Five reasons why you ought to visit Jose Ignacio and the surrounding area
Karen Chapman falls in love with this glorious Uruguayan beach town
1. Indulge at boho-chic, laid-back beach restaurants
Parador La Huella is a favourite spot at Jose Ignacio for both locals and visitors alike, with a choice of dining areas – take a table directly on the sand, the wooden-shack style terrace or in the buzzing interior. It’s well known for its delicious seafood, and you can’t go wrong with grilled octopus, the catch of the day or an exquisite plate of delicately flavoured sashimi. La Susana Beach restaurant is a hipster hangout where you can soak up the vibe among sand dunes overlooking the ocean. Sip on a sundowner to the tune of ambient beats and sample the delicious, organic dishes, accompanied by an excellent Vik wine.
2. Enjoy activities galore
Head to the ocean for kite surfing, sailing, windsurfing and kayaking or take a trip to the picturesque and tranquil Jose Ignacio Lagoon, where you can enjoy horse riding, rent a bike, go paddle boarding and enjoy a picnic on the lake shores.
3. Visit Casapueblo, the former home of artist Carlos Paez Vial
Celebrated Uruguayan artist Carlos Paez Vial lived a fascinating life, travelling to far-flung corners of the world and meeting with remote indigenous communities as well as a whole host of famous personalities. However, he spent his last years in his beloved Uruguay, at Casapueblo, the home overlooking the ocean that he built with his own hands. Today, the property showcases a museum featuring many of his pieces, a workshop and a café. Every evening, visitors congregate on the terraces to watch the sun set over the sea, to the tune of an atmospheric recording of Carlos reciting one of his poems.
4. Check out sculpture park and museum, Fundacion Casa Atchugarry
At this 30-hectare modern sculpture park and museum, you can wander amongst the gently rolling landscape and lakes, viewing the installations, then visit the studio of the site’s creator, Pablo Atchugarry, and admire one of his renowned works of art – Christ rendered in marble, set in its own contemporary chapel space.
5. Explore local wineries
From the vast, state of the art Bodega Garzon, where you will also find an open fire concept restaurant developed by the renowned Argentina chef Francis Mallman, to the boutique, family run wineries of Altos de la Ballena and Viña Eden, don’t miss a vineyard tour and wine tasting, or enjoy a delicious picnic in these stunning landscapes.