Stopping at Jose Ignacio, Uruguay for beach time.

Apr 15, 2011

I am experimenting posting from my iPad…sorry if it doesnt come out all nice and clean. I lost ONCE AGAIN something somewhere!! This time, it’s the plug of my computer, which is now out of battery. This is the most frustrating part of our round the world, we can’t help forgetting things in places, and usually in places that we loved. Hope its a sign that we’ll be back. One day I will make an inventory…
So while my plug stayed in Jose Ignacio, Uruguay, I can still tell you what we LOVED about the place. First, the lighthouse (photo above), which makes this  -originally fisherman’s – village so iconic. The light also, so clean and pure, the sky with stars, so big. And the people in Uruguay everywhere so gentle and kind. Such gentlemen and handsome too..! I’d say, a mix of the roughness of the gauchos with the classiness of the polo players. The waves, big and still warm. The quietness as we got there at the end of the season (apparently January is to be avoided, a Latin American version of St Tropez…). I would say it’s understated luxury at its best. And off season, the prices are not so bad, and all negotiable.
I was inspired to visit Uruguay by an article last year in Conde Nast Traveller titled Barefoot on the Beach, from journalist Peter Browne. Since I don’t know how to put hyperlinks on my iPad, I will let you google it.
With plenty of time, the way to “do” the uruguayan coast is from Carmelo, then Colonia del Sacramento, then Montevideo, then la Barra and Jose Ignacio, la Paloma, la Pedrera, and finish in unspoilt Cabo Polonio towards the Brazilian border.

We focused on Jose Ignacio because it’s a quaint little village on the beach extremely child friendly as everything is walking distance. We rented a beautiful and colourful house (on the photo above, the green house) through Marcelo (!) at Inmobiliaria Ruibal, who was so dedicated to helping us. Gracias Marcelo.
Really, it’s so hard posting with my iPad, I will do this post with photos mostly. Do ask me if you ever plan on visiting the region, it is so beautiful and tasteful at the same time. I could say so much more if only I had my computer…
We stopped at CasaPueblo, an iconic hotel before Punta del Este, designed by the Uruguayan artist Carlos Paez Vilaro. Below is his studio, overlooking the Atlantic. I wish it was my office too…There is a museum with a permanent retrospective of the artist’ works, and a small cafe on the terrace with a marvelous view. Maravillosa!
It’s also nice to take the children to the sculpture park foundation of Pablo Atchugarry, right on Ruta 104km 4,500, in Manatiales. And there’s a cute little zoo right nearby, with a tiger. Marcelo was reminded of his cuddling times with tigers in Thailand.
The region is strong on art, with a lot of very interesting artists from South America. There was an article in the NY Times magazine recently specifically about it, to be googled…
In the morning, we were getting our fish ultra fresh directly on the beach of Jose Ignacio (Playa Mansa) from the fishermen’s boat. I was proud of my ceviche…
And the region is strong on architect-houses, many out of the most beautiful magazines in the world. Wealthy argentines, mostly, who come here in the season or the week end to get some beach time. Playa Vik is an incredible example (like it or not) of Titanium and Glass. It’s a hotel which opened last year and designed by Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott. Artists from all over South America have been commissioned for each room. Quite surprising in this little village.
The beach house above was my favourite in the village, and also one of the oldest, designed by a well known Uruguayan architect whom I forgot the name..I know. Sorry..
This one below was very shabby-chic, looked like the first strong wind was going to blow it up, yet still standing proud on the beach. Sweet.
And long lunches of grilled fish at La Huella, children playing in the sand. A restaurant so delicious that people drive from all over the coast to come over the week end. Right there in Jose Ignacio. And Pisco Sour to die for, just before la siesta for everyone…
Plenty of activities for the family. Surfing on the beach of Playa Brava, waves were not that intimidating. Or horseback riding barefoot on the beach, with the horses of Jorge aka El Negrito who comes in front of La Huella with his 4 horses every afternoon.
We actually learnt to kite surf (sort of !!) at Laura Monino Kite surf / windsurf school. The best!! On Laguna Garzon, a beautiful eco-reserve, with shallow depth and constant wind, ideal conditions. Laura is so kind too, and owns a charming pousada near by, Halelau, that would be a great option with the family.
Hola chicos. Que tal. Que lindo..
BozAround tips:
Rent a car with Interautos. They’ll come meet you straight at the arrival or departure terminal of Montevideo airport. And their prices are unbeatable. Speak with Gustavo (interautos@adinet.com.uy)
Come here off-season to avoid the show-off factor. And bypass Punta del Este, a LatAm version of South Beach Miami. They say it’s coming back, but I am allergic to this kind of big developments on the beach.
Make time to go up the coast all the way to Cabo Polonio. It sounds amazing. I am sad we could not go. No electricity, no cars, sand dunes only. And a few posadas.
Pick up a map of Jose Ignacio at the tiny tourist information on the main square, It has everything you need.
Posada del Faro has one of the best reputation in the village of Jose ignacio. And Casa Chic looked…quite chic and ideally located near the beach inside the village, with a small kitchen and separate bedroom for the family. Or Posada Halelau outside town for a more affordable option.
Ps: by the time i finished writing this article, i found my plug!!! youpi! so i put in some links..but i did not re-write everything..sorry if it’s a bit decousu…besos.

1 Comment

  1. ChantaleP

    These photos are incredible. You are breaking all the walls of my ignorance on South America. Casa Pueblo is wow wow wow! Who knew Uruguay is home ground for the uber rich & their status homes? Your kids look so relaxed and gorgeous.. Glad you found your plug! ;p

    Reply

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