Less than an hour from Rocha’s wildest beaches, nestling in a rocky mountain range of native forest, verdant pasture and pristine creeks, Caballos de Luz, a quaint vegetarian B&B offers some of the most unique horseback riding in Uruguay and foodies a unique country paradise.
Caballos de Luz, which translates as ‘horses of light’, is run by Lucie who is originally from Austria. She trains her horses using natural horsemanship techniques without force or violence and can talk about the personalities and origins of their horses for hours.
Caballos de Luz offers horseback riding for adventure lovers. The guided horseback rides cover wildly different terrain—hills, thickets and rivers. Beginners receive classes in the paddock before heading out. This was the most varied horseback riding in Uruguay that I experienced and ended with an incredible sunset from the top of the sierras.
This is not a four-star hotel, it’s a million-star hotel, says Lucie. Each room has stunning views and a deck for sunbathing and star gazing. The most conventional room is an en suite double with a private terrace overlooking the valley and mountains. El Nido is a cabin with a quincho roof with a fireplace and a terrace facing the Sierras (the bathroom is outside, just a few steps from the entrance)—ideal for lovers, musicians or Yogis. Families can choose the Cottage, a thatched-roof cabin next to the paddock which sleeps 2-6.
Cuisine is a big part of the Caballos de Luz experience. Lucie is well-travelled and loves to cook creative meals inspired by Thai, Indian and Mexican cuisine. Finally, spices! Most of the vegetables are from her own organic garden and she uses milk products and honey from the neighbours’ organic farm. The meals are so delicious even as a fervent carnivore I was completely sold.
Things to do besides horseback riding
Relax and enjoy the silence There are lots of books to read, hammocks to swing in, a guitar and a piano. Some people like to help out in the kitchen garden. Lucie says that most people come to ride and spend the rest of their time sleeping. And of course you don’t need to ride at all if you are just looking for serenity and silence.
Swim An amazing swimming hole with palm trees and a tiny beach is just a three-minute walk.
Sustainable living projects and alternative building styles Caballos de Luz is part of a loose community of thirty or so families who have chosen to move to the sierras over the last two decades. Most of the houses are self-built and there are three organic farms. Quite a few people speak English, so you’ll have more access to more local information than in other parts of Uruguay. The community includes a Thai-style masseuse, a yoga instructor and a certified osteopath. Music and meditation take place occasionally in the curious grass-roofed dome in the middle of the valley. If you are interested in any of this, ask Lucie what is available during your stay.
What you should know about Caballos de Luz
- This is not an estancia There are no cows and sheep but if you are a horse-lover this is the place for you.
- Accommodation is rustic There’s no air conditioning (but the location in the sierras means it’s not really a problem) or central heating. Wifi is limited and only on parts of the property. If you need constant connectivity, buy a cheap Antel chip (the only phone company with good reception in the area) for your phone.
- Riding in the rain Rides go ahead in the rain but not when there are storms or high winds because the horses may become difficult to handle. If the weather is too stormy to ride you’ll receive a discount.
- Learning natural horsemanship techniques If you are interested, inquire about a session in the paddock. Lucie says you will learn things about horses (and yourself) that you didn’t know before.
- Very close to the coast Caballos de Luz is in the Rocha hills just 25 minutes from the the coastal highway (IB). We recommend a three-night stay as part of your time in Rocha, home to the best beaches in Uruguay.
- Riding & veggie food Can’t stay? Contact Lucie to set up a ride and lunch.
Photos: Caballos de Luz