced rider happy at all paces including gallop and fit enough for up to six hours riding a day. There are plenty of opportunities for fast riding on the grassy pastures and firm beaches. Less experienced riders are welcome at Jose Ignacio and Posada Balcon del Abra.
The horses are the local Uruguayan Criollo breed and Criollo cross which are ideally suited to the terrain. The Criollo is a strong horse with an excellent walk and good character. On the Painted Birds Trail your horses will accompany you for the week.
You ride in a local saddle with a sheep skin over the seat. The riding style is South American with a relaxed seat and loose rein. Bridles are also South American, with curb bits, and the horses respond to neck reining. Your guides will give you help in adjusting to the tack, which is very suitable for long days in the saddle.
There is a rider weight limit of 95 kg. It is possible for riders slightly over this limit to be accepted on payment of a supplement to provide an extra horse.
The accommodation used along the route is a selection of the most interesting and charming hotels, lodges and ranches available in the areas you visit. Most rooms have a private bathroom, but it may not be ensuite.
It is possible to request a single room in advance and a single supplement is payable. On some nights the bathrooms may be shared between two people.
Meals reflect the local cuisine and are prepared with fresh produce of the region wherever possible. The red meat, fish and wine are particularly recommended. However, vegetarians can also be easily catered for. Each hotel or estancia has its own price list for alcohol, which is payable locally.
In addition to the set dates shown, tailor-made itineraries can normally be arranged for parties of two or more between late February and April and from October to mid December.
Please contact us for further details and prices.
INCLUDES Accommodation; full board (except dinner on first day); riding; return shared transfers from Montevideo airport; city tour.
The weight limit is 95 kg in riding gear. Riders slightly over this limit may be accommodated subject to availability and payment of an extra horse supplement $350.00
SMALL GROUP SUPPLEMENT applies, which depends on the total number of people booked
2-3 riders in group: $770.00 per person
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT $550.00. If you are willing to share, this will be refunded if we find you a sharer.
PAYABLE LOCALLY Dinner on two days; drinks; tips.
NEAREST AIRPORT Montevideo.
TRANSFERS Included from Montevideo on first and last days of the ride.
Shared transfers are included from Montevideo airport on the first and last days of the ride.
Your flight should arrive in the morning on Day 1. We recommend that you arrive at your hotel by midday at the latest so that you do not miss lunch or the city tour.
On the departure day your flight should depart 19:00 or later.
We can book accommodation in Montevideo if you would prefer to arrive early or stay on longer.
You can fly to Montevideo with Iberia via Madrid or with Tam via Sao Paulo. Or you may prefer to fly to Buenos Aires and take the ferry across to Montevideo.
The Painted Birds trail ride is in the province of Rocha along the coast of Uruguay.
The weather in Uruguay is variable, but you can expect warm spring and autumn temperatures, although some days can be cool (especially early in the morning or at night) and there is also the chance of rain.
Riding was excellent, some of the best horses we have ever ridden.
Ursula ,ZurichOverall rating: 5/5
Beach riding and exploring interesting estancias; this ride offers something completely different to the rest of South America.
This ride combines really well with Los Potreros in Argentina or a few days in Buenos Aires.