Uruguay: South Coast Highlights
Discover a country steeped in colonial history, blessed with breathtaking natural beauty along with vibrant and bustling metropolises. Nestled cosily between the neighbouring goliaths of Argentina and Brazil, Uruguay may seem somewhat forgotten but with an astonishing variety of hidden gems, this glorious land is South America’s best kept secret. From the busy cosmopolitan city of Montevideo with its stunning architecture and vibrant culture to picturesque Colonia with its quaint streets and subtle charms, not forgetting the beautiful pristine beaches of Punta del Este. Get off the Gringo Trail and experience the true Uruguay South Coast; the stunning natural landscapes, the sleepy fishing villages and traditional gaucho culture. Uruguay is the jewel in South America’s crown.
Dates on request
Suggested Itinerary by Air
Arrival in Montevideo – Colonia del Sacramento
Fly from a UK airport to Montevideo Airport. On arrival you will be transferred to Colonia del Sacramento. The rest of the day will be at leisure to relax in the hotel or explore the city.
Colonia del Sacramento – Explore Uruguay’s oldest city
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel followed by a tour of Colonia. Colonia is a small city founded by the Portuguese in 1680, at a time when Spain and Portugal were in the midst of confrontations. Today the Old City has a lot to say about its colonial past. Visit the picturesque streets, recently declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Explore the streets of Santa Rita, San Gabriel, the Matriz Church, San Pedro, the Bastion del Carmen and the famous “Calle de los Suspiros“ ( Street of Sighs ), used so often as a scenery for historical films.
Colonia – Experience the Gaucho culture
After breakfast you will travel to Estancia Finca Piedra. A place of natural beauty with the huge rocky boulders which form an ocean of stones throughout the landscape. In this natural reserve you can spot rabbits, lizards, anteaters and a variety of beautiful birds. At lunch time, enjoy traditional “parrillas” (barbecues) of the property’s best 100% natural meat selection, combined with exclusive select vintage wines from their own vineyards. Later, while riding with a friendly “gaucho”, you will learn about the agriculture, history, culture and lifestyle on this 1000 hectare ranch.
Estancia Finca Piedra – Enjoy a day of activities at the ranch
Enjoy a unique day at the ‘estancia’. With a number of activities on offer such as: horseback riding, bird watching, cycling, fishing and even cow milking; you’re sure to be kept busy. End the day with a delicious homemade meal.
Montevideo – Get to know the capital
Enjoy breakfast before your transfer to Montevideo. Tour the nation’s capital and explore the monuments, parks and gardens. The Visit the Old City, Constitution Square, Cathedral and Colonial Town Hall, Solis Theatre and Independence Square, at the centre of which stands a monument dedicated to national hero, José Gervasio Artigas and his Mausoleum. The immense Congress Building is the pride of Uruguay. It was constructed between 1908 and 1925 with local marble of 52 colours and 12 types of wood. Drive to Batlle & Ordoñez Park, passing by the Obelisk, La Carreta (Covered Wagon) monument and the stadium of the national football team. Stop at Plaza Virgilio for an excellent view of the city.
Montevideo – Winery tour
After breakfast, enjoy a visit of one of the country’s leading wineries. Tour the vineyards of the family run establishment where you will find out about the history and learn how to make wine. Local Tannat wine, considered the ‘national grape’, which has gained international awards and is often regarded as better quality than its French origin. Enjoy tasting different wines, accompanied by a delicious “picada”.
Punta del Este – Explore the city
Breakfast at the hotel followed by your transfer to Punta del Este. You will have the rest of the day at leisure to explore the city, its main street Gorlero and its beautiful promenade with picturesque landscapes. Walk around the port and visit the local market.
Punta del Este – City tour
Your tour begins with a sightseeing drive through this upscale resort. Pass through the residential areas of Cantegril, San Rafael, Parque Golf and La Barra de Maldonado, known for its unique hanging undulated bridges. Visit the Ralli Museum of Contemporary Art with its fine collection of paintings and sculptures by noted Latin American artists, including several Salvador Dalí pieces on permanent display. Stop at Punta Ballena for sweeping panoramic views up and down the coast before ending your journey at Casapueblo, the home and atelier of internationally renowned artist, Carlos Páez Vilaró. The dazzling white complex, resembling Spanish-Moroccan architecture, is situated on a rocky bluff overlooking the ocean.
La Pedrera Rocha – Home to Uruguay’s best beaches
Travel to La Pedrera Rocha, a rural seaside village where you will have rest of the day at leisure to relax on the beautiful beaches or stroll through the picturesque streets.
Cabo Polonio – Relax on the beaches of the sleepy fishing village
Cabo Polonio, in the east, is a real paradise. Due to the quietness of its beaches and the subtlety of its buildings, in the last few years, it has been one of the most visited swimming resorts by those who wish to rest. One of its particular features is that most of its housing units do not have electricity or running water. The daily routine and tasks of its dwellers are therefore set by sunlight. Its geographic location means it stands opposite three small islands known as La Encantada, El Islote and La Rasa, which shelter a steady colony of sea lions.
Enjoy breakfast before your transfer from La Pedrera to Montevideo Airport for return flight to the UK.
Uruguay is a year-round destination to visit, as there are no extremes in temperature and it always remains as a good-to-go destination. The rainfalls are almost equally distributed throughout the year. Being in the Southern hemisphere, Uruguay witnesses summer in the months of December to March (peak season). This period is usually the best time to visit the country.