My Latin America Trip travel blog

Choppy ferry crossing to Montevideo

Punta del Este sunset strip

Fingers Beach

Hands Off Muzz!

Overlooking Bikini Beach

Bikini Beach

Christmas display at Conrad Hotel

This was the reason the Time Out Guide to Bs.As. gives its readers for visiting Punta del Este, a seaside resort in Uruguay! It also went on to say 'don't go expecting deep and meaningful conversation' (I had my friend Muzz with me, so wasn't expecting that anyway - just kidding Muzz!)....and 'woe betide mere mortals with their extra kilos, who commit the social faux pas of heading to Bikini Beach hoping to relax with a book' - oh no, when Muzz suggested a few days at the beach, that was exactly my intention!

During our flying 3-day visit to Uruguay, Muzz and I checked out the millionaires playground that is Punta del Este, on the south eastern coast, and after a long and choppy 3-hour ferry ride to Montevideo, followed by a 2-hour bus journey we arrived in 'Munta del Este' (as we later renamed it!) All the guide books told us it is a famous resort where the beautiful people of Argentina, who prepare all year, go to parade their toned, tanned and temple-like bodies along the white sandy beaches - the most popular seaside resort in Latin America.

We soon discovered that we had arrived out of season and 1 week too early, which was actually not so bad, as we revelled in the fact that WE were the most beautiful people in town!

It was windy and rainy when we arrived, but thankfully the sun shone on Thursday, and we set off for Bikini Beach, a short bus journey out of town. A local women on the bus told us when to get off, but it soon became apparent that we had got off far too early, and as we began our 5km hike we resolved that she was a Bikini Beach babe wannabee, and didn't actually know where the beautiful people hang out at all! Either that or she decided we were not elligible for that particular section of the beach! Anyway, we walked up the beach and some 45 mins later, made a hot, bedraggled, sweaty and sunburnt entrance onto the beach - not quite how we had envisaged arriving on the hippest beach in South America, although thankfully Muzz managed to don his (especially purchased) 'Munta' sunnies just in time!

It was our good fortune that the beach was quiet and so our highly un-chic entrance had gone unnoticed. We also found lots of 'mere mortals' committing the ultimate faux pas of having their heads in their books. I was happy to join them but couldn't help wondering.....had it been 1 week later, would I have been escorted off the beach by a tall, dark and handsome lifeguard, patrolling the beach waiting for such crimes to be committed....mmmmm, perhaps I'll return next week ;o)

Enjoyed a few hours of sun and ventured a little way into the sea, but the waves were quite big and quite vicious, and after being swept clean off my feet twice and thrown head first into the water, I decided to return to my sarong and soak up some rays instead!

Whilst exploring on our way back to the hotel we acquired ourselves a stray dog, and then had the challenge of losing her. We could not shake her off however hard we tried and must have looked quite a spectacle to anyone watching us, as we ran and hid around corners to try and confuse and lose her! In the end, whilst she was on the beach, and frantically working out how to get through the waves that were coming in, and get back up to the promenade (and to us) we ran at break-neck speed up the road, and into the local Disco supermarket! The staff were a little suspicious and bemused I think, but we were pleased to have lost pooch - mission accomplished!

Re-reading the above, I'm not sure if this is one of those 'you had to be there to appreciate it' moments?!?!

Sunset in 'Munta' is a very sociable affair - all the locals venture down to the waters edge with their friends and family and the obligatory Mate (a traditional herbal drink made with yerba and drunk from a leather cup through a metal straw/spoon-like device) & flasks of hot water to top up their cups.

We enjoyed some delicious seafood in restaurants overlooking the water. On the first night we dined at the Yacht Club and on the second night we dined whilst being serenaded by some jazz musicians in a restaurant overlooking the marina. I had a wonderful prawn risotto!

We both burnt a little in the sun, so I was pleased to be sitting on a bus for most of the following day, for my journey to Colonia......

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