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José Ignacio Is Uruguay’s Coolest Beach Town

Everything to eat, see, and do in South America’s most loved beach destination.

jose ignacio uruguay
It’s hard to fully capture the essence of Uruguay’s chill beach town, José Ignacio, in words alone, because it has one hell of an inimitable feeling. Its wide-stretching beaches, sandy candlelit restaurants, white-washed cottages, and linen-bedecked crowd are a siren call for Argentinians (who are just a stone’s throw away) and travelers alike. While summertime reaps the warmest weather, the colder months are quiet and special, too. Herein are the best places to stay, eat, shop, and beach.


jose ignacio uruguayPhoto: Courtesy of Instagram/@vikretreats
Choosing between the six flower-roofed casas or endless suites at Playa Vik may be the most difficult decision you make during this trip. What’s easy? Taking a dip in the infinity pool that blends into the ocean at the horizon. Or at sunset, gathering around the fire pit with a glass of malbec.


Understated elegance is the MO of José Ignacio—you’ll learn that quickly. Santa Teresita embodies that to a T. Head here for fresh lunch options like beetroot and ricotta salad and grilled fresh-caught fish. A must-try is the dulce de leche cake with layers of chocolate ganache and a topping of crushed pistachios.

jose ignacio uruguayPhoto: Courtesy of Instagram/@ahuella.parador
Not going to La Huella when you’re in José Ignacio is like not making an effort to see the Eiffel Tower when you’re in Paris. Almost. But there’s a reason this beachside restaurant is such an establishment. Once inside, you’ll dine on daily catches and barbecued meats all washed down with wine, of course. Wait times can be long, so be sure to make a reservation.

jose ignacio uruguayPhoto: Courtesy of Marismo
This is what we’re here for! Dine under the stars and a canopy of palm leaves while your toes dig into the cool sand.


jose ignacio uruguayPhoto: Courtesy of Instagram/@santasnegras
Just on the outskirts of the town of Santas Negras is a crown jewel of a boutique. Mid-century treasures punctuate the racks of breezy sundresses and raw-edge straw hats. Gorgeous alpaca throws and hand-picked jewelry are just some of the artisanal treasures you’ll find here.


Want to bring a bit of that beach living home with you? Sentido’s airy space is filled with small home goods like handwoven baskets and delicately embroidered textiles you’re going to want to fill your suitcase with.


Stroll the town

Lolling around El Pueblo neighborhood is a true highlight. You’ll stumble across plenty of cute little shops, cafés, and ice cream parlors.


What’s a beach vacation without going to the beach? There are many to choose from, like La Susana, with its great beachside restaurant, La Huella, and Vik, just to name a few. But the treasures are in the small stretches of sand you’ll stumble upon as you explore. Kick off your sandals, grab a good book, and sink into that South American chill.

Top photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@lahuella.parador

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