(includes Garzon, Jose Ignacio, Laguna del Sauce, La Pedrera, Rocha, San Antonio & San Ignacio)
BARS & NIGHTCLUBS
●Cero – Ruta 10, Km 161 (La Barra); sleek bar; only open in December-February.
●Conrad Casino – Avenida Barritz y Rambla Claudio Willman, Parada 4; 011-598-4249-1111; conrad.com.uy; very dressy.
●Darwin – Calle Principal (La Pedrera, just off); 011-598-4479-2271; parillada decorated with artfully mismatched antiques; try caipiroska.
●Moby Dick – Rambla Artigas (between 10th & 12th); 011-598-4244-1240; no-frills Irish pub.
●Olinda – Rambla Costanera (La Pedrera); 011-598-4479-2275; olindalapedrera.blogspot.com; cozy spot with brick walls, vintage tiles, and wooden chairs; back patio open until 3 a.m.
●Santas Negras – corner of Saiz Martinez & Los Lobos (Jose Ignacio); 011-598-4486-2409.
●Playa del Barco Beach – La Pedrera; rusty cargo ship on beach makes for good pictures.
●Playa Bikini – Ruta 10 (between La Barra & Manantiales).
●La Caracola – San Ignacio; exclusive island maintains VIP guest list by controlling access to in small row boats that link guests to mainland.
●Playa Montoya – Ruta 10 (between La Barra & Manantiales).
●Playa La Pedrera – La Pedrera.
●Arbol – Faro de Jose Ignacio (Jose Ignacio); 011-598-424-8622; arbolcasaloft.com; in village center; elegant guesthouse with 6 loft-style suites and new pool area.
●Bahia Vik – San Ignacio; 011-598-9460-5212 or 011-598-9460-5314; marazulvillas.com/en/hotel-bahia-vik or vikretreats.com.
●Brisas – Ruta 10, km 229 (La Pedrera); 011-598-4479-2265; brisasdelapedrera.com; boutique hotel; 14-room property; no telephones or televisions.
●Hotel Art Las Cumbres – Ruta 12, Km 3.5 (Laguna del Sauce); 011-598-4257-8689; cumbers.com.uy; elegantly quirky lodging overlooking ocean and countryside.
●L’Auberge – Carnoustie y Avenida del Agua; 011-598-4248-3408; laubergehotel.com.
●Casa Suaya – Ruta 10, km 186.5; 011-598-486-2750; casasuaya.com; secluded hotel facing Atlantic Ocean, with 16 stone-walled bungalows and 3 thatch-roof bungalows.
●Club Hotel Casapueblo – Punta Ballena (Avenida Barritz y Antiga, Parada 4); 011-598-4249-1111; clubhotel.com.ar; must see hotel; Moorish.
●Estancia Vik Jose Ignacio – Camino Eugenio Saiz Martinez Km 8; 011-598-94-605-212; vikretreats.com; Uruguayan artists given free rein.
●Fasano Las Piedras – Camino Cerro Egusquiza y Paso del Barranco (La Barra); 011-598-4267-0000; laspiedrasfasano.com; beautifully restored 1970s ranch-house on breathtaking land; Brazilian restaurateur-hotelier Rogério Fasano property; hotel, serviced villas, and spa, arrayed across 1.2K dells, forest glades, and pastures; all-day Italian restaurant in century-old farmhouse; granite-ringed grotto includes spring-fed rock swimming area; Brutalist concrete exteriors merge with surrounding rocks; inside, clean lines pay homage to ‘50s Brazilian design; untiring staff will shuttle beach-bound guests to coast, prepare hamper for picnic in woods or fire up Jet Skis on private river stretch; guests return to sip fruit-laden cocktails at poolside bar and watch sunset.
●Hotel El Garzon – Plaza Pueblo Garzon (Garzon); 011-598-4410-2811; restaurantegarzon.com; 30 minutes (on dirt road) from San Ignacio; part-owned and fully overseen by Argentina’s most famous chef, Francis Mallmann (Mallmann is to San Jose Ignacio what Bugsy Siegel was to Las Vegas); Garzon is scaled down, inland operation; small luxury guesthouse with 5 rooms; from arched fireplaces (lit in winter) to freestanding bathtubs, all rustic luxury; king–size mattresses; fresh fruit from hotel’s own farm in rooms; cable TV, efficient room service and fancy toiletries; none of 5 rooms is large; lovely patio herb garden and swimming pool; at center is large brazier, filled with wood and left burning for most evenings; room rate covers full board and wine (courtesy of boutique bodega Finca La Anita).
●Mantra Resort – Ruta 10, Parada 48; 011-598-4277-1000; mantraresort.com; modern manor nestled in woodlands minutes from beach, “spectacular.”
●Playa Vik Jose Ignacio – Los Cisnes; 011-598-94-605-212; vikretreats.com; sculptural glass and titanium main building has cantilevered pool that juts out to ocean; surrounded by 6 green-roofed casitas; ask for Pablo Casacuberta’s colorful suite (graffiti’d) or Eduardo Cardozo’s minimalist casita.
●Posada Buscavida – Ruta 10, km 254 (Rocha, at Oceania del Polonio); 011-598-4470-5207; posadabuscavida.com.ar; among 1st and most secluded boutique lodgings in Rocha; 10 austere rooms and not-so-austere clubhouse; bar and restaurant; can arrange horseback rides to Cabo Polonio.
●Posada del Faro – Calle de la Bahia & Timonel; 011-598-486-2110; posadadelfaro.com; Mediterranean-style rooms surrounding small pool that faces beautiful bay.
●Posada San Antonio – Ruta 10, km 234 (San Antonio); 011-598-4470-9143; sanantonio.com.uy; chic yet rough-hewn 4-room guesthouse; surrounded by eucalyptus and pine forest; beach is 5 minute walk away; restaurant.
