Uruguay is located between Argentina and Brazil and offers some of the best beaches in South America along with some rather lovely beach hotels where you can step straight out onto the golden sands.
Montevideo – For Vibrant City Beaches
Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay. The city itself revolves around the Plaza de la Independencia, which leads to the old town with art deco buildings and Spanish colonial homes. The Solis Theatre is the oldest in South America and there are numerous cinemas reflecting Montevideo’s stars as the centre of Uruguay’s film industry. The Rambla is one of the longest beachside esplanades in the world (27km long) and an important part of the life of the town. Perfect for posing, walking or even rollerskating at any time of day.
Stay at the Hyatt Centric Montevideo which is ideally located in the charming Pocitos area, just steps from beautiful sandy beaches. This modern hotel offers rooms that start at a very generous 37-45 square metres and feature a separate seating area with floor to ceiling windows. Deluxe rooms are larger and feature a kitchenette. It is well worth paying a little extra for a Club room, which provides access to the lounge with a light breakfast, evening drinks and canapés included – for diamond members of Hyatt Gold Passport, this benefit is included when booking all room types. Hyatt Centric Montevideo also features in my best hotels in Montevideo.
To burn off the delicious food from the hotel’s restaurants, there is a well-equipped pool and gym or you can enjoy a jog along the Rambla pathway, which runs along the Uruguayan coast.
Cabo Polonio – Peaceful & Romantic
This peaceful stretch of coast is just under 4 hours drive from Montevideo and is made up from two sandy beaches, separated by a rocky headland. This chic coastal resort has a beautiful beach with an iconic rusted shipwreck to the west.
Further west will bring you to Pueblo Barrancas offering cabañas-on-stilts, set amidst a sloping forest next to the beach. From here, you can walk the 2km into town for dinner and back again, barefoot along the sand.
Punta del Este – For Partygoers
This high-rise party town is also known as the “Miami of South America”. It offers some of the best beaches in Uruguay worthy of a film-set and is bordered by an urban conurbation. At night party-goers are attracted to the clubs in La Barra to the east or Punta Ballena to the west.
Jose Ignacio – For Chic Millionaires
40 kilometers away from the Peninsula of Punta del Este, this fishing village turned jetsetter hotspot enjoys similarly good beaches but is not scarred by ugly high rises. With the reputation as one of the most fashionable beach resorts in Latin America, expect a high-net-worth luxury travellers booking into the chic villas.
The main luxury hotel nearby Punta del Este is Estancia VIK José Ignacio, sitting on 4,000 acres in the rolling countryside of José Ignacio. This Spanish colonial-style building offers 50,000 square foot of white adobe walls and red tin roofs with covered walkways linking multiple outdoor courtyards and gardens. 12 suites come with expansive patios featuring outdoor seating areas. Although you cannot step straight out to the beach from Estancia Vik José Ignacio, this remains the perfect base from which to enjoy the pristine beaches, nature and rugged landscape in a relaxed, bohemian poolside setting.
Punta del Diablo – A Surfers Dream
This remote surfing town can be found near the Brazilian border and offers great surfing throughout the year. It’s hedonistic reputation and extensive beaches means that it attracts backpackers – apparently around 20,000 in the summer – so accommodation is not as luxury as most of our readers would require. Try Rosi and Martin’s Vía Verde eco bed & breakfast. This unique accommodation is more barefoot than luxury but remains the best place to stay in this hedonistic town.
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