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Visiting Portezuelo, Uruguay: a sheltered and outstandingly scenic part of the coastline

Updated on August 28, 2012
Flag of Uruguay
Flag of Uruguay | Source
Portezuelo Beach, seen from an observation point along Ruta 1, near Punta Ballena
Portezuelo Beach, seen from an observation point along Ruta 1, near Punta Ballena | Source
The 'Interbalnearia' Route level with Portezuelo
The 'Interbalnearia' Route level with Portezuelo | Source
Map location of Maldonado department, Uruguay
Map location of Maldonado department, Uruguay | Source

Kept from the South Atlantic winds

Portezuelo is situated in Uruguay's Maldonado department, near where the waters of the River Plate (Spanish: Río de la Plata ) meet the Atlantic Ocean. Close to Punta Ballena (which means 'Whale Point' in Spanish), Portezuelo is sheltered from the Atlantic winds by this small peninsula (1), although windsurfing is also popular here.

The development of Portezuelo is linked with the activities of Spanish architect and urban planner Antoni Bonet i Castellana (1913-1989)(2), who designed many of the local houses (one of which is known as Casa Berlingieri ) and villas; he also designed Solana del Mar. This architect built the first house in Portezuelo in 1945; but it was in the 1980s that development increased substantially.

Only slightly inland from the shore at Portezuelo, the sandy environment has long been thickly planted with trees. Along the coastline of Maldonado and Canelones department, pine and eucalyptus trees are especially common.

One of Architect Bonet's distinguishing ideas was to blend the lines of roofs with those of pine trees and this is achieved at Portezuelo in the vicinity of various buildings which he designed.

Portezuelo is noted for the glorious sunsets reflecting along the coastline.

August 28, 2012


(1) The point at which the peninsula is reckoned to meet the main coastline at Portezuelo is known as La Rinconada.

(2) Architect Bonet preferred to adopt an integral approach in his building designs, whereby the furniture and garden features would blend into what he aimed to be a consistent whole. Architect Bonet notably collaborated with Finnish architect Alvar Aalto.

Also worth seeing

Nearby Punta Ballena is regarded as Uruguay's leading whale watching spot, has the Casapueblo museum. The Arboretum Lussich has a mature wealth of tree species, plus a museum.

Also nearby is the scenic lake known as the Laguna del Sauce , as is the historic city of Maldonado and the well-known resort of Punta del Este .


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. Car rental is available at Montevideo Carrasco International airport. Mainly seasonal flights from Buenos Aires also operate to Laguna del Sauce International Airport, principally serving the nearby Uruguayan resort of Punta del Este . For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent.

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

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