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Uruguay: South America’s Coastal Gem

Dig Into Montevideo & Jose Ignacio
(8 Days / 7 Nights)
March 4-11, 2017

Uruguay is truly South America’s best-kept secret. Rolling green pastures, a dazzling coastline, some of the best European-style food and wine in these latitudes, and warm locals. Explore the captivating coastal capital of Montevideo and check out the local cheese making scene in Colonia, then head up the coast to base in low-key yet chic village of José Ignacio with endless dunes and beaches. Meet food artisans, wine growers and savor scrumptious seasonal foods, ethereal cheeses, grilled meats, and deliciously different wines (more European in style). However, what we love about Uruguay most is that they have made unplugging and chilling out an art; it’s what the locals call desenchufar. A perfect reboot after the Northern winter months.

Day 1: Arrival in Montevideo
Land in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo and transfer to your hotel located in the upscale neighborhood of Carrasco. Around noon, meet your host, owner Liz Caskey, and set out to explore the city. Start with a visit to a colorful Saturday vegetable market, followed by a tour of the old city, the picturesque Mercado del Puerto, the bustling commercial center, and upscale Punta Carretas and Pocitos. Tonight, gather for a welcome dinner that is an introduction to Uruguay’s simple, ingredient-driven cuisine. Welcome to Uruguay! (Sofitel Carrasco)

Day 2: Artisan Cheese Making in Colonia
Head west to the province of Colonia, surrounded by pastures that are home to many of Uruguay’s small-scale dairy farms. Spend the morning learning about the cheese making process of some of Uruguay’s most typical cheeses followed by a tasting of the finest artisan products and culminating in an al fresco lunch with an amazing spread of fresh ingredients, prepared from scratch with loving care. After lunch, visit the UNESCO heritage town of Colonia del Sacramento with its charming tree-lined, cobblestone streets before returning to Montevideo. (Sofitel Carrasco)

Day 3: Uruguayan Wine Country
Start the morning with an artisanal wine producer in the tradition of the Italian Piedmont. Savor house wines from the sparkling to his show-stopping Tannat. Next, visit a small family operation making handcrafted wines. Taste their wines with homemade antipasto, including their rich icon blend. The final stop is a boutique winery for a private Uruguayan-style barbeque with grilled meats and crunchy fresh salads paired with their finest house wines. Enjoy the wonderful family and bucolic setting. Head back to Montevideoto enjoy the rest of the evening at your leisure.(Sofitel Carrasco)

Day 4: Punta del Este
Journey east today to Punta del Este, where sandy beaches meet green, rolling countryside. Stop to visit the summerhouse and workshop of South America’s Picasso en route and then take pause at the scenic point where the Rio de la Plata River becomes the Atlantic Ocean. Lunch in a 19th century estancia that is now a working farm focused on fresh, seasonal dishes and outstanding cheeses. Continue along the coastal highway towards the village of José Ignacio. Veer off into the countryside to a modern, luxurious estancia sitting on 4,000-acres of emerald pastures. The estancia itself integrates the stunning scenery along with unique local art work into its gorgeous architecture. Tonight, meet for a tasting of the hotel’s iconic wine (made at a sister property in Chile). Ahh, that view at sunset …simply stunning. ¡Salud! (Estancia Vik)

Day 5: José Ignacio
This morning, saddle up for a ride with the local gaucho to an artisan olive producer, and learn about olive oil production. After, lunch at a favorite beachside restaurant with a chill vibe and stellar, fresh, simple food. Return to Estancia Vik, or continue on at beach or visit the shops in town on your own.(Estancia Vik)

Day 6: José Ignacio
After a free morning through lunch, rendezvous with the group for an excursion to La Barra, an area known for its art galleries, antique shops and boutiques. Visit one of Uruguay’s best-known sculptors in his private taller (studio). This evening gather for a cooking class on Uruguayan cuisine with the Vik chef to cook up some of the classics.(Estancia Vik)

Day 7: José Ignacio
Today, there’s nothing on the agenda. Relax and take advantage of all the amenities of the three Vik properties, located only kilometers apart. This evening at Estancia, gather for our final meal together, a Uruguayan asado, set in the lovely courtyard. Savor the grilled meats with charred vegetables and accompanying salads. What a memorable way to end a perfect trip to Uruguay! (Estancia Vik)

Day 8: José Ignacio & International Departure
Today is open to linger one last time and absorb all the energy of this special place. Transfer back in the afternoon as a group to the Montevideo airport for evening international departures.