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Exploring Uruguay - Wildlife, Winelands & Culture


WPU12M
12 NIGHTS
FROM £2,995
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
Explore the wildlife, culture & winelands of beautiful Uruguay. From the capital of Montevideo, travel to Rocha to see the sea lions at Cabo Polonio; green turtles at Santa Teresa Nature Reserve & bird life of Rocha Lagoon. Visit the trendy resort of Jose Ignacio, before heading to the winelands of Carmelo & charming Colonia del Sacramento. English guides, all transfers & specified sightseeing included.
Uruguay Tour Colonia Photo Carmelo Santa Teresa Sea Lions Turtles Birds
• 
Montevideo
• 
Laguna de Castillos
• 
Cabo Polonio & Sea Lions
• 
Santa Teresa Nature Reserve
• 
Green Turtles
• 
La Paloma
• 
Rocha Lagoon
• 
Jose Ignacio
• 
Carmelo Winelands
• 
Colonia del Sacramento
• 
Montevideo
• 
Laguna de Castillos
• 
Cabo Polonio & Sea Lions
• 
Santa Teresa Nature Reserve
• 
Green Turtles
• 
La Paloma
• 
Rocha Lagoon
• 
Jose Ignacio
• 
Carmelo Winelands
• 
Colonia del Sacramento
Day 1
You will be met at Montevideo Airport and transferred to your hotel.
 
Check in and relax in this vibrant and culturally rich capital city, situated on Montevideo Bay and home to nearly half of Uruguay's population.
Day 2
Enjoy a half day tour of Montevideo with its many monuments, parks and scenic waterfront.
 
At the heart of the city is the Plaza Independencia, which separates the city's Downtown ('Centro') from the Old Town ('Ciudad Vieja') with its fascinating colonial and art deco buildings, the towering Palacio Salvo landmark and the neo-classical Solís Theatre. Other buildings of interest include the Catholic Cathedral, Constitution Square, Government House and the Town Hall.
 
Avenue 18 de Julio, the main commercial street, is lined with shops, cafes and commercial buildings.You will also see the impressive Plaza del Entrevero (the Parliament), built using 52 different colours of marble and 12 types of wood. The arts, music and theatre scene is very much alive in this city – from elegant older theatres and cozy tango bars to modern beachfront discos.
 
We continue driving through the Prada residential neighbourhood, one of the oldest in the city and home to a famous sculpture, La Diligencia (The Stage Coach) as well as a monument to the last of the Charrua Indians and a Rose Garden. We pass the Obelisk and La Carreta (Covered Wagon) monuments as we continue to Ordonez Park in the Batlle district. We also stop at the Plaza Virgilio monument to fallen naval soldiers, from where there are excellent views over the city. At the end of our tour, we return along the coastal road with its lovely beaches.
Day 3
This morning we leave Montevideo and travel 4-hours to Laguna de Castillos
 
Along the way we visit an Olive Farm to learn more about the production of extra virgin olive oil. We also stop at Viña Eden Winery for a wine tasting and included lunch.
 
We continue to Laguna de Castillos, a vast coastal lagoon that shelters Uruguay’s largest concentration of Ombús - ancient protected trees that grow in clusters, producing some fantastic shapes. Check in and enjoy the beautiful scenery of this region.
Day 4
Today we visit Santa Teresa National Park, an important forested coastal reserve where a wide variety of flora and fauna can be observed.
 
If you walk along the coastline, past the beautiful beach of La Moza to Cerro Verde, you will see the La Coronilla Islands. On most days, you will see sea turtles on this walk. The park also has a cultural centre, small museum, several aviaries and numerous gardens. After an included picnic lunch, we visit the Karumbé Sea Turtles Conservation Project, dedicated to the preservation of green turtles.
 
We return by car to Santa Teresa Fortress, the largest military fortification in the country, to learn about its history and enjoy great views over the national park. We complete our day with a visit to a lagoon where capybaras, the largest rodents in the world, are often seen.
 
