Punta Del Este As Exclusive Seaside Resort

yd_mtl

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Why was it specifically Punta del Este, out of all seaside resorts in Uruguay or Argentina, which became the premier resort area of the rich and famous? Because it, just like Uruguay as a whole, is located between Argentina and Brazil? (Although I know that as an exclusive resort area, there's also Pinamar, not far from Mar del Plata.)

Also, if you compared PdE with an American seaside resort, is it location-wise to Buenos Aires/Montevideo what Atlantic City or Virginia Beach are to New York, Philadelphia, and other Northeast American metropolises, albeit feeling like a Hamptons, an Atlantic City, and a Miami rolled into one?
 

mariposa

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It's because of its fantastic location combining wild ocean and gentle bay beaches (and lagoons) . Es una punta! The landscape is much much more dramatic than Pinamar which is just a strip of beach. Atlantic City? Huh? Nada que ver.
 

Matiasba

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The upper classes of Argentina used to vacation in Mar del Plata, but in the 40s, with Peron, it got very popular (aguinaldo and vacaciones laws allowed to the poor people go massively to Mar del Plata) so the upper classes, frightened, wanted to avoid every contact with the masses, it really changed the landscape, and they moved out to another place, more cuter, more quiet, and that will became exclusive with the years.
So during 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, Punta was some kind of a hidden gem, very exclusive, quiet, very homogeneous from the social point of view.
Argentine old upper classes, unlike other Latinamerican countries, always were inspired by the european model of society, taste, elegance, sophistication, etc people linked with "el campo", who lived in Recoleta, near Avenida Alvear, with French architecture, who went to the Jockey Club, 100% antiperonistas, with some kind of rejection to american way of life. That the old rich.
That started to change in the 90s when the "american way of life" enters, all this new richs, a lot of new richs (and new poors of course) and a lot of traditional wealthy families who got poor. Money changed of hands, the financial bussines replaced the agro bussiness, the new richs were people who traditionally belonged to middle class, and had totally different uses and habits of old richs.

In the 90s, with all these new richs Punta got much more popular. Also, a lot of people from Chile and Paraguay started going every year. In the 2000s brazilian people discovered Punta and now its like 60% arg for 40% bra that go there every year. It used to have an european vibe, with the constructions (i.e. the Cine Lido or the San Rafael casino) and all; there was an International film festival, Sofia Loren and all that kind of stars used to go every year, and now it turned into a Miami new rich plastic thing, although there are still some of the old people of old Punta going or living there.

One of the major changes obbeys to social segregation. Punta was although exclusive, traditionally an open space to everyone, people who went there had a big tradition with social integration, upper middle class proffesionals, etc, (this is the european thing I ment) but that changed all in the 90s when a lot of country clubs appeared, and with the Brazilians (where insecurity is totally another thing than in Arg and Uru) grew exponentially. Now is just another people, it is much more international, a paradise for cruises (which didnt exist til the 2000s) and bussinessmen, an enormous laundry machine, with horrible and tacky new towers -like Miami or Brazil-, since Uruguay dont have any law of asking where the money comes from (unike Arg and Bra).

It had lost its charm, it is another thing today.
Punta is totally decadent. People who used to go now are moving to Rocha (La Pedrera, etc) because of its popularity, celebrities, fashion stuff and all this new target.

PS: my mother was born and raised in Punta, and I go there every single year of my life + I lived there for one year (2010), so I know what I m talking about.
 

trennod

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Matias if what you say is true this is one of the best posts you have made. Good history leason jaja.
I went to Punta in January/Feb for the first time. I have grown up on awesome beaches but was really impressed. Very safe, relaxing and some pretty decent restaurants and night life. Weather is awesome. Beaches are decent (to relax, obviously if your chasing surf they arent any good). Good looking people :p
We had a really good time and would go back.
 

