Uruguay-A Country of Wine and Art | Trip Itinerary

Arrival to “Colonia Del Sacramento” by hydrofoil from Buenos Aires (not included), where you will be met and transferred to the beautiful Charco Hotel located right next to the lighthouse in the Old town of the city. This hotel is a perfect combination of the historic spirits of Colonia and a relaxing atmosphere. Colonia is an Old Portuguese city form the seventeenth century that has been declared Human Heritage by UNESCO. After checking into the hotel, you will enjoy lunch at La Florida restaurant, located next to the Old Entrance Gate of the town.

After lunch, your guide will meet you at the restaurant and you for your Colonia walking city tour.  The cobbled streets of this town will little-by-little reveal the secrets and history of the River Plate. Visits include historic  buildings, the fort, the Spanish and Portuguese Museums and the lighthouse for a stunning panoramic view of the area.

Our special suggestion: finish you day with a typical “uruguayan picada”--a selection of local cheese, ham, salamis and a glass of TANNAT wine at the small and very quaint wine bar “El Buen Suspiro”.  You’ll find this treasure located in the famous “Calle de los Suspiros” Street.  Make sure to have a reservation or try to arrive early,  as it only has a few charming tables). (L)

Today you will dive into the wine heritage of Uruguay in one of the country’s most important winery regions—the area of Carmelo. Just a short transfer from Colonia and right next to the presidential summer residency “Anchorena”, you will find Los Cerros de San Juan Winery.

This winery was founded by the German immigrant family Lahusen, who bought land in this region in 1854 and was dedicated to diverse agricultural activities apart from wines. The winery is still located in its original building, and during your visit you will be able to see the process of modernization and expansion it encountered to become the great winery it is today.

Just a few hundred meters from the winery, you will be able to visit the small village that was created within the “estancia”.  It includes a bakery, living areas for the workers and a school.   In fact, the actual reception area of the winery is located in what was once the local grocery store. After enjoying a tasting of the Cerros de San Juan wines, you will continue to the birthplace of wines in Uruguay. 

In the XVIII century the Jesuits established themselves in the north of the Province of Colonia in Uruguay, and in 1741 they founded an estancia which they named “Belen” also known as “La Calera de las Huerfanas”. The ruins of the old chapel that was located inside the extensive lands of the estancia can still be visited. After the Jesuits were expelled by the Spanish crown, Don Juan de San Martín (father of General San Martin, National Hero of Argentina), took over the administration of the estancia and discovered 1500 stocks of grapevine had been planted there.  This is how the wine production was born in Uruguay and even nowadays, vineyards still grow in this area where the first vines were planted in the country!

Next continue to the city of Carmelo, where you will visit “Bodegas Cordano”, a small 5th generation family-run winery which is led by Ana Paula Cordano and her family.  After a warm reception in the “Almacen de la Capilla”, the vintage grocery shop that was founded 1855 by Antonio Cordano, you will visit the vineyards and the production areas of Cordano Wineries. The special atmosphere of the Almacen de La Capilla seems to bring the invitation and you will again be honored with a tasting of the Cordano wines.

After this lovely visit and just before sunset, you will arrive to Narbona Winery, located on the grounds of the original Estancia where Juan de Narbona founded his winery in 1909. At the end of the last century, the Estancia and the Winery were refurbished and in 2010 a new winery was constructed. This small winery is now part of a wine lodge and with the help of the consultancy firm Eno Rolland of the famous French enologist Michel Rolland, they have succeeded to create excellent wines. We will enjoy our dinner in the picturesque restaurant and spend the next two nights at the beautiful Finca Narbona Wine Lodge. (B, L - tastings with side dishes, D)

Morning at leisure - special recommendation: grab yourself one of the guest bikes at Finca Narbona and enjoy a ride to the nearby viewpoint “Kilometro 0”, the place where the Uruguay River turns into the River Plate.

