Top Reasons to Visit Uruguay
We have no doubt that Uruguay is one of the best off-the-beaten-track destinations in South America, home to dramatic landscapes, little-known vineyards, culturally-rich colonial towns and rural ranches, with beautiful beaches, bohemian guesthouses and glamorous cities to match. Our job is to guide our guests through an authentic South American travel experience as Uruguay should have its place on everybody’s travel bucket list, if looking to discover a more remote side of the continent, with no shortage of memorable moments along the way too.
Wine lovers, for example, will be in awe when exploring the boutique vineyards of Carmelo, Canelones, Montevideo and the Maldonado Region. Meet small-scale producers tending to their vines using traditional techniques, and in the most idyllic of countryside surroundings. Those with a keen palate will find that Uruguay’s Tannat grapes – which are common in the area – create some of the best red wines in South America during their private vineyard visits, while the unusual Albariño and Sauvignon Blanc varieties go into many of the whites and should also be savored. Unearthing Uruguay’s winegrowing regions is simply an effortless mélange of tasting tours, long lunches and pleasant rural drives between each guesthouse or plantation, making for a real highlight of any trip.
Or, perhaps a cultural tour in South America appeals? If so, step forward the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Colonia del Sacramento, Carmelo (which is also an emerging winegrowing destination) and Montevideo Old Town. In Colonia del Sacramento, one of the best ways to get to grips with this enchanting town is to simply take a walking tour of its cobbled streets, dilapidated buildings and historical sites to fully immerse yourself in it all. These include the 18 th -century Porto de Campo, the lighthouse and basilica, as well as museums containing finds ranging from modern day artistic creations to colonial artefacts and even prehistoric items. That same fascination can also be found in Montevideo Old Town, the country’s 18 th -century capital that’s home to atmospheric cafes, galleries, museums and antique shops, the Solis Theatre and Palacio Salvo, Montevideo Cathedral and the ‘Gateway to the Citadel’, to name just a few. However, this is also a lively and cosmopolitan capital city, so daytimes spent exploring cultural
sites can be rounded off in vibrant nightspots, restaurants and bars or the urban beach.
Further up the coast, comes the resort town of Punta del Este, ever-popular if, perhaps on arrival or at the end of the trip a few days of glitzy yacht clubs, sprawling hotels and fine dining restaurants are in order. Though keep driving a short while and life gets a lot more laidback towards La Barra and Jose Ignacio, as some of Uruguay’s best beaches and boutique hotels provide a wider sanctuary of shoes-off comfort, beach shack cafes and rustic restaurants, far away from the bustle of busier coastal resorts. The boho style and hippie-chic atmosphere will capture your senses!
Then, for a real change of pace, head to a working horse ranch or witness the natural wonders of Esteros de Farrapos National Park, Quebrada de los Cuervos (Vulture’s Gorge) or the Cabo Polonio Natural Reserve, such is the versatility of a trip to Uruguay. Throughout these rural regions there are scenic horse-riding trails and bike rides to enjoy, cooking and cultural classes, kayaking, hiking, bird watching and countless more outdoor activities, though also design hotels, luxury spas or estancias to stay in. Ultimately however, you can always trust in Lares to go and explore the best of it all.