Decanter travel guide: Uruguayan coast

For a memorable holiday filled with sun, sand, sea – and Tannat – head to Maldonado, Uruguay’s newest and most exciting wine region along the Atlantic Coast. Patricio Tapia reports in his Uruguayan coast travel guide.

Uruguayan coast: Where to stay, eat, shop and relax

HOTELS

Laguna Garzón Lodge
A floating hotel on the banks of the beautiful Laguna Garzón is a different way of seeing things. It’s windy there, so the little floating cabins rock gently on the water; falling asleep is like being back in the cradle. Sheer silence and solitude do the rest. www.lagunagarzon.com.uy

Estancia Vik José Ignacio
One of the best hotels – maybe the best – on the Uruguayan coast, the Estancia Vik José Ignacio is full of tiny details and little luxuries. Overlooking both Lake José Ignacio and the Atlantic Ocean, the hotel is perched on a small hill on a wild and solitary 1,400ha site. www.vikhotels.com

Conrad
Just steps from the waves of the Atlantic Ocean, this hotel is on Punta del Este’s waterfront. Enormous for the context of the Uruguayan coast (294 rooms), it also has a large casino and several restaurants to choose from. www.conrad.com.uy

RESTAURANTS

Parador La Huella
Right on Playa Brava beachfront in the very chic town of José Ignacio, La Huella is a mandatory stop. Set in an old wooden house across from the town’s imposing lighthouse, the food served here is simple: fresh fish, juicy meats and a wine list composed of the area’s finest. The selection of whiskies is also excellent. www.paradorlahuella.com

Medio y Medio
The town of Portezuelo may not be as famous as either Punta del Este or José Ignacio, but it’s charming and peaceful all the same. It is also home to this simple and welcoming restaurant whose menu features local land and sea cuisine. Don’t miss the grilled squid or lamb al Jerez – or the long list of jazz concerts either. A must in this area. www.medioymedio.com

Lo de Tere
Punta del Este has a very generous culinary offer, including the popular Lo de Tere. Perfect for formal dining or something more casual, this spot opposite the yacht club and just steps from the sea has a formidable menu. You can’t visit without trying its Iñaki hake or its famous rack of lamb. The wine list is excellent. www.lodetere.com

SHOPS

Grand Cru
Manantiales is a small town that has taken on a new liveliness, largely due to the number of high-end luxury apartment buildings – unthinkable for most pockets – that have been built up around it. To satisfy the demands of these new neighbours, the Grand Cru shop offers wines from around the world at reasonable prices, as well as a limited but spot-on selection of Uruguayan labels. www.grandcru.com.ar

Vinos del Mundo
On Avenida Artigas in Punta del Este, the Vinos del Mundo wine shop should not be missed. Its selection of Uruguayan wines is excellent, and the rest is a little journey through some of the world’s most famous wines. www.vinosdelmundo.com.uy

Previous page