For lunch, enjoy a picnic lunch in the vineyards of Finca Narbona. Later in the afternoon, you will get to know the product made of the grapes that surrounded you during lunch. The winemaker of Finca Narbona, will guide you through a wine and cheese pairing tasting in the cellar, which will include three different Narbona wines and seven choices of cheese.(B, L)


After breakfast, you will be transferred in a private vehicle (no guide) to the vibrant capital city of Montevideo (3.5hs). On arrival, check into the wine-themed hotel My Suites for a two-night stay.  This boutique hotel dedicates each of the floors to a different Uruguayan winery - one of them being Los Cerros de San Juan winery.  Punta Carretas , the area where the hotel is located is surrounded by very good restaurants and shops and only 3 blocks from the coastal rambla.  In the afternoon, you will enjoy a local tour of the neighborhood and its architecture.  The evening is free for your choice of nearby dining experiences. (B)

You’ll have a free morning to explore on your own. Late morning you’ll be met at your hotel by our local guide and transferred to the Port Market where you will enjoy lunch. The lively atmosphere of local craftsmen, artists and street singers will inspire you for your afternoon Art Tour.
Your afternoon tour begins with an introduction to the history of art in Uruguay.
Your  tour will include a visit the Torres Garcia Museum, which is dedicated to the well-known Uruguayan plastic artist Joaquin Torres Garcia, who founded the Constructive Universalism. His presentation of the South American Continent turned upside down with regard to the interpretation “the south is our north” is very present throughout Uruguayan culture. The museum is located in a key location, right on the main pedestrian street Sarandi and just a few meters from the Old town Gate located in the Independence Square.

We will then continue onto the EAC, a very special exhibition center located within what used to be the Miguelette Prison. The contrast of the pieces of art being exhibited in the walls of the cells, give a very interesting feeling to the visitor. The tour will finish with a visit to the National Museum of Visual Arts with the largest collection of Uruguayan artists’ artwork located in the Central Rodo Park.

For those interested in getting a more complete and deep overview of Uruguayan Art, we suggest to extend the tour in order to include a visit to the Blanes Museum which exhibits a totally different style of paintings with the works of the probably most noted Uruguayan painter of the Realist School, Juan Manuel Blanes; a visit to the Association of Uruguayan contemporary art and a visit to one of the exclusive private collections of Uruguayan art with a specialized curator.  Please request this option when confirming your trip, and we’ll advise the additional costs.  (B, L)

Today will be dedicated to gourmet food: we will visit Colinas de Garzon, the Boutique Production Plant of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil of the same name. After a transfer of around 2 ½ hours, we arrive to the so called “Uruguayan Tuscany” - the region of Garzon.

Just a few kilometers away from the sea, we find ourselves in a rolling landscape with olive trees, almond trees and vineyards. Arriving to Colinas de Garzon, we are first given a brief introduction on the history of olives in the inhouse cinema. With this background information, we visit the production facilities and our guide will explain us the process from the olive to the oil. In a second part, we discover the plantation grounds and can observe not only the olive, but also the almond trees. 
Now the highlight of our tour awaits: a tasting of the Colinas de Garzon Extra Virgin Olive Oils, accompanied by local cheeses, homemade bread and the Bodega Garzon wines. Our guide will explain how to taste the olive oils in order to best detect all the flavors and you will be amazed by the different ones you can find! Afterwards, transfer to the Serena Hotel in Punta del Este. This hotel is the only one idyllically located directly on the beach allowing you to enjoy you next day’s breakfasts with a direct view to the ocean. Check-in for a two-night stay.  (B, L/tasting)

Your visit to Uruguay finishes with a day dedicated to art, wine and gourmet tastes. Starting in Punta del Este, we will visit the Ralli Museum, founded in 1988 by the Italian banker Harry Recanati and located in the heart of Punta Del Este’s exclusive Beverly Hills neighborhood. The museum, which is surrounded by internal gardens filled with marble and bronze sculptures that create a special atmosphere, gathers one of the largest collections of Latin American paintings.

