January 24, 2011

Tango Adventure: Milongas in Buenos Aires

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You can´t miss the oportunity and you should join us one night and watch locals dancing tango in Buenos Aires.

The Milongas are dance clubs, where locals go to dance tango. Most milongas are held on a regular basis (usually weekly), and they often begin with dancing classes and sometimes demonstration dances. Usually, three to five songs of a kind are played in a row followed by a short musical break (called cortina) to clear the dance-floor and facilitate partner changes. There are a number of informal rules that dictate how dancers should choose their dancing partners.

Our recommendation:

If you want to experience the real Tango it is necessary to visit these milongas since they are completely different and they represent the essence of Buenos Aires. The best place to meet locals, have a drink while listening to good music.

These are the milongas that we liked the most:

La Ideal

Born 2 years alter the celebration of the city centennial of its independence; it is located a few meters away from Av. Corriente and Suipacha. “Confitería IDEAL” offers like no other place in Buenos Aires, the secrets of the nowadays tango and the locals atmosphere. It was born as a prestigious coffee house; with its art deco decoration hosts the top level of the Argentinean burgess. The ballroom is today visited by the most famous “milongueros”, local as well as international and the best tango teachers.

Address: Suipacha 384 1°. Monday to Friday from 10.30 pm (also offers matinee)





La Viruta

Since 1994, this emblematic place is known as one of the best Milongas in town. Located in Palermo Soho neighborhood, La Viruta offers salsa, Milonga and rock classes as well as the traditional tango lessons. Its young and fun ambience added to the diverse public is one of the reasons why the Milonga adepts choose this place every day.

Address: Armenia 1366. Palermo Soho

Wednesday, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9 pm


El Beso ( the Kiss )

If you were looking for a traditional Milonga, this is the place. El Beso is located a few steps away from the National Congress. Surrounded by green and red color and lights beginners and experienced dancers watch, wait and dance. Dancing, exhibitions, classes and workshops are offered on its wooden floor. This is and excellent choice for a different evening.

Address: Riobamba 416. Downtown BA.

Tuesday 9 pm; Wednesday 10.30 pm; Thursday 6 pm; Saturday 11 pm and Sunday 10 pm.

Salón Canning
This traditional Tango salon is one of the most famous ones in the city. Air conditioning, very good quality sound and the appropriate distribution of tables and dance floor add category to the place. High level of dancing is another highlight, It is usual to see professional dancers who arrive on daybreak, after their shows. A salon for dancing – if you are good enough – or to delight just watching

Address: Scalabrini Ortiz 1331. Palermo
Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10 pm. Wednesdays at 4 pm

Niño Bien
Located in a building from the 40’s, Niño Bien has a broad tradition on milonga’s organization. This big and comfortable saloon is chosen by milongueros from diverse ages.

Address: Humberto Primo 1462 1°. Thursdays 10 pm
Monserrat

Bear in mind that Milonga days and times may change. Check with their website or contact us and we will provide the up-dated information.

If you are interested in these kind of activites and you want to join us one evening, do not hesitate to contact us and we will design a special itinerary to show you the best of Buenos Aires culture.

Contact us : http://www.ideasturisticas.com/


Experience Argentine Tango in Buenos Aires

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The tango is creation more than activity, is sensation more than coordination, is the moving reflexion of your heart. Tango is a blend of considerations which align once your heart governs over your mind. All of these elements are lived, for learning tango introduces you to reflexion in a deep way.

Review the fundamental components to learn Argentine tango:


Music: Each musical composition has its own significance and prompts an unique interpretation. If you are here, set to learn Argentine tango, it means you not just listen to the music, but sense it. Can you identify its main sounds? Are you able to pace to the music's rhythm? Practice this and discover your own significance of tango.

Walking: The tango is founded on walking. To learn Argentine tango you must master to pace to it. This makes it simple to achieve dancing it correctly from day one, although you will see the complexity behind its simplicity. Close your eyes and listen to the main beats on the music. Start moving to these and once you feel comfortable, open your eyes and simply step on the beats. Do it backwards too.

