Punta del Este is the town which put Uruguay’s beaches on the map, but today it’s filled with teenagers and nightclubs. The sleepy fishing village of Jose Ignacio a few hours up the coast is the place to go. Once a backwater with little infrastructure it now boast some of the best hotel names in the world and all on a small scale
Inland from the beaches are a number of small estancias which are a window into the past. Here the colonial buildings still retain all of the country’s history and are filled with artefacts from another era. An excellent place to relax, eat good food and take gentle rides through the land
One of the best ways to explore Uruguay’s stunning coastline is by hiring a bike. Around the immediate area of Jose Ignacio is where most people will spend their time, making the beaches a little crowded at times. Grab a bike and head north and you’ll discover remote stretches of beaches which you will have all to yourself.
Being such a small country has played to Uruguay’s advantage, as today it still remains an untouched paradise. Most easily accessible from Buenos Aires via ferry or plane, Uruguay contains some of the best beaches in South America.
The name Uruguay comes from the Guarani language and means “Land of the Painted Birds”. In 1680, the Portuguese founded Colonia del Sacramento on the estuary of the Rio de la Plata and the Spaniards followed suit and founded Montevideo in 1728, which later become the capital of Uruguay. Its history has left the country with beautiful colonial buildings and churches and a charm like no other in South America.
For us the main two reasons for visiting Uruguay are the picturesque colonial town of Colonia and the wide empty beaches of Jose Ignacio.
Colonia contains cobblestoned streets, leafy plazas and 18th-century Portuguese colonial architecture. Declared a UNESCO world heritage city it is a great place to spend a few nights exploring this beautifully crafted town. Jose Ignacio is a sleepy fishing village away from the hustle and bustle of trendy Punta del Este and is the place to go for a laid back beach experience.
Manor Cottage, Papermill Lane, South Moreton, Oxfordshire, OX11 9AH
We had a complex 15 day itinerary and literally everything connected up as planned. We will not hesitate to call Latin Odyssey when we return to South America. Would recommend highly.