Honeymoon Hot Spot: Punta del Este, Uruguay

A few weeks ago, we shared why Buenos Aires, Argentina, is a red-hot destination for honeymoons. We’re crossing over the equator again, this time to neighboring Uruguay, whose coastal resort town of Punta del Este is home to some of South America’s prettiest beaches and vineyards, best restaurants, and most exciting nightlife. What more could you want in a honeymoon destination?

Honeymoon Hot Spot Punta del Este

Image courtesy of The Grand Hotel Punta del Este

Whether you spend your whole vacation in Punta del Este or visit as a pre- or post-Argentina add-on (it’s less than an hour’s flight from Buenos Aires), you’ll fall in love with the town’s luxe but laid-back vibe. Here are a few hot spots for a perfect Punta del Este honeymoon.

Where to Stay

The Grand Hotel Punta del Este

Honeymoon Hot Spot Punta del Este | Weddings Illustrated

Image courtesy of The Grand Hotel Punta del Este

The Grand is a modern, sparkling hotel overlooking beautiful Brava Beach. Opened just a year ago, it was designed with a minimalist aesthetic and bright, sunlit interiors. It has a chic outdoor pool and patio, a tranquil spa, an indoor pool, a gym, a Mediterranean-style restaurant, and a lobby café and bar serving delicious Uruguayan wines, fresh pasta, fish dishes, and more—including a daily waffle happy hour in the afternoons. (If you’re a product junkie, you’ll love the Acqua di Parma toiletries in your bathroom.) The best part? You can stroll out the front door and across the street to Brava Beach, a wide, soft stretch of shore that offers photo opps aplenty.

What to See and Do

Honeymoon Hot Spot Punta del Este | Weddings Illustrated

Image via Instagram

There’s a lot to see and do in Punta del Este and the area around it. If you want to take a break from the beach and see what else the area has to offer, hire a private guide to take you around. A few can’t-miss stops? Check out “La Mano,” the famous hand-shaped sculpture by Chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal on Brava Beach, just a few minutes’ drive from The Grand (don’t forget your selfie stick!). If you’re a true art buff, make the 30-minute drive northeast to Maldonado, where you’ll find Fundación Pablo Atchugarry, site of the Uruguayan sculptor’s studio, sculpture garden, and gallery. If the timing is right, you might find the artist hard at work in his studio, but even if he’s not there, a stroll through the foundation’s whimsical sculpture park is worth a visit. To catch one of Punta del Este’s most spectacular sunsets, take a taxi or ask your guide to drive you to Casapueblo (pictured above) in Punta Ballena, a 30-minute drive northwest of the hotel. The quirky cliffside structure is the home and studio of the late artist Carlos Páez Vilaró. At Casapueblo, you can catch a short film about the artist’s life and work and shop for prints and other colorful pieces of art, but come time for sunset, its oceanview café’s terrace is the place to be. There, you can sip espresso and nibble on sandwiches or share a bottle of local wine while you watch the fiery sun dip below the horizon. (¡Qué romántico!)

Where to Eat and Drink

Honeymoon Hot Spot Punta del Este | Weddings Illustrated

Image courtesy of Alto de la Ballena

There’s no shortage of excellent restaurants in and around Punta del Este, and they range from luxurious, once-in-a-lifetime experiences to more affordable authentic fare. If you’re drawn to celebrity chefs and don’t mind an hour-long drive, don’t miss Argentinian chef Francis Mallmann’s Garzon, which serves dishes made from regionally sourced ingredients and fish, as well as top-shelf Argentinian and Uruguayan wine. There’s a hotel on site, so book an overnight stay if you want to linger over your amazing meal. A 45-minute drive northeast from Punta del Este will take you to the tony and trendy resort hamlet of José Ignacio, which is home to La Huella, one of Uruguay’s—perhaps South America’s—most sought-after spots. Barefoot elegance best describes the beachfront restaurant, whose menu is packed with fresh seafood and creatively prepared produce. Just be prepared to make a reservation many months in advance if you plan to go. Back in Punta del Este, Lo de Tere is located directly across from the beach and offers pillowy pasta and light-as-air fish, plus plenty more mouthwatering options. And for one of the most romantic experiences to be had in Punta del Este, head north to Alto de la Ballena (pictured above), a picture-perfect winery tucked in the hills of Maldonado. Visits are by appointment only, and be sure to bring some cash—after tasting its delicious Tannat, Rosé, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah, you’ll want to stock up on bottles to take back home.

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