Magazine article Americas Quarterly

10 Things to Do: Punta del Este, Uruguay

Magazine article Americas Quarterly

10 Things to Do: Punta del Este, Uruguay

Article excerpt

PUNTA DEL ESTE, URUGUAY

Often referred to as the St. Tropez of Latin America, Uruguay's Punta del Este is a top summertime playground for Uruguayans, Brazilians and Argentines. During the December-February high season, the coastal city's population jumps from 7,500 to 160,000. This vacation hotspot offers a relaxed lifestyle, plenty of beaches, golf courses, fi ve-star restaurants, and fun nightlife.

-Mathias Mondino

1Choose Your Beach. Punta del Este has two beaches, which are a quick walk over either Rambla Claudio Williman (Rio de la Plata side) or Rambla Lorenzo Batlle Pacheco (Atlantic Ocean side). The "Mansa" side, facing Rio de la Plata, is calm; the Atlantic "Brava" side is windier, with waves high enough to surf.

2Enjoy Seafood Paradise. The Punta del Este harbor is Uruguay's largest recreational yachting facility and a perfect place to eat fresh mariscos (shellfi sh). A local favorite is Lo de Tere Restaurante, with its great food and fantastic views of nearby Isla Gorriti and Maldonado Bay. (Rambla Artigas and Calle 21)

3 Sample Sweet. Tambo el Sosiego, maker of famous Lapataia-brand dulce de leche, gives free tours that walk visitors through the process of making the region's favorite dessert. The dairy farm and plant are 12 miles from central Punta del Este, easily accessible by car and open seven days a week.

4Visit Catedral de San Fernando. The neoclassical Cathedral of San Fernando took 94 years to complete and is among Uruguay's most majestic churches. The 1895 cathedral's façade dominates the public square of the nearby town of Maldonado. This historic monument is a 10-minute taxi ride from Punta del Este. Open daily.

5 Sample Small-Town Life. One of the hottest beach destinations in the Southern Cone and a short 30-minute drive from Punta del Este, the fi shing village of José Ignacio (population 200) has wonderful examples of local architecture and cuisine. …

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