When you say you’re going to Punta, you really mean the 50 km stretch of beachfront in the South of Uruguay, which includes the town of Punta del Este, La Barra, Manantiales and Jose Ignacio. It’s the kind of place where everyone is happy: older people hang out leisurely in their houses and the kids overpopulate the beaches and local bars. Hitchhiking is legal – we picked up three 17-year old Argentinian boys with a bottle of vodka; prices are comparable to New York – we were asked to pay $100 to enter a club and got asked to leave when we protested; private parties require pre-mailed wrist bands for entry – I missed the Lacoste party because all wristbands had been distributed and well, no one knew who the hell I was; the sea water is cold, like the Hamptons; croissants are called “half moons” and are drenched in syrup – I gained 5 pounds in 1 week!!
My top 3 must-dos in Punta include 1. La Huella restaurant, where we dined a few times, bumped into familiar faces and held my intimate birthday dinner. 2. Soho, a sushi restaurant/mini-club by the port where we danced our asses off and mingled with 20-somethings and 3. the giant sea lions that comfortably have their picture taken while waiting for fish bits to fall off the fisherman’s tables. I was so sad when I didn’t make it to Isla de Lobos; this little island is full of them!
One thing is sure. If I ever have a teenage child, I am sending it off to Punta all summer. It’s the perfect spot to be young, even if you’re not.