New Years Eve in Uruguay
I love Uruguay. For such a small country it has so much to be proud off and I don’t just mean Diego Forlan, Uruguay’s rather striking soccer International. I have visited Uruguay three times over the past ten years, each time with my family. We all adore this wonderfully friendly small South American country, it is the perfect place for a holiday to visit with children or friends, no matter what their age. Last December, ten of us, two families with teenage children ranging in age from 12 to 21, headed down to South America from New York, it’s such an easy overnight flight and the best part about it all, there is no jet lag. It’s like flying to Dallas.
Punta del Este and the surrounding towns of La Barra and in more recent years, the sleepy village of Jose Ignacio have all been top destinations for the Argentinians and Brazilians, but not necessarily for too many Europeans or North Americans, however all that is changing and Jose Ignacio has become such an international ‘hotspot’ destination, that half the world is now there during a brief 15 day period.
Uruguay looks very European it always reminds me of England, Switzerland, Italy and France all thrown together. There are thatched roofs everywhere you look, rolling green hills with horses grazing, stunning scenery and an extremely European lifestyle. Seeing is believing!
Jose Ignacio is a little like St Tropez in the 1970’s, chic, stylish, simple with beautiful people and beaches. The restaurant scene is wonderful, the choices are abundant with places like Marismo, La Olada, Restaurant Jardin and La Caracola, but the best known and most frequented is La Huella. It is the best place to go for lunch and dinner, built in numerous wooden huts, this sprawling beach shack restaurant is one of the hottest places, fabulous drinks, chic people, great food, you leave making a reservation for the following day.
New Years Eve in Uruguay is such fun, there are parties everywhere and incredible fireworks to see all along the coastline. We partied the night away at La Susana Restaurant, we danced barefoot in the sand after dinner, we all had sparklers and ate the necessary grapes to mark the New Year, the older teenagers went off to other parties in Jose Ignacio, another great aspect is that Uruguay is a very safe country, and we went back to more partying at Casa Suaya where we were all staying.
The hotel scene has really taken off, with Alex and Carrie Vik leading the way with their fabulous Vik hotels. There are small boutique hotels, homes to rent or the newer Fasano Hotel that opened up a couple of years ago between Punta del Este and La Barra.
Not too far away from Jose Ignacio is the town of Garzon, where the very talented Argentinian chef, Francis Mallman has his own restaurant, El Garzon, a must for an incredible meal. There are olive groves to visit, the Southern hemisphere night sky to amaze you, the lighthouse to visit, the boutique shops with their chic Brazillian bikinis, the drive to the best ice cream shop Freddo along the coast. Try horse riding along the Atlantic Ocean, or gallop along the beach with no cares in the world, because that is the way you will feel when you are in Jose Ignacio. Then save yourself so you can go explore the rest of this amazing country, try Carmelo, set along the Rio de la Plata next, you won’t be sorry.
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