San Juan in Uruguay is the epicentre of a hunting resource and a destination desired by every keen shooter who has ever cradled a shotgun. Perched majestically atop a knoll, with a striking 360-degree view of the fertile Uruguayan countryside, it’s one of the best-mixed bag shooting locations found anywhere in the world.
Situated in the northwest region of Uruguay in the state of Paysandú near the river town of Paysandú, the lodge is found approximately 336 kilometres from the capital, Montevideo. The region offers the ultimate shooting experience, and the flat plains of the country are prime habitat teeming with Perdiz, Pigeon, Ducks and Doves.
Uruguay is a unique hunting destination not just in South America but the world, as it’s one of those rare places where travelling hunters can enjoy a mixture of hunting opportunities all in one day. It’s common for keen guns to be able to shoot an abundance of Ducks and Perdiz each morning and experience excellent Dove hunting, just minutes away from the lodge, every afternoon.
Add to this variety of sophisticated country living, warm, personalized service, and delightful daily menus, and you can appreciate the joy of San Juan. Managed by shooting hosts and enthusiasts Bernardo and Mercedes Barran, who have over 25 years of experience, it’s an authentic family-operated lodge in every way.
San Juan in Uruguay is one of those rare destinations where hunters can enjoy a mixture of species from various landscapes all in the same day. With abundant numbers of Perdiz, Doves, Pigeons and Ducks, it’s not just the mix of species that the country is famous for, but also significant game numbers. Travelling guns to the lodge can and should expect to shoot many, many shells per day.
One of the highest concentrations of Perdiz within the country of Uruguay gets found in the region on Paysandú, where San Juan’s located. Offering acres and acres of short grassy pastures, the perfect habitat for this sporting and tasty bird, they are a great upland species to target and very popular amongst visiting hunters.
The Eared Dove is one of the most prolific birds in Uruguay and South America and one which is extremely popular amongst the well-travelled hunter. Fortunately, the San Juan Lodge is situated just five minutes away from one of the biggest Dove roosts in the country, with two other exclusive roosts just thirty minutes away.
San Juan in Uruguay is also home to several different species of wild Pigeons, which can often be found in significant numbers flying with the Doves or overlapping their flight line with that of the ducks. A Pigeon shoot is more akin to a dry land duck hunt than a dove hunt, and if there are Pigeons in the area, then the guides will most certainly target them.
In addition to the species listed above, Uruguay is also home to several different species of Ducks, including the Yellow-billed Pintail, Speckled Teal, and the sought after Rosy-billed Pochard, to name a few. The Duck hunts in the country are usually productive, with generous bag limits.
At San Juan in Uruguay, the sport can often be fast and furious, and any travelling guns should be ready for a hot-barrel day of shooting, taking many shots per day. They should also get prepared for a variety of different species and shoots.
The acres and acres of short grass pasture that span the Uruguayan countryside is the perfect habitat for the Perdiz. These sporting, tasty birds get targeted using pointing dogs. Guides, hunters and dogs walk alongside each other, with the dogs scouring the floor of the gently rolling fields, trying to pick up any scent of birds that may be in the vicinity. Once a dog has established a bird or two, the hunters move in to flush it out from the cover before taking the shot. At San Juan, there are 18 well-trained dogs available, all trained by expert dog trainer and co-owner Bernardo Barrán, who has more than 20 years of experience training dogs.
Dove shoots in the country take place in some of the largest roosts found anywhere in the world. Sport can be fast and furious, and your field assistant will be at your side throughout the shoot, providing you with cartridges, refreshment as needed, and keeping an eye out for birds.
For those who have not been Pigeon hunting, it is more akin to a dry land duck hunt than it is to a dove hunt, and hunters will find themselves in a blind with decoys spread within range of an agricultural field. These birds are incredibly eagle-eyed, and when targeting them, it’s essential to stay well hidden.
Finally, the Duck hunts at San Juan are ideal for those who hate the waders and mud usually associated with waterfowl. Here the Duck hunts are typically conducted on the edges of small ponds, from the comfort of a blind, over a set of meticulously placed decoys. It can be very productive and also has very generous bag limits.
To find out more about San Juan Uruguay and the fantastic wing shooting on offer, visit our YouTube channel.
The program at San Juan starts every morning with a wake-up call, approximately an hour before departure time. A hearty breakfast gets served before the short drive to the first shoot of the day. For Duck hunts, departure time is often well before sunrise, whereas with Perdiz the departure time is likely to be well after.
If you target Perdiz, you’ll be accompanied by a guide and dog and pursue the birds on foot, hunting until your limit gets reached. Whereas if you’re targeting Pigeons, Ducks or Doves, you will be assigned a blind or hide in the field, and you’ll be attended to by a bird-boy, who will provide you with shotshells and refreshments at your shooting stand.
Hunters return to the lodge for lunch and then go back out for the afternoon session, which usually starts around 2pm and runs until 5.30pm or until your limit gets reached.
Depending on what species you wish to target, there are better times for each, excluding the Doves who’s numbers are abundant all year round. If you want to target Perdiz, then the peak time is generally between May and August. For Ducks, similar comments apply, but their season will often finish slightly earlier. Finally, the Pigeons, like the Pediz, can almost be targeted all year round, but the peak time for the best sport and most considerable numbers is between April and October.
Estancia San Juan accommodates up to eight guests in five double bedrooms – each room has the most luxurious beds, en-suite bathrooms, heating, plenty of storage space for clothes and even its own open fire. The usual amenities include telephone, maid and laundry service.
