Uruguay Getaway Adventure

Icon | Big Five ToursExplore the modern city of Montevideo with its fascinating blend of Spanish and Africa traditions and cultures. Discover the roots of Uruguay’s carnival, and experience the gastronomic culture. Take in historic Colonia del Sacramento, the oldest city in Uruguay, on a walk in the historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit a variety of wineries such as the Cordano Winery and boutique wineries such as El Legado Winery for private tastings. Experience an adventure on horseback riding along private trails bordering the coast, across sand dunes, through the forest to an to unforgettable moonlit dinner. Savor romantic accommodations in unique properties such as Sacramonte Landscape Hotel that is outfitted with mirrored glass walls. This is a perfect adventure to begin your journey as partners.

 

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COUNTRIES VISITED

Uruguay

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Price starts at $700 Land per person, per day, double occupancy.

TOUR LENGTH

11

Tour Highlights/Full Description

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  • Explore the modern city of Montevideo, its blend of Spanish and Africa traditions of Uruguay’s carnival, and discover the gastronomic culture
  • Discover historic Colonia del Sacramento, the oldest city in Uruguay, on a walk in the historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Visit established wineries such as Cordano Winery and boutique wineries such as El Legado Winery for private tastings
  • Venture out on horseback ride along private trails bordering the coast, across sand dunes, to the forest to unforgettable moonlit dinner
  • Savor romantic accommodations in unique properties such as Sacramonte Landscape Hotel that is outfitted with mirrored glass walls

Day 1: Montevideo, Uruguay
Welcome to Uruguay! On arrival in Montevideo, clear immigration, collect luggage, and proceed through customs. You are greeted in the arrivals hall by a representative from Big Five Tours & Expeditions, who assists with your luggage and escorts you to your waiting vehicle for the 40-minute drive to your hotel.

Alma Histórica in front of the most beautiful and romantic plaza in Montevideo, Plaza Zabala, in the historic center of the city. Nearby are restaurants, theaters, cafes, bookstores and historic houses.

Relax in the Don Carlos Suite, awash in beige and gray, with red detailing. A large terrace provides magnificent views and a place to relax. Inside the room there are ceramics which are typical of the courtyards of this quaint building, where tango was danced under its colorful skylights.

Begin your honeymoon vacation with an enjoyable, private massage on the terrace overlooking Zabala Square and relax this evening. Alma Historica Boutique Hotel – Suite Don Carlos

Day 2: Montevideo
Join your guide to explore the modern area of Montevideo with a stop at the Carnival Museum to discover the Spanish tradition and African roots of Uruguay’s carnival. Visit the studio of a Candombe drum maker, Lobo Nunez, a renowned personality in the music world who shares stories of Uruguayan culture.

The afternoon is at leisure before you venture out this evening for a memorable introduction to Uruguay’s gastronomic culture. Begin with a mate tasting paired with local pastries including dulce de leche and bizcochos, followed by a Uruguayan picada with regional cheeses, olives and salamis. Dinner includes typical asado (barbeque) with mollejas (sweetbread) and chorizo (sausage) served with fresh salads using locally sourced ingredients, olive oils, and balsamic. You will learn why the Uruguayan asado is grilled with wood, not coal. Assorted desserts will include butia and chocolate salchichon. A specialized sommelier pairs the right wines with the meal and offers tips on how to choose your wines to build your cellar. Your culinary adventure will end with Uruguayan liquors. Alma Historica Boutique Hotel – Suite Don Carlos (B,D)

Day 3: Montevideo / Carmelo
After breakfast, you are transferred three hours to the wine region of Carmelo, an hour north of Colonia del Sacramento. En route, stop at the ruins of “La Calera de las Huerfanas” where the first vines of Uruguay were planted by the Jesuits in the 17th century. Originally it was the helmet of the “Stay of the River of Cows” managed by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) from 1741.