Style: Tango demands a relationship with your motion and dance partner. Choose your favorite icon of strength and grace- a creature, anything in nature- and visualize it as you are training your style, and your body will assume its characteristics. Style in tango deals with straightening, extending; it requires a lot of muscle reinforcing and stance tending. Create habits to get a nice frame which fits naturally. Be stable, however not inflexible. Do not force your motion or posture. Style reflects on action but also on emotion.

Embrace: To learn Argentine tango you have to learn to relate intimately to your partner, and this is supported by the dancing stance. It is danced with an erect and steady posture, bodies joined with your arms around each other all the time. The partners pull themselves towards each other to gird the couple.

Introductory Step Patterns: There are many series of steps in tango; if you dominate the basic patterns, you will be capable of performing new ones easily. As you begin to learn Argentine tango, you will perform "the walk", which is the simplest one. It is founded on the two-step walk and once you know it, you can vary it by the distance of the paces. The four main two-step walks are: the stroll, the cadence-counting, the chase and the rock step.

Improvisation: The tango is a piece of conception of fresh pace patterns and series. Creativity is of prominent worth amongst experts and to learn Argentine tango in the correct way, you should learn how different patterns define you: passionate, sensual, loving, etcetera.

Dance: The best way to learn Argentine tango is to dance. It's the only way to get its emotional side, to experience it, to link with your partner and permit it to stir your heart. In Buenos Aires there are many milongas ( dance-halls: see our article about milongas ) where you can dance tango until 4 am!

I strongly recommend you to take private tango lessons to learn the eight basic steps and be able to dance with the locals. The experience is unique and the pleasure of dancing is extraordinary.
Inspired to hit the dance floor? We can arrange that, too.
Visit our website and send us an e mail www.ideasturisticas.com

January 22, 2011

Puerto Madero: Changing the Face of the City

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Puerto Madero is fast becoming one of the most fashionable and expensive places to live in the city. It represents the largest wide-scale urban project in the city of Buenos Aires.

It is an ideal location for a relaxing walk, a romantic dinner at one of the many exclusive restaurants, or a tango show at the elegant and avant-garde Faena Hotel. The neighborhood offers beautiful views of the cityscape, particularly at dusk as the city lights start to shimmer.

The modern sophistication that now characterizes this neighborhood contrasts greatly with its origins. In 1880, the city’s government began to build a new port, which was later given the name Puerto Madero in honour of Engineer Eduardo Madero, its designer.

The project turned out to be quite similar to that of the docklands in London, with four closed and connected docks which are places parallel to the river. In 1910, the port was already too small for the needs of the city that had increasingly gained a greater commercial activity. It was then the so-called New Port (Puerto Nuevo) was built north of Puerto Madero.

As years went by, Puerto Madero was abandoned but, in the early 1990s, a renewal project was carried out and the port became one of the trendiest boroughs in Buenos Aires: the old red brick warehouses were transformed into elegant apartments, lofts, exclusive restaurants, offices and recreation areas.

There is a perfect balance between tranquillity and proximity to downtown. It is also a very clean and the safest district of BA. Besides being under surveillance constantly by the Coastguards, all the apartments are well-equipped with the latest technology as regards self-protection.


The neighborhood's road network has been entirely rebuilt, especially in the east side. The layout of the east side consists of three wide boulevards running east-west crossed by the east side's main street, Juana Manso Avenue. The layout is completed with parks, some other avenues and minor streets, running both east-west and north-south, and by several pedestrian streets.

For this reason, Puerto Madero has become the preferred address for growing numbers of young professionals and retirees, alike. Increasing property prices have also generated interest in the area as a destination for foreign buyers, particularly those in the market for premium investment properties.

As you stroll through the neighborhood, there are some specific attractions to enjoy and that you should not miss:

Puente de la Mujer

Designed by Santiago Calatrava, this spectacular footbridge has a single mast with cables suspending a portion of the bridge which rotates 90 degrees in order to allow water traffic to pass. When it swings to allow watercraft passage the far end comes to a resting point on a stabilizing pylon.

