Travel Articles

Meet Your Host: Uruguayan Outfitter Paola Perelli

Paola Perelli combined her passions for travel with her love of her native country, Uruguay, to create her dream job, running a travel tour company that leads riders on horseback riding vacations through the beaches and to varied estancias in Uruguay. As a child, Paola had the opportunity to travel and continued as an adult to seek out authentic travel experiences, often in off the beaten track locations.

If you take Uruguay's Beach & Coastal Trail Vacation, you may meet Paola or one of her hand picked guides to lead you through their authentic Uruguay, a hidden gem in South America.

What’s your travel philosophy?

Paola: Our aim is that guests feel they are received by friends. No one wants to feel like “a tourist” anywhere. We try to make people feel at home, that they “ belong”, give them an unforgettable experience in our country by getting to know our culture, nature and friendly people through different activities like horse riding, birding, walking. Uruguay is a quiet country, full of places to explore and discover!  

When did you get involved with horses?

Most Uruguayans are “involved” with horses! We have the highest world rate of horses per inhabitant and most of us learn how to ride as a child, in the countryside. This was not different for me other than I love horses and I also started practicing dressage. I would not change the feeling of riding in an open beach along the coastline, on a Criollo, for anything!

What’s your favorite part of your job?

Paola: Getting to share the rides with guests and have the chance to help them to understand and feel our people, the way of life and traditions. Also to see the interaction between them and the locals! I think it is very fulfilling for both!

What’s the most challenging part of your work?

Paola: Coordinating horse riding tours is a whole challenge. You have to combine perfectly several accommodations, food, guides, gauchos, horses, trucks, saddles, transfers and the weather. But as every rider has his personal background and personality, the most critical issue is to match accurately each rider with his/her horse to guarantee a nice experience. That is a kind of art and probably our strength since most people fall in love with “their” horse!

What is most surprising to travelers who visit Uruguay?

Paola: Riders love our horses, food and the way that local people receive them. One of the most frequent comments that we receive is that they can’t pick a favorite day because each riding day they feel they have waken up to a completely different country! The rides combine different and unexpected scenery- hills, beaches, lagoons, palm groves, prairies, forest, shifting dunes…

Can you still find authentic gaucho culture in Uruguay?

Paola: Absolutely! Our horse’s team consists of real gauchos and guests share all the rides with them. Also at the estancias we visit, people can share the daily life and activities with locals that keep most of their ancient traditions.

Where’s your favorite place to ride?

Paola: All the places we ride are very natural and remote, so perfect for horse riding, but personally I like the long and firm beaches where cantering along the coast gives you an unforgettable sense of freedom!

What’s so special about Uruguay?

Paola: Once, some time ago, a client told me that he had been trying to describe his feeling of Uruguay since his arrival, because he loved the place, but could not really tell what was different from other places. The way he could finally describe it was that Uruguay is a country where the ordinary becomes extraordinary.... and I couldn’t agree more.

Learn more about dates, rates and how to book the Uruguay's Beach & Coastal Trail Riding Vacation. Meet Paola on Equitrekking Uruguay, a new episode in Equitrekking fifth season, coming soon to PBS.