The Best Beaches in Uruguay

Piriapolis, Uruguay | Discover Your South America Blog

The Best Beaches in Uruguay

Whether you like your beach bustling with an energetic atmosphere, or quiet and remote, hemmed by pristine sand dunes and the odd Sea Lion keeping you company, Uruguay’s coastline has got it all. While the country’s capital Montevideo is blessed with a large expanse of sandy shores, there are many more beaches that are just waiting to be explored in this vibrant country. Read on as we get a sprinkling of sand between our toes and look at some of Uruguay’s best beaches.

Uruguay beach | Discover Your South America Blog
Jimmy Baikovicius, ‘Rainbow over Emir | 190320-0052253-jikatu(CC BY-SA 2.0)

Party the night away in Punta del Este

Commonly referred to as the Hamptons of South America, Punta del Este is the destination of choice for Uruguay’s wealthy and glamorous, and as a result is a fun, trendy place to visit. Swelling in numbers during the summer months, the two most popular beaches are Playa Brava and Playa Mansa. While Mansa is known for its calm, family-friendly waters, the sea that greets Playa Brava can sometimes be a little livelier. Both however have plenty of facilities, restaurants and bars to take care of you during your stay, and with Playa Brava being home to the famous Los Dedos sculpture there are also some great photo opportunities to be had. Once night falls, Punta comes alive as countless clubs open their doors to revellers, and with luxury hotels such as the adults-only Serena so close to the action, getting home to rest those weary feet after a night on the dance floor could not be easier.

Punta del Este, Discover Your South America Blog
[Jimmy Baikovicius / “The Hand | Los Dedos”] [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Live it up in Jose Ignacio

Less than an hour from Punta del Este lies Jose Ignacio. Once an unassuming fishing village, Jose Ignacio is now an upmarket resort that caters for those affluent vacationers who are perhaps looking for a bit more seclusion than neighbouring Punta del Este can offer. During the summer, this town awakens to surfers and the glitterati alike, creating a unique vibe with boutique hotels, bohemian yoga studios and quirky places to eat all rubbing shoulders in a surprisingly easy relationship. This rustic-chic town is ideal for those who enjoy a relaxed atmosphere with a touch of understated luxury and a dab of eccentricity thrown in too. Absorbing the friendly ethos that permeates throughout, here locals and visitors mingle effortlessly during high season before things settle back down come autumn. While it is likely Jose Ignacio will continue to grow, special planning laws in the area have rejected high rises, tower blocks and other elements we often find in coastal towns, meaning it’s sure to keep that enchanting allure for years to come.

Jose Ignacio, Uruguay | Discover Your South America Blog
Luis E, ‘José Ignacio. Uruguay(CC0 1.0)

Go surfing in Punta del Diablo

If you’re looking to hit the waves while in Uruguay, then look no further than Punta del Diablo. This quaint fishing village on the east coast is known for its fantastic surf. If you’re a novice, fear not! The local surf school at Playa de Rivero has everything you need to get to grips with this exhilarating sport. As with many seaside towns, summer sees the population of this sleepy settlement increase significantly so if you are looking for a remote escape, try to time your trip for the low season, where your only company will be laidback local surfers, the odd artisan and hard-working fishermen, whose boats can often be seen on Playa Pescadores. While in town, put aside a day to visit Santa Teresa National Park, where you’ll find a 19th century fort, plenty of beaches and a forest that’s prime for hiking. It won’t take you long to realise that there’s so much to love about Punta del Diablo.

Punta del Diablo, Uruguay | Discover Your South America Blog
Punta del Diablo (Pixabay)

Embrace the isolation of Cabo Polonia

We highlighted Cabo Polonia as a place to watch in 2019 and while you are in the area, it really is fantastic to visit if you enjoy getting off the beaten track, away from the crowds. Roughly an hour’s drive from Punta del Diablo, this tiny fishing village is home to a very small group of people and a colony of Sea Lions, along with a historic lighthouse. Staying in this village really allows you to get back to nature, with no running water, a limited power supply and access only by foot or in a 4×4. It could not be more different to the busy beaches of Montevideo and is absolutely charming for it. With a couple of restaurants and the odd stall selling locally made goods, there’s nothing more to do with your time here than soak in the sea, relax on the quiet beach and, once night falls, look up to the sky and do some star gazing. With such little light pollution, you’re in for a treat!

Cabo Polonia, Uruguay | Discover Your South America Blog
Cabo Polonia, Uruguay (Pixabay)

Head south to Piriapolis

So then, from the almost complete isolation of Cabo Polonia to one of the oldest resorts in the country: Piriapolis. Tucked away on the south coast of Uruguay, about a two-hour drive from Montevideo, this town has been welcoming visitors to its shoreline for generations. As you would expect with such a veteran in the tourist industry, Piriapolis has everything you could possibly need for the perfect beach holiday. Long stretches of pristine white sand, gin-clear waters and a pretty promenade are all waiting for you here. Be sure to look out for the delightful art deco architecture as you explore, before making your way to the famous chairlift that will glide into the air and drop you off at the top of San Antonio Hill, at which point you’ll be presented with panoramic vistas of the bay below; simply stunning.

Piriapolis, Uruguay | Discover Your South America Blog
Marcelo Campi, ‘Piriapolis(CC BY-SA 2.0)

Feeling inspired? Why not build your trip to Uruguay with Discover Your South America, personalising your itinerary by handpicking the hotels, activities and length of stay according to your preferences. You can also call Surtrek on 1 866 978 7398 (Canada and USA) or 080 8189 0438 (UK) to talk to a travel expert; our team is always ready to help!

Or, read more articles about Uruguay on our blog; click here.

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