Jose Ignacio, Uruguay
Jose Ignacio beaches, vibe, restaurants, shops and people make long travel days well worth it!!
- More about your oliver guide: Honey Nachman
- Trip type: Adult, Family, Beach
- Activity level: moderate
- Ideal length of trip: 1 week
to & from
We flew to Punte Del Este from the Jorge Newbery Airport, known as Aeroparque (AEP) which was only 10 minutes from the Buenos Aires Four Seasons (not Ministro Pistarini International Airport, Ezeiza (EZE)). December is the height of their season and there are limited rental cars so plan ahead!
- You need a car to get into town, the various beaches and GARZON.
Where to Stay
You have to book early and most places require a week stay. We booked two rooms at https://www.casasuaya.com/EN/home.html which is a lovely, rustic, boutique hotel. The staff couldn’t have been friendlier and more helpful. They booked all of our lunch and dinner reservations. We had a deluxe ocean view room on the second floor and our teenagers had a room on the first floor with twin beds. The pool is a nice respite after a day of surfing or day drinking. Its not luxurious, but peaceful.
- Do not book the family bungalow with teenagers. It is situated on the parking lot, with no view and small bedrooms. If you go with small children, it would be fine.
- The owner hosted a complimentary New Years Eve party with a DJ and fireworks. It was fabulous.
- If we had gone without the kids, we would have stayed at either Bahia Vik or Playa Vik, but I believe its 3X the price.
Where to Eat and Drink
- La Huella (sounds like La Huegshia.) Everything is in Spanish– waiters don’t really speak English, so brush up on your Spanish menus. I had the catch of the day, Seabass, kids had pizzas, Annie had delicious gazpacho and sushi and guys had steaks (entrecôte.) We had lots of Clericot (white sangria.) Sangria is red wine sangria.
- Mostrado Santa Teresita which is a fabulous spot inland where you order drinks at the outside bar while you wait and then you get either a small or large plate and load it with 2 or 3 salads and a protein. It was one of our favorites. Reminds us of Ottelenghi in London.
- La Olada-We LOVED Olada-very cool local spot. Request an outdoor table. Former chefs of La Huella opened it. Typical local fare of seafood and steaks.
- Garzón, a Francis Mallmann, restaurant, an hour from Jose Ignacio. On our way, we stopped at Estancia Vik to check it out. The manager gave us a tour of the very cool remote property-a total getaway. Garzón was phenomenal. We sat by the pool while locals and foodies flocked. We had the zucchini salad, which was amazing, the grilled bread (which is famous), gazpacho and rack of lamb, steak and tagliatelle. The meal was extremely expensive but the experience and the food was #worthit.
- Marismo. We had dinner our last night here. It was excellent-kind of Italian inspired Uruguayan food. Highly recommend!
- La Susana is the casual restaurant at Bahia Vic. Food was good. We didn’t order, but the sushi boat looked amazing. Ambience was very hip and we felt old, because the music was loud. We recommend-would also be a fun lunch spot.
- Kids had a few meals at Las Crepas while we dined elsewhere-they loved the savory and sweet crepes.
What to Do
Surfing is great in Jose Ignacio. We tried to get surf boards on New Years Eve day but they were sold out so the kids went boogie boarding and we chilled on the beach. We recommend renting boards in La Barra for the week. Or there is a surf shack on the town beach where the surf ranges from beginner to experienced. There are instructors for lessons, which our kids loved.
- The shopping is amazing!! Our faves were: Anushka Elliot (cute linens) El Canuta (we bought local colorful ponchos and great tops here. It’s next to Playa Vic) La Estena (great home goods. We bought a cashmere throw/blanket) Nimo with Love (a pop up store, based in Munich Germany-great caftans sold in Palm Beach, Nantucket etc) Surfin Uruguay (nice, more expensive sweaters)
- Beach Hop
- Day trip to Punte Del Este
- Lunch at Garzon is a must and a visit to the vineyard--you need reservations early.
- Yoga at Shack Yoga--opened half the year in Bridgehampton and the other in Jose Ignacio.
- Brush up on your Spanish. You are far from home and it’s fun to speak Spanish with the locals.
- When you make reservations, have the concierge request outdoor tables.
Popei was not good-Do Not Recommend-English menus, bad hamburgers, individual airplane wine bottles-very turista.
What to Pack
Jose Ignacio is the Hamptons of South America. Bring your stylish resort ware, bathing suits, rash guard and enthusiastic attitude. It can be cool at night. We bought locally hand knit ponchos and cashmere throws to wear at night. Leave room in your bag for things you purchase.