“By the day after Christmas, you won’t be able to book a hotel, find a restaurant, or call a taxi. But right now, Punta del Este is very nice.”
Our waiter has summed up our experience so far in this city that Uruguayans call the Monaco of South America. We’re here for the final three nights of our Uruguayan vacation, and it’s anything but crowded. We had no problem booking a lovely hotel right across from the beach for a reasonable price. From our window, I can see a handful of people sitting on the sand, watching the breakers roll in off the Atlantic. At the hotel’s beachside restaurant, a bevy of workers are hammering and nailing and sanding, making repairs to the boardwalk. They’re getting ready for the onslaught of wealthy Argentinians and Brazilians and celebs from around the world who’ll swell the population from 20000 residents to 200000 chichi see and be seens. But they haven’t arrived yet, and we have. Lucky us.
Today, under hats and sunglasses and SPF 60 lotion (the hole in the ozone layer gapes right over Uruguay), we followed a walking tour map that took us to many of Punta del Este’s highlights. The lyrics to Burton Cummings’ Heavenly Blue and Spanky and Our Gang’s Lazy Days came frequently to my mind. Knowing we’ll soon be back in the northern hemisphere made the day even more precious. Here are a few photos of the peaceful Punta we’re getting to know.