At 75 km. from Punta del Este and about 200 km. from Montevideo, you can find the touristic "estancia" ("ranch") called Lagunas del Catedral ("Lakes of the Cathedral"). It's located in the department of Maldonado, Uruguay, close to the city of Aiguá. The name of the estancia is derived from the fact that it is very near to Cerro Catedral (the highest point of Uruguay, at 513,7 meters above sea level) and the nearness of some (small) lakes. The property can be explored on foot, on horseback or on mountain bike (which you will need to take with you).
At about 10 minutes walking distance of the estancia, you will find a cute little waterfall. The water flowing here is very clean, since the entire river bed is rocky material. In fact, the water of this river is used as tap water in the estancia. As a safety measure, they advise guests to not drink the tap water, and supply mineral water instead. However, the personnel just drinks this water and claims it's much nicer than the best mineral water.
A big part of the establishment is a protected nature reserve, where different species of flora and fauna thrive. You can find different species of vultures here, as well as wild goats ("chivos"). The personnel is very friendly and gave us an excellent tour of the property. Derley, our guide, was able to get us to see the elusive wild goats.
They claim this is the darkest location of Uruguay and it is easy to believe that. There is absolutely no light pollution. We had the bad luck it was cloudy and the moon was above the horizon, but during new moon this place must be an awesome place to do some stargazing.
At the estancia they have cattle, such as sheep and horses. When we visited the estancia in August, there were lots of newborn lambs. The one below even has her umbilical cord still attached. She was born not hours before.
If you want to detach from the stress of urban live and you like getting back into contact with nature, this is a great place to go to. The abundance and purity of the flora and fauna, as well as hospitality of the personnel are sure to make you feel relaxed in no time.
More photos here.