Your Jet Set Guide to Uruguay’s Poshest Coastal Gem
Imagine the Hamptons, Beverly Hills and Monte Carlo came together and landed in South America. This is the glitz and glamour of Punta del Este, Uruguay’s upscale playground for elite holidays and aspirational delights. Crystal Symphony spends two days in this posh coastal town during her January 24, 2019 “Sizzling Samba & Tango” voyage, giving travelers plenty of time to immerse themselves in the thrill of Punta del Este during the day and after dark.
Pack your days in “Punta” (as the locals call it) with visits to the famously stunning beaches – including must-see “La Mano” (The Hand) sculpture on breezy Brava Beach – or book a Crystal Adventure to Seawolves Island and see the largest migratory colony of South American fur seals. Foodies and art critics can choose to sample artisan cheeses and olive oils with a visit to Casapueblo, the studio home of artists Carlos Páez Vilaró. Neighborhoods in Punta are teeming with designer shops and art galleries, peppered with bites of every size and flavor. By day, Punta is a paradise of life’s most delectable pursuits.
But night time – specifically late night – is when the town’s colorful personality shines through. Grab an extra serving of Mate (mah-tay), the choice caffeinated beverage of Uruguay, and plan for sunset drinks, gourmet dinners, steamy “boliches” and high stakes casinos. Moby Dick pub is one of the most popular spots for evening drinks, set in the yacht harbor with a vibe that is part speakeasy and part its classic namesake, while I’marangatú is a swanky cocktail bar and restaurant with sweeping views of Mansa Beach.
The dining scene in Punta is equally sophisticated, with an elaborate chef’s tasting menu at La Bourgogne (created by Chef Jean-Paul Bondoux) and impeccable service, acclaimed seafood risotto and rack of lamb at Lo De Tere. Indulge in the delicacies of your choice and gather your energy for the night ahead. Punta’s casinos and boliches (nightclubs) are epicenters of revelry for locals and travelers alike, with the fun typically starting around 2 a.m. Try your hand at baccarat, roulette, blackjack and other games at the Conrad Resort & Casino, or head to the Ocean Club along Brava Beach, one of the best discos in Punta.
The city’s late-night culture is not just for party animals. Punta del Este is a hub for art and music festivals of all kinds, many taking place in city squares and on the beaches. No matter your style, nights in Punta are not for sleeping. The rhythm and flavor of the city will awaken your inner night owl and you won’t want to miss it.