Travel Blog

Working and traveling in Uruquay

September 9th, 2017 ernie Posted in South America No Comments »

Montevideo UruguayA friend of the writer lived in Montevideo Uruguay in 1995, 1996 and intermittently in 1997. These are her notes and thoughts about living there along with the things to see while there.

I lived there again in 2009 as well as spent vacations for 1 or 2 months at a time in 2011, 2014 and 2016. I am currently trying to arrange another month long vacation for March 2018.

Over all these years I was lucky to travel extensively for the job and for pleasure. I can say I’ve visited every corner of the country.

My two favorite areas to live are Pocitos and Punta Carretas in Montevideo Uruguay. They are adjacent areas with numerous restaurants, cafes and shopping. They are mostly apartment buildings with some older homes in the mix. The two areas stretch up from the Beaches and include parks where there are numerous vendors and booths every Saturday.

Punta Carretas has a large 3 storey Shopping Center, named Punta Carretas on Ellauri St. and there are some great boutiques and shops and a top floor with movie theaters, most in English with sub titles and a food court and a couple of restaurants. The bottom floor has a large supermarket called the Disco and all the usual shops you’d expect to find in a Shopping Centre. It used to be a prison in the past and has the original facade. There are 2 restaurants at the entrance gates, McDonald’s and an Italian café-restaurant called Don Pepperone. It is very casual and has a large patio.

Montevideo Uruguay Sheraton Hotel

The Sheraton Hotel is right behind the shopping center and is accessible from the 2nd floor. It is very modern and has a nice lounge and restaurant. Just a block or 2 from the Sheraton, towards the water and the Rambla, the street that follows the shoreline is one of my favorite restaurants. La Perdiz. It has a small patio, great food and is a favorite of locals and expats. Tel 2711-8963

There is reliable public transportation and taxis are very reasonably priced with taxi stands on main corners and easily accessible by phone.

The whole City is on a wide point and Pocitos and Punta Carretas as split into each side of a point by the street 21 de  setiembre which runs from the beach and up.

My favorite restaurants in this area besides La Perdiz are:

Fellinis – Corner of Benito Blanco and Marti, Tel 2706-0252  Try the Brie and Carmelized Onion Appetizer

La Cavia – corner of 26 de Marzo and Cavia, Tel 2706-8253 Good BBQ (Parrilla in Spanish)

Da Pentella – Corner of Luis de la Torre and Francisco Ros, Tel 271200981 Very intimate and cozy

Mercado Del Puerto in the Old City Montevideo Uruguay:

El Palenque  – in the Port área where the cruise ships dock – Tel 2915-4704 This is a great spot for Saturday and Sunday afternoons with a huge patio and the best Petit Filet, with mushroom sauce or my favorite, Roquefort Sauce. There is always lots of action in this area with vendors selling art, jewelry, handmade toys, leather purses and other touristy stuff.

There are a lot of restaurants in Montevideo Uruguay but these are some of the best I’ve experienced, with great food and great value for price.

If you get a chance to get out of the city for a weekend there is good bus service between Montevideo from the main bus station at Tres Cruces. It is only about 1 ½ hours to Punta Del Este a favorite tourist spot for visitors with hotels and many restaurants. One side of the point has big waves and attracts surfers and the other side has nice beaches and many with restaurants that offer beach chairs to rent and service to your spot. It is close to Barra, another interesting beach town. They probably have tours to showcase both places. If you take a tour don’t miss Casa Pueblo just outside Punta De Este.

Weekend Trips around Montevideo Uruguay

Another easy weekend trip is to Buenos Aires. You can fly there in a half hour and land in the airport close to the city and many hotels. As a Canadian you need to secure a Reciprical Visa which is available on-line and must be purchased prior to going. Although I’ve flown in the past, it is always easy to take the Ferry Buquebus from Montevideo to the port in BA. I prefer to take the land Buquebus to Colonia and then the fast Buquebus Ferry from there to the BA port, only 45 minutes but then I get seasick. Buquebus has its own tour company and it is located on a side street just across from Punta Carretas Shopping.

