It sounded more like an upscale tequila brand than a chill beach town, yet everyone told me that Jose Ignacio was the “Montauk of Uruguay.” I know that comparison comes off as a vast generalization – it is! – and fails to acknowledge the natural beauty and cultural texture of the region…. so let me explain:
If you’ve ever been to Crow’s Nest in Montauk, then La Huella in Jose Ignacio will have you deja vu-ing. Even Sean MacPherson cites the beachfront restaurant as inspiration! Like many of the local haunts, they mix sushi on the menu with cooked meats and local cuisine. I think the other main reason for a Montauk comparison – apart from their incredibly short beach season – is that it feels like one step beyond where most vacationers dare to tread in the same way, that so many Hamptons folks won’t make the extra effort to push beyond Amagansett.
Driving from Montevideo, you pass the massive resort town of Punta del Este, which boasts its very own skyline. I got the sense that most tourists plunk down there, even though Jose Ignacio is only another thirty minute drive. We rented surfboards – of course – but the waves were inconsistent and the wind better suited to kiteboarding than hanging ten.
Maybe the greatest adventure we took during our holiday break was the daytrip to Cabo Polonio, an old fishing village so remote that it’s only accessible via monster truck. In reality it’s part of an Uruguayan national park, but the vibe was very Mad Max meets Burning Man. I couldn’t think of a better way to end 2016 than in a town with no WiFi and overflowing with sunbathing seals.
Our Excursion to Cabo Polonio
The name of the safari truck is “Big Marley”
At the stroke of midnight at La Huella