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Private Journeys

Trailblazer Uruguay

11 days from £1,982pp

Uruguay

Itinerary

map marker Map

Day 1

Arrive in Montevideo and transfer to your hotel in the vineyards.

After landing in Montevideo airport, transfer for around 40 minutes to the fertile slopes and sundrenched vineyards of the Pizzorno Estate, where you’ll be staying for three nights. The family-run winery gives an authentic taste of traditional Uruguayan winemaking, where grapes are harvested by hand and wine is stored in top quality oak barrels. You’ll be staying in a cosy lodge with the welcoming feel of a family home; there are just four guest rooms, each with a private deck offering picturesque views of the verdant countryside.

Pizzorno Lodge and Wine

Day 2

Sample the local wines, explore Uruguay’s capital.

You may wish to spend a few days simply relaxing at Pizzorno Lodge, sampling sumptuous local wines while drinking in views of the undulating landscapes. But for those looking to explore further afield, there are excursions to entice you away.

Spend a day in Uruguay’s lively yet laid-back waterfront capital city, Montevideo, where sleek skyscrapers contrast with art deco façades and grand colonial buildings. Drive along a pretty riverside promenade to the historic centre, where your guide acquaint you with the narrow, cobbled streets of the Old Town. You’ll stroll past many of the city’s main highlights, from the Taranco Palace and Museum of National History to the Independence Square and Solis Theatre.

Montevideo

Day 3

Take an optional excursion to Colonia.

Today you have the option to explore Uruguay’s oldest town. As a World Heritage Site, Colonia is a charming patchwork of terracotta roofs and quaint, winding streets. The historic city’s outer limits are marked by a cathedral and lighthouse, and its 17th century convent and the old theatre, the Bastion del Carmen, are well worth a visit.

URU_Colonia_DN_staff

Day 4

Collect your hire car and self drive to remote estancia near the coast.

A friendly guide will drive you to Montevideo airport and assist you in picking up your hire car, then you’ll be off on the open road to Rocha, Uruguay’s wildest and arguably most beautiful department. Your drive follows 280km of quiet roads, with inland views over rolling pastures and endless stretches of rugged, golden coastline to your right. Past the glitzy resort of Punta del Este, you’ll find some of Uruguay’s most alluring and undeveloped countryside. Powder-white and creamy gold beaches are lapped by the glittering ocean, while inland Rocha is a picture of tranquility dotted with old estancia houses, ombu and palm trees. Though there are not many people around, you’ll share this peaceful oasis with an astonishing variety of native and migratory birds.

Spend the next three nights at Estancia Guardia del Monte, a beautiful working ranch on the shores of Laguna de Castillos. Set within easy reach of thriving wetlands, meadow pastures and the sweeping sand dunes of the Atlantic coast, this colonial-style hacienda beams a rustic, welcoming atmosphere. Rooms are cosy and give you a feel for rural Uruguayan life, with plenty of local wood, stone and unique artworks. The grounds are delightful, with bougainvillea and hydrangeas brightening the lawns and framing views of a tranquil lagoon beyond.

Guardia del Monte

Day 5-6

At leisure to relax and take scenic drives to nearby coastal reserves and beaches.

You have two full days to enjoy your surroundings. There are plenty of optional outdoor activities to take part in around the estancia, from horse-rides and canoe trips to guided walks and bird watching.

With your hire car, you also have complete freedom to explore beautiful nearby attractions. One of Uruguay’s main highlights, Cabo Polonio National Park, is just a short drive away. Reconnect with nature on a bracing walk along its sand dunes and wild, windy coastlines. The remote hamlet of Cabo Polonio itself feels almost cut off from the outside world, with its brightly painted houses, towering lighthouse, local restaurants and raucous sea lion colony. Rocha also has several small beach resorts such as La Pedrera and La Paloma, which are ideal for a day out in the open air and are particularly popular among surfers.

Cabo Polonio

Day 7

Self-drive to chic resort of José Ignacio.

It’s just under 120km to drive to José Ignacio, a charming upscale village whose sandy streets are lined with tasteful boutiques and independent art galleries. For much of the year there is a distinctly laid-back atmosphere; there are no more than a few hundred permanent residents and the low-rise buildings keep a cosy, small town feel. But the population swells considerably during the summer when many celebrities and affluent stars visit for a low-key holiday.

You’ll be staying at La Viuda de Jose Ignacio, around 3km from the town centre and just 200m from the glorious coastline, in a peaceful location away from the buzz of other visitors.

La Paloma

Day 8-10

At leisure in José Ignacio.

Spend a few relaxed days soaking up the vibe of this chic understated beach resort. You are just a short drive from a number of wonderful, undisturbed white sand beaches surrounded by pine forests and flowering acacia trees. A little way inland you’ll find Laguna Garzón, a shimmering lagoon that teems with birdlife, set amongst idyllic bucolic landscapes of vineyards and olive groves.

Jose Igancio lighthouse

Day 11

Self-drive to Montevideo airport.

Your drive from José Ignacio back to Montevideo airport should take around two hours, although it’s best to allow an extra hour in case of delays. At the airport, drop off your car with the rental company and take your international flight home.

Inspired by this trip

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

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    It's hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.

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    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.

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    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • Chris Rendell Dunn
    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert

    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.

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