The Puente de la Mujer (Women's Bridge), by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, is the newest link between the east and west docks of Puerto Madero.

The Ecological Reserve

With over 200 species of birds, scuttling iguanas as well as joggers and cyclists, it is a multi-purpose green space. Here, you can join many visitors who descend here to run or to enjoy a spot of bird watching in peace.

Over time, sand and sediment began to build up and developed itself into a biodiversity sample of the native Llanura Pampeana ecosystem, the area now boasts a few trees, mostly willows, ceibos and acacias and is home to the city's only wild flamingos, egrets, ducks, parrots and nutrias.

The Nereids Fountain

It is a masterpiece of sculptor Lola Mora, who designed it in the city of Rome in 1902. Its first location was in the downtown area, but due to the scandal caused by the nude figures, it was moved to its current location in 1918.

The material used is Carrara marble. Tritons, Nereids and an Aphrodite – Venus make up a harmonious sculptural work.

The Faena Hotel

It was designed by the prestigious French artist Philippe Starck together with Argentine entrepreneur Alan Faena who named the complex after himself. The Hotel has a great Pool bar and an ultra hip restaurant that is really worth visiting. This is one of the hottest places to have pre-dinner drinks in Buenos Aires. Just have a sip at the luxurious pool bar or the cabaret bar. Mixed, but dead trendy crowd meet every Thursday and Friday evening.

The Recoleta Cemetery: Dying to get in there!

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One of the "must see" when visiting Buenos Aires is the Recoleta Cemetery. It is centrally located on some of the most expensive real estate in Buenos Aires and is the eternal resting place to some of the most important Argentines; including Eva Perón, Raúl Alfonsín, and several presidents.

It gives people so much status to own a mausoleum here, that there is a waiting list of families who are dying to buy a crypt in this prestigious cemetery.
Together with Pere Lachaise in Paris and Di Staglieno in Genoa, Italy, this is one of the most astonishing burial grounds in the world. As you enter the Cemetery, you will soon forget where you are and I am sure you will feel you are in an open air museum, where you will not only learn about our history, but also about different architectural styles; and, above all, you will be amazed by the stories and legends hidden behind each monument.

The cemetery’s 60,000 sq m are organised into squares, which are divided by wide, tree-lined avenues flanked by marble mausoleums of different architectural styles. Ba´s most illustrious sons and daughters (presidents, writers, scientists, artists, independence warriors) are all buried here. Among the most venerated tombs, is that of Eva Duarte, otherwise known as Evita Perón.
We never thought we would find ourselves promoting a cemetery as “a must visit” attraction, but the Recoleta Cemetery is a truly amazing place.  The excessiveness and grandeur is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced.

Bear in mind that the Recoleta Cemetery is 14 acres large and a labyrinth of concrete, sculptures and amazing architecture. If you want more in-depth explanations behind the mausoleums, it is essential to hire a local guide to help you discover the best the cemetery has to offer.

Ideas Turisticas walking tours combine Argentina history and Argentina present within a fascinating 3 hour stroll. On this walking tour in Recoleta you will see not only the cemetery but also the historical neighborhood of Recoleta and the beautiful mansions built by the city’s elite. You will discover countless sculptures and statues depicting the great leaders of history.

You will find fantastic shopping and outdoor street cafes as well as excellent nightlife and luxurious hotels. You will pass by the best museums in Buenos Aires and explore the basilica Nuestra Señora del Pilar. And all this before you even enter the cemetery.

Once inside, Argentina history comes to life at the mausoleums of the dead. Over 50 tombs and crypts are explained, including Evita Perón, revealing all of the legends of Buenos Aires history. 

