Quaint Beach Town Manantiales
Manantiales is an ancient fishing village and holiday resort and the neighbor sister of La Barra. The original buildings were relatively modest. Its name comes from a water spring located at the eastern end of the town, which also names the adjoining subdivision known as “El Chorro” and “Punta Piedras”. At that time, the small hamlet was a fishing port, and traditionally it was a summer resort for the inhabitants of Maldonado and San Carlos.
With the opening of the bridge over the river that joined La Barra and Punta del Este in 1965, people began to acquire modest homes and built new ones. On Route 104 many farms of at least 5 acres were being bought by the international Jet-Set!
Manantiales is located on route 10, km 165,5 at a strategic point, almost halfway distance between Punta del Este and José Ignacio. In just twenty minutes you can access all the buzzing of the first, or the more serene but chic atmosphere of the second. The small resort town of about 40 blocks faces the Atlantic Ocean. The beaches in and around town are desirable spots during the intense summertime and being visited by lots of tourists and people owning properties in the area. Many big events take place in the “Paradores.” To the north, a few blocks away, you find nice and quiet residential areas away from the noise. Also “El Chorro” offers a more peaceful alternative and the houses built on small lots on the hill have almost all beautiful sea views.
Beaches in Manantiales
The beach at the beginning of Manantiales is known as the famous Bikini Beach. It has a wide strip of coarse sand and small rocky bays that protect it. The sea is deep and dangerous due to the force of the return currents. Although magnificent, it is not the landscape that gives Bikini fame. It has become a preferred point of the young jet-set. Walking through Bikini, you can see personalities from all over the world sunbathing and trying to escape -or not- from the paparazzi. On the east side is Playa El Chorro with less activity. The beach bars always perform activities that keep the fun and recreation at a high level all summer long.
The Mantra Beach Lunch Club “Bagatelle” holds events with DJ’s at sunset and Selenza Club de Mar nuances with fashion shows, wine tastings, first-class cocktails, and beach service.
The quaint town has some stores open all year round like the candle store Velas de la Ballena or furniture stores Monica Melhem and Maison de Famille. Many designer fashion stores open their doors during the summer month in the center of town and invite for a pleasant shopping experience. To find more variety, La Barra is just a 5-minute drive away although many shops are closed during the wintertime as well.
Restaurants in Manantiales
Manantiales is known for excellent dining and offers many different options of high-level restaurants for lunch or dinner.
Here are some options:
La Linda Bakery-Cafeteria: With completely homemade products that always comes from a wood-fired oven and from its own organic garden, La Linda is a family place that continues to maintain that identity so that visitors feel at home. They serve empanadas, salads, cakes, sandwiches, and simple dishes that can be enjoyed inside or outside. The bakery offers different types of bread and pastries.
Selenza Club de Mar: This exclusive beach parlor invites for drinks to watch the sunset on the beach. It maintains a relaxed and informal atmosphere that allows you to enjoy a meal fully.
O’Farrell: Simple atmosphere and good kitchen. An excellent option to enjoy a nice dinner.
Cactus y Pescados: Casual restaurant with terrace and an unbeatable view of the ocean. This place is open all year round.
Manantiales Point: Situated on a corner in the middle of on the main road, here you can have lunch as a family or dine with live music, both inside and outside the premises.
Fishmarket: A favorite lunch hangout to enjoy fresh fish in the middle of town.
Click here for more Manantiales Restaurant Options.
Bagatelle Beach Club between La Barra and Manantiales is the one that marks the move, especially at dusk. The Sunset Festival (there were four during the 2014/2015 season) offers electronic music parties and major events hosted by brands such as Chandon, Aperol, Absolut, and Chivas. These events are filled with young people and jet-set figures who do not want to miss out.
The restaurants and bars along the main road keep open late at night and at times the main road is filled with people way after midnight.
Galeria del Paseo is a well-known Gallery at the end of Manantiales featuring many different upcoming artists from Latin America or around the world. Regular vernissages are being held during the summer season.
Beach walks are a favorite activity. Another interesting path is to go to Laguna Blanca. It can be reached in about twenty minutes by foot. There is a unique phenomenon in that region going on. Due to the absence of natural predators, the lagoon inhabits two species of fish and only one of shrimps in abundance. From here, the whole area is supplied with drinking water. Laguna Blanca can be reached by going up north on Solanas street for about ½ kilometer from the road between Manantiales and Montoya.Pablo Atchugarry Foundation is a sculpture park on route 104, km 4,5 not to be left out. The institution is in charge of the sculptor Pablo Atchugarry, who has his workshop there. In addition to the art museum, there are outdoor stages, a restaurant, exhibition halls, and an auditorium. Special events are held in this facility, some by special invitation only.