In the late afternoon take a sunset cruise along the Rio de la Plata, continue to Finca Narbona, a farm, winery and wine lodge six miles from the town of Carmelo. It boasts one of the best restaurants in Uruguay in a rustic setting with high-quality local produce accompanied by some of the country’s finest red wines. The lodge has five rooms, each named after a type of wine, with beautiful wooden floors, antique furniture and modern facilities including air-conditioning. It sits in what was originally “Estancia Narbona”, a ranch founded in 1740. This winery has signed an agreement with EnoRolland (the technical and enological consultancy firm belonging to the prestigious and world-famous French winemaker Michel Rolland) for advice in preparing its first premium wine. Tannat Suite is located on the first floor, overlooking the vineyards. It has an exterior Wood Stove with private terrace. Finca Narbona – Tanat Suite (B)

Day 4: Carmelo
The day begins with a visit to Cordano Winery where you witness the harvest, bottling or grape manual selection depending on the season. After a private wine tasting, continue to El Legado winery, a boutique family-owned winery, for lunch. This evening relax in nature with a romantic picnic in the vineyards. The grape varieties planted at Narbona include Pinot Noir, Tannat, Syrah and Petit Verdot. Finca Narbona – Tanat Suite (B,D)

Day 5: Carmelo / Colonia del Sacramento
Today you are driven to Colonia and your hotel in Colonia del Sacramento. El Charco Hotel has a strategic location in the historic town with magnificent views of the river.

After lunch at Charco Bistro, join your guide for a walk in Colonia’s historic center, recently declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Colonia, the oldest city in Uruguay, was founded by the Portuguese in 1680. Today the old city reveals its colonial roots in its cobblestone streets and stone walls. The streets of Santa Rita, San Gabriel, the Matriz Church, San Pedro Road, the Bastion del Carmen, the famous “Calle de los Suspiros” (Street of Sighs) have all been used as backdrops for historical films.

Stop at “El Buen Suspiro”, built by the Portuguese in 1720. This cosy spot specializes in picadas. Sample local wines by the bottle or glass, accompanied by spinach and leek tarts, ricotta-and-walnut ‘truffles,’ local cheese, sausage, soups and salads and homemade desserts. Reserve ahead for a fireside table in winter, or while away a summer afternoon on the intimate back patio. Continue to Puerta del Campo and Plaza Mayor 25 de Mayo.

Located in Barrio Histórico, Charco Hotel is next to Municipal Museum and Casa Nacarello. This hotel is home to a bistro and a bar. Savor a meal from the comfort of your room with room service, get a quick energy boost at the café.  The individually furnished and have an array of amenities, including iPod docks, espresso makers, free local calls and 42-inch LCD TVs and free WiFi. The White Room offers colonial style conducive to calm with its brightness, space and silence — an atmosphere that represents a journey in itself. Enjoy a romantic dinner with river views. Charco Hotel – White Room with Balcony (B,L,D)

Day 6: Colonia / Pueblo Eden
After breakfast, transfer four hours to the province of Lavalleja, also known as the “Alps of Uruguay.” When Charles Darwin traveled to Maldonado in 1832, he discovered a different landscape compared to the rest of Uruguay. “An inhabitant of the pampas would see in it an alpine region,” he wrote. The hills and valleys present outstanding views of western sunrises and the region boasts its own charm and beautiful scenery.

As you drive along Route 12 towards the Carape Hills, the road turns into a fascinating trail.  The landscape starts to unfold, and you suddenly reach your destination: Sacromonte. Taking advantage of the wild beauty of the sierras of Maldonado in eastern Uruguay, the Sacramonte Landscape Hotel defies all expectations of a luxury retreat by treating each guest room as an isolated cabin set amid rolling hills, lush grasslands and clusters of vineyards. The hotel invites relaxation and meditation. Drink wine on top of the hill! Take time to contemplate a dazzling landscape; embrace nature and experience the Uruguayan wild forest at its purest. Sacromonte is wine, vineyards, landscape, architecture and sustainability, geared all in perfect synchrony.

This afternoon, hike within the vineyards to the natural cascade located within the property. You will learn about Uruguayan wines and the region of Pueblo Eden. Sit back and relax during a sunset dinner-tasting on top of the cerro overlooking the Sierras de Caracoles.

