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Estancia Guardia del Monte
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Reviews (38)
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Reviewed 9 April 2014

The estancia is located 10 km down an unpaved road off Ruta #9, on the border of the Castillos Lagoon. On arrival, we were served tea on the brick patio that overlooked the wetlands below in the distance. This property has had a significant historical importance since the 18th century and has been in the owner's family dating back to the early 1900s. It is a working ranch with grasslands filled with cattle, sheep and horses. The area has been declared a Biosphere Natural Reserve with a number of shore birds in the lagoon and because an important grove of Ombu tree are located on the property. Alicia, the owner and gracious hostess, has turned the main house and adjacent buildings into a retreat for guests. There is a large hall that was a former stable with a big fireplace to heat the area where breakfast is taken. A formal dining room is filled with period furniture including a huge sideboard and ranching memorabilia on wall decorations. In the kitchen is a Danish woodstove salvaged from an 1884 shipwreck.

Our room similarly had a large wardrobe with various storage compartments. The door and windows had hinged panels that could be opened to let in fresh air. We had our own comfortable lounging chairs on an outside veranda where we sat and watched the horses near the barn opposite the expansive yard.

The package included full board and the cook, Adrianna who in season has her own restaurant on the beach, served us gourmet lunches and dinners as well as delicious breakfasts. Our activities included: a visit to the Information Room, full of historic maps of the area and a talk by Alicia on the historic purposes of the region. Then we enjoyed a two hour walk through the Ombu Forest where she knew every tree and pointed out the new sprouts. At the wetland, we spotted several black ibis and egrets. In the afternoon, my husband enjoyed a horseback ride, accompanied by the resident gaucho, Carlos. Carlos later showed another talent preparing the asado (barbeque) for dinner one night.

On the days that we took excursions to Cabo Polonio and St. Teresa Park, we spotted many Nandu (rhea) on the exit road. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here for three nights and felt that the cost was in keeping with similar properties offering the same amenities in other countries.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank canadakate_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 March 2014

No need to repeat the positive descriptions of the estancia and the proprietor and host, Alicia, as they tell the story accurately.

We arrived mid-February, just after three weeks of unusually heavy rain for Summer time and much of the low-lying fields were under water. However, we still had great horseback rides, often wading through the shallow water. The horses were terrific. They are very well trained, in excellent condition, energetic, and a joy to ride, especially “Patron”. Helping, in some small way, to casually herd the cows and sheep, is always fun. Carlos, our riding guide, was very nice and very helpful. While he does not speak English, we had no trouble communicating with him. He was a pleasure to be with and did a good job of finding routes of interest. There was plenty of opportunity to trot and canter, but it was always our choice to do so.

Our room was basic, but clean and comfortable. Adriana, the cook, is also very nice and responded excellently to our last minute, gluten-free and lactose-free dietary requests.

Alicia, the proprietor, is very nice and welcoming.

We have stayed and gone horseback riding at several estancias in Argentina. This is a different setting than having the stunning background of the Andes and of Patagonia. Here, you have the view of the lagoon, forests to pass through, and lush fields that are easy to trot and canter across, if you like. The horses and tack are first rate and the accommodations are comparable. If you are coming to Uruguay for the beautiful beaches and want to combine this with a very nice riding experience, then Guardia del Monte is a good choice.

One recommendation: Combine a stay at the estancia with an excursion to the beach town of Cabo Polonio, which is less than one hour away and well worth the visit. There are other nearby coastal attractions, as well, that we did not have time to visit. These include Punta del Diablo, Fortaleza de Santa Teresa, and the Ombue forest.

Be warned that the 10 km drive to the estancia, after you turn off from Ruta 9, is a very bumpy, dirt road. Due to the recent heavy rains (which were very unusual for January and February), the road had very muddy sections, when we were there and we had to be towed out of one section, where we got stuck. Normally, allow 15 to 20 minutes to drive this road.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank JimAndDenise51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 February 2014

We spent three nights in February, the landscape is stunning, with green plains that extend to the horizon, palm tree forests, and unique Ombu forests. You constantly run into all sorts of wildlife, including nandus, giant lizards, and bird life we had never seen before. The is a huge lake where it is apparently possible to fish and canoe. We spent most of the time horseback riding with our three teenage boys and the guide. The house is an ancient guard post of a royal trail, hence the name. It is quite close to beautiful empty beaches. Highly recommendable.

Stayed: February 2014, travelled with family
Thank Jorge F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 February 2014

I cannot get an actual estimate price for the stay.
The public like info especially on the internet: why keep the price a secret.
Let the customer evaluate whether it is worth the price.
Most travellers don't have open check book!
Only for elite travellers.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Chamkarnon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 January 2014

My wife and I visited Estancia Guardia del Monte in December 2013 as part of our "babymoon" and felt this was the highlight of our trip to Uruguay. We were the only persons staying there on New Year's Eve and felt truly pampered throughout, including delicious homemade lemonade when we arrived to a dinner made-to-order by the incredible chef on site, Adriana. Imagine our shock when she asked what we wanted for dinner and then went on to suggest she could make a unique gnocchi (noqui) out of a local squash. As foodies, we were surprised to find that we anxiously awaited each meal given the extremely high quality of cooking on display. A breakfast pastry from Uruguay was cooked on a local leaf that gave it a wonderful, herbal quality.

The natural environment around Guardia del Monte is unique in Uruguay, with one of the largest groupings of the ombue tree. The owner took us on a personal hike through the ombue groves and gave us a great overview of the Uruguayan flora and fauna (she was much more knowledgeable than normal guides and showed a real interest in the subject matter). I also had a great horseback ride the evening before. That guide was great, later allowing me to try some of his mate (it's surprisingly difficult to try mate as a tourist since everyone essentially makes it themselves and it's not often sold commercially). The estancia is very remote, which is great because it's wonderfully quiet and at night the sky opens up with no light pollution.

A few tips for booking -- the hotel really doesn't have e-mail access, including via Facebook. If you want to make a reservation, you will need to call and speak to the owner, who speaks English. Save yourself the trouble and book this way. But, overall, the attentive and police service here makes this an effortless and memorable experience. Highly recommend!

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank KlingonLoveGod
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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