January 19, 2011

Mendoza - Francis Mallman 1884 Restaurant

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Francis Mallman is Argentina’s most identifiable chefs. His signature restaurant, 1884, in Mendoza is the preeminent restaurant for meat in the world’s most preeminent meat country. His book, Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way, is basically the bible of cooking Argentine meat. The emphasis on the food here is rustic. Many dishes are cooked over an open fire or in a clay oven. Mallman gravitates not toward the European influenced kitchens of Buenos Aires, but the gaucho ways of Patagonia and beyond.

1884 is located in a corner of the Escorihuela Gascón Winery, in the Godoy Cruz neighborhood just outside of the center of Mendoza (15 minute taxi-ride). Upon entering the Romanesque building you find the narrow bar area to the right and a large garden area with a few tables to the left.

We strongly recommend you to sit for a drink at either section while waiting for your table to open up (reservations are a must). In the garden courtyard you can watch the chefs stoke the wood fired grill and clay oven and slice up beautiful cuts of flesh. The restaurant is the most iconic Mendoza food experience.

It is essential to understand the chef’s ideology. This is cuisine that can be traced to the very heart and soul of Argentina. It’s presented beautifully, but don’t expect molecular gastronomy here or tiny bite size dishes with foams.

The food is earthy and seasonally based. In fact the menu changes every two weeks. It utilizes Mendoza’s rich cornucopia of produce to pair with the meat and wine.


A recent visit saw a salad of roasted pumpkin and a perfectly cooked and seasoned Ojo de Bife (Rib Eye) with chimmichurri over crispy Andean potatoes. Service is proper but not stuffy. Prices are reasonable for the quality and celebrity and are on par with most bodega lunches in Mendoza. Portions are big and hearty and are paired with a wine list that extends to 75 pages. 

Francis Mallman 1884 Restaurante
Belgrano 1188, Godoy Cruz
Mendoza, Argentina
Tel: 261 424 2698
Daily 8:30pm-12am


 

January 15, 2011

It´s All About The Meat

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La Cabrera Steakhouse

It’s hard not to find good beef anywhere in Argentina. In Buenos Aires there are a dozen top steakhouses that would rank among the best anywhere in the world and hundreds of fine parrillas in the city.

La Cabrera is one of the best steakhouses in Buenos Aires. Hugely popular, it is located in Palermo Soho district and attracts an equally trendy clientele. Reservations are a must. If you don´t have a reservation it is likely that you will find a line out the door on the sidewalk and you will have dinner at around 11 pm.

The atmosphere is a very casual, a little bit noisy and the tables are close to each other. The restaurant is not big, nevertheless, it is still worth going. The service is very good. Excellent grilled premium meats and offal. Baby beef, boned pork spare ribs, rump steak, goat tripe, sweetbreads all done just right by an expert barbecue chef.

All of the steak cuts are good, but the lomo is exceptionally flavorful. The ojo de bife (rib eye) is a delicious cut as well. The sweetbreads are grilled, but unlike other steakhouses, these retaine a lot of juicy texture along with the incredible charcoal flavor. A new favorite is Tira de Asado, thin cuts of ribs that are a bit chewy but so flavorful.

The morcilla Basque (sweet-blood sausage) is unbelievably rich and flavorful with complex flavors and even has pine nuts. The hearts of palm salad is a huge portion comprised of large, tender palm hearts, wonderfully ripe tomatoes and 3 avocados.

All salads are very fresh and every cut of meat comes with many different side dishes. You will get butternut squash puree, mashed pumpkin with raisins, beet purée, sun dried tomatoes, white beans, onions in caramel, baked pearl onions in red wine, and several others. For that reason, be careful when you order since La Cabrera is extremely generous with the size of their steaks.  You can ask half a portion and it is very probable that you will be full.

With decent bottles of wine being so inexpensive in restaurants in Argentina, most don’t have a wide selection of wines by the glass. While La Cabrera’s selection isn’t extensive, they do offer three levels of wines (a reserve, middle, & standard). My recommendation is that you buy a bottle of Malbec wine (Angelica from Catena Zapata is my favorite) and if you can’t finish it, you can take the bottle with you.

