Punta del Este: South America's hottest resort destination
No trip to Uruguay is complete without a stop in hip and happening Punta del Este. My visit, in late January, was at the height of the summer season, when vacationers arrive en masse to play, party and take pleasure in the sunshine. No longer a river estuary, it's officially all ocean here, and Punta del Este is a grownup resort town with miles of sandy beaches and blue waters, the country's hottest nightclubs, best casinos and shows, and the highest concentration of fine restaurants.
If you're Uruguayan, Argentine, Brazilian -- or a celebrity from anywhere in the world -- there is no place better to be seen than "Punta." Property and rental prices are higher here than anywhere else in Uruguay, as is the cost of living. But expats here say they wouldn't live anywhere else.
"Absolutely, the best quality of life is found in Punta del Este," says Washington state transplant David Hammond, who has lived in Punta for six years and gave me a tour of its many eclectic neighborhoods. Not all are wall-to-wall, chrome-and-glass high rises as are found on the tip of the peninsula. There are many shady, single-family residential neighborhoods, too.
Bill Tickle, a British expat who retired to Punta permanently with his wife in 2010, lives in the San Rafael neighborhood -- cut straight from the cloth of gentrified Europe or Americana at its Norman Rockwell best. Quiet, tree-lined streets, tidy homes with perfectly clipped lawns . . . . The only giveaway that you're anywhere but is the cackle of parrots as they flit from tree to tree.
"Punta del Este is one of the best places in the world," Bill says. "There's a real sense of optimism here. People are working, they're getting ahead, and the international community is attracting that type of person, too. They see opportunity.
"Punta del Este is clean, it's safe, you can wear your best jewelry and drive an expensive car and have no fear of robbery or anything else. Plus, it works . . . electricity never goes off, and everything is organized, including the town hall. It's a comfortable place to come on holiday and a comfortable place to live . . . everything is here.
"How much you spend to live here will depend on your lifestyle. We do like to go to the port for dinner, which can be pricey, but we also go to the nearby town of Maldonado, where the food and drink are more reasonable."
Reasonable. That word stuck with me, because so much about Uruguay is "reasonable": the pace of life; the national penchant for tolerance and equality; the cost of organic foods, public transportation, health care; the optimism; and, yes, the quality of life. It's hard to name a place that provides more reasons to stay.
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Something is wrong with this article. I live in Las Cruces, NM, a US retirement city (mentioned one of the best by Forbes magazine) my house is a 2 bed, 2 bath, garage, high ceiling, back yard, nice neighborhood close to hospitals, shopping , fire, police station, low tax, nice climate and my mortgage is $110,000. Why retire in a foreign country when you can do the same here in the US, just need to do a little research to know where. Yes, there still hope for retirement in the US. By the way, I came from a Latin country.
Real estate prices are insanely high and recent articles in one of Urguay's major online newspaper show that the real estate market is floundering since the Argentines are pulling back their investments.
'Expats' usually are conmen(women) who are preying on people. BEWARE.
First things first...what kind of work are expats doing, and what are they making?
It sounds like a nice place to visit, but how dare the author/editor imply in the title that the American Dream is better found in Uruguay. My parents emigrated to this country and started their own business. They were able to watch their children grow up with full bellies and warm beds from their own sweat. There wasn't a word about entrepreneurship in the article.
The American Dream IS NOT about sitting at a roadside cafe drinking espresso. Most immigrants came to America to escape European villages exactly like this. They didn't want it. They thought they could do better - in America.
The information in this article was interesting, but the title was complete link-bait.
I'm not convinced this is a place older retirees want to live. What about medical services, taxes, etc?
I now live in a small town in Kansas where a nice, older home can be bought for $120,000, property taxes are average, the town has a University with an enrollment of well over 10,000, 10 well maintained city parks, a new sports arena. A large hospital and medical centers(including one that well serves those with low incomes). The yellow pages list well over a hundred Physicians, Dentist, and other professionals that serve all the needs of a wide area. The crime rate is low, the unemployment rate is below 4%, and there is free access to many public buildings that serve the needs of thousands of people. The town has an abundance of Churches, schools, etc. We have a first rate nationally acclaimed Library. A first rate Police and Fire department. And other things that make this a nice town to live in. And no, I'm not working for our first rate Convention and Visitors bureau, and did I forget to mention we have 2 first rate golf courses and a wonderful swiming pool?
I spent one day and one night in Montivideo back in 2003. Actually, I was on a cruise and Montivideo was a port of call. I enjoyed the city, it's people and architecture. I retire in (4) years. And like most Americans of modest means, I'm looking at overseas retirement options. Costs are too staggering in America.... . and will get worse.
Obviously, visiting and vacationing in a region is totally different from living there. I agree $123,000 for a 645 sq. ft shoe box anywhere is a bit much..... particularly in South America. I toyed with the idea of buying; but I think I'll just rent for 3- 4 months of the year when I'm out of the U.S. during retirement years.
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