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This ride combines some of the oldest and best preserved haciendas with the most breathtaking scenery in one of the least known countries in South America.
Wonderfully tranquil and relatively unexplored, Uruguay offers a diverse landscape. Well trained and willing Criollo horses take you on long canters on sandy beaches. Ride through colonial towns; explore coastal reserves; pick up the pace on grassy plains; meet the gauchos on working cattle estancias.
This ride takes you to three distinctly different areas. First to the once obscure fishing village of Jose Ignacio, now arguably one of the most chic places in South America. There is the chance to swim with your horse at Gazon Lagoon. The beautiful province of Rocha is famous for its pristine white sand beaches, azure shores and lagoons. Later head inland to finish at the beautiful guest estancia Balcon del Abra.
As well as the thrill of riding the beautiful Criollo horses, you should also see some of the abundant birdlife in Uruguay. There are over 400 species of birds. You will visit one of the largest sea lion colonies in South America at Cabo Polonio, and keep an eye open for dolphins, sea turtles and migrating whales as you ride along the beaches.
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.
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. You will ride three different sets of horses during the trail.
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 95kgs. 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 estancias 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.
Additional dates are possible for private groups.
INCLUDES Accommodation; full board (except 3 dinners); riding; return 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 $385.00
SMALL GROUP SUPPLEMENT applies, which depends on the total number of people booked
2-3 riders in group: $525.00 per person
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT $1,045.00. 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 17:30 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.
This 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.
Fantastic riding once we had got used the Groucho style !
Jane ,BirminghamOverall rating: 5/5
It is hard to describe the diversity of scenery and wildlife you will see in such a small area; be prepared to be amazed.
Don't forget your swimming costume for the chance to swim with the horses.