Insiders Guide To Punta Del Este, Uruguay

It's Thursday! You know what that's time to throw back from years past. At least that's what happens amongst my peers on Instagram hashtagging photos with #tbt. I thought that I would incorporate in this blog--throwbacks of past trips that never made it onto the blog once a month. This week I want to share with you one of my favorite trips from when Gregg and I were first dating: Uruguay. We took a trip down to South America to Buenos Aires. Half way through our stay we decided to make a side trip to Punta Del Este, Uruguay.

This small seaside resort on the Atlantic Coast of southeastern Uruguay of a population of about 9,280, booms during the summer months with summer tourists. For many Buenos Aireans, keeping a summer home in Punta del Este is like owning a hedged-in mansion in the Hamptons or the shores of South Lake Tahoe. But it’s only now, with Rio’s exclusivity waning, that Europeans and Americans are beginning to discover Punta Del Este's gorgeous beaches and seductive routine of daily sunbathing and nightly carousing. While we descended on the Uruguayan peninsula in 2009, Punta’s simple-chic allure is equally suited to the fabulous and non-fabulous, sun seekers and vacationers alike. The short trip from Buenos Aires merits at least a three-night stay; if you’ve got more time, spend it exploring Montevideo.

Guide To Punta Del Este

Getting to Punta Del Este. There are several ferry companies that offer services to and from Buenos Aires. A ferry takes you from BA to Colonia or Montevideo, then you take a 2-hour bus to Punta Del Este.

Where we stayed. We stayed at the Golden Beach Resort and Spa. Being a last minute booking, we used and we were able to find a good deal. This was towards the end of peak season. The Golden Beach Resort does offer a beautiful spa facility with world class amenities. However, our massage experience was a tad odd, the different pools and steam rooms were worth checking out.

Beach-hop in La Barra, Punta’s trendiest neighborhood.Among the most popular stretches of sand are Montoya (preferred by surfers), and Bikini and Manantiales, dotted with toned, tanned bodies. At around four o’clock, follow the locals to Jose Ignacio Beach, where D.J.’s set up tiki torches for “chill-out” sessions in the sand.

Los Dedos. La playa de los Dedos "The finger beach", which is near the main street in Punta del Este, close to a surf spot, and it has a giant hand emerging from the sand. This place is perfect for a photo opt.

Casa Pueblo. Break the beach-party-sleep routine with a visit to Casa Pueblo, a museum in a white-stucco castle that displays works by Uruguayan artist Carlos Páez Vilaró—touted as South America’s Picasso. Back in La Barra, stop in the Trench Gallery, known for its contemporary paintings by regional artists.

Shop around town. Buy a hand-woven wool shawl from Manos del Uruguay, one of several local-designer boutiques on glitzy Avenida Gorlero. Down the street at the Feri Hippie (Hippie Market), sift through handmade jewelry, textiles, and baskets to find the perfect mate—a bulbous goblet made for sipping yerba maté, a strong tea as ubiquitous in Uruguay as Starbucks lattes are in Manhattan. The souvenir doubles as an object for your coffee table back home.

Tea Time. Famous for its water tower, the tearoom of L’Auberge, Punta’s most distinguished hotel, where locals converge at six o’clock to indulge in decadently sweet belgian waffles with dulce de leche.

Watch the sunset over Jose Ignacio Beach. Grab a medio y medio (half and half) which is a mix of sweet sparkling wine, and dry white wine, lay your blanket close to the shore, and enjoy Punta’s most popular spectator sport.

Eat late. The earliest acceptable dinner reservation is at 11 P.M. This goes for anywhere in South America! Book a table at Lo de Tere. This restaurant is beautiful, ideally located beside the yacht harbor, the service is professional, the food is irreproachable.

Have you been to Punta Del Este? Let’s hear it in the comments.

Follow @valeriefidan! As always, all opinions, as always, are my own. Photos taken with iPhone; edited in Lightroom using VSCO Film and instagramed.