Ride Overview - Sand Dunes and Lagoon Ride
A great beach horse back riding vacation in Uruguay! Your trails will take you across pristine deserted beaches with fascinating sand dunes. Native birds and foliage can be seen on horseback trails through the UNESCO Natural Biosfera Reserve and the Ombú Forest. The forest is one of the most ancient and unique botanical formation in the world. You will also be immersed in the traditional gaucho culture by spending a day riding alongside these cowboys as they work their herds and visiting a traditional gaucho’s saddlery. In addition, you will enjoy a gaucho style lunch under a forest tree canopy. Delicious local food and Uruguayan wine are included. RIDING IN URUGUAY“It was a most special ride. Steeped in culture and history. Fabulous horses. Forging through lagoons, beautiful wooded trails, lots of galloping on the beach, trotting races, crossing tidal basins in a small boat with the horses swimming beside us. The guides are SO much fun! Never have I had a riding trip team listen so carefully with the aim to fulfill all our wishes! They are an absolute joy to spend time with. It was unusual in that we stopped to visit a lighthouse/museum, a military-maintained greenhouse, an animal preserve, a military fort/museum – all during the ride. We would park the horses and set off on foot! The food and accommodations were true and authentic… all of them unique experiences that were oh so carefully planned and executed.Our various hosts had so much to offer in personalities and stories.” N.B.
Ride Itinerary - Sand Dunes and Lagoon Ride
You will be transferred from Montevideo to Valizas (3.5 hrs.), a quaint village on the Atlantic coast nestled in extensive prairies, palm grove forest and lofty sand dunes. After leaving the luggage at the guesthouse, you will enjoy seaside lunch traditional seafood. In the afternoon, you will mount up to ride through a pungent pine forest. In this short and easy ride, you will break in a beautiful hidden lagoon and take a swim at sunset. You will then return on the pristine beach. Overnight and dinner at Posada Valizas (www.posadavalizas.com). (3 hours day horse riding)
You begin the day with a crossing at the mouth of a small estuary. Depending on the tides, your horse will be ridden or lead by boat. Your trail will then take your group across a fascinating dune system now a national park to low key beach resort of Cabo Polonio. This village is only accessible through these shifting sand dunes making the village a fascinating outpost. Lunch at a traditional restaurant, with fresh fish, seaweed and paella on the menu. You will then ride back to Valizas via pine forests. Overnight and dinner at Posada Valizas (www.posadavalizas.com) (4 to 5 hours day horse riding)
After a special homemade breakfast, you will begin a ride through UNESCO protected areas. Crossing pastureland and wetlands of ancient working Estancias nestled along beautiful Valizas River, your group will reach the second biggest coast lagoon in Uruguay, the Castillos Lagoon. After a gaucho style lunch under the canopy of the great Ombus forest, one of the most ancient and unique botanical formation in the world, you can have a siesta in a typical hammock or on the sheep skin of your saddle. In the afternoon, you will ride to Estancia Guardia del Monte along a wonderful scenic route in the UNESCO Natural Biosfera Reserve and RAMSAR site. Along the way, you will see hundreds of different birds, amphibians, fishes and wild animals such as rheas, pink egrets, chaja, capibaras, armadillos and the most beautiful black-necked swans. Your trail will then leave the lagoon shores and lead to the Estancia Guardia del Monte, a bicentenary working estancia for an overnight stay. (4 to 5 hours day horse riding)
Singing birds will be the only sound that awakes you in this estancia! Today, you start riding uphill facing the Sierras across chacreros lands. Here, family farmers grow pumpkins, watermelon, potatoes and sweet potatoes. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to reach Castillos for a visit a traditional gaucho’s saddlery and shopping. After a picnic lunch, you will continue across the muddy wetlands and palm groove forests until you finish the day at El Mirador. This is a private natural reserve in middle of the Cerro de los Rocha, a natural viewpoint with a 360o view of the area. You will transferred to Estancia Guardia del Monte for dinner and accommodation. (4.5 to 5 hours day horse riding)
