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Visiting Atlántida, Uruguay: where imported pine, eucalyptus and acacia trees now make their home by the Gold Coast

Updated on August 1, 2017
Flag of Uruguay
Flag of Uruguay | Source
Playa Mansa (Mansa Beach), Atlántida.
Playa Mansa (Mansa Beach), Atlántida. | Source
Mansa Beach, Atlántida
Mansa Beach, Atlántida | Source
Map location of Canelones Department, Uruguay
Map location of Canelones Department, Uruguay | Source

Forest, River Plate coast and sun

Atlántida, in Uruguay's Canelones department, has been thus named since 1915. Already, prior to this date, enterprising, vacationing families from Montevideo would regularly travel out during summer months to this area of what is now known as the Uruguayan Gold Coast (Spanish: Costa de Oro )(1). It needs to be stated also that the definition of the boundaries of the area known as the Gold Coast has been historically fluid.

In the early 20th century, pine trees from southern Europe, eucalyptus and acacias (mainly native to Australasia) were widely planted in the Atlántida area. What had been previously a sandy, somewhat inhospitable district for agriculture, became an increasingly sought after vacationing and residential area which eventually emerged as a resort.

Indeed, by the year 1920, an 18-hole golf course was in place.

Atlántida's formal founding was in 1911. Engineer Juan Pedro Fabini (1876-1962)(2) was responsible for the originally planning of the resort.

My abiding impression of Atlántida is of pine forests juxtaposed with the River Plate coast and sun, the memory of which is suggestive of a certain timelessness.

Golden moments frozen in time along Uruguay's Gold Coast.

July 13, 2012


(1) Prior to the foundation of Ciudad de la Costa in 1994, much of the coastline of Uruguay's Canelones department was referred to by this designation, but now the term is used to denote the eastern part of this department's coastline, in the Atlántida area.

(2) Engineer Fabini also served as President of the National Council of Administration (Spanish: Presidente del Consejo Nacional de Administración ) and as Intendente (approximately: Mayor) of Montevideo. He is commemorated by a public square named for him in Downtown Montevideo: Plaza Ingeniero Juan Pedro Fabini .

Also worth seeing

In Atlántida , an eagle-shaped building known as the Eagle House (Spanish: Casa del Águila ) overlooking the River Plate (Spanish: Río de la Plata ) is remarked upon by many curious visitors; this structure was erected by Italian developer Natalio Michelizzi (1899-1953). The town also has the Neruda Museum commemorating Pablo Neruda (1904-1973), the Chilean writer and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971, and the Stalin Peace Prize in 1953. (Background note: Prior to the intervention of the civilian-military administration in 1973, which lasted until 1985, Uruguayan resorts became somewhat of a haven for conference visits by radicals; the Argentinian-Cuban revolutionary Ernesto ('Che') Guevarra notably visited Punta del Este in 1961. In recent years, successive Uruguayan governments have alternated between breaking off diplomatic relations with Cuba, and organizing well publicized Presidential visits to Mr Castro in Havana.)


How to get there: LanChile flies to Montevideo , Uruguay from North American destinations including New York and Toronto . The Uruguayan airline PLUNA, which codeshares with VARIG, flies to a number of Latin American regional destinations. Distance from Montevideo to Atlántida : 45 kilómetres; distance from Montevideo's Carrasco International Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional de Carrasco ) to Atlántida: approx. 30 kilometres. Car rental is available at Montevideo Carrasco airport. Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

For your visit, these items may be of interest


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    • MJFenn profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Gypsy Willow: Don't forget I'm biased, now! But Uruguay does deserve to be discovered more. Thank-you for your comment.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 

      6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      It is now on my bucket list. Thanks for your continued world tour. Love your hubs.

    • MJFenn profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Gypsy Willow: Oh, I would strongly recommend Uruguay, both for its historical sites and for its resorts and beaches; all along the coast, east of Montevideo there are resorts — Atlántida, Piriápolis, Punta Ballena — culminating in the most famous and most developed one, Punta del Este.

      I lived in Uruguay, so maybe one could say I'm biased, but also returned there later from Canada. Thank-you for your comment.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 

      6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Wow! you do get around! Would you recommend it as a top class vacation area ( coming from the USA)?


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