. . .and you can get away from it all.

Secluded. Serene. Utterly private. This is Estancia Tierra Santa. An intimate yet spacious guest ranch for the discriminating few. Quiet and peaceful, you will hear only the song of the birds, the whisper of the wind through the towering trees, the soothing murmur of the stream; perhaps, in the distance, the call of one of the estancia lambs.

Another hemisphere, yes. Yet nothing feels unfamiliar. With unsurpassed, far-as- the-eye-can-see fields of sunflowers and towering Italian cypress, you might think you are in Tuscany. With the olive groves and lavender you imagine Provence. Acres upon acres of vineyards will remind you of the Napa Valley or Burgundy. What will not be familiar is the lack of crowds. There is no crush of tourists. And few cell phones (you just may decide to leave yours at home). If you wish to be alone, there is no better destination than Estancia Tierra Santa.

What stands out at here is the beauty of our historical architecture and captivating surroundings, making for a rare experience in a place that is conspicuously unexploited.

Estancia Tierra Santa offers you refuge in a friendly, relaxing and elegant atmosphere—the ideal place to shake off the stress of modern life.

acient colonial buildings farm view the fountain of silence


Once a part of one of the oldest estancias in the state of Colonia, Uruguay, Estancia Tierra Santa has been declared a building of historic interest. The property has played a role in Uruguay’s history, first as part of an original estancia settled by Jesuit missionaries in the 17th century. The fascinating ruins of the grand basilica are just a few kilometers up the road. Later, Estancia Tierra Santa became an important grain mill, the remnants of which may still be seen along the banks of the stream.

Much of the original casa principal, built in 1830, had fallen into disrepair when the current owners purchased the ranch in 2002. Since then, careful restoration has returned the buildings to their original architectural splendor, a blend of colonial Italian, Spanish and Portuguese styles. From the sweeping arches and two-feet thick adobe and brick walls, the tiled kitchen to the beautiful stonework, meticulous attention to detail during restoration has been respectful to the heritage of this historic gem.

Today, this working ranch caters to world travelers and those seeking a respite from the usual, over-crowded travel destinations. Uruguay, while still somewhat undiscovered, is quickly becoming the new trendy spot among those “in the know.” Unspoiled by tourism, the locals still dedicate themselves to your enjoyment of their country, from the staff here at the estancia, to the neighboring farmers, wine-makers, restauranteurs, and artisans.

the best materials spacious guest rooms relax and comfort


With just three beautifully appointed guest suites, Estancia Tierra Santa’s accommodations offer a sanctuary free from all cares. Along with central heating and air-conditioning, in-room wood-burning fireplaces and candles ensure the most romantic interludes. Enormous en-suite baths with custom marble showers, antique claw-foot tubs, plush robes and indulgent amenities assure pampering your sophisticated sensibilities in every detail.

Our suites feature original antiques, artwork, and Persian carpets laid over hand-painted and 19th century French tile floors. Each has its own private outdoor terrace for relaxing with morning coffee or an evening cocktail. The grand veranda invites you to relax and enjoy the lush landscaping and flowing fountain.

Estancia Tierra Santa is a destination and refuge for the world-weary, offering the ultimate in privacy and comfort—but more than that, it is an experience designed to rejuvenate the spirit and rekindle love among couples, families, friends and love of nature.

play outside enjoy fishing and diving relax


Read. Write. Paint. Sleep. Eat (well!). Meditate. Mostly, relax.

No need to book a bird-watching excursion: here on the estancia, we’ve counted over 50 species (but you’ll find more, we’re only novices). And so many more in the surrounding countryside—water fowl, songbirds, raptors. The sheer abundance of birds has allowed Uruguay prestigious entry into UNESCO’s World Heritage Site for Biodiversity.

