Pirates Beach Riding in Rocha, Uruguay

Ride horses on the beaches of the Rocha Province in Uruguay, where the remnants of shipwrecks make for interesting local stories!

by Darley Newman

Having grown up in a beach area in South Carolina, I am always keen on visiting beaches around the world. Uruguay has some famous beach areas like Punta del Este, popular with Argentineans, and also some really nice natural beach areas like in Rocha, where we are horseback riding. When I imagined the gauchos of Uruguay, I didn’t imagine that I would see them on the beach. Sure enough, Alexander, whose well-trained horses we were riding today, rode with me and riding guide Alejandro near the Brazilian border on the Uruguay Beach & Coastal Trail Riding Vacation.

Uruguay horseback riding

I felt like I was exploring unchartered territory, as we cantered through the shallow water on the shore. I was on a smooth Criollo horse, the native breed here in Uruguay and much of South America. We had ridden through an area of large, rolling dunes down to the beach, where there were a variety of birds, besides seagulls for us to watch.

Uruguay horse riding

Alejandro pointed to the rocks jutting out of the sea in the distance to show how dangerous the shores of Rocha have been throughout history. He told stories of shipwrecks and of the locals who have collections of goods taken from the wreckage. A lot of people in the area have pieces of furniture, tiles and other items taken from shipwrecks. One woman even has a large stove from a ship in her kitchen! I guess that makes for an interesting conversation piece. Further down the beach, I could see the black top of a sunken submarine sticking out of the surf. I was riding along a sort of "Pirates Beach."

We took a break in the inter-dune area to have lunch under the shade of palm trees. On these rides, the outdoor lunches are amazing. Alejandro’s friend laid out sandwiches, beef, salad and fresh fruit on tables and a picnic blanket. We ate well, including tasting some delicious lemon pie, before heading to the Santa Teresa Fort (Fortaleza de Santa Teresa), which dates back to Colonial times.

Uruguay fort

We were able to ride right around the fort through verdant green grass–– quite an experience in the small, but culturally rich country of Uruguay.


How to Go:  Uruguay Beach & Coastal Trail Riding Vacation