Parador La Huella, A restaurant located at the Beach, just outside the small town of José Ignacio, brings back memory of my visit to Uruguay. The restaurant is located on the outskirt of Punta del Este, also known as the St. Tropez of Uruguay. La Huella is known as one of Uruguay’s number one restaurants with it’s laid back atmosphere, it’s well known sushi dishes and wood-grilled platters and not to mention the location right on the beach front, perfect for a barefoot walk along the sand.
A year ago just before ester I was visiting Rio Grande Do Sul in Brazil. It is not a town you would spend your ester weekend as most things would be closed and not much happening, so we planned a trip to Uruguay. As Rio Grande is located close to the border of Uruguay we decided to rent a car and drive down. Trying to book a car we realized it was not that easy as all the car rental companies don’t allow you to drive the car outside of Brazil. So we started to look at option of other places to visit in Brazil, but we did not give up on the idea of Uruguay and at the end we found a local company that would rent us a car with the papers needed to cross the border. Then It was the hotel booking. Again, we got a surprise as we would never imagine most hotels would be fully booked at this time of the year. Punta del Este is known for being busy during the summer months from December to March. All hotels in the center of the City was fully booked so we ended up booking a room in a B&B outside of the town. And it ended up being a perfect location for our stay.
Hitting the road late afternoon on Thursday evening we planned to spend a night on the bordering town, Chui, to split up the journey. Arriving in Chui and checking at the few hotels on both side of the border we realized that it was not only us that had that Idea, so no room available anywhere. We decided to drive to the next town so drove down to La Coronilla. After a few stops and no room available we ended up asking some local people that pointed us in the direction of the beach as they said there would be a hotel there we could check, so we ended up at a rundown hotel that probably was our only option and decided to take it.
The hotel was in need of some painting and an makeover in my eyes, but well it was a room and a bed to sleep inn. The room had a padlock on the outside of the door and one of these easy locks you just push to the side on the inside. We had to lift the door up a bit to be able to get the lock in place and after shaking some dust out of the woolen blankets it was time to get some sleep.
We got up early, took a shower in a bathroom that also was in need of some touch up. Looking at the bathroom, It seamed like it probably had been installed with a bathtub before and when they decided to change they put a shower head up in the middle of the wall pointing out where the mid of the bathtub probably had been, so not in the direction you logical would have put it, so with the shower head fixed on the wall pointing out to the bathroom floor and no way to adjust it, it was an interesting project to get some water drops on the body. As we where leaving early we missed the breakfast, but considering the standard of the hotel, we where fine with having our breakfast a place along the way.
We found a bakery in a town on the way where we stopped for some supply and had our breakfast in the car. It was the only shop we could find that was open this early in the morning. The streets where empty and quiet and only a few person out shopping for some bread.
We made our check in at the B&B. The house was located just across the road from the beach so it could not have been a more perfect location. It was a small house, nice room and a outside area with a swimming pool and tables where they would serve us breakfast. The host was friendly but only Spanish speaking. With a mix of Spanish, Portuguese and English we all managed to communicate in some way and got some information about the area and the city.
We took the car and went in to the city center to have a stroll around the town. We walked around in the streets and headed down to the seaside and the beaches that was crowded with people enjoying the sunny day. We tried out some local seafood on the seaside restaurants and had a walk around the more upscale area of the town.
We found out that a great way to spend our days would be to bike around as we where staying outside of the city center but again not to far out. So with a bicycle it was easy to get to most places that was worth seeing during our stay. So when back at the B&B we managed to organize some bikes being delivered early next morning and we rented them for the rest of our stay and the company would come pick them up at the B&B. It could not be more easy than that.
Our B&B was located in La Barra. An area with great restaurants and beaches. La Barra is connected to Punta del Este with a Curvy Bridge, so you will get some up and down hill and the most of the road around the area has small curves up and down with small side roads taking you down to the different beaches. A popular activity in the town is fishing and you see it all over. On the pier and down on the beaches. And what could be better than some fresh catch of the day on the grill.
At the popular seaside playground of Punta del Este, there’s a unique beach vibe for all kind of traveler.
From the fashionable Bikini beach, where you’ll find sun-kissed, bronzed bodies to more relaxed beaches and not to mention the Playa Brava Beach with Punta del Este’s famous landmark, the monster-sized hand emerging from the sand.
La Mano en la Arena, sculpted in iron and cement by Chilean artist Mario Irarrazabal in 1982, won first prize in a monumental art contest that year and has been a Punta fixture ever since.
Breakfast by the Pool served with ester bunny chocolates, biking around in the city, visit to some of the areas hip beaches, Watching the sunrise early morning walking in the untouched sand, dining at top notch restaurants and time relaxing on the beach was just what we where looking for.
Punta del Este is well worth a visit. I did not know much about Punta del Este before visiting. I will for sure go back when i have the opportunity. Arriving from outside of Uruguay the best option is to fly in to Montevideo. From Montevideo you can rent a car or take a bus. You can also do like we did and drive from Rio Grande in Brazil and the roads are in good conditions and straight froward easy driving.