Montevideo, Uruguay was once described as the Switzerland of South America and also as the breadbasket of South America. Now the beaches are a common vacation spot. Outside of the city the land is flat and fertile and is used primarily for farming and ranching.
Nancy and I visited a ranch for the afternoon. The tour bus took us to La Rabida Ranch about 40 minutes from the city of Montevideo. We were introduced to the family and treated to the South American hospitality. The main business of this 3650 acre ranch is dairy farming. Every day the 650 cows produce 12,000 litres of milk. We also saw corn and soy bean crops. Wild parrots like the corn and are considered a pest. The soy bean crops are relatively new to this area. Another recent innovation is the large wind mill array used to generate electric power.
Montevideo, Uruguay is separated from Buenous Aires, Argentina by the massive river Rio de la Plata. At this point the river is one of the worlds widest rivers. It looks like the ocean because it is not possible to see the opposite shore. The cruise ship left about 8:30 at night from Buenos Aires, and with the help of a pilot boat to guide the way through the shallow “river plate” area of the river, arrived at Montevideo about 9:30 the next morning. (two hours behind schedule.) The estancia (ranch) fields ended at a steep cliff above a long sand beach of the Rio de la Plata.
We enjoyed a hay ride tour of part of the ranch, to the beach, and back for a barbecue lunch with local beer and wine. The gaucho dancers entertained us and demonstrated milking and sheep sheering. In addition to horseback riding, we were introduced to “hide riding”. Think of wake boarding on the grass, behind a horse, with a cow hide between the grass and your ass. It is also called skin surfing.
For more information on the ranch, click to www.larabida.com.uy
Hide Ride click to download then watch the video clip of the hide ride.