Day 1: Colonia del Sacramento
Colonia del Sacramento is A UNESCO World Heritage Site favored by the jet set and one of the oldest villages in Uruguay. The city is a wonderfully restored jewel of the Colonial era and is about as charming and inviting as accommodations in Uruguay can get. Although they town is known mostly for its UNESCO status, it offers more to travelers than historic ruins and monuments (though those are plentiful and well worth the trip). Colonia del Sacramento also is widely recognized for its free trade zone and delicate textiles, as well as its shopping, theaters and galleries.
During your stay in Colonia, let Charco Hotel awaken your senses and calm you with its intimate and comfortable history, modern amenities and fine appointments situated along the banks of the Rio del la Plata River. There are only seven rooms and all are suites that have been individually designed to provide a tranquil haven. There also is a private residence for larger groups or those who want a bit more space.
Once you’ve checked into Charco, you’ll meet your guide to bike along the cobbled streets of the Old Town and riverside boulevard to Casa del los Limoneros. Here, you’ll enjoy some refreshing drinks in their stunning gardens before biking back to Colonia, where you’ll discover its quaint lanes filled with excellent restaurants, small bars, art and craft shops, museums and even a yacht harbor.
Once back at Charco for the evening, be sure to stop by the on-site Bistro for a delicious and healthy dinner prepared from the freshest ingredients. The dining room overlooks the river and catching the sunset here is a wonderful way to wind down from an exciting day.
Today, your flight will arrive at Uruguay’s Carrasco International Airport, where you’ll be greeted for a private transfer to check-in at Charco Hotel.
Day 2: Montevideo
As day two begins, you’ll begin the day with private morning pick up and transfer to Montevideo. Along the way, you’ll enjoy a brief panoramic city tour of Montevideo and a visit to a local winery for lunch and, of course, a wine tasting.
A vibrant and eclectic city known for its quality of life, thriving technology community and entrepreneurial spirit, Montevideo is home to nearly half Uruguay’s population and its capital. Here, Uruguay’s history of quirky liberalism is on display, making it easy to see why it is recognized around the world. Although the region continues to grow, the Spanish Colonial architecture, tree-lined squares and casual atmosphere of this urban coastal retreat remain a lure to travelers.
Located along the southern coast of Uruguay, almost directly across the Rio de la Plata from Argentina’s Buenos Aires, Montevideo offers abundant water sports to adventurous travelers. And, for culture lovers, there are galleries, theaters, tango bars and more.
During your stay in Montevideo, you’ll create unique experiences from a home base at Alma Historica Boutique Hotel.
Constructed in a renovated 18th century palace, Alma Historica offers a historical and exclusive experience just steps from Zabala Square. Here, elegance, culture and comfort merge and pay respect to the country’s homespun identity. The hotel includes 15 rooms divided into three categories offering a perfect blend of traditional and modern. Although all accommodations are fantastic, we love the two Suites for their authentic style, inspirational design and distinctive touches.
After getting settled at Alma Historica, you’ll enjoy a leisurely evening to rest and relax or stroll through the city before returning to the hotel for a much-deserved nights’ rest.
Day 3: Rocha
It’s Day 3 of your dream Uruguay vacation, and you’ll enjoy a walking tour of the Colonial neighborhood, Ciudad Vieja, stopping for lunch at the vibrant port market. When lunch is complete, you’ll have the optional opportunity (if you're up for it) to visit more distinct and unique neighborhoods during a cycling tour along the riverside boulevard being privately transferred to Estancia Guardia del Monte to enjoy the last hours of the day on the Castillos Lagoon and dinner at the estancia.
You’ll be spellbound by this otherworldly region with its wealth of landscapes and wildlife near to the Atlantic Coast. Here, nature and history collide to ensure a truly memorable experience from the home base of Estancia Guardia del Monte. All rooms and public spaces at this traditional estancia have been designed to offer appealing allure— from remnants of shipwrecks to ancient stone walls in the Spanish Colonial style. All guest rooms feature private baths and picturesque views that are sure to make you feel at one with nature. Speaking of nature, the grounds are simply teeming with astounding beauty, important ecosystems and a wide variety of native scrublands and birds.
Day 4: Rocha & the Estancias
Today, you’ll wake up at Guardia del Monte, and set out to enjoy some top quality birdwatching in the surrounding huge area of wetlands and marshlands, both of which are flush with bird life (more than 400 species if you’re counting). You can also expect to see otters, coypus and capybaras, as well as the rare white goose, the pink flamingo, the graceful black-necked swan (biggest population in the world is found here) and many ducks and other birds, including the largest bird in South America— the ostrich like American rhea. After a standard asado lunch, you’ll head out to explore the region on horseback for the rest of the afternoon. Back at Estancia Guardia del Monte, dinner is included with your stay.