Leaving the rocky outcrops, you will ride through the dense Castillos palm grove forest to La Esmeralda. Along the way, you will see woodpeckers sitting in holes they have drilled out of the palm trunks. This is a big ranching area and sometimes you will meet herds of cattle accompanied by the gauchos and their dogs. At midday, you will enjoy lunch at a wonderful location in a traditional palm tree cabin in the midst of a palm grove. The afternoon ride along empty beaches with firm sand will allow you to enjoy some fast paced riding. You may see dolphins and seagulls as you canter along. Your group will take a very short transfer to Punta del Diablo, a surfer’s paradise and fishermen’s town to overnight at Posada Nativos with ocean views (www.posadanativos.com.uy) (5 hours day horse riding; 15 minutes car transfer)
You will start with a morning ride across the quaint town to get into the Santa Teresa Park, a recreational-forest park administrated by the national army. You will visit the different greenhouses where diverse tropical and sub-tropical species of native and foreign plants as well as more of 300 different kinds of roses are cared by the soldiers. This is a very good place to see the protected native fauna like Capybara, Collared Peccary and the Yellow Cardinal. After a picnic lunch under centenary trees, you continue riding to the ancient fortress of Santa Teresa, a Portuguese-Spanish construction made to protect the border between both empires. You will fell like you have stepped back in time as you ride across the battle fields. your horse around it Before arriving at La Coronilla where we overnight at a very comfortable ocean side hotel with warm and cold water swimming pools and outdoor Jacuzzi, you will visit the Cerro Verde and Islas de La Coronilla National Park, another Protected Area (SNAP) where the protagonist are the sea turtles! Overnight at Hotel Parque Oceánico (www.hotelparqueoceánico.com.uy) (5 to 6 hours day horse riding)
Do you want to see what it feels to be a real gaucho? If so, this day is for you! La Coronilla is a gaucho’s town on the Atlantic coast. You will ride your horse alongside the gauchos as they herd their cattle. Once you face your horse to the cattle you will find there is a mounted gaucho alongside you. As a reward for your work, you will return to the hotel by way of a very long canter along the pristine beach. Lunch and transfer back to Montevideo.
Ride Details - Sand Dunes and Lagoon Ride
Dates: March 8th-14th, April 19th-25th, October 11th-17th, November 8th-14th, December 6th-12th
Best Months to Ride: October to March. The months with fewer beach tourists are October to December.
Airport: Carrasco International Airport
Riding Days: 7
Daily Riding Hours: 4 – 5
Riding Ability: STRONG INTERMEDIATE: Confident and in control at all paces including posting trots for long periods, two point canters and gallops in open country.
Group Size: 2 – 10
Horses: Criollo, Criollo Mestizos
Saddles: South American with sheepskin covers and saddlebags (western type)
Maximum Weight limit: 90 Kg./ 198 lbs
Accommodations: 3*** estancias and B & B’s.
Non-Riding Activities: hiking, birdwatching, spa, surfing, biking
Price: $3,315.00 per person double occupancy $490.00 single supplement
Small Group Fee (less than 4 total riders) – $1,515.00 per person
Overweight supplement – add $400.00 per person
Optional Pre-Ride Hotel – 1 night at Hotel Hilton Garden Inn (Montevideo) with airport transfer to/from hotel $130.00 per person, double occupancy
Included: 6 nights’ lodging, horse, tack, trilingual horse and nature local guide (Spanish, English and Italian), all meals described in the itinerary (from lunch on day 1 to lunch on day 7); transfer to and from Montevideo, all meals described on the itinerary (from lunch on day 1 to lunch on day 7), 2 nights at Valizas (private double room with private bathroom), 1 night at Estancia Guardia del Monte (private double room with private bathroom),1 night at Estancia Guardia del Monte, 1 night at Punta del Diablo (private double room with private bathroom), 1 night at Parque Oceánico (private double room with private bathroom), visit to the Cabo Polonio National Park, Cerro Verde e Islas de La Coronilla National Park and Santa Teresa Park
Not included: airfare, medical insurance (mandatory), meals not included in the itinerary, alcoholic beverages, tips.
ANNUAL TEMPERATURE AND RAINFALL:
Sand Dunes and Lagoon Ride: Gallery
Sand Dunes and Lagoon Ride