Punte del Este
11.01.2010 - 12.01.2010 27 °C
Well after no sleep at our hostel we checked out around 10:00 and decided to head back towards Punte del Este. We realized the prices were higher in this area, but needed to get our way back towards Montevideo for our flight on the 13th.
Since we drove to the area in the dark, it was hard to understand the topography. Our ride today was fantastic. We were in Alberta but with palm trees and cactus larger than Drumheller. Other than that, sheep, cattle, horses and landscape was the same. We love the drive.
We hit Ruta 10 (route 10) and drove along the beach towards Punte del Este. Darwin was in heaven because the road to the beach was a gravel road under construction so we drove a gravel road for 15 km, past vineyards and gated communities.
We arrived at Jose Ignacio, a gorgeous undeveloped beach town, with some of the most beautiful homes we have seen. This was an uncut diamond waiting to be discovered. We then arrived at La Barra, the beach town before Punte del Este (this area has several beaches which all make up Punte del Este). We started to look for accommodations in this area. We stopped at one place and the front desk had one room available but waiting to hear back from a client who was stranded in Spain due to the snow storm. So we walked up the block to a local sandwich spot (rex’s) and enjoyed a great lunch overlooking the ocean. Back to the villa but the Spainard’s flight was re-booked and he would be arriving sometime that night.
Today was a beautiful sunny day and we wanted to hit the beach but needed accommodations first. So we decided to head back towards Jose Ignacio and look for places to stay. We found Pousada de los Pajaros, a beautiful white villa located across from the beach. Room was available so we took it for 2 nights and decided to enjoy the beach.
We had a great time on the Atlantic Ocean but we had red coded flags indicating undertow, so we decided not to swim. When you look around and only see 10 people in the water, you realize it’s too rough for us. So we read our books and enjoyed the scenery. Lots more thongs (girl thongs – boys all in long trunks like home) here than Brazil.
Back to our room and the front desk recommended a restaurant 20 minutes away, so we ordered a taxi so Darwin could enjoy a bottle of wine with me for dinner. Well, the cabby (Fabio) recommended us another restaurant through translation because his brother worked at le Rueben. So we said sure, so off we went to a part of the city we weren’t familiar with. We also did not bring our pousado brochure with us, so had no idea how to get back. But Fabio ensured that he would take us back once we were done with our dinner.
We went to a typical bar-b-que spot in Uruguay. The bbq was loaded with food and Daniel was a great waiter. We had this great grilled provolone appetizer and a stuffed pork loin with peppers, cheese and palm hearts. We also had a great salad. The salads in South America seem to include lettuce, tomatoes, egg, beets, potatoes, heart of palm and carrot. They serve the salad with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt. Our waiter spread some salt on a plate and then sprayed the balsamic vinegar (yep their balsamic is in spray bottles here) on top and then added some olive oil. He carefully mixed the salt in with the other ingredients and mixed into our salads. We asked for a good local wine and he recommended Dan Pasqual Robel Tannat. Tannat is the grape of the area and we really enjoy this wine. We also had a center cut and filet mignon (3 times bigger than at home. Didn’t even recognize it as a filet) that was done to perfection. As you can imagine, we enjoyed our meal and the service was the best of the trip. All of the above and the bill was $75USD...
Back to our pousado.
We set the alarm for 06:30 to get up and watch the sun rise. Well when it went off, we checked the window and immediately said NO to the sunrise walk along the beach. The sky was dark and the rain had started. Well, we got one good thunderstorm – thunder so loud it shook our pousado. It was a great storm and another good nap set in.
We then headed into Punte del Este and took pictures of the hand on Playa Brava ( a famous landmark of the area). Then off to the Yacht Club to watch the boats. We had a great lunch overlooking the boats and then back to our Pousado.
We’ve been working on our next 10 days in Argentina/Chile and packing for our early wake up tomorrow.
We originally schedule 7 days here and then switched to 4 because we couldn’t find places to stay on the internet. Well, if we could change we would spend a week here. This is definitely our favourite place so far, We would chose Uruguay over Brazil any day.
My analogy is this is the PEI of South America. For those who have travelled to PEI, you will get this. PEI does not get much attention in Canada, let alone North America. Yet, when you travel there, you immediately fall in love with the beaches and the people. The economy is small compared to everyone else, yet it is a very special place. Anyhow, that’s how I think of Uruguay. Everyone talks about Argentina, Brazil and Chile, yet Uruguay is the gem. The best beaches, the food is fantastic, the wine is great, the people are friendly.
What we loved here:
• From our rustic rural adventure in Diablo to the cosmopolitan chic area of Punte del Este, this place is great
• Taxis are all vanilla coloured with notlabels. You know what it is by the colour
• Roads are fantastic
• Wine is CHEAP and actually quite good
• Bar-b-que restaurants are yum yum good. Meats of all kind loaded onto the bar-b-que and made to perfection.
• Beaches are the best. This area is endless with fabulous sand dunes that open to wide open soft sand beaches. We drove over 200km and it was all beachfront.
• Architecture is fantastic. If you want an alternative to Mexico this is the place
Monica....thanks again for the recommendation. We will definitely return. You must tell us which beach Hamlet enjoyed the most. A great part of the world to visit