●Belcampo – Ruta 9, km 160.5 (Garzon); 011-598-4486-2277; belcampoinc.com.uy; biodynamic (whatever) farm by slowfood activist ("); traditional asado or barbecue.
●Bodega Garzon – Ruta 9, km 175 (Garzon); 011-598-9139-2687; bodegagarzon.com; gorgeously landscaped winery 3 miles outside town; part of sprawling, 10K acre ranch.
●La Bourgogne – Pedragosa Sierra y Avenida del Mar; 011-598-4248-2007; relaischateaux.com; classic French cuisine.
●Butia – Ruta 10, km 186.5 (at Casa Suaya Hotel); 011-598-486-2750; casasuaya.com; opens on to infinity pool with ocean views; serves brick oven sea bass and other local specialties.
●La Caracola – on private island, accessible only by boat; 011-598-942-3015; paradorlacaracola.com; seafood.
●Lo de Charlie – Calle 11 y 9; 011-598-444-183; colorful; sushi, as well as grilled seafood.
●Lo de Charlie – Rambla Costanera (La Pedrera); 011-598-4479-2271; outpost of Punta del Este seafood establishment; smaller but equally colorful; sushi, as well as grilled seafood.
●Cafe Flo – Ruta 10 Km. 161 (La Barra); delicious sandwiches on fresh baked bread.
●Darwin – Calle Principal (La Pedrera, just off); 011-598-4479-2271; parillada decorated with artfully mismatched antiques.
●Don Polidoro – Pedragosa Sierra y La Paloma; 011-598-4248-0898; best steakhouse in town.
●Restaurante Garzon – Plaza Pueblo Garzon (Garzon); 011-598-4410-2811; restaurantegarzon.com; Francis Mallmann’s award-winning chow rarely disappoints; fresh products brought from coastal fisheries and hotel’s farm daily.
●La Huella – Playa Brava; 011-598-486-2279; paradorlahuella.com; book afternoon table; popular beach shack notable for fried calamari and cleric (local white-wine sangria).
●Lucifer – Camino a la Estacion Curiel (Garzon); 011-598-9925-5249; restaurantlucifer.com; operated by young Buenos Aires chef.
●Marismo – Ruta 10, km 185; 011-598-486-2273; known for tasty lamb and rough-hewn décor of wood tables in sand; lit by candles and heated by bonfire.
●Mostrador Santa Teresita – Las Garzas y Las Calandrias (José Ignacio); old favorite re-booted by renowned Argentine chef Fernando Trocca; casual, airy restaurant full of fresh salads, grains & seafood or meat entrée, open for breakfast & lunch; leave room for dessert & choose among house specialities with dulce de leche.
●Namm – Ruta 10, km 185; 011-598-486-2526; referred by some as “treehouse” because its log structure is surrounded by dense forest; grilled meat and sushi.
●Los Negros – Los Teros y Costanera del Faro; 011-598-42-486-2091; South American cuisine.
●Olinda – Rambla Costanera; 011-598-4479-2275; olindalapedrera.blogspot.com; cozy spot with brick walls, vintage tiles, and wooden chairs; well-executed international dishes.
●Posada San Antonio – Ruta 10, km 234 (San Antonio); 011-598-4470-9143; sanantonio.com.uy; only restaurant in San Antonio; fresh fish.
●Santas Negras – Jose Igancio; corner of Saiz Martinez & Los Lobos; 011-598-4486-2409; boutique.
●Alium – Plaza Pueblo Garzon (Garzon); 011-598-9912-8672; alium.com.uy; accessories, clothing, and fabric.
●Belcampo – Ruta 9, km 160.5 (Garzon); 011-598-4486-2277; belcampoinc.com.uy; biodynamic (whatever) farm by slowfood activist ("); heritage produce; cooking classes.
●Freccero – Avenida Gorlero; 011-598-4244-1219; high end souvenirs, only open in season.
●Magma – Calle 20 (between 27th & 28th Avenidas); 011-598-4244-1273; modern boutique.
●Mutate – Cafe de la Place (Jose Ignacio, in front of plaza); 011-598-42-486-2585; mutate.com.uy; stylish men's and women's clothing.
●Plaza Artigas – open plaza with stalls that sell jewelry and leather goods.
●Trench Gallery – Ruta 10 Km 161 (La Barra); 011-598-42-771-597; trenchgallery.com.
●Dorina Vidoni – Ruta 10 Km 160 (La Barra); 011-598-42-772-065; dorinavidoni.com; designer, knitwear for women.
SIGHTS & SITES
●Cabo Polonio – Rocha; protected sand-dune reserve.
●Casapueblo – Punta Ballena (Whale Point); noted Uruguayan artist, Carlos Paez Vilaro’s home; built as “homage” to artist’s son’s (Carlitos Paez) survival (1 of 16) of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571’s crash; now “citadel-sculputre,” including art gallery, Hotel Casapueblo, and museum; built around tin box (La Pionera); includes restaurant named Las Terrazas.
●Galeria del Paseo – Manantiales; 011-598-42-9445-7506; galeriadelpaseo.com; go-to gallery for works by contemporary Uruguayan artists.
●Pablo Atchugarry Foundation – El Chorro, Ruta 104 Km 4.500 (Manantiales); 011-598-42-775-563; fundacionpabloatchugarry.com; museum and sculpture park; cluster of cubic glass and white-painted buildings.
●Ralli Museum – Curupay y Los Arachanes (Becerly Hills); 011-598-4248-3476; rallimuseums.org; only open in summer (December); paintings and sculptures by Latin American artists, as well as European; entrance free; closed Mondays.