With plenty of space to relax and unwind, this estancia offers a comfortable living room to socialize in and a dining room that boasts a majestic view of the garden and hunting grounds. On pleasant evenings or before the next hunt, an open-air galleria is also available.
The kitchen at San Juan comes to life by using fresh and regionally represented meats and produce. A top-notch team of experienced national and international chefs, trained in both classic and avant-garde culinary techniques, prepare your food. With an artisan’s touch, the chefs create every dish from scratch.
Days start with a hearty breakfast that includes various homemade bread, jam, meadow honey, fresh fruit, natural yoghurts, and cereals. They also offer eggs prepared any one of six ways, porridge, French toast, or the daily special.
Before lunch, delicious appetizers get served accompanied by your favourite drinks. In the main lunch menu, grilled meats prevail, and the evening meal is a celebration of fine dining in a casual setting, and it is a chance for the house chefs to shine. Again, options are a la carte, and each day brings a new creation.
At San Juan Lodge, the kitchen is remarkably varied, with preparations in different styles, from Asados to the classical Perdiz a la cordon blue and grilled duck breasts in mustard. Appetizers like hare loin carpaccio or mini dove brochette with bacon are a speciality. Homemade bread cooked in an old clay oven accompanies every meal, and desserts go from mascarpone flan and sliced fruit plates to the more sophisticated samplings paired with homemade ice creams. All dietary needs get catered for, and they will ensure that you enjoy a varied selection of meals.
Their inspired lunch and dinner menus get paired with Argentina’s and the world’s best wines from Bodega Catena Zapata. They celebrate their Argentine heritage with a wine partnership that brings genuinely world-class wines to their lodges. They feel that the food they present and their wines should mirror the sporting opportunities they offer and be the very best available.
The lodge can boast many accolades from the wine community, and a Bodega Catena Zapata wine recently received a “number four in the world” icon ranking from Wine Advocate. These are truly great wines that compete on the world stage. In addition to enjoying your sporting holiday and their excellent menus, they hope you will also take note of their wines. They hold a special place in their culture, and they are proud to serve them to you.
For either travelling non-anglers or anglers who don’t wish to fish on every session, you can explore the thousands of stunning acres of the surrounding countryside on either foot or by horseback, and the guides can take you to the best sightseeing spots.
Many travelling shooters who visit the lodge don’t want to bring their own gun, so San Juan offers a whole host of guns to rent. For many, this is a more straightforward solution than applying for consular permits.
For your convenience, the Lodge also offers free high-speed wireless access. So you can check e-mails or send bragging photos to your friends, family and fellow hunters back home.
Arrive Buenos Aires International Airport
After you have picked up your luggage and cleared customs, walk out of the terminal building where a Sportquest Holidays representative will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel in Buenos Aires.
Overnight Accommodation: Buenos Aires Hotel (Twin room) B/B.
In the morning our staff will transfer you to San Juan Lodge in Uruguay which takes approximately 4.5 hours. Once you have had time to settle in, you will depart with your guides for your first afternoon’s shooting.
Overnight Accommodation: San Juan Lodge (Twin room) F/B
The program generally starts at 8:00 AM with a hearty breakfast and a short drive to the shoot. In the field, you will be assigned a blind or hide and you’ll be attended by a bird-boy, who will provide you with shotshells and refreshments at your shooting stand. Every day you will drive to the perdiz fields or to the lagoons for duck and pigeon hunting and return for lunch at the lodge, or remain in the field for an Asado prepared out of doors. The afternoon shoot (normally high volume dove shooting, sometimes ducks and pigeon), will start after lunch and end at dusk. Each evening you will return to the lodge for cocktails and dinner. Your host and guide, as well as bird boys, will be with you to provide you with challenging shooting and other necessities such as shotgun shells, refreshments and anything else you may need.
Drive time to hunt locations is usually between 10 and 35 minutes for the perdiz, ducks or pigeon fields, and from 5 up to 35 minutes for the dove shooting.
Overnight Accommodation: San Juan Lodge (Twin room) F/B
In the morning our staff will transfer you by road to your hotel in BA, which takes approximately 4 hours. The rest of the day is free to relax or explore.
Overnight Accommodation: Buenos Aires Hotel (Twin room) B/B.
In the morning our staff will transport you to the International airport for your return connection flight to London.
Depart Buenos Aires International Airport
Average Customer Satisfaction Score 96%
"Everything on this trip was excellent. The hosts were extrodinarily accomodating, the lodging was spotless, the food world class and the hunting was perfect. We could not have asked for a better experience so thank you to everyone."
"Bernardo and Mercedes are wonderful hosts and their attributes are extended to all staff. The quality of service and food exceeded all my expectations, we will have to return very soon."
"We had an outstanding experience; the shooting was terrific not to mention the food and intimate atmosphere of the lodge. The staff was friendly and the guides were very efficient. No detail overlooked! Thank you! Regards William"
The season runs from 1st May to 15th September.
Season: April to August
Peak: May to July
Season: May to August
Peak: June to July
Season: All Year
Peak: All Year
Season: 1st May to 15th Sept
Gun Licence (approx $395 pp per total stay)
Gun Hire (approx $95 pp per day)
Shells (approx $18.50 per box)
Non- Hunters $650 per night ( Minimum party of 4 people)
Remember that Sportquest Holidays' services are completely FREE! When you book a trip with Sportquest Holidays, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge and flights independently.
Prices are based on two adults sharing transfers, shooting and accommodation (unless otherwise stated) and are correct at the time of going to press. Subject to time of year or date and currency fluctuations, these prices may fluctuate slightly due to flight price increases or fuel surcharges.
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