[JOSE IGNACIO, URUGUAY] — That’s right, this might be it.
This is my favorite place to be in this world.
About a half hour north of the Miami-like Punta del Este is a small peninsula that juts just right out into the ocean. Surrounded on three sides by beaches, Jose Ignacio is the definition of “rustic elegance”.
A sleepy town most of the year, it may have the shortest high season on earth, lasting last just weeks and starting, exactly on the day after Christmas. Like locusts that all come out of the ground on a single day, on December 26th, the sleepy town comes alive as the world’s wealthy descend from Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Greenwich, France and Italy. Seriously, you’ve never seen so many beautiful people in such a small place. Some look familiar, some seem like they should be. It’s the best people watching, ever.
The streets may be made of dirt, but the 100 or so understated houses are architectural marvels, each with their own high perch to view the surf. There are only a handful of restaurants, but some of the best I’ve been to, mixing the right amount of groove, decor and amazing food. All the restaurants are good. If not, they won’t survive the good taste of this tasteful town.
When you think of beaches and beach towns in South America, most people think of Brazil. (Which is awesome in itself!) But few are aware of this absolutely stunning windswept and wave-laden peninsula just 40 minutes of the Miami-like high-rises of Punta del Este. And there’s a reason why the place is crawling with Brazilians, not to mention Argentines and well-heeled people from all over the world. The word is spreading.
To me, the best restaurant in the world is La Huella, look it up elsewhere on this blog. There are only a handful of small boutique hotels, which keeps the crowds do, everyone else stays in their hidden compounds, venturing out for a stay at the beach or lingering for hours in the town’s casually elegant restaurants. It’s all about the beaches and the restaurants, all in a cool, laid-back vibe.
My god, this is the best place on earth. I’ve been there four or five times, so this post includes pictures over the last decade. I can’t wait to go back.
Here’s a great article from the NYTimes that perfectly sums up the whole experience. And the Telegraph in London.
The word is catching on. Here are several recent articles that give the lowdown…and certainly better written and better shot than my amateur dribble. A repeat of the world-famous La Huella restaurant, one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to, in Bon Appetit. Travel & Leisure. In the New York Post, Modern Luxury in Jose Ignacio about the new, cool-but-out-of-place Hotel Vik. TripAdvisor. A great article on Fathom’s excellent website, which gets better every month. The British version of Conde Nast Traveller. Conde Nast Traveler about what’s jumping in Maldonado, the surrounding state in Uruguay. And Vogue. And Fathom Way To Go. Even the Daily Mail has written gossip about it! And here’s Johnny Jet’s take on Jose Ignacio. And Huffington Post.
I don’t sleep well. When I wake up in the middle of the night…nearly every night… I think of the the waves you hear from Posada del Faro and it lulls me back to sleep.
You should go here.
Last visited: December 2005 & 2006, March 2011, February 2014
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