We will then continue to the east, towards the beautiful beaches of Manantiales – where you will visit the Atchugarry Foundation, an exhibition center and atelier of the Uruguayan artist, Pablo Atchugarry. All around Uruguay you will be able to observe the incredible sculptures of this artist who has dedicated his life to his passion for art. In his exhibition center and atelier, we will be able to observe a great variety of pieces of art from various regional artists scattered through-out the garden; a permanent exhibition; and the exhibition of the month which varies according to the time of the year you will be visiting. There is a special sector specially dedicated to his work including pieces of work with different materials such as copper, wood and obviously his favorite: marble.  If you are lucky, you will even be able to see Pablo Atchugarry walking around the grounds or working on a new marble block and even meet him.

Now, we leave the art museums behind and head towards Altos de la Ballena winery where lovely panoramic views and fine wines will be waiting for us.

This small winery is located just on the outskirts of Punta del Este and one of the youngest ones in Uruguay, with the first grapes having been planted in 2001. We will learn firsthand the difficulties of starting a new winery and how this young enterprise was able to find their place in the maps of Uruguayan wineries.  Obviously, we will be able to taste their wines and will moreover enjoy a delicious lunch at the bodega.

Just a few kilometers down the road in the direction of Punta Ballena, we find the Nonno Antonio Cheese farm, where the owner Marisa welcomes us warmly. She shares her knowledge about artisan cheese production in Uruguay with us and we can enjoy a selection of the homemade products at the end of the visit.

Finally, this day ends with a visit to Casapueblo, this strange and beautiful white building constructed at the entrance to Punta del Este by the famous Carlos Paez Vilaro. He designed this building as both an atelier but also his home and part of it is nowadays used as a hotel. We will visit his museum, see how his style changed during the years and admire the beautiful colors ever present. From the terrace, we enjoy a beautiful view over the Punta Ballena Bay before returning to our hotel. (B, L)

Day 8:   After breakfast at your hotel, transfer to the airport or port for your departure. (B)

B=Breakfast; L=Lunch; D=Dinner


Notes on Punta del Este Art Gallery Visits:
CASAPUEBLO MUSEUM: The work of the poet and artist Carlos Paez Vilaro, now turned into a studio museum. With its walls as white as snow, these characteristic construction located in “Punta Ballena”, just by the so-called “panoramic route” and lying back against the rockes, reminds one of a glacier burnished by the wind.

RALLI MUSEUM:  Founded in 1987 by the Italian banker, Harry Recanati, and located in the heart of Punta Del Este’s exclusive Beverly Hills neighborhood, the Ralli Museum gathers the largest collections of Latin American painting and sculpture in the world.

ATCHUGARRY FOUNDATION: Pablo Atchugarry was born in Montevideo on the 23rd August, 1954. His father was a great art lover who grasped the aptitude and interests that Pablo already manifested in his childhood, stimulating him to take up the challenge of painting. As an adolescent, he soon started to feel the need to express himself in other forms and materials such as sculpture in cement and compositions in metal and wood and by 1972, he was already exhibiting in Montevideo and 2 years afterwards in Buenos Aires. In 1979, he discovered marble as a thoroughly fascinating material and sculpted his first piece in Carrara, “La Lumiere”. In 1982, he decided to settle in Lecco and since then, many of his monumental works hasve been situated in various public and private places in Europe and Amercia. In 2002 he received the Michelangelo Award in Carrara in recognition of his artistic career. In 2007 he realized his most great sculpture, “On the way of light”, 8 meters high and opened his foundation, located next to his atelier at “ El Chorro” in Punta del Este where he works during the European winters. The foundation constitutes a meeting point for artists of all disciplines being its main objective is to disseminate the fine arts.


*Museums and art galleries are usually closed Mondays


Jan 1-Feb 29, 2016
2 people/1 room
$3600 pp

4 people/2 rooms

Mar 1-31 and
Oct 1-Nov 30, 2016
2 people/1 room
$3395 pp

4 people/2 rooms

Apr 1-Sep 30, 2016
2 people/1 room
$3195 pp

4 people/2 rooms

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recommended custom itinerary