Day 5: Garzon & Cabo Polonio
Not all that far from Rocha and Estancia Guardia del Monte, you’ll find Cabo Polonio Village, a quintessentially off-the-beaten track village surrounded by beaches and coastal wetlands. Although Cabo Polonio isn’t all that far, it can be tough to get to, but it is totally worth the effort. This is where you’re headed today.
After breakfast, at the estancia, you’ll be privately transferred to the small town of Barra de Valizas where a local guide will be waiting to begin an unforgettable journey to Cabo Polonio village. After a brief stroll around town, you’ll start the trek along the coastline toward the awe-inspiring shifting sand dunes. There, you’ll hike up Buena Vista Hill to partake of an amazing view of the ocean before continuing down toward Cabo Polonio. This is a 4-hour hike, but we’ll stop along the way for a delicious seafood lunch at a local oceanfront eatery, as well as visit the lighthouse and one of the world’s biggest sea lion reserves. When you’re ready in the afternoon, a 4x4 truck will pick you up for a private transfer to the evening’s accommodations at Casa Anna.
For anyone who cherishes peace and quiet with an off-the-beaten-track charisma, Casa Anna, near charming Pueblo Garzon, is a real winner. Although the posada was originally constructed in the traditional Garzon architecture style of the 1920s low built houses, it has been completely renovated and affords five spacious casitas and a separate studio apartment right next door to famed Argentine chef Francis Mallman’s restaurant.
Outside Casa Anna, you’re sure to fall in love with this sleepy and sparsely populated hamlet where sheep graze along unpaved roads and a population of only several hundred live year-round. Despite its relative isolation and old-world charm, Garzon is well known for its diverse cuisine and high-end winery. If you’re up for it upon check in at Casa Anna, we suggest venturing out to see the town and try some of its delicious fare. If you’d rather stay in, we can arrange in-room dining prepared by Mallman’s team. Whatever you choose, you’re sure to sleep well at Casa Anna after such a lovely active day in Rocha and Garzon!
Day 6: Punta del Este & Jose Ignacio
On Day 6 of your Highlights of Uruguay Tour, you’ll be privately transferred from Casa Anna to Punta del Este where you’ll have plenty of time to discover the La Barra neighborhood (with its undulating bridge) and an afternoon city tour of this small town that is often compared to Saint Tropez.
Today, you’ll visit all the most exciting Punda del Este attractions, including Juan Gorlero Avenue, the residential areas, the yacht’s port, and Brava Beach before concluding the tour at the lovely, strange and attractive Casapueblo— a construction (with on-site museum) designed by the renowned artist Carlos Paez Vilaro.
After exploring Punta del Este, you’ll head to neighboring Jose Ignacio and Hotel Posada del Faro, where you’ll spend the next two nights. Check into Posada del Faro, and you’ll begin experiencing life the way it was intended to be. Originally built as a private home the hotel, today, is a 15-room escape located just meters from the beach. Rooms include private terraces, modern amenities, fireplaces and some pretty amazing views.
Don’t miss the on-property dining room, where chefs serve up an appealing selection of handcrafted meals in a beachfront locale and complete your evening near the hotel pool with a self service cocktail or two. Then, get some sleep because tomorrow brings a whole new day of outdoor adventures!
Day 7: Jose Ignacio
It’s your last full day in Uruguay, but that won’t stop our expert guides from showing you an amazing time in the beautiful countryside here. Today, you’ll enjoy a full day of private outdoor activities at Refugio Anastasio, a charming restaurant that formerly was a small home to local fisherman. In the morning, you can choose from canoeing or stand up paddle (SUP), before returning to El Refugio at midday for a tasty picnic lunch. After a spot of lunch and a bit of relaxing, enjoy a leisurely ride along the estancia fields and the banks of the lagoon. Your private full-day tour ends with a lovely afternoon merienda, including mate, biscuits and tarts.
Once back at Posada del Faro, feel free to spend the late afternoon and evening exploring the absolutely lovely beachfront oasis of Jose Ignacio. Here, kicking back on the beach, shopping art galleries and boutiques and watching for whales are art forms. Grab a complimentary golf cart or bike to explore all this wonderful town has to offer on your last night in Uruguay. Be prepared for traffic during holiday high season and a semi-rural yet cultured hamlet the rest of the year.
Day 8: Departure from Montevideo
After your last breakfast in Uruguay, you’ll take a private transfer back to the Carrasco International Airport for the return flight home.