Private Journeys

Signature Uruguay: Land of vintage charm

14 days from £4,570pp

Argentina / Uruguay

Itinerary

map marker Map

Day 1

Arrive in Buenos Aires. Transfer to your hotel in San Telmo district.

Arrive in Buenos Aires, an elegant, cultured and cosmopolitan city famed for its interesting museums and the fascinating port district of La Boca, with its cobbled streets and brightly painted houses – it’s where the tango was born. The centre of town is home to the colonial heart, government buildings and churches as well as chic shopping and residential districts which have a nostalgic Parisian feel.

The bohemian quarter of San Telmo is full of quaint old houses interspersed with antiques shops, tango bars and classy restaurants. Slightly further out of the centre is the Recoleta district (your hotel is here), even more evocative of the French influence, where Evita Perón was laid to rest.

Joaquin Dedomenici ©

Day 2

City tour with a visit to Teatro Colón.

Your guided city tour takes you along Avenida 9 de Julio, one of the widest boulevards in the world and studded by the Obelisk, an emblematic symbol of the city. Along this majestic highway is the 19th century Teatro Colón (guided tour included) which, in terms of its architecture and design, as well as its excellent acoustics, is considered one of world’s best.

On to the Plaza de Mayo, enclosed on 3 sides by the metropolitan cathedral, the town hall and the Casa Rosada, the presidential palace. The tour continues to bohemian, arty La Boca, which was settled and built by Italian immigrants and has streets lined with brightly painted corrugated iron-clad houses.  You also visit the district of Recoleta, where Eva Peron is biried in the famous cemetery.

Argentine Tourist Board ©

Day 3

At leisure in Buenos Aires; night time guided culinary tour.

The daylight hours leave you at leisure to explore Buenos Aires further: you might stroll around one or two of the lovely parks, such as the delightful Japanese Gardens, and maybe have an al fresco snack or lunch in trendy Puerto Madero, the sensitively restored Buenos Aires’ docklands, which has promenades festooned with industrial architecture, bars and cafés and a pretty little marina crammed with sailing boats.

In the evening you embark on a culinary-themed private guided walking tour. Shunning smart restaurants and tourist spots, you'll dine out local-style, tasting authentic Argentine dishes in a variety of settings and experience the excitement of an authentic tango or peña venue. The evening usually takes place in the smart neighbourhood of Palermo, not far from your hotel.

After dinner, visit a milonga - a traditional tango hall - or a peña, also popular among locals but specialising in traditional music from the Andean north-west of Argentina.

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Day 4

By hydrofoil to Colonia, Uruguay.

Take the hydrofoil ferry across the River Plate to Colonia in Uruguay.  Travel along a forest-fringed estuary, dotted with upmarket residences, to this peaceful little port, and its UNESCO-protected historic centre where you can wander among cobbled streets lined with colonial houses, or have a meal or drink in the yacht club overlooking the sparkling water, where little boats gaily bob around. You might climb the lighthouse for a view over the town and estuary beyond.

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Day 5

Walking tour of historic Colonia.

You'll be taken on a guided exploration on foot of the quaint, historic town and port of Colonia, which was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. 

Founded in the 17th century by the Portuguese, the fortressed town was prinicipally a centre for contraband activities for many years. It's a peaceful place now, retaining its distinctive Portuguese colonial style and with a villagey feel. Its evocative colonial grid of peaceful lanes is a photographer's delight and you can view the whole place from the top of the lighthouse.

On the tour, you'll reach Calle de los Suspiros (Street of Sighs) which is home to the charming El Buen Suspiro, a taberna built by the Portuguese in 1720. Here you'll stop for a typical Uruguayan snack of wine, bread and cheeses.

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Day 6

By road to Montevideo; guided tour of the capital.

By road to the capital of Uruguay, Montevideo, a journey of under three hours. In the lively waterfront city modern skyscrapers jostle with art deco façades and grand, monumental colonial buildings.

Born of the competing interests of colonial powers, the city, on the shores of a fine natural harbour on the River Plate, grew to be a prosperous port devoted to overseas trade. It attracted immigrants from all of Europe, resulting in an eclectic cultural mix which survives to this day.

You’ll have a guided walking tour in the afternoon, passing through the colonial centre, viewing some of the historic public building and monuments.

Mary Anne Nelson ©

Day 7

A wine-tasting excursion by classic car.

Juanico Winery lies 36km from downtown Montevideo and its bucolic surroundings ensure that it feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Vintage and classic cars are still spotted on the roads of this sleepy little country, and you'll be driven in a classic car that has maintained all of its original features and offers authentic nostalgic charm - possibly a 1927 Chrysler sedan, 1929 Chevrolet convertible or a 1930s Ford A sedan deluxe.

Your visit begins with a tour around the vineyard to learn about the process of wine production and moves on to the impressive collection of antique cars and train carriages. You'll also visit the wine cellar where you can savour the various varieties of wines that are putting Uruguay on the map, such as its signature Tannats.

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Day 8

Drive to a working estancia.

Travel by road into the countryside to reach Estancia el Charabon (4hrs), tucked away in the countryside of Uruguay’s eastern limits.

This peaceful family-owned hideaway is 20 mins' drive inland from the coast and surrounded by the hills of Rocha. The peacock-dotted estate is blanketed with open fields, meadows, forest and streams.  Hereford cattle and Hampshire Down sheep are bred here.

The atmosphere at El Charabon is welcoming, sociable and informal. It’s especially popular with guests who enjoy horse riding but there is something here for everyone.

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Days 9-10

Activities at the countryside ranch.

At leisure on the estancia. It is a great place just to relax, go riding with one of the gauchos, on countryside walks and also a base from which to explore some of Uruguay's wilder stretches of coast.

We recommend an optional excursion to Cabo Polonio, 20km away. Its village and lighthouse have a real end-of-the-earth feel, on a hauntingly windswept peninsula with glistening beaches on either side. The village’s sea lion colony outnumbers the 100 inhabitants, there are no roads and access is only by authorised 4x4 vehicles, on foot or on horseback. It is one of Uruguay’s best birding spots.

There are other trips which can be arranged out to visit forts, islands and beaches.

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Day 11

By road to Punta del Este on the coast.

Drive to Punta del Este, a glamorous and sophisticated beach resort on a lovely stretch of Atlantic coast, particularly popular amongst Argentines. It dominates a narrow peninsular with a calm bay side, the rougher Atlantic waters on the other, and forests of pine and eucalyptus further up inland. Other than its excellent bathing, 'Punta' has a top class yacht marina, and offers premier fishing.

You'll be staying at L'Auberge, one of the regions top classic hotels and one of the few with a bit of nostalgic character.

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Days 12-13

At leisure on the beach.

The upmarket resort Punta del Este is packed with classy hotels, holiday residences, casinos, boutiques, chic bars and restaurants. You have a couple of days at leisure to enjoy your attractive hotel and its grounds, explore the beaches and maybe indulge in some water sports.

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Day 14

Transfer to Montevideo airport for international flight home.

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  • Jamie Swan
    Jamie Swan - Travel Consultant

    Jamie backpacked across Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil before joining us; he has a degree in politics and is also a keen sportsman..

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    Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is an invaluable part of our Group Tours team.

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    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

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    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made team.

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    Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia.

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    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Consultant

    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 Sales team.

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