Ride our champion-bred Criollo horses—the original polo pony—or one of our elegant Arabians. For the outdoorsman, or woman, there are unlimited opportunities for fishing along the banks of our stream, the Rio de las Vacas or the grand Rio de la Plata. You may choose dove-hunting through one of our fine outfitters.

For the more leisurely inclined, we offer excursions to nearby Colonia del Sacramento, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Founded by the Portuguese in 1680, it retains its original character in the colonial architecture of Old Town and the cobbled streets leading toward the river, where you can walk along the promenade to the remains of massive stone fortifications. For art, architecture and antiques lovers, Colonia is paradise.

Carmelo, on the outskirts of which lies the estancia, is deliciously un-chic, yet is quickly becoming a fashionable international destination for wine- tasting. We are fortunate to call Irurtia, the largest of Uruguay’s wine- makers, one of our close neighbors. They are producing award-winning wines of distinction: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Tannat, Chardonnay, and a succulent late-harvest botrytis Gewurztraminer. Nearby is Los Cerros de San Juan, also producing award-winning wines in a spectacular setting. Wine-tasting excursions offer the opportunity to taste and buy rare wines only available locally.

Perhaps you’ll prefer a stroll around the estancia, after which we’ll arrange for an in-room massage or pedicure. Or take a personal yoga class on your private terrace. We will book your tee-time for a round of golf at the nearby Four Seasons resort course, or take a dip in one of their stunning pools—indoors or outdoors, as you prefer.

If all of this is too active, at Estancia Tierra Santa you may just be. But, be here. Where we are as present—or not—as you like. Your only decisions may be which vista to enjoy next and, red or white wine?

Some regularly seen avian species

Accipiter striatus(Sharp-Shinned Hawk)
Anas flavirostris(Speckled Teal)
Anas georgica(Yellow-Billed Pintail)
Aramides ypecaha (Giant Wood-Rail)
Ardea cocoi (White-Necked Heron)
Athene cunicularia (Burrowing Owl)
Bubulcus ibis (Cattle Egret)
Buteo magnirostris (Roadside Hawk)
Butorides striatus (Striated Heron)
Cathartes aura (Turkey Vulture)
Ceryle torquata (Ringed Kingfisher)
Chlorostilbon aureoventris (Glittering-Bellied Emerald)
Colaptes campestris (Field Flicker)
Colaptes melanolaimus (Golden-Breasted Woodpecker)
Columba maculosa (Spot-Winged Pigeon)
Columbina picui (Picui Ground Dove)
Drymornis bridgesii (Scimitar-Billed Woodcreeper)
Egretta alba (Great Egret)
Egretta thula (Snowy Egret)
Elanus leucurus (White-Tailed Kite)
Falco sparverius (American Kestrel)
Fulica armillata (Red-Gartered Coot)
Fulica rufifrons (Red-Fronted Coot)
Furnarius rufus (Rufous Hornero)
Gallinula chloropus (Common Gallinule)
Guira guira (Guira Cuckoo)
Hylocharis chrysura (Gilded Saphire)
Leptotila verreauxi (White-Tipped Dove)
Machetornis rixosus (Cattle Tyrant)
Milvago chimango (Chimango Caracara)
Mimus saturninus (Chalk-Browed Mockingbird)
Myiopsitta monachus (Monk Parakeet)
Nothura maculosa (Spotted Nothura)
Otus choliba (Tropical Screech Owl)
Paroaria coronata (Red-Crested Cardinal)
Parula pitiayumi (Tropical Parula)
Phalacrocorax olivacus (Neotropic Cormorant)
Phimosus infuscatus (Bare-Faced Ibis)
Piaya cayana (Squirrel Cuckoo)
Pitangus sulphuratu (Great Kiskadee)
Podiceps major (Great Grebe)
Polioptila dumicola (Masked Gnatcatcher)
Polyborus plancus (Southern Crested-Caracara)
Progne chalybea (Gray-Breasted Martin)
Pseudoleistes virescens (Brown-and-Yellow Marshbird)
Pseudoseisura lophotes (Brown Cacholote)
Pyrocephalus rubinus (Vermilion Flycatcher)
Rhea americana (Greater Rhea)
Sicalis flaveola (Saffron Yellow Finch)
Sturnella superciliaris (White-Browed Blackbird)
Syrigma sibilatrix (Whistling Heron)
Thraupis bonariensis (Blue-and-Yellow Tanager)
Tigrisoma lineatum (Rufescent Tiger-Heron)
Troglodytes aedon (House Wren)
Turdus rufiventris (Rufous-Bellied Thrush)
Tyrannus melancholicus (Tropical Kingbird)
Tyrannus savanna (Fork-Tailed Flycatcher)
Vanellus chilensis (Southern Lapwing)
Veniliornis spilogaster (White-Spotted Woodpecker)
Xolmis dominicana (Black-and-White Monjita)
Zenaida auriculata (Eared Dove)