La Cabrera
Cabrera 5099
Palermo Soho
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tel: 011-54-11-4831-7002

January 14, 2011

Buenos Aires City: 10 things to do in 24 hours

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The must-see list for the one-day visitor to Buenos Aires — especially the first-timer — is mind-boggling. We're assuming you're well aware of the major attractions: Plaza de Mayo, Casa Rosada, La Boca, Caminito, San Martín Park, Florida Street, Palermo Soho, etc.

We're here to guide you to the top 10 places where tourists don't normally go places where Porteños live, eat and hang out.

1. Avenida de Mayo

May Avenue was the first boulevard in the city by the time it was opened in 1894. The idea behind the opening of the avenue was for it to be a stylish open space in downtown area worthy of being shown to the world. Have a walk along this magnificent avenue of the city, raise the eyes and discover the most impressive buildings that few people know about. The Tortoni Café ( 826 Avenida de Mayo), is the oldest, most traditional and best preserved café. You can’t miss stopping in to have a coffee there.

2. Avenida Corrientes

It is one of the main thoroughfares of Buenos Aires. The street is intimately tied to the tango and the porteño sense of identity. The most important theatres of the city are located on this avenue, as well as traditional cafes and pizza parlours. Bookstores, a characteristic of Corrientes Avenue, are open until late at night, offering all kinds of literature in old and new editions. We highly suggest walking along this Avenue from Callao Avenue to Alem street.


3. Pizzeria El Cuartito

El Cuartito ( 937 Talcahuano street ) is not only one of the most traditional pizzerias but also it is considered the best pizza of Buenos Aires. This pizzeria is nicely decorated with nostalgic Posters (lots of Boxing), it is a good place to drop in late for a Chop (1/2 pint of beer).

Standing at the stainless steel counter is perfectly acceptable, but for the real experience take a seat in either of the two main rooms, order some pizza from the menu pasted on the wall, have a Quilmes beer (our local best beer ) and be prepared for a taste experience.

Just remember that when the menu describes a pizza as grande (big) this is not an exaggeration. Still, pizzas come in 3 different sizes, served on a wooden platter, with generous toppings and many different flavors.The pizza to have is the "fugazzeta" - basically a mozzarella and onion pizza. With that, I suggest a piece of "faina" (which is chickpea dough), it combines great with the pizza.

4. Floralis Generica

The sculpture has become one of the latest icons of Buenos Aires. This giant metal flower animated sculpture is located at the United Nations Park. The Steel Flower is actually made of stainless steel and aluminum and sits in the centre of a pool of water which reflects the flower and also protects it from vandals.

One of the fascinating features of this sculpture is that it acts like a real flower in that its gigantic petals are open during the day and then close for the night with a red glow emanating from within.

5. Maman Art Gallery

Considered by many to have the best collection of modern and contemporary art in Buenos Aires, the Maman Fine Art Gallery promotes young artists as well as those already established in Argentine art.

If you are interested in art don’t miss the exhibitions of noted Argentine artists such as Luis Benedit, Antonio Berni, Hernán Dompé, Rómulo Macció, Mondongo Group, Alicia Penalba, Emilio Pettoruti among other renowned artists. ( Address: 2475, Del Libertador Avenue )

6. Avenida Alvear

This seven-block avenue also stands out for its aristocratic look and the way it has conserved the classic style of the early 20th century. It is a beautiful avenue to stroll and to admire monumental façades, gardens behind elaborate ironwork fences, elegant street lamps, cornices and doors with bronze door knockers. Today, many palaces house international design stores such as Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Polo Ralph Lauren, among others.

7. La Biela Café

Situated at 600 Quintana Avenue on the corner of Junin street, opposite the church of Nuestra Senora del Pilar and the adjoining Recoleta Cemetery. The café has a large terrace in front with outdoor tables under the shade of a giant rubber tree, and is a popular meeting place of locals. Great location to people watch and see the performers and vendors across from the cemetery.