Note: Karumbé is not open on weekends and public holidays.
Day 5
This morning join a shared excursion to the small town of Cabo Polonio, travelling across the beach and sand dunes in a 4x4 monster truck. Without any road access and completely isolated by the sand dunes, this hamlet has a special charm.
 
On this peninsula we find one of the largest Sea Lion colonies in all of South America. After visiting the sea lion reseserve, we visit the lighthouse and enjoy an included lunch at a seaside restaurant.
 
Afterwards you will be dropped off at the seaside town of La Paloma with its white lighthouse and traditional fishermen’s cottages. The surrounding beaches offer some of the best surfing in Uruguay.
 
Day 6
This morning enjoy a half day visit to Rocha Lagoon, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and a RAMSAR birding site of international significance.
 
This shallow brackish lagoon is separated from the salty waters of the Atlantic Ocean by a sandbar that is periodically breached by storms and tidal action, creating a complex system that is high in biodiversity.
 
Comprising over 27 square miles (72 sq km) of wetlands rich in fish, crab, shrimp and molluscs, this lagoon is an important habitat for 24 species of shorebirds and over 200 species of breeding and migratory birds, including the endemic coscoroba swan, black neck swan and threatened species such as Chilean flamingo, Olrog´s gull and black-and-white monjita. It is a particularly important habitat for the buff-breasted sandpiper and American golden plover.
Day 7
This morning we drive 2-hours southwards from La Paloma to the resort town of Jose Ignacio.
 
We drive through wonderful scenery of vineyards, olive trees, hills, lakes and streams - stopping along the way at an Olive Farm to learn more about the production of extra virgin olive oil.
 
We continue to Jose Ignacio, formerly a sleepy fishing village that today attracts the rich and famous to spectacular Brava Beach. Check into your hotel and explore the endless beaches of this scenic coastline, with its iconic lighthouse.
Day 8
At leisure to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Jose Ignacio.
Day 9
Today leave Jose Ignacio and transfer 2.5-hours to Montevideo.
 
Here you will be dropped off at the bus station for the public bus, travelling through beautiful countryside to the wine producing region of Carmelo.
 
On arrival you will be met at the bus station and transferred to your hotel in Carmelo, situated on the Rio de la Plata and surrounded by vineyards.
Day 10
Today we explore the Western Vineyards - the birthplace of wine in Uruguay:
 
We travel to the ruins of La Calera de las Huerfanas, where in 1741 the Jesuits built a chapel and planted fruit trees, breed cattle and produced lime. After the Jesuits were expelled by the Spanish crown, Don Juan de San Martín took control of the ranch and planted the first 1,500 vines.
 
In this region we visit two family-owned 'bodegas' (wineries), where we visit the vineyards and wine production areas. Also enjoy tasting some of their excellent wines.
Day 11
Today we leave Carmelo and transfer 1.5-hours to the charming colonial city of Colonia del Sacramento.
 
Check into your hotel in this picturesque town that was formerly a Portuguese colony and is today a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Day 12
This morning enjoy a 2.5-hour tour of historic Colonia del Sacramento, situated on a small peninsula that juts out into the river.
 
We start with a visit to the Real de San Carlos area, stopping at the San Benito Chapel and the Mihanovich Complex that dates back to 1910 and includes a 10,000 seater Bullring, a 3,000 seater Fronton (court for playing the Basque sport of jai alai), a casino hotel and a racecourse. We continue driving through various residential areas and along the river's west coast beaches to the Downtown shopping area. From here we enter the historic Old Town on foot and explore its narrow cobbled streets. Also view the Portón de Campo - the reconstructed 1745 city gate which contains remnants of the old city walls.
 
The balance of the day is free for you to explore this historic city independently.
Day 13
Transfer 3-hours to Montevideo Airport for your flight home.

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