Reset Password

Your search results
6 February 2024

An Insider’s Guide To The Best Places In Punta Del Este

Uruguay’s Punta del Este is often thought of as a destination for the jet set but it’s much more than an expensive playground for the famous and glamourous. It is located on a peninsula jutting into the ocean, with the wild Atlantic to the east and the calmer Rio de la Plata to the west and its name lends itself to the wider area embracing the communities of La Barra, José Ignacio and Manantiales. These sleepy, secluded communities retain that famous Latin-American laid-back vibe with dirt roads and hand painted road signs. The landscape here is rugged and dramatic with rocky crags and wild sand dunes. Acres of forest and uncluttered beaches stretch for miles and the only sounds are those of the ocean and the wind.
It is an ideal place to escape the Winter, seek the sun and recharge one’s batteries, and a little local knowledge could help you plan the perfect trip. Alessandro Aquilina, co-founder of Marané swimwear, knows this part of the world extremely well and reveals his favourite places to go and the best things to do in Punta del Este and his hometown of Manantiales.
The story of Marané and its elegant and classic Manantiales swim short is rooted here in Punta del Este with the Atlantic Ocean, glorious uncluttered beaches and a thriving creative community inspiring lifelong family friends Christine Serhal and Alessandro Aquilina, to create the perfect swim short. Their innovative threadless bonded seam technology is a world first in luxury men’s swimwear, it allows the short to sit flat thus creating a clean and elegant outline. The fabric is 100% polyester with exceptional quick drying properties and a brushed finish that feels reminiscent of luxurious vintage cotton. These classic shorts are ideal to wander from beach to bar, from surfing to riding all the while looking immaculate.
Alessandro takes you around his favourite places:.
“A long weekend in Punta starts with breakfast, and just in front of Marané’s store in Manantiales is an amazing bakery called La Linda, one of my favourite places, the pastries are incredible, I usually go for a Medialuna and Mate (a Uruguayan ham and cheese croissant and strong Green Tea).
“After breakfast, it’s time for the beach and ‘Playa Bikini’ is great for a swim or a surf with friends. After that, the next stop is ice cream at Volta. If you’re hot, go for some sorbets, but my favourite by far is Dulce de Lecce ‘Tentacion’ a sweet caramel. As we like to have a late lunch, there is time to visit Museo Taller in Casa Pueblo which is situated on the iconic hillside in Punta Ballena. This is a great place to bring visitors, the views are amazing and the museum, which is a mixture of Gaudi and Greek coastal architecture, was the workshop of Uruguay’s most famous artist, Paes Vilaro.
“La Huella is very busy, but it is absolutely the go-to spot for lunch. The food, wine and ambience are fantastic and enhanced by sitting on the top of a sand dune overlooking Jose Ignacio beach! After lunch and a quick siesta, I like to go for a ride inland with friends and our dogs across the campo and through the forests and if we’re lucky we’ll catch an amazing sunset. Getting back in touch with nature always feels great.
“Having worked up an appetite, it’s time for dinner, and a favourite spot is Marismo. It’s hidden in the woods, candlelit and has a firepit in the middle of the restaurant. I seem to always have the lamb paired with amazing red wine, perfection. This is such a special place and should really only be shared with your closest friends or significant other. If you feel like continuing the night, La Barra is the spot for bar hopping, or maybe take a trip to the Casino and hopefully get lucky!
“The next day, after a big breakfast of the best local produce, it’s time to blow the cobwebs away with some exercise, possibly tennis or football with friends or a swim at Montoya beach. The next big decision is lunch and another great place in my home town of Manantiales is called the Fish Market. I love the pulpo “octopus” and fish of the day, which is usually Brotola, which is a very light and fresh fish.
“In the afternoon, I like to head back to Haras Godiva in Jose Ignacio and rent horses for an afternoon and go riding on the beach as there’s nothing quite like galloping on the sand. Riding in the water and then watching the sun set is something that is hard to beat.
“After a well-deserved siesta, Palenque calls; it’s the place where anyone who knows good meat goes to eat steak. You won’t be asked how you want it cooked, they know when it’s at its best, and that’s when they will serve it!
“The day I leave is bittersweet and I usually start by stopping by La Linda and then heading off to walk the dogs on the beach. Hopefully I can fit in some windsurfing in this great spot just behind the sand dunes in Jose Ignacio, before heading off to pack and start the journey back to everyday life.”