We spent our last night in Uruguay in the charming and colourful town of Colonia del Sacramento, port of the Buquebus ferry we would board to cross the muddy Rio Plata to Buenos Aires the next day. That evening, the final of nearly a month spent in Uruguay, we went for dinner in a little pizza restaurant on the edge of the old town. We sat at a big wooden table, the six of us in a circle, and penned a list of memories from Uruguay. I’ve copied that list below. Some are unique, some banal and some silly, but for our family we hope they will rekindle feelings from our time spent in this beautiful, unspoiled and tranquil country.
- Rolling green hills dotted with palm trees
- Empty roads & dirt roads
- Empty beaches & wildflowers
- Old cars & ANCAP gas stations
- The ‘dippy’ bridge in La Barra
- Horses (and cows) tied up to graze roadside
- Rheas & the abandoned Rhea egg we found
- Horseback riding on sheepskin saddles
- Surfing & searching for seashells
- Windy beaches & pretty sunsets
- People sharing yerba mate
- The wonderful and eclectic Museo del Mar
- Wild (but friendly) dogs
- Ponchos & Gauchos
- Penguins (alive and dead) on the beach
- Asados (BBQs)
- Alfajores & Rogel
- Dulce de leche on everything—yum!
- Brotolá fish
- ‘Salus’ agua
- Friendly, generous and modest people
- All places and things being “muy tranquilo”
- New friends and time spent with them
-Boci with Aaron & his son, Milos
-Martin and our day on his amazing ranch
-Federico, Ines and the girls from the ‘crazy car’
-Fishing and cooking with Delfina & Miguel
-Heidi and our amazing Thanksgiving in Garzon
-Asado and dozens of kids at Floppo & Andres’ home in Montevideo
-Lunch with Maria, Majo and Pili in Colonia
- Casa Zinc – created by Aaron Hojman just seven years ago, this boutique hotel in La Barra feels like it has existed for one hundred years. Each unique room has been meticulously decorated with found materials and antiques, yet is as warm and inviting as the man who created them. The staff was friendly and the breakfast in the library was perfect. We could have happily stayed here for a month, but were grateful for a welcome to Uruguay that introduced us to so many interesting sites and so many new friends. (We found Casa Zinc on the i-escape site, and had bookmarked it months before we started our travels. It was as special as we hoped it would be.)
- We rented a little house in José Ignacio through Marcelo Villanueva at Ignacio Ruibal Inmobiliaria. Marcelo, multilingual and perpetually merry, is a one man Airbnb, with houses throughout the Jose Ignacio area. He worked tirelessly with us to find something suitable and on our budget.
- Brisas boutique hotel in La Pedrera – we didn’t intend to stay here but when things didn’t work out with our rental in Rocha, we were delighted to stumble upon this lovely hotel with its charming courtyard, friendly staff and great breakfast. Not only did they welcome the six of us, they kindly let us store our car-full of groceries in their kitchen!
- Las Brisas house in La Barra – Not to be confused with the Brisas hotel above, we spent our last week back in La Barra in ‘Las Brisas’, a perfect summer home Michael scrambled to find on Airbnb. We’re only sad we didn’t discover this house sooner. We loved it! And the family of seven from Montevideo who own it, could not be more lovely or accommodating. Five stars!
- Charco Hotel in Colonia del Sacramento – we spent our final night in this boutique hotel. Way over our budget but we splurged to mark our final night in Uruguay. They have a family room, El Rancho, just separated from the rest of the hotel, with two rooms, a little kitchen and garden. The breakfast (with outside tables along the river) was delicious too!
- Museo del Mar, one of the most charming museums we’ve ever seen. The work and wonderfully eclectic collection of one man. So cool!
- Fishing in José Ignacio – we joined our friends, Delfina and Miguel, and spent a few hours one morning out in a little fishing boat. Between the eight of us we caught nearly 25 fish in just a couple hours! We spent the next couple weeks eating fish for nearly every meal. (You’ll find loads of fishing boats on ‘Playa Mansa’ and if you don’t want to go out yourself, you can wait for them to return in the late mornings to buy fish from them directly off the boat!)
- Surfing (La Posta del Congrejo in La Barra, José Ignacio and La Aguada in Rocha). There are a few different surf shops in La Barra where you can rent wetsuits and boards.
- Lussich arboretum for an easy walk amongst more than 450 species of plants and trees. There are pretty views of the surrounding area and ocean from the more elevated parts of the park.
- The beach! Some of our favourites were the ones in Punta Ballena, José Ignacio, La Aguada and Aguas Dulces.
- Yoga at The Shack Yoga in José Ignacio run by Isabella Channing, a lovely American woman.
Many restaurants hadn’t opened yet for the summer season, so there are many that we weren’t able to try. Also, it’s worth noting that many restaurants are cash-only, so be sure to come prepared.
- La Huella in José Ignacio, definitely worth the hype – the food was delicious.
- La Fusa, a tiny pizzeria in La Barra (cute toys and card games for kids) – great pizza, served in large ovals and sliced into bite-size pieces. Such a cosy spot!
- Elmo for wood-fired pizza and a cosy atmosphere
- Cantina del Vigía in Maldonado (near Punta del Este) – a great little Italian restaurant with a wood-fired oven. (Their vegetarian lasagna was amazing!)
- Crépas in La Barra – a great spot to grab a quick lunch before hitting the beach (we tried every crepe on the menu and they were all delicious!)
- Rex, for what they argue to be the ‘best chivito in town’
- El Almacén in Manantiales – a charming little restaurant with friendly staff and a fixed menu on Thursdays, offering good value.
- La Linda bakery in Manantiales – delicious breads, jams and treats (the best Alfajores (next to Delfina’s!)
- Restaurante La Posta de Vaimaca in the charming little town of Pueblo Eden. After lunch, walk two blocks down the street to the ‘Casita de Chocolate’ for ice cream and postres.
- Mutate café in Jose Ignacio – cute café, opened year-round.
- Estancia Vik — a gorgeous estancia (farm) about 10 minutes from José Ignacio. We ate a delicious dinner in their beautiful dining room, with a cosy fire to keep us warm after an evening of horseback riding.
- You can buy most groceries from local fruit stands and the El Dorado market in La Barra. For bigger shops you can drive to Tienda Inglesa in Punta del Este (especially for your first shop if you’re driving to José Ignacio and staying a while).
- Condé Nast Traveller: Uruguay’s Best Beach Resorts
- Stopping at Jose Ignacio… by my friend Vanessa of Boz Around.
7 thoughts on “One month in Uruguay, memories and tips”
What camera do you use?! I love all of the pictures on your blog.
Quite a “My Favorite Things” ring to that list! 😉 So happy to hear the trip is going so well. Sending lots of love! x
Hi Adamos!!! I’m so very late in catching up on your travels, but it looks like you’re really adventuring well!!! Wonderful experiences, meeting new friends, smelling new smells, tasting new tastes!!! SOOooooo happy for you all! Sending big big hugs and love from here. Safe travels always!!!
What a fantastic list of recommendations! And is that the hat Rodrigo weaved for Michael in Trancoso!? What a treasure! Thinking of you all xx
We are going to Uruguay to spend the week of Christmas in Punta del Este. Now I have some good recommendations to follow during our pit stop in Colonia. Thank you!