We arrived into the flashy beach resort city of Punta del Este early Tuesday morning. As our taxi drove through the city there were notable differences to the South America we know; high-rise apartment blocks stretching along the golden sandy beach front coupled with with flashy houses, shops and cars. Punta del Este attracts wealthy South Americans and holiday makers from around the world known for its’ miles of pristine beaches and glitzy nightlife. This suited us just perfectly – if just for one night!
Our B&B we stayed in was gorgeous; located in an exclusive leafy superb we felt as though we were staying in a home in the country side. Such a contrast from our previous large party hostel, we instantly felt relaxed. We spent most of the day at the beach enjoying the sun with the local retirees. Again the peak season is over so everything was closed but we could imagine the activity in Summer with many flashy beachside restaurants and bars.
One defining feature of Uruguay that we concluded through diligent hours of beach-side research; is the sheer number of women sporting great bums. Women of all ages unashamedly bear g-bang bikini bottoms, but with good right as it seems that South American women in general are blessed with great genes concerning this area.
That evening the owners of the guesthouse prepared a traditional Uruguayan asado (BBQ). Serving an assortment of food, all cooked on the BBQ, which included; chorizo, pork, peppers, corn, cheese, bread and masses of tender beef. In traditional fashion it was served in stages as it was ready so we enjoyed a good graze over several hours. Super tasty and it makes our gas BBQs at home seem quite pathetic compared to this beast. Constructed of brick; on one side wood is burnt on a concave grill to produce the hot coals which are then shifted underneath the main grill where the food is cooked. Genius.
The following day after a home-made breakfast we caught the bus to Montevideo. Again we had managed to score a great apartment-type hostel; this one was in a large lofty colonial building complete with a roof top terrace and located in the centre of the historic part of the city. We enjoyed the space and ventured out for a small look during our stay, but apart from some pretty 19th century neo-classical buildings and a few good shops-it doesn’t have too much to offer the tourist.
After a one night’s stay and a fabulous organic breakfast we set off for our final destination in Uruguay, Colonia del Sacramento. Colonia was founded by the Portuguese in 1680 to smuggle goods across the Rio de la Plata to Buenos Aires. Referred to as the ‘old Lisbon’, the Portuguese style coloured houses and street plan vary significantly from Spanish colonial cities.
Part of the town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We thoroughly enjoyed our day walking the cobbled streets, exploring the shops tucked away in the wee alley ways and relaxing in the tranquillity of the many large oak trees.
Later that afternoon we boarded the boat for our one hour journey across the water to Buenos Aries. Here we catch our last overnight bus to the wine region of Mendoza in the centre of Argentina.