The last time I was there I was able to get a 3-night stay at the Hotel Americana in Buenos Aires for around $230 US and that included the Hotel, bus from Montevideo Uruguay to the Port in Colonia, the fast ferry to BA port, be met by a driver in BA who takes you to the hotel and pick-up by the driver on departure day and the return trip. A real bargain.

Friday Night Dinner

When I go on a Friday night I always go to the Puerto Madero for dinner on Friday and highly recommend Bice, an Italian Restaurant with great Veal Marsala, we go to Buceos on Saturdays, a very colorful area with restaurants shops and street vendors. I recommend visiting Senor Tango Saturday evening. You can purchase your ticket at the hotel, and it includes pick up by a bus, a full dinner in the nightclub and if you go alone, they will set you with other guests, very friendly, wine, and a pick up by the bus after the show, usually around 1AM. The bus driver gives you the bus number when you arrive so you can easily find it on departure. As you’ve paid at the hotel, you just need some cash for restaurant and bus tips. The show is excellent with a troupe of dancers and singers who entertain throughout dinner and afterwards. I think it was around $70 the last time I went.

Sunday is ideal for visiting San Telmo, another area full of vendors with a lot of antiques and artists. It is just nice to relax at a café and watch the world go by. All the taxi drivers are familiar with these places and they are great walking around spots. If I were there I’d probably go back to Puerto Madero for dinner on Sunday evening.

An Italian Restaurant

There is another Italian Restaurant just to the left of Bice. Which is also very good with a lovely patio and view. Of course there is the beautiful Opera House Teatro Colon. Which has a great opera and ballet season or is just great to visit on their tours. It is fascinating and takes you down below the street to visit the costume makers, set makers, set carpenters. Also the orchestra and ballet school practices. I went there once to see Aida and it was spectacular.

I highly recommend taking the City Tour of Montevideo Uruguay if you make it to BA because it certainly gives you the flavor of the city. Of course that is also an interesting way to see Montevideo but I’m guessing as a world traveler I don’t have to tell you that.

For more posts about South America places to visit, click here.



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Visit Vina Del Mar Chile

May 21st, 2012 ernie Posted in South America 2 Comments »

Visit Vina Del Mar ChileVina Del Mar in Chile is one of the beautiful places to visit in the world. This is the third post in a series about our travels in this part of the world were we worked for 8 months.  Vina is on the west coast east of Santiago Chile and just north of Valparaiso Chile. Valparaiso is an old shipping port for Chile. Vina Del Mar is where the residents of Santiago spend their summers relaxing along the ocean.

There are many condo’s and homes along the hills in front of the beach with funiculars to take you up and down to your condo. Funiculars are really outdoor elevators running on tracks up and down the side of a steep hill. They can be a little unnerving at times as they creak and shake up and down the side of a cliff, however they are quite safe. They are unique to South America.

Fog on the Beach

There is nothing better than to leave the big city, Santiago, drive for an hour and be at the ocean for the day or the  weekend.  We learned that the locals only arrive at the beach around 2 pm. Prior to that the fog is pretty heavy along the water and it is actually quite cool. In the summer the air is very hot, but the water in the Pacific in this area is cool creating the perfect conditions to produce a lot of fog. It takes the hot sun until 2pm to burn this fog away and then it becomes a glorious day at the beach!

There are walking paths, restaurants and bars along the beach and tourists from all over the world take advantage of the great weather. We found that people were really friendly and always wanted to chat with us since we were obviously not from Chile. One bar owner sat with us for a while.

It turned out that he had lived in Canada, in Edmonton for several years as part of the staff with the Edmonton Oilers hockey team. He told us many stories about his time with the hockey team and also treated us to several rounds of drinks as well. Nice people!

Parking at the beach

We have to talk about this subject since it is prevalent all over Chile and this was pretty typical. We were driving along the road looking for a place to park and spied one that was available. The problem was that we could not turn left to get into the spot due to the traffic on the road. As it turned out this was really no problem. Every where in Chile people are working and making jobs as best they can. Many people work as parking attendants. They help people get in and out of parking spots and other parking related issues.

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