We asked Maximilano Burgos, Front Office Assistant Manager in charge of Concierges at Four Seasons Resort Carmelo, Uruguay, to gather the savviest sight-seeing suggestions he could find—not just his own, but also those of other local connoisseurs, including some he works with every day at the Resort. Located on the Uruguayan shore of the Río de la Plata and just a short trip from Buenos Aires, Carmelo is an ideal place to unwind in a quiet world of quaint wineries, cobblestone streets and horseback excursions.
Saddle up a Criollo steed to go horseback riding through the rolling grasslands that surround the Resort’s lakeside golf course. Reward yourself with a glass of chilled Tannat, served with herb-encrusted fiambres (cold cuts), at Finca Narbona, just minutes away from the Resort.
Whooping It Up
Learn to tell bombachas from boleadoras (clue: one is an item of clothing, the other used for catching livestock) under the guidance of our traditional gaucho, whose way of life harks back to the cattle-herding days of Uruguayan lore.
Journey Into History
Step back to the days of sieges, raids and naval expeditions at Colonia del Sacramento, a former Portuguese enclave, whose wooden drawbridge, cobbled backstreets, elaborate basilicas and stone-built colonial buildings were awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO for their historical value.
An Sunset to Remember
Sip a Carmelo Mojito at sunset as the last rays of the southern sun illuminate wildlife-rich wetlands at the Gazebo. This private dining venu on the Río de la Plata is the perfect spot for an al fresco barbecue of fresh organic produce.
One to Take Home
Yerba mate, a bitter green tea served in a carved gourd, is consumed throughout Uruguay. The simplest gourds—roughly the size and shape of a goose egg—are made from seasoned squash skins; the more ornate are carved from wood, fashioned from fine metals or embossed with silver filigree. Guests taking the Resort’s mate introduction class receive a complimentary do-it-yourself kit, which includes mate (gourd), bombilla (straw) and yerba (ground leaves). Alternatively, pick out a gourd from the Colonia del Sacramento general store, Almacén La Carlota.
Master the Perfect Snack
Join aficionados in debating what makes perfect empanadas, the oven-baked savoury pastries beloved by Uruguayans and served at the Resort’s Pura Restaurant. Does the beef taste best when cubed or ground? Do olives and raisins improve the flavour or merely distract? Should the pastry be baked or fried? Learn, too, the secrets of the repulgue, the intricate pastry sealing technique that identifies each flavour.
Kneading It Enough
Learn to bake a buttery-rich alfajor, South America’s favourite cookie, the way it’s made in homes across Uruguay and neighbouring Argentina. Pastry lessons offered at the Resort will see you dress in kitchen whites—you even get a personalized chef’s hat—while a pastry chef explains just why the alfajor’s powdered coconut coating combines perfectly with a luxurious filling of dulce de leche caramel. Take the recipe home as a surprise for loved ones.
Stroll the Vineyards
Explore Uruguay’s little-known wineries, which checker the low hills overlooking the Río de la Plata shoreline. Finca Narbona is a winery located only minutes by car from the Hotel. Its charming restaurant offers homemade pasta, cold cuts and daily baked bread. Taste locally made Tannat or Viognier wines, honey grappa, Champagne, and cheese at this beautifully restored farmhouse and winery from the turn of the century.