5 Photographs That Will Inspire You To Travel To Uruguay

Your insider’s guide to Uruguay, photograph edition!

Nicknamed “La Celeste,” Uruguay is a true must-visit paradisiac destination. It may be the smallest country in South America, but it is certainly not the least interesting. Bordered between the two South American giants: Argentina and Brazil, Uruguay is known for its peacefulness and breathtaking landscapes. From its fine sandy beaches to the verdant forests, by way of its tropical climate, Uruguay carries its nickname well.

 

Photo by Guilherme Roveda Hellwinkel on Unsplash

Uruguay was discovered in 1516 by Spanish adventures but the country’s colonization only started around 1624 when Jesuit missionaries founded a mission near Rio Negro. At that time, Uruguay was populated by an indigenous tribe, the Charruas. In spite of the Spanish’s colonization attempts, the Charruas kept discouraging their efforts. Unfortunately in 1680, the Portuguese defeated the Spanish and founded the town of Colonia del Sacramento. In 1778, Spain succeeded in grabbing Uruguay from Portugal after a long war, in which almost every member of the Charruas was massacred. The country was conquered by the Portuguese from Brazil in 1817, and it is only in 1825 that Uruguay declared its independence with Argentina’s help.

Punta Ballena

uruguay
Casapueblo. Punta Ballena. Photo by Ernesto Velázquez on Unsplash

First on the list, is Punta Ballena! This small peninsula on the southeast border is an important tourist attraction and for good reason! Punta Ballena is known for Casapueblo, a rare architectural work of art. Formerly known for being – the Uruguayan painter – Carlos Vilaro’s workshop, Casapueblo now comprises of a museum, hotel, and a few boutiques. Nicknamed the “live sculpture,” Casapueblo was carved in white stone and consists of a waterfall of small houses heaped on top of each other. As his inspiration, Vilaro relied on his exotic travels and the regional bird’s nest: rufous hornero. With a breathtaking view on the ocean, a Greek similitude, and a multitude of white balconies, Casapueblo is definitely a unique site where you can enjoy a cocktail or a delectable dinner.

Playa Mansa

Playa Mansa
Playa Mansa. Photo by Gonzalo Facello on Unsplash

Boasting calmness and steadiness, Playa Mansa is said to symbolize Uruguay’s best qualities. The word Mansa, meaning “calm” in Spanish, perfectly describes this beach. With small crowds and tranquil warm waters, it is a family favorite. For those craving adventure, you can rent any water sport equipment, including: jet skis, canoes, paddleboards, and boats. For the first timers, however, beware of the jellyfish! Be sure to ask the locals! Numerous kiosks and bars – serving local specialties- are situated along the beach, allowing you to discover regional dishes. With a luxurious background encompassing five-star hotels and lavish restaurants, the boardwalk is perfect for a sunset promenade.

Palacio Salvo

Palacio Salvo
Palacio Salvo. Photo by Guillermo Vuljevas on Unsplash

Built in 1928, Palacio Salvo was considered to be the tallest building in Latin America at its inauguration. Located in Uruguay’s capital – Montevideo – the Palacio was designed by the Italian architect, Mario Palanti and is locally described as “a lighthouse on top of a building,” even though the lighthouse was replaced by antennas. The 26-story high building encompasses an impressive number of rooms, believed to be lived in by a unique clientele. Although tourists are simply allowed to visit the lobby, if you ever get the chance to wander the floors, do not be surprised to find courtesans conducting business. Admiring the plaza from the streets is also worth a try as most of its beauty is on the outside anyway. Formerly intended to serve as a luxurious hotel, it was converted into apartments and offices. Palacio Salvo is truly an exceptional display of gothic architecture that cannot be found in any other part of the world.

Isla de Lobos

Isla de Lobos in Uruguay
Isla de Lobos in Uruguay. FACEBOOK Latin Odyssey

This adorable fur island will make you fall in love with this country! Five miles off the coast of Punta Del Este is where you will find the largest colony of sea lions and fur seals in the western hemisphere. Since 1992, Isla de Lobos is part of the Coastal Islands National Park considered as a natural reserve. The island is made up of small tide pools where baby fur seals and sea lions can learn to swim. Along with these magnificent sea creatures, the island is also home to elephant seals, numerous birds, and a whale-watching spot. Although these creatures are the primary population on the island, Isla de Lobos also houses the third tallest lighthouse in the world, built in 1858. With over 1,500 sea lions and 250,000 South American fur seals, this island is a truly one-of-a-kind experience. To reach the island, boats depart from Punta Del Este’s harbor every day.

Punta Del Este

Punta Del Este
Photo by Pedro Slinger on Unsplash

Finally, Punta Del Este is the coastal city that cannot be ignored when visiting La Celeste! It is one of Uruguay’s most popular resorts with its incredible beaches, stimulating museums, and busy nightlife. Being one of the most important hubs for luxury developments, Punta Del Este offers boutiques, wellness retreats, golf courses, spas, five-star hotels, and Michelin star restaurants. But, Punta represents also the perfect combination between city and natural life. During the right season you can spot whales and orcas, or even rent a boat to go swimming with the sea lions. Punta’s beaches are world-renowned for accommodating your every need: Playa Mansa for a calm afternoon, and the beaches of La Barra and Plata Brava for surfing due to the strong current. Furthermore, as Uruguay is one of the safest countries in Latin America, Punta Del Este is one of the most secure cities. Many people come to Punta because of its security and naturalness. What are you waiting for?

Eve has family in Uruguay and tries to go every 2 years.

Eve McGuardian

Contributor

Eve was born and raised in NYC and later on, moved to Paris. She grew up in an international home and is fluent in both French and English. Every chance she gets, she travels; either to discover a new culture or as a volunteer in an organization. The most memorable cities she has been to are: Ischia, a little island off the coast of Naples for the people, Istanbul for the culture, and Paris for the architecture.

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