Surfer-Town La Barra
East of Punta del Este is La Barra known as the surfer town. A quiet village during the off-season and buzzing during the summer month. La Barra has transformed into a desired town by Punta’s growing international importance over the last years.
Its landmark “Puente Leonel Viera”, an undulating bridge that spans over the Rio Maldonado, is nicknamed the “Puente de la Risa” (the bridge of laughter) for the giddy sensation one gets driving across it.
La Barra is a surfer-haven popular for its consistent waves and features many galleries and artists exhibiting their work of paintings and sculptures.
With a perfect combination of harmony and serenity during the day and an active agenda at night, La Barra is one of the most desired places in eastern Uruguay. It offers a more relaxed and rustic lifestyle than the center of Punta, but it does not lose the exclusivity that characterizes this area. In addition to the widest surfing beaches, La Barra is known for an active nightlife excellent cuisine, private, and themed VIP parties. In contrast to the tall apartment buildings in Punta del Este, La Barra is surrounded by large maritime farms and low rise homes. The main street functions as a meeting point and invites for a relaxing walk along it visiting chic boutiques, galleries, cafe bars, and restaurants. Many places like hot night clubs, may change names and venues each season, and make this town a favorite hang out during the warm summer nights.
La Barra is located about 144 kilometers from Montevideo.
La Barra is a destination that can be enjoyed at any time of the year. Surfers visit its beaches both in winter and summer, and in the spring, whales appear. The charm of La Barra also lies in its colorful architecture and its historic reputation as a fishing village, which is very well appreciated in the low season, without so many tourists. Also, the proximity to Punta del Este and José Ignacio makes it a privileged destination to visit at any time of the year.
La Barra was born at the end of the 19th century. It is debated whether it emerged as a fishing village or as a summer resort for the families of San Carlos. The second option is the most likely, but since colonial times, the place was used as a refuge for pirates. Some shipwrecks occurred on its coasts, and even the legend of a hidden treasure floats around. According to legend, the pirate Francisco Tournier buried a treasure in one of the islands of “Arroyo” Maldonado. Many people went to search for the treasure without having results. However, there are those who say that some explorers came to seek the treasure in 1888, and disappeared without a trace and that they actually found it and fled. This is the story that gave the name to one of the areas of La Barra, called today “El Tesoro.”
Beaches in La Barra
Those who choose La Barra for their holidays usually visit several beaches during their stay, from La Boca to José Ignacio, making the most of their vacation.
La Boca: Located at the mouth of the Maldonado stream, is a busy beach in high season, but still maintains a family atmosphere. It is also a good place for fishing lovers. In winter it is usually frequented by surfers, who find here good conditions to practice the sport at this time of the year.
Montoya: Located at the end of La Barra is this wide beach with coarse sand. It gets very busy in the summer. From Montoya beach, one can take a long beach walk until ending up in Manantiales Bikini Beach.
Along the main street, route 10, are many different shops, pubs, and galleries. It is recommended to visit the main road more than once since the charm that it has during the day leans more towards a shopping trip, and when the sun goes down, it changes to a different vibe.
Shopping OH: Designed by the Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott, its aesthetics can not be found in any other commercial center in the country. It is built with noble materials and outdoor corridors and invites for a walk even when there is no plan to go shopping.
Well-known artist offer their paintings in galleries. La Barra has also many antique shops like Café Zinc, where you can get lost in time.
Here along the Punta del Este coast, fish and seafood are specialties, particularly mejillones (mussels), rabas (squid), chipirones (baby squid), and corvina (sea bass). Set in the heart of La Barra, is Baby Gouda, a cool place with a Moroccan twist. The colorful deli within the premises offers an excellent spread of olives, cheeses, and fresh salmon. The adjoining restaurant serves simple but tasty food.
Cafe Flo just a few steps down the street is a popular place for lunch serving delicious sandwiches with Prosciutto di Parma, Bresaola and Cheese and other fresh ingredients.
Rex Diner next to Café Flo is spacious with a relaxed atmosphere. It offers simple dishes such as chivitos (recommended) and hamburgers you can eat either inside or outside. This diner reminds of being in California with its décor. The menu also offers seafood and vegetable tacos. The prices are reasonable and the attention is fast.
The gastronomy of La Barra takes us through unforgettable experiences, ranging from beach bars to restaurants that bet on a strong presence of seafood in their menus.
See here more La Barra Restaurant Options.
Nightlife in La Barra
When the sun goes down, the night awakens in La Barra, and the places to go out are numerous. Bars and restaurants exchange visitors in a continuous flow of people looking to make the most of everything the town has to offer.
Tequila Bar is a favorite for the well-heeled reveler. For most of the year, Tequila Bar is just a vacant storefront on the main drag of La Barra. But by early December, it changes into the hottest lounge and dance club.
While it’s no more than a cozy, single-floor club with red-and-black booths, its top-notch, model-set crowd is accepted only through a strict door policy that keeps general tourists and teenagers away. Unlike its sister-club in Buenos Aires, the beach-outpost of this slick chain is still in its prime.
The music pulsates with vintage electronic music, Latin tracks, and global beats. During peak season, between Christmas and New Year’s, arrive early with some eye-candy to secure prompt entry.
For the more adult public, the Punta del Este Resort is a quieter option, where you can try your luck at the casino and enjoy the theater. Apart from the bars and night clubs, in recent years the festivities in private homes have become more and more popular. They consist of a group of young people who rent a house to make their private party instead of going out. But “particular” does not always mean “private,” and sometimes it is easy to recognize, where such place is because they baptize the house, hang a sign with the temporary name, charge an entrance fee and have their own security contracted. Of course, it is also very close to Punta del Este where you can make use and abuse of the top clubs such as the exclusive Ovo Nightclub in the Enjoy hotel (former Conrad), Soho and Moby Dick in the port area, or the Ocean Club on La Brava.
At the La Barra Golf Club, about 5 kilometers from the center, golfers can play and enjoy an 18 holes course in a beautiful rural setting and relax at the end in the country style clubhouse.
Many galleries line the main road and invite the art enthusiasts for a drink during the art walk usually held once a week during the high summer season.
Real Estate Projects
Outside of La Barra about 7km north is the newest and most luxurious development Fasano Las Piedras designed by famous Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld, sprawling over 1200 acres of La Barra’s acacia and lavender dotted hillsides. The residential area of Fasano offers plot for sale or already finished homes.
Next door neighbor and more economic, is the private gated community El Quijote offering 5000m2 plots or already built homes.
Please call or e-mail us if you want to see Real Estate in La Barra.