Jose Ignacio – a billionaire playground with valet parking signs in the sand
Elon Musk, Shakira and a Murdoch Jr have owned houses on this tiny peninsula just six blocks wide by six blocks long. But like so many of the beach towns in Uruguay Jose Ignacio started out as a fishing village
Noone knows for sure who the original Jose Ignacio was, but as far back as 1763 there was an estancia by that name in the vicinity. Development came at snail’s pace. In the 1970s electricity still hadn’t reached the village and a square foot of land cost just one dollar.
A haute-hippie hideaway
Today during high season a simple mid-century holiday home in this “haute-hippie hideaway” as one luxury travel writer called it can rent at 70,000 USD a week.
Despite this, we’re still in Uruguay. The streets are sandy and the service is slow and convivial. But there are chi-chi tea rooms, designer boutiques disguised as beach shacks, cube-like art galleries and a ‘Valet Parking’ sign at the beach.
Permanent population of just three hundred
Jose Ignacio has a permanent population of just three hundred—and just 28 on the peninsula—but on a peak season weekend eight thousand people can flood into town. Where do they all stay?
With such demand on accommodation and street parking, development is creeping west. La Juanita is an adjacent forested barrio where some of the locals who can no longer afford the prices of Jose Ignacio are making their homes amongst the woodlands.
Rentals—a mix of hippie-chic modernist chalets and colourful containers (houses made out of shipping containers are all the rage)—are more accessibly-priced and there are a number of good restaurants attended by their owners next door to locals’ cottages surrounded by their barking dogs.
Strict regulations around building and commerce enforced by moneyed residents mean that Jose Ignacio is likely to extend its current status as the place to be for wealthy Europeans and North Americans into the future.
Do you love the beach?
We’ve categorised all of the best beach related accommodations and activities, so you can easily find what you’re looking for.
Where to Stay
Buy a Beach Property
Things to Do
First Argentina’s rich & beautiful, then the Hearsts and Rockefellers. Just how did a rocky Uruguay peninsula with dirt roads become a jewel of the jetset?
Your suite with private deck, close to secluded beaches, next to Pdd’s best restaurant. Probably the best value of all Punta del Diablo hotels.
Dreaming of a hotel on the beach in Uruguay? Your private terrace looks directly to the ocean at this magical boutique hotel nestled amongst the dunes.
Vacation rentals can be a bit of a lottery in Rocha, the province of Uruguay with many of the nation’s best beaches. Maralto ticks all the right boxes.
A secret for North Americans and Europeans, Uruguay’s beaches have been a favourite with Argentinians for years. So where are the best beaches in Uruguay?
One of the very best hotels near Punta del Este, whose well-connected owners will give you access to the secrets of Uruguay’s coast most can only dream of.