Discover countryside hotels and rural retreats in Punta del Este, Uruguay

This strip of land separating the Atlantic Ocean from the Río de la Plata may be narrow, but it packs a lot in: beaches worthy of a film-set, populated with bodies beautiful; wave-side restaurants serving platters of grilled meat from the parilla, fried calamari and jugs of chilled clericó; and glamorous clubs that don’t get lively until at least 1am. A bendy bridge (surely inspired by the surrounding white-tipped waves) connects Punte del Este with La Barra, a laid-back surfer-magnet with its own cluster of boutiques, bars and, of course, yet more stretches of sand. Once a fishing village, this luxurious resort is the coastal getaway for wealthy South Americans, who flock to its shores between mid December and mid January – turning it into a mini Rio or St Tropez for a few months. If you want the sand and surf to yourself, head here out of season and experience the resort at a more temperate tempo…

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