fruit and milk reading with coffee eat some asados

Dining and Wine

Gather eggs from our organically-fed chickens for your breakfast, (we’ll do the cooking). Pick apples, peaches or pears. Choose your own mix of salad greens, herbs, tomatoes, beans, squash—they’re all here in our organic kitchen garden. Let our home be yours.

Enjoy a champagne picnic from a wicker basket that one of the staff has carried streamside for you alone. Breakfast on your private terrace overlooking fields of wheat and alfalfa, fruit orchards and pastures of wildflowers. Or join us in the large convivial kitchen for a full-board breakfast with home baked scones and pastries, and artisanal honey from our own professionally-tended honeybees (our friend Gerhard manages the hives in exacting German manner).

Menus are designed in consultation with you and feature produce from our gardens and our own estancia beef and lamb, supplemented by neighboring local farmers and friends.

Our culinary team is trained to offer the best of indigenous cuisine, from the rugged, traditional asado (open-fire barbeque) to very refined preparations of rack of lamb, filet mignon or roast duck.

Estancia meals are served in spectacular settings, including the magical, candlelit fountain courtyard or al fresco on our grand terrace overlooking the stream. They are designed to satisfy and nourish—and allow you to play a part in the healthy relationship between the land and its produce.

Fine wine is our passion and our goal is to introduce you to the best available from Uruguay, Argentina and Chile, the trinity of South American great wine producers. Our cellar contains exceptional examples from these countries with special emphasis on extraordinary, little-known wineries. You will taste and discover rarities available nowhere else in the world. And of course, you may want to take a bottle or two of your favorite home with you to prolong your Estancia experience.

beautiful farm views


In order to offer our visitors the perfect experience at both the ranch and in the Rio de la Plata region of Uruguay and Argentina, Estancia Tierra Santa is open to visitors seasonally, from March to June (autumn in the southern hemisphere) and September to December (springtime). Special arrangements may be made in the off-season for larger parties or when booking the entire ranch.

Tariff information: Rates are *per suite/night, (not per person), and include full country breakfast, gourmet dinner, pre-dinner cocktail, one bottle of premium wine with dinner. Also included are all on-site activities (horseback riding, bicycling, fishing, etc.), en-suite WiFi and all applicable taxes.*

Rates are:

$385 USD (low season)
$485 USD (high season)

Accommodations at Estancia Tierra Santa are by reservation only. To make a reservation, please call or e-mail us for availability. At the time of booking we will require a deposit to equal the first night's tariff.

Due to our intimate size, any cancellations affect us significantly. As a result, we adhere to a strict cancellation policy. Your deposit will be fully refunded if we receive notification of cancellation not less than 30 days prior to your arrival. If you find you must cancel with less than 30 days notification, we do not normally refund the deposit, but we will make every effort to re-book your suite and, if successful, will return your deposit in full.


Estancia Tierra Santa
Costa de las Vacas, Carmelo
Departamento de Colonia, Uruguay

Telephone (in the US):

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