Retire to your glass cabin, called “Refugio” or Shelters. It is remarkably camouflaged across 250 acres of pristine nature. The cabin is outfitted with mirrored glass walls to not only blend into the landscape seamlessly, but to also reflect and amplify the stunning scenery. Taking advantage of the wild beauty of the sierras of Maldonado in eastern Uruguay, the Sacramonte Landscape Hotel defies all expectations of a luxury retreat by treating each guest room as an isolated cabin set amidst rolling hills, lush grasslands and clusters of vineyards. Designed by Brazilian and Uruguayan studio MAPA Architects, the cabins combine the radical modernism of Philip Johnson’s Glass House with the use of local, natural materials such as wood and stone that allow the architecture to harmoniously blend into the natural landscape while offering guests an abode of comfort and sophistication. Sacramonte Landscape Hotel – 1 Refugio (B,D)

Day 7: Pueblo Eden
After a delicious breakfast in the privacy of your refuge, set out to hike to Lote 8, an olive oil production plant for an olive oil tasting. Uruguayan olive oils have important international recognition. Enjoy lunch at Viña Eden Winery, one of the best wineries in Uruguay and sample exquisite wines such as Marselan, Tannat, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In the gastronomic areas you will have a tasting accompanied by regional products. You will also be able to enjoy a delicious 3-course lunch.

This afternoon is at leisure with the option for a private yoga session. This evening enjoy a private dinner at “La Casona” in Pueblo Eden hosted by Sacromonte. La Casona is a spectacular and dazzling house built in the late 1800s. This historic stone property was the general store of Mataojo Town. It has been superbly restored and renovated, completed in early 2012. This is a true architectural gem with 12-foot high walls. The garden offers a quiet refuge, contact with native flowers and fauna of the area. Sacramonte Landscape Hotel – 1 Refugio (B,L,D)

Day 8: Pueblo Eden / Jose Ignacio
Set out this morning for a drive along Route 12 towards the coast. Along the way, stop to take in the remarkable Casapueblo, a spectacular property on the hillside that was designed and built by the renowned Uruguayan artist, Carlos Paez Vilaró. It took more than 36 years to finish.

Continue to Punta del Este, referred to as the Monaco of the South and the Hamptons of South America. Drive along the Mansa and Brava beaches, stopping for lunch at the marina overlooking the port.  Travel on to La Barra, crossing the crazy bridge before exploring the charming cozy towns on the coast.

End your journey in Jose Ignacio, where you check in to your hotel. Bahia Vik José Ignacio is the vision of a natural and contemporary retreat that embraces beach living with a seamless flow between indoors and outdoors. Enormous granite swimming pools are a recurring theme. The main building, made from Uruguayan grey slate, has ten suites; then there are eleven stand–alone bungalows, each one is made from a completely different material: glass, adobe, brick with a thatched roof, titanium and even one built underneath a sand dune. Your bungalow features distinct exteriors, art-filled interiors and a unique design scheme. Tucked into the breezy José Ignacio beach dunes, the designs intentionally blend the interior and exterior to encourage maximum enjoyment of nature. Natural dunes covered in swaying beach grasses and other local flora divide the bungalows from one another, providing privacy for all bungalow guests. Bahia Vik – 1 Bungalow (B)

Day 9: Jose Ignacio
Today is at leisure to relax and enjoy hotel amenities. Spend time in the gym and participate in a yoga class with an in–house yoga instructor. Swim in one of four swimming pools, go paddle boarding or surfing on the beach. Head to Estancia Vik for a ride with the gauchos, or enjoy a kayak trip. Take a walk into Jose Ignacio, the charming beach town loved by the rich and famous, where there are dozens of eateries in high season, the most famous of which is La Huella. Bahia Vik – 1 Bungalow (B)

Day 10: Jose Ignacio
Venture out on horseback for a ride cross-country along private trails bordering the coastal strip of the natural reserve of Laguna Garzón to the last corner of the Province of Maldonado, where the territory becomes the Province of Rocha. You will cross the sand dunes and gallop to the rhythm of the waves bordering the west arm of the lagoon known as “La Lengüeta”. On arrival at the protected area of “El Caracol”, enter the forest by a trail of acacias, cactus, and local native plants before arriving to a destination where the fire pits will be burning under the stars. Enjoy an unforgettable moonlit dinner within the middle of the forest serenaded by the crashing noise of the waves. Bahia Vik – 1 Bungalow (B,D)

Day 11: Jose Ignacio / Montevideo / Depart
This morning is at leisure. Check-out this afternoon for your transfer to the Montevideo airport, where you are assisted with check-in procedures for your international flight.  (B)

Land price, per person, double occupancy: Price from US$700 per person per day.

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