Ask a Question

Check Availability

Wildlands of the Criollos

Overview

A ride for those who love exploring extraordinary landscapes on horseback including UNESCO World Heritage wetlands, palm forests, unspoilt beaches and vast open pasture. Where land and sea are represented in the unique culture of the region, with a strong gaucho influence alongside that of the trad…

Highlights

  • UNESCO world heritage site
  • Unspoilt wetlands
  • Pristine beaches
  • Gaucho culture
  • Criollo horses

Essential Facts

  • 1 itinerary available
  • Max 6 riders per group
  • Average of 3 - 4 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 90kg

Description

A ride for those who love exploring extraordinary landscapes on horseback including UNESCO World Heritage wetlands, palm forests, unspoilt beaches and vast open pasture. Where land and sea are represented in the unique culture of the region, with a strong gaucho influence alongside that of the traditional fishermen.
You will ride with the local gauchos on beautifully cared for and trained native Uruguayan Criollo and mestizos horses over wild and rugged terrain including the East Wetlands UNESCO Natural Biosphere Reserve and RAMSAR Site. You will be greeted by deserted beaches, palm trees and green prairies, and will learn all about the culture and traditions of the region, which stem largely from the nature that surrounds its local people.

Horses & Riding

Tack

Comfortable Uruguayan saddles.

Horses

Criollo and Mestizos horses.

Riding

There is 1 itinerary:

  • Estancias and Beaches is a based ride

Weight

90kg

Food & Accommodation

Food

Uruguayan cuisine definitely includes a lot of meat such as beef, pork, lamb and chicken - this is often barbecued as a traditional asado. The word 'asado' typically translates as 'barbequed/grilled' as this is how they cook much of their food. Embutidos sausages, morcillas, chinchulines and mollejas are among the traditional fare you may expect to be served at most Uruguay asados. Chorizos, spicy sauces and crusty breads are popular as well. The cuisine is a essentially a fusion of Mediterranean influences which includes a number of Italian dishes such as pizza and calzones, pasta and gnocchi. You may also find Basque dishes such as salt cod and versions of the Spanish 'pan Catalana'. Uruguayans definitely have a sweet tooth as well, so you'll find a variety of sugary snacks sold as street food, with the 'dulce de leche' sauce being a favourite accompaniment.

Accommodation

A combination of accommodations can be expected on this ride. You will stay in the host's eco lodge, in rustic cabins with private bathrooms. The cabins are on the edge of the wetlands on elevated decking with superb views over the surrounding countryside.
You will also stay at Estancia La Cumbre de Castillos, again with private double or triple rooms with private bathrooms.

Itineraries

Estancias and Beaches accommodation.

Other Activities

Birdwatching
Hiking
Mountain Biking
Kayaking
Cultural tours

Travel

Fly into Montevideo ( MVD) . Guests then make their way to the Tres Cruces bus terminal (in Montevideo) and take the bus to Rocha region, to the starting point for the ride. The bus journey takes 4.5 hours.

Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1

Riding: 2 hours

Arrive into Montevideo airport and take the morning coach from Montevideo Tres Cruces bus station (4.5hrs) or private transfer from Montevideo to a small fishermen´s village on the Atlantic coast, surrounded by extensive prairies, palm grove forests and huge sand dunes. A welcome lunch will be served on arrival. Once you have had a chance to settle in, you meet the horses and set off for an afternoon's introductory ride through the forests to the beach. On this short and easy ride you will be able to get to know the great character of the horses and the comfort of the Uruguayan saddle with its luxurious, comfortable sheepskin cover. After you return, you will enjoy the first of many beautiful sunsets from your eco cabin veranda.
Overnight and dinner at Los Chajá Ecolodge.

Day 2

Riding: 2 - 4 hours

After a delicious breakfast it is time to head out on your first full day ride which begins with taking the horses across the mouth of a small estuary, this is either done on horseback or on a pontoon towed by boat, depending on the tides. Today's ride then takes you through a fascinating dune system, now a national park, to Cabo Polonio, a fishermen’s village, which has developed into a paradise for bohemian artists and creatives. The village is only accessible through these shifting sand dunes making the village a fascinating outpost. Lunch is at a typical local restaurant, with fresh fish, seaweed buñuelos and other sumptuous local food on the menu. You will then ride back to Valizas via pine forests and the Valizas river coast.
Overnight and dinner at Los Chajá Ecolodge.

