Some rivalries are thoroughly engrossing. Red Sox vs. Yankees, the English breakfast vs. the Continental breakfast, Everest vs. K2, Microsoft vs. Apple, Sounders vs. Timbers. And in the southern reaches of South America, on the Atlantic coast, another captivating duel has been playing out for centuries: Montevideo vs. Buenos Aires. Separated by the Rio de La Plata, the estuary formed at the...
If you’ve always dreamed of witnessing penguins in the wild, then our team of Latin America travel experts has you covered. While Antarctica is famously the best place to go if you’re looking for the ultimate penguin trip, there’s also no shortage of opportunities to do some penguin watching everywhere from the Galapagos Islands all the way through Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. In...
  This past week you may have noticed penguins taking over your Instagram or Twitter feed as World Penguin Day was celebrated on April 25th and proved once again that pretty much everyone, everywhere loves penguins. Penguins are without a doubt the most sought after wildlife viewing experience we offer at Southern Explorations, and it’s no mystery as to why. Across the 17 species of penguins,...
Southern Explorations Founder and President Justin Laycob has been studying, guiding, traveling and developing programs in South and Central America since 1995. Each month we feature one of his favorite itinerary selections. This month, Justin joins the team in selecting an off-the-beaten path experience with one of our most under-appreciated destinations: Uruguay. With its scenic, rolling grasslands and...
UruguayUntil recently, travelers planning a trip to South America would by-pass thoughts of Uruguay, opting instead for the better known attractions of the colossal countries on either side. Increasing numbers of visitors are discovering all that this little country has to offer. Uruguay is comprised mostly of grasslands, fringed by blissful sand dunes and beaches. For the vacationer, this means the opportunity to...
Beaches In Costa Rica and PanamaIn neighboring Costa Rica and Panama, many folks opt for the heavenly beaches, but if you enjoy active vacations, even in paradise, you’ll find whitewater to raft, dive sites to explore, rainforests to hike and plenty of waves to surf. On both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, some accommodations are all-inclusive, offering oceanfront infinity pools, delicious cuisine and rental...
SOUTHERN EXPLORATIONS 10 YEARS OLD AND GROWING!2015 marks Southern Explorations’ 10th year in business. What started as a two-person operation in a garage has grown into a company with destination coordinators in several countries, customers from throughout the world and awards from the national travel media for our authentic trips and sustainability values. Southern Explorations has become one of the leaders...
Uruguay contains twenty-one viticultural districts. Three-quarters of Uruguay’s wine production is in reds, almost forty percent of which is Tannat, a grape brought here by Basque immigrants. The hearty Tannat is to Uruguay as Malbec is to Argentina, a grape that can fully ripen on the vine and is the country’s best-known wine. Though Uruguay is home to some three hundred wineries, many family-owned, few...
Reading about and preparing for your adventure is half the fun. For more book suggestions go to Uruguay 
Safe, clean and scenically set on the Atlantic coast, Montevideo is a pleasure for all who travel to Uruguay. In addition to its mild climate, the capital offers a mix of colonial elegance and striking art deco buildings, sophisticated cuisine and much to see. Unlike most capital cities that most visitors on South America tours encounter, Montevideo is on a human scale with a modest population of just 1.4 million....
Uruguay beat out all competitors in this first World Cup, defeating Peru, 1 to 0, Romania, 4 to 0, Yugoslavia in the semi-final match, 6 to 1, and defeating Argentina in the final game, 4 to 2. With a population of just 3.5 million, Uruguay remains one of the smallest countries to participate in the games and by far the smallest to win. Winning the World Cup more than once is a distinction held by only five...
Of all the beach destinations that stretch along the coastline between Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, and the eastern border with Brazil, Punta del Este is the most famous, dubbed the Uruguayan Riviera. The city of Punta del Este is set on a narrow peninsula, situated eighty-three miles east of Montevideo. A rambla skirts the peninsula, and a main avenida goes through the center of everything. Bikes may be...
Located less than twenty miles from Punta del Este, Piriapolis is a quirky hamlet as might be expected, having had its beginnings as the vision of one man, Francisco Piria, a real estate developer of Italian descent from Montevideo. At age forty-three, he decided that Uruguay needed a resort town on the coast and purchased 7,000 acres including seven miles of white sand beach on which to build it. From the layout of...
CasapuebloThough Punta del Este had been attracting tourists for over a century, when Paez Vilaro began building first a retreat and then a studio here in 1958, the peninsula was a far different place, not at all the magnet for Argentines and others who make it the primary destination of their Uruguay tours today. Located just eighty-seven miles from the capital, Punta del Este was worlds away, a place with neither...
Dinner, usually served late, is definitely worth the wait. Restaurants specializing in grilled meats are plentiful here. Uruguay’s steak houses are called parrilladas, after the multi-course platter of beef cuts these establishments serve and the grill that cooks them. When you travel to Uruguay, expect a divine grilled experience, savoring aged, grass-fed beef cuts as well as a garlic sausage, with a side of...
In the standard chivito, the cut of meat is usually skirt steak or filet mignon. From there, the sky is the limit. The chivito canadiense contains Canadian bacon in addition to the usual ingredients. A fried egg (or sliced hard-cooked egg if you prefer) is a common add-on, and grilled red peppers or onions, hearts of palm, olives (black or green) and pickles often find their way into a chivito. To experience the...
Italian pastas, gnocchi and polentas are the mainstay of many restaurants throughout the country. One famed pasta topping is Caruso Sauce, with a cream-base and mushrooms, onions and ham. It is named after Italian tenor, Enrico Caruso, the operatic superstar who performed on tour at the major houses of South American capitals, including Montevideo’s Teatro Solis and the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. Some say...
When the temperatures drop, Uruguayans get out the grappamiel, considered the national libation. A tradition imported from Italy, grappa is distilled from what remains after the wine leaves the barrel. In Uruguay, honey (miel) is added in the process. Grappamiel is sold as is or produced with a wide range of flavor additives, everything from chocolate to almond to chamomile. Visitors who travel to Uruguay...
Uruguay contains twenty-one viticultural districts. Three-quarters of Uruguay’s wine production is in reds, almost forty percent of which is Tannat, a grape brought here by Basque immigrants. The hearty Tannat is to Uruguay as Malbec is to Argentina, a grape that can fully ripen on the vine and is the country’s best-known wine. Though Uruguay is home to some three hundred wineries, many family-owned, few...
During their Montevideo tours, visitors will be able to start tasting fine wines no more than thirty minutes from the capital. The family-owned boutique, Bouza Winery, situated in Montevideo Department, grows grapes in two separate vineyards. The first is just twelve acres in size and is near Malilla where its winery, a restored building that dates back to 1942, is located. Here Bouza grows grapes for its reds,...