artigas

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Actually, its pretty simple, follow the money! Punta initially developed due to the fact that it was the coastal terminus of Uruguay's rail system in the1930,s and thus the only resort which was reasonably accessible. It then started to take off in the 1940's due to a Buenos Aires real estate huxter called Maricio Littman who (in classic Maimi Beach style) bought up vast tracts of barren land, subdivided it into lots, created a marketing buzz with beauty pageants, film festivals and faux imported celebrities to draw in the Porteños shut out of their traditional European resorts due to WWII and its aftermath. Perón then helped Punta out  by "encouraging" rich Argentines to offshore and launder their excess wealth in Punta real estate, a local tradition which has continued up to very recently. Today about 80% of the real estate here is Argentine owned, and virtually all of it was bought with cash dollars. Once their capital resided in Punta, the movers and shakers of BA would come and visit it in January/ Febuary, using the opportunity to network with other shady Argentine players with which metings back home would might face some unwanted scrutiny. Many a corrupt political back hander and cash filled briefcase has changed hands in sleepy offshore Uruguay. Punta would  likely have long withered away as a prime destination resort had not Brazil priced itself out the traditional beach resort market with a combination of high prices and a high crime rate and  if Argentines  had not  lost their visa waiver access to Maimi. Never the less, Punta has continued to move inexorably down market and sucker in ever lower net worth Argentines to buy overpriced real estate "investments", who after years of reading the BA gossip rags about the "glamorous" Punta lifestyle, smuggle their last USD savings out of a corrupt Argentina to then hand them over to equally sleazy local Argentine property developers here in Punta. Enjoy your next visit to fabulous Punta del Este! 
 

yd_mtl

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Actually, its pretty simple, follow the money! Punta initially developed due to the fact that it was the coastal terminus of Uruguay's rail system in the1930,s and thus the only resort which was reasonably accessible. It then started to take off in the 1940's due to a Buenos Aires real estate huxter called Maricio Littman who (in classic Maimi Beach style) bought up vast tracts of barren land, subdivided it into lots, created a marketing buzz with beauty pageants, film festivals and faux imported celebrities to draw in the Porteños shut out of their traditional European resorts due to WWII and its aftermath. Perón then helped Punta out by "encouraging" rich Argentines to offshore and launder their excess wealth in Punta real estate, a local tradition which has continued up to very recently. Today about 80% of the real estate here is Argentine owned, and virtually all of it was bought with cash dollars. Once their capital resided in Punta, the movers and shakers of BA would come and visit it in January/ Febuary, using the opportunity to network with other shady Argentine players with which metings back home would might face some unwanted scrutiny. Many a corrupt political back hander and cash filled briefcase has changed hands in sleepy offshore Uruguay. Punta would likely have long withered away as a prime destination resort had not Brazil priced itself out the traditional beach resort market with a combination of high prices and a high crime rate and if Argentines had not lost their visa waiver access to Maimi. Never the less, Punta has continued to move inexorably down market and sucker in ever lower net worth Argentines to buy overpriced real estate "investments", who after years of reading the BA gossip rags about the "glamorous" Punta lifestyle, smuggle their last USD savings out of a corrupt Argentina to then hand them over to equally sleazy local Argentine property developers here in Punta. Enjoy your next visit to fabulous Punta del Este!

So it sounds like the Argentines (particularly rich and famous ones) treat Punta del Este as a kinda-sorta Miami, though much closer to home, in terms of laundering their money? And so the fact that Punta del Este continues to be a flashy tourist destination (as opposed to just any beach destination) boils down largely to Uruguay being a country of offshore finance for many South Americans and being a less corrupt country than Argentina?

Plus, in terms of Brazil, not everywhere is the crime rate so high, I don't think. For example, Florianopolis doesn't have a high crime rate. So if Brazil were cheaper for Argentines, I suppose even more Argentines would vacation in places like Florianopolis than is actually the case.
 

Matiasba

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I went twice to Florianopolis and felt much more insecure than in Uruguay. Uruguay is probably the safest spot in South America. They are only 3 million, and more than the half is in Montevideo. Uruguay, unlike Brazil, lacks of population, and the people who is under the povertry line or in need to rob is much more easy to control, in quantity and in quality. Although insecurity in Uruguay has been growing a lot, but this is related to a drug/youth problem more than anything.
 

ajoknoblauch

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PDE is actually a pretty boring place. I much prefer Colonia, which at least some history and character.
 

yd_mtl

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I went twice to Florianopolis and felt much more insecure than in Uruguay. Uruguay is probably the safest spot in South America. They are only 3 million, and more than the half is in Montevideo. Uruguay, unlike Brazil, lacks of population, and the people who is under the povertry line or in need to rob is much more easy to control, in quantity and in quality. Although insecurity in Uruguay has been growing a lot, but this is related to a drug/youth problem more than anything.

But I'm sure that places like Florianopolis and Balneario Camboriu are a lot less problematic than Rio or Sao Paulo, right?
 

Matiasba

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I ve never been to Rio or sao Paulo, but i guess youre right, since they are both big cities and Floripa and Camberiu just coastal towns.
 
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