8. La Ideal Milonga

“Confitería Ideal” offers like no other place in Buenos Aires, the secrets of the nowadays tango and the local’s atmosphere. It was born as a prestigious coffee house; the ballroom is today visited by the most famous “milongueros”, local as well as international and the best tango dancers. (Address: 384 Suipacha, 1° floor.)

9. La Brigada

This is one of our favourite steak-houses in Buenos Aires. Located in the heart of San Telmo.

At La Brigada we strongly recommend you to try the parrilla mixta ( mixed grill ) that consist of seven or more cuts of meat, each of which you can also order individually. Besides beef, other grilled options include chicken, young goat ( chivito ), and suckling pig ( lechón ). One of Argentina´s great culinary creations is chimichurri, a tangy herb marinade ideal with choice cuts of meat. Reservations are recommended. (Address: 465 Estados Unidos St; Phone: +54 11 4361 5557)

10. La Trastienda

Near La Brigada, in the neighbourhood of San Telmo, you will find La Trastienda: a mecca for serious musicians and discerning fans, it attracts cutting-edge local bands, established Latin American talent and international artists such as Damien Rice. Address: Balcarce 460, Phone: +54 11 4342-7650

We hope you have found this article useful.

The best way to explore Buenos Aires is with a knowledgeable guide. Ideas can help you put together a package of custom tours and tour extensions, with the best English-speaking guides in these destinations. Let us know your preferences and we will plan the best tour for you.

Check our website and send us an e mail http://www.ideasturisticas.com/

It´s January! Living the goodlife in Punta del Este.

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If it’s January when you are in Buenos Aires, don’t go looking for friends in town. Instead, head directly for where everyone else is partying it up – in Punta del Este, the hedonistic summer resort for South America’s super –rich.

The good times are back at his Uruguayan sand spit, whose popularity has been a virtual yardstick for the Argentine economy. Nearby Jose Ignacio might be more fashionable now, thanks to the sometime presence of Martin Amis and Isabel Fonseca, but Punta has the best places to stay.

Lodging in Punta is expensive, but becomes considerably cheaper if you buy a package through a travel agency or ferry operator. The Conrad Hotel, located in the heart of Punta del Este and only 20 minutes from the international airport, is the only Las Vegas-style casino and luxury hotel in the Punta del Este region. The hotel, which faces Gorriti Island and is only a short walk from La Mansa Beach and it is best known for its bikini fashion shows and casino, is the peninsula’s most expensive option.

The peninsula remains the central reference point, dividing Punta in 2 zones: Playa Mansa, to the west, lapped by the still waters of the River Plate, and Playa Brava, to the north, extending up to the Atlantic coast.

Along both beaches, summer paradores ( Marangatú at Parada 7 Playa Mansa is one of the best ), offer services ranging from sun-loungers and beach games to lunch – and all with a sea view.

As you progress north out of the peninsula the beaches become progressively less populated, and the high-rise buildings replaced by mansions and exclusive resorts. After 6 miles, the panorama abruptly changes at Punta’s most happening patch: la Barra.

Mantra Hotel and Casino has 100 luxurious and spacious rooms, a sparkling swimming pool, Spa and health centre area second to none. Located in the small town of La Barra, it is placed on a hilltop amongst trees with some spectacular views over the Atlantic Ocean and 20 km from Punta Del Este and 40 km from the Domestic Airport.

At La Barra you will find clubs, bars, restaurants, galleries and modelling agencies. Jose Ignacio, 40 km ( 25 miles ) north of Punta, is more discreet. This tiny town is a must-visit for its white sands, dusty roads and internationally acclaimed restaurants. Josè Ignacio’s most scenic hotel is La Posada del Faro with 12 individually designed rooms.



Where To Eat In Punta

Fifteen minutes from the seaport, La Burgogne (http://www.labourgogne.com.uy/ Pedragosa Sierra and Avenida de la Mar Punta Del Este 598-42/482-007) is considered to be one of Punta´s best restaurants. Star chef Jewn Paul Bondoux picks the herbs from the restaurant´s organic garden to spice up traditional dