3 Mar 2008

Summer on the beach. Uruguay

verano 08 palos

We spent two wonderful weeks in the beautiful beaches of Uruguay. But, let me introduce something more about this small and beautiful country.

Localizing between Argentina and Brazil, Uruguay have magnificent beaches, with white sand and warm water. In the other side, the country counts with large praieries where the cows (especially aberdinangus and red Angus), lambs and goats grows free in green prairies. Also the country produce cranberries, olives, grapes (They had a strong, powerful and delicious red varietal tannat wine, also Uruguayan viognier was nice and floral, more body than most Amer. viognier.) sunflower’s plantation and the most juicy and delicious peaches and that I ever tasted

The capital Montevideo and only large city sprawls along the banks of the Río de la Plata, almost directly opposite Buenos Aires.

verano 08  montevideo

Montevideo a picturesque place of colonial Spanish, Italian and Art Deco styles. Most attention is focused on the Ciudad Vieja, the old city built on a peninsula close to the port and harbor, and the commercial center, located around Plaza Independencia to the east. Take a walk from Plaza Independencia, the grandest of Montevideo's squares, through the Ciudad Vieja to the port. On the plaza is the black-marbled Mausoleum de Artigas, topped by an enormous statue of the national hero, and the 26-story Palacio Salvo, the tallest building in South America when built in 1927. The Plaza Constitución, neoclassical Cabildo and the Iglesia Matriz, the oldest public building (1799) in the city, are further west. Other important sights in the area include the Museo Histórico Nacional, which consists of four different homes filled with historical effects, and the Museo del Gaucho y de la Moneda, which houses an impressive display of artefacts from Uruguay's gaucho (cowboy) past.

Also, don't miss the Mercado del Puerto, once the finest port in South America, and now a colorful, lively center filled with markets, restaurants, artists and street musicians. The Feria de Tristán Narvaja is an outdoor market peddling groceries, antiques and souvenirs. A handful of sandy beaches stretch along the metropolitan waterfront and are popular excursions for the city's residents on summer weekends. Inexpensive accommodation, eateries, nightclubs and theaters are found in the Ciudad Vieja,. The Uruguayan Littoral West of Montevideo, and covering the portion of Uruguay which fronts the Río de la Plata and the Río Uruguay, is the country's most important agricultural area. Its outstanding attraction is the lively colonial city of Colonia (del Sacramento), an under-appreciated gem of narrow cobbled streets flanked by whitewashed buildings. The boating, fishing and swimming are good along the beaches of Mercedes, and there are many excellent museums in Paysandú, Uruguay's second largest city. The Uruguayan Riviera. The area east of Montevideo is one of the most Westernized places in Uruguay with innumerable beach resorts, plenty of water activities and lots of well-groomed, narcissistic tourists sporting hibiscus shirts.

Immediately east of the capital is the major resort of Atlántida, and Piriápolis is a mere flick of the towel away. From here, you can venture into the surrounding countryside and climb the 493m (1617ft) Cerro Pan de Azúcar or visit Minas, a lovely town set in wooded hills.

verano 08  punta barcos

The largest and best known of the resorts is Punta del Este, one of South America's most glamorous and exclusive destinations. The place is awash with yacht and fishing clubs, golf courses, casinos and beautiful holiday homes. If that's not enough, there are excellent bathing beaches, perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Just offshore are Isla Gorriti, which has more superb beaches and the ruins of an 18th-century fortress, and Isla de Lobos, a nature reserve that is home to a large sea-lion colony.

Jose Ignacio Summer 08

Jose Ignacio is very close to Punta Del Este, only a 1/2 hour drive. This village contains wonderful examples of local architecture. The houses here are stucco and each one is a different, vibrant color. But don’t be fooled, the houses are fancy and modern

In the old days, José Ignacio was a fishing village but it started growing as many tourists began visiting the place to spend the day at its fabulous beaches and eat at its seafood restaurants. With time it turned out into an ultra exclusive retreat where celebrities and wealthy people have their summer residences overlooking the sea.

Enjoy the beaches and the lighthouse

Eat in Jose Ignacio and Punta del este

verao 08 los negros,

I have to say that Los Negros was quite unbelievable. It's a Francis Mallmann restaurant, and he has restaurants in Buenos Aires (Sur) and Mendoza (Francis Mallmann). We dined at Sur last year and it was spectacular. These are not cheap but they are worth the splurge (if you are a foodie)

. Fantastic steak sandwiches – Uruguayan chivito. They are huge and can be divide for two people

Also in Jose Ignacio - Las Huellas - the fish "stew" in a very hot skillet is excellent, fresh, as is really most everything on that menu.

Hernan Taina, a cool little bistro just north of Barra. Funky and fun red decor, but a serious wine cellar. Make sure to get narancello, a version of limoncello made out of small locally grown oranges, not much bigger than a kumquat.

Best panqueque de dulce de leche is at the Lapataia factory just before Punta (near the point where the whales hang out). These crepes are amazing.

In a corner of the Mansa beach you can find the local fishermen, their orange boats and flocks of seagulls crying to be fed.
Fresh fish is readily available here.

Casa Pueblo

verano 08 punta

Casa Pueblo is an art museum situated on a outcropping of rock 5 minutes from Punta del Este. The museum represents the work of one of the most famous Uruguayan painters whose name is Carlos Paez Vilaro. He traveled the world, experiencing different cultures and learning different techniques. He was fascinated by the island of Tahiti, which has a great influence on his work. The architecture of the museum, also created by Vilaro, is absolutely fabulous, built of adobe and rising out of the topography of the rocks in wierd formations and curves. The view from this site is breathtaking and the sunset amazing . By the way all sunset in Uruguay is spectacular

If you can read more about Punta del Este, Garzon and Jose Ignacio go to this article in wine and food by Dan Halpern He has written for the New York Times Magazine and the New Yorker.



Maryann said...

What beautiful light you captured in that first photo!

Kate / Kajal said...

Ok Sylvia ... this post should be officially the tourist cataloge for Uruguay ! Really , what a comprehensive and well written post and not to mention gr8 pictures. Seems like u had a wonderful time. Any place with a beach and I'm a sucker for it. Have to admit , i knew nothing about this country, but thanks to you now i do !

Kevin said...

Welcome back. Those photos are nice.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Welcome back Sylvia! What a wonderful post! I learned so much about Uruguay! I agree with Kate - this should be part of a tourism catalogue! What a great job!

Sylvia said...

Thanks Maryann

Kate The country is small, and I pretty sure that the most of people ,don´t know nothing about this beautiful country. And yes i had great time there.

Kevin Thanks

Jenn , thanks , I spent two days to publish :)