If you’ve heard of Uruguay, you’re doing an all right job at your global geography. If you actually know something about it or you could place it on a map you’re well ahead of the curve. Although not too many people know about Uruguay, the country’s relatively low profile in global consciousness is absolutely undeserved as it is a country that is well-worth visiting! That is even more the case if you’re a fan of any equestrian sports.
The country is located in-between its two massive neighbours, Argentina in the west and south and Brazil in the north. The east of the country is the Atlantic coast and just across the ocean (about a five-hour flight to be more precise) from South Africa. Its climate is a temperate one with hot summers that last roughly November to April and cold winters, though it rarely gets cold enough to snow. Tragically the indigenous communities of the region we now call Uruguay where killed by Europeans in the 19th century and nowadays the majority of Uruguayans can trace their ancestry back to Italy, Spain, and France, in that order. It’s somewhat anomalous that although ethnic Italians make up the majority of the population Spanish is the national language (albeit a Spanish that sounds more Italian that Spanish).
The country and its economy have been shaped by ranching, specifically cattle ranching, and unsurprisingly although with that developed a strong cowboy culture, although they are called gauchos in the local Spanish. To this day horseback riding in Uruguay remains an incredibly popular past time and is a staple of the country’s tourism industry.
If you go to Uruguay, chances are that you’ll fly into the country’s capital Montevideo, home to roughly one-third of the nation’s three million people. While the city offers plenty of history, nightlife and great food, for the horses you’ll want to leave the city.
In the country’s interior you’ll find amble opportunity to ride through the sparsely-populated plains, tracing the spiritual and physical footsteps of the country’s gauchos or you can travel along the coast and see the lighthouses and fishing villages that dot the coast and make it an amazing experience. For the equestrian traveller, Uruguay should be top of the list.