We just booked a few nights at a horse farm B&B in Uruguay. I’m calling it a B&B, Audrey’s referring to it as a hostel. I’d go with B&B. It sounds slightly more luxurious. Right?
At just $25 per night (per person), we booked 3 nights at El Galope, it even includes breakfast! Add an additional $45 (per person) and you can enjoy a 2 1/2 hour horseback ride through the Uruguayan countryside. Check out the great reviews on Tripadvisor, If you’ve always dreamed of being an authentic gaucho, at least for a few days, this seems like the place. On another note, how cool is this bottle of wine, with a homemade label? I’d imagine that the experience of drinking that bottle is easily worth $50 by itself.
On the whole, we enjoyed our stay here. The difficulty lies in the fact that El Galope sometimes hints that it is a Bed and Breakfast, but in reality guests have to remember that this is a hostel on a working farm. I kept waiting for that warm, welcoming feeling that a B&B typically provides and the small touches that make it feel like a great place to stay. For example, during an entire rainy day, it would have been nice to be offered a cup of tea or some light cookies and such. However, every single consumable is charged. Paying $2.00 USD for a very small cup of tea or crappy coffee makes you just think…forget it. The problem lies in the fact that El Galope is in the middle of nowhere with no restaurants or markets nearby. For lack of better wording, we felt very “nickel and dimed.” There is also a rule that states that no outside beverages are allowed to be brought in. So basically you are stuck paying for each item. Note that the water here is from their well and there are no water bottles or soda sold on the property. Your stomach may be effected if you are sensitive to well water. In addition, rooms are not cleaned daily during your stay. So no fresh towels, soap, or toilet paper is ever offered or replenished. I had to keep finding Monica to ask her for items which felt like I was being a bother. Bring your own shampoo and conditioner as it is not provided. Another negative? Rules rules and more rules. For example, there is a sign in the washroom insists that men urinate sitting down rather than standing up. When we saw it I initially thought it was a joke. It took us a second to realize they were serious. Be prepared to have a rule for everything you may think of doing. Providing bread (often a very hard biscuit) as the only food for breakfast is not substantial enough for a meal. El Galope should focus on adding something more considerable to the breakfast menu. Most of the food is very carb based, so anyone needing a more protein based diet is out of luck. Many rave about the cheese fondue. We didn’t get paying $18 USD per person for a pot of cheese and (more) bread and cold potatoes to dip it in the communal pot. Dinners are typically a salad, rolls, a meat, potato, and ice cream. When we were at the hostel there were empty rooms that were available that would’ve been considered an upgrade to the room we were staying. 99% of the bed and breakfasts we’ve stayed in (in the past) would’ve upgraded us to the nicer room. Again the little touches that take a okay place to stay to a great place to stay had it been offered. Sink in the kitchen does not provide hot water (how do dishes ever get clean)? Having to share a bathroom is a little awkward. The positives are that it is in a beautiful location and the riding lesson and ride in the countryside for $50 USD is a great deal. Again, there were little touches that hinted at a more welcoming stay such as Miguel one night deciding to grill great organic meat on the parilla, or him offering us complimentary shots of his homemade liquor. Overall, if you are not watching your budget or if you really want to enjoy a few days on a pretty Uruguay estancia than this may appeal for you. Just be ready to follow lots of rules during your stay.