Day 3

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

After a hearty homemade breakfast, you be starting early this morning for a ride inland to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve wetlands. Crossing pasturelands, wetlands and ancient working Estancias, bordering the beautiful Valizas river, you will reach the second largest coastal lagoon and the source of the river, Castillos Lagoon. Following a leisurely picnic lunch in the great Ombu forest, home to ancient and unique flora, you can have a siesta on your saddle sheepskin in the peacefulness of undisturbed nature. In the afternoon you will ride back Valizas, crossing in a different place. The East Wetlands are home to hundreds of birds, amphibians, fishes and wild animals such as Rheas, several species of ibis such as rosette spoonbill egret, southern screamer, flamingos, capybaras, armadillos, and the most beautiful, the black-necked swan.
Overnight and dinner at Los Chajá Ecolodge.

Day 4

Riding: 5 - 6 hours

An intense riding day is waiting for you today. After a very early breakfast, your luggage will be transported by car to your next destination, while you will start the day by riding along the beach. Crossing through open pasturelands, rugged wetlands and the immense palm tree forest you will find the best place to stop with our horses to give them some rest and have your picnic lunch.
On today's ride you will pass ancient working estancias, with authentic gauchos working the cattle and a great variety of scenery throughout the ride that will amaze you on this very special day. At the end of this day, you will arrive at your new accommodation: Estancia La Cumbre de Castillos, designed and decorated with a refined taste for aesthetics, art and the functionality of life in a classical large family.

Day 5

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

A different view this morning for breakfast! In this 1500 hectares cattle ranch, built on top of rocky hills, you can enjoy a wide range of landscapes very close to the Laguna Negra. There are impressive views all around and the pleasant atmosphere of the ranch will make you never want to leave this place. A day touring the different pastures of the estancia awaits you. From the dense wetlands of the lowlands, through the intricate native forest to the top of the rocky hills, you will discover a great variety of flora and fauna. You'll have lots of opportunities for fun today; a gallop through the meadows to a panoramic viewpoint, fording a stream on horseback and even herding cattle with the gauchos are just some of the experiences you can expect.
Dinner and overnight at Estancia La Cumbre de Castillos.

Day 6

Riding: 3 - 4 hours

After breakfast, you will start preparing the horses for a half-day ride. You will ride with the local gaucho, visiting the Cerro de la Virgen, an amazing 360 lookout, the highest point on the area! You will also visit the Higuerones forest, with its vast and ancient epiphyte plants that possess huge roots, so rare that many of them have a personal name. Many different species of Woodpeckers, colourful Vermelion Flycatches and the noisy Plumbeous Ibis are just some of the characteristic birds you can see on the way.
In the afternoon you will have time to rest in the estancia, enjoy the peace of this place and recharge your batteries for the final day. A refreshing dip in the natural swimming pool, a nature hike and birdwatching are just some of the activities you can enjoy here. For the final dinner the group will get together around the fire where a typical asado will be cooked by the local gaucho with the estancia’s own bred lamb and beef.
Dinner and overnight at Estancia La Cumbre de Castillos.

Day 7

Riding: 2 - 3 hours

After breakfast, you will have a shorter morning ride in the estancia with gallops and lots of fun! Also, if you feel confident, you will be given the opportunity to drive the cattle with the gauchos and even try to lasso some yourself. After a farewell lunch in the estancia, you will take your transfer, by public coach or by private car, back to Montevideo or Punta del Este.

Accommodation

3 nights at the eco lodge, and 3 nights at Estancia La Cumbre de Castillos.

Experience Experienced

This ride is suitable for experienced riders capable and in control at all paces and able to mount and dismount unaided. You will need to be fit enough to ride for up to 6 hours a day.

Minimum group size 4
Maximum group size 6
Departure windows

April 7, 2024 - April 12, 2024

Pricing

2024
Per person, sharing
£2580 $3280 €3020
Price for 4+ riders
Included Return transfer from Montevideo Tres Cruces bus station (public coach), 3 nights at Los Chajá Ecolodge, 3 nights at Estancia La Cumbre de Castillos, all meals from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 7, all riding, guiding and activities as per itinerary.
Not included Flights, travel insurance, drinks (soft and alcoholic), tips.

Extras

2024 - Montevideo Return Airport Transfer $870
Paid locally
Private transfer from MVD to Rocha return for up to 8 passengers.
2024 - Single Supplement £390 $495 €455
Paid to Far and Ride
2024 - Small Group Supplement 2-3 Riders £390 $500 €460
Paid to Far and Ride
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.