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ahdzp Apr 13th, 2005 06:34 AM

Our Trip to Punta del Este
We went there on March 28 (low-low season) and just for three days.

We took the buquebus from Buenos Aires and the trip is around 3 hrs, very nice and comfortable... from Montevideo station we took a 4hrs tour around the city with a remises driver (Julio Madero, Soccer fan and Buquebus recommendation) who showed us some of the highlights of the city, The Cathedral, Plazas, Estadio Centenario (Soccer Stadium), Parks, Beaches, The Market, etc. the tour ended at the Airport where we got our rental car (Hertz, car wit 70K Kms, kind of old) and drove to Punta del Este that is 1 1/2 hrs. the driving is so EASY, roads are good and even that we had a map, we got easy to our hotel only with the "Hertz guys info".

We stayed at Hotel L'Auberge which is in NOT in the hotels zone, is near (around three blocks) from Playa Brava. The hotel is GREAT, very european, think about a B&B, the room was small but charming, the garden is beautiful, you can walk and smell the lavander, the sitting areas (public) with fresh roses makes you think of home... the staff was very helpful, they were calling some restaurants to let us know what was open (remember low, low, low season).

They serve breakfast at the breakfast room, garden or your room, from 8-11 am. That includes, fruit, juices, cereal, milk, yogurt, scones, and other pastries... we loved a specialty bread called "vigilantes" so good, the coffee is also very good.

The weather wasn't very good, around 60F and sometimes cloudy, we use the hot tub and the swimming pool only once... the beaches were wild so we didn't go.

Punta was kind of empty but ok, we liked it... we visit "El Museo del Mar" (sea museum) in La Barra, that I think was a highlihgt because looks like a very SMALL place but is very good, different (please do not think of a big museum). We also visit JOse Ignacio which is a small village around 15 mins from Punta, there is a Lighthouse and lots of restaurants (most of them opens only weekends and summertime), we loved to see the houses here, smaller than in Punta but with a lot of character.

We also visit Punta Ballenas, were you can have a great view of Punta and the most memorable thing: CASAPUEBLO that is so beautiful place, we had some drinks there.

I got some recommendations for restaurants (here in Fodors) about LOs Negros in Jose Ignacio (closed), LOs Caracoles, and El Ciclista... however, at the hotel we met two ladies from Montevideo that told us about "Lo de Tere" (heard here too), "Bungalow suizo" (closed) and we went to "Lo de Tere" our two nights there!!!

We loved "Lo de Tere", is expensive but so good, some restaurants have special deals, our first night we got 20% off because we were there before 9pm... second night we got 40% off because we were one of the first four tables ( I loved the low low low season).

Also went to Punta Shopping and didn't like it, shopping is better in Buenos Aires and less expensive.

About the Conrad, is big and kind of Vegas hotel, we were glad we didn't stay there, is true that has better location (right at Playa Mansa and near downtown) but doesn't have character, is so big and looked so empty, also we checked the casino and didn't look as big as the hotel (we do not gamble).

People is very friendly, Punta is so european, I think of Puerto Banus or Marbella, also is more expensive than Buenos Aires.

We drove back to Montevideo Airport, then took a taxi to the buquebus... I strongly suggest if you are going to Punta RENT A CAR.

Pd. L'Auberge have this rule that each room has 100 lts of hot water every two hours, I got scared because I love hot water but we NEVER run out of hot water.

ahdzp Apr 13th, 2005 06:41 AM

We liked Punta del Este and we were glad we only spend three days there... Been there, done that.

Graziella5b Apr 13th, 2005 02:43 PM

Hi ahdzp, I enjoyed your trip report ...I live in the US but spent many years in Punta when I was a young girl. Now we do go there once in a while. Everything you said is totally true I am sorry you were not able to go to the beach, any of them? because they are really good with good weather. I am happy you liked the L'Auberge, it is a nice place, I feel the same as you do. When I was young Punta del Este was of course tiny and everything an ambiance similar to L'Auberge. .
Let 's us say ALL PPunta was like L'Auberge and not like the Conrad. We used to go the Auberge with our dates to have tea and Belgium waffles, those were careless times, we had fun, but no drugs or total madness as to-day..
By the way we also enjoyed Lo de Tere, it was high season when we dinned there nevertheless we also got a discount for being the second table of the evening. I enjoyed the food a lot there.
Sailing, fishing all those water sports are part of PUnta and I wish you had had an opportunity to enjoy them. You did pretty well and I am happy. Indeed a good report.

ahdzp Apr 13th, 2005 03:59 PM

Hi Graziella5B:

I'm sure that you told me to stay at L'Auberge and not at the Conrad... THANKS, excellent choice, we are in our 30's and love to go out but didn't like the Conrad, Punta is small and unique, so you have to be in unique places like L'Auberge, Lo de Tere, El MUseo del Mar, etc.

Let me tell you that we have to go back because they just have the waffles on weekends (low season) and we were there on weekdays.

Do you know the recipe for the vigilantes? I loved it. so good. I got real honey from an Artesano in a Park and peanut butter, so good too.

Graziella5b Apr 13th, 2005 09:44 PM

Hi, You are saying that you followed my advise and stayed at L'Auberge?, I am very happy that you found it a good advise.:-)
I am a little confused with the vigilantes, are
they long and thin,crispy and have a little sugar on top? I shall try to find the recipe for you ....a lot of the ambiance of Punta is to join friends and sports too....

ahdzp Apr 14th, 2005 06:36 AM

Hi Graziella5b:

Yes, we are talking about the same Vigilantes, the ones in L'Auberge have also honey on top mmmmmmmm

If you find the recipe let me know, I speak spanish so I do not need the recipe in english,however, some of our Fodorites friends may be interested.

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