Travel/Tourism

Rules of the Road

Posted on January 18, 2010. Filed under: Business, Coastal Uruguay, Travel/Tourism |

This seems like an annual lecture, but it appears the message has not been received.  If you’re visiting in high season, or March for that matter, reserve your vacation rental well in advance.

High season rentals, December through February were a done deal by August. As we’ve talked about many times, no one wants to rent for a few nights during any of these months. One week is the minimum. From mid December till early February, one week is consider a short-term rental.

Also, some people pressured for discounts and lost out……not this year. First of all, demand was strong in Piriapolis as well as Punta del Este and prices were tending up, not down. Secondly, rents are paid in US dollars; the dollar is down almost 20% from last year at this time. This creates upward pressure on rates as many owners have to convert dollars into pesos.

For those planning on a visit, I hope this helps.

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The Best Food in the Piriapolis Area

Posted on November 18, 2009. Filed under: Coastal Uruguay, Food, Travel/Tourism |

My friend Alex has just opened a new bistro that hands down has the best food in town. Unless there’s something new in Punta del Este I don’t know about, probably on the entire coast.

Alex lived in Japan and understands the use of spices and exotic preparation. (Salt is considered a spice in Uruguay if that gives you an idea of how unusual his cooking is.) He grows his own hot peppers for instance. In addition to the Parrilla (BBQ) his oven prepared beef is by far the best I’ve had in the country. Last of all, this location fits the Uruguay chic formula to a tee. Vida Devagar is located on a dirt road you’ll never find unless you know the town.

Due yourself a favor and go see Alex. If you don’t know the town, give him a call for directions.

Click here for Vida Devagar

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Your Social Life in Coastal Uruguay, Has Just Gotten Better!

Posted on October 4, 2009. Filed under: Coastal Uruguay, People, Travel/Tourism, Uruguay Expatriate |

piriapolis-sunset-497w

One of the things we’ve been hoping for is coming to pass, an invigorated social scene in the Maldonado Department which includes Punta del Este, Piriapolis and the places in between of course.

Piriapolis has its monthly expat lunch, but Punta del Este is the center for most of the meetings. When we first arrived in Uruguay, in 2006, Punta was a ghost town much/most of the year. This has changed dramatically in the last year. Punta is fast becoming a year around happening with a social venue to match as the schedule below clearly shows.

Here is a sample of the upcoming social events. (And yes, if your Spanish is poor or missing, English speakers will be there in mass.)

* Thursday, Oct. 1, 10 pm, Trio Tom jazz show at La Cueva, Dodera 867 corner with Florida (Sorry we’re late on this one but it’s a good sample.)

* Friday, Oct. 16, 7PM at Brava 28, PDE, wine tasting

* Mon. Oct. 21, 11AM, meeting at Kitty’s on the PDE harbor

All I can add is cool and exciting!

source: Punta del Este Expats

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Vacation in December

Posted on August 8, 2009. Filed under: Coastal Uruguay, Travel/Tourism |

Spinakers To Punta Del Este 600w

There are several excellent reasons to visit here in December. Prices are reasonable, good weather, it’s not too crowded, yet high season events and a festive atmosphere are in full swing.

One of our favorite events is the Montevideo – Punta del Este Regatta during the first week. This creates a pretty nice party in Piriapolis, particularly in the Marina area where we live.

Here are a couple of sailing shots. One photo is Chris with some new friends Buenos Aires, Jorge and Enrique. They partied too hard and didn’t make it out of Piriapolis the next morning when the Regatta continued, so we got to hang out with them for a couple of evenings.

Come see us!

Regatta 2

Regatta 3

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A Plate of Ravioli for $48?

Posted on July 1, 2009. Filed under: Coastal Uruguay, Food, Travel/Tourism | Tags: , |

horse-cart-497w

Just when I feel I’ve figured Uruguay out for the most part, it throws a curve my way.

Restaurants in the middle of nowhere are a thing in this country. In North America, location, location is the formula for success with an eatery. Find a street loaded with foot traffic and lots of other restaurants and you’re half way home. In the Land of the Sun? No no sir’ee, put ‘em 20 kilometers out of the nearest town on a unmarked dirt road with no signs in front of the establishment. Here, fine cafes are destination events. And the harder to find the better.

Francis Mallmann has followed the formula to a tee locating his over the top high-end boutique hotel in Garzon. Garwho? Well, Garzon is a wide and not very desirable place in the road about 30 kilometers inland from Jose Ignacio. But of course his trendy hotel/eatery is on a dirt road. So here it is…Gaucho-chic meets the Beverly Hill Billies. The dinning patio is appointed with lien covered tables, crystal stem ware, stray cats and dogs play around the tables and clunker trucks pass by on the dirt road a few meters away.

So how about the food? Well the ravioli may appear to be a bit pricy, but it’s stuffed with pumpkin and wine-braised chicken. That certainly explains the price. There’s the handmade gnocchi, think Iberian ham, a braised lamb dish garnished with arugula, almonds and lemon confit, pork tenderloin with burnt brown sugar and orange confit and the requisite meat cooked over roaring wood fires. His grilled meat dishes have a “burnt” flavor, “dissonance” he calls it. (Nothing else like that in Uruguay.) The price for all this good stuff is quite reasonable. Lunch for two with a bottle of wine will be $220 or so and dinner could be well north of $400.

So how does Mr. Mallmann get away with this? He is perhaps Argentina’s most acclaimed chef; he’s had a series of chic restaurants in Buenos Aires, Mendoza, New York and of course Jose Ignacio. His eateries in Jose Ignacio, La Posada del Mar and Los Negros, in no small way have help mold this sleepy fishing village into a jet-set resort.

So the next time you’re in Jose Ignacio with some time to kill, and a few hundred dollars you don’t need, head over to Francis’ place in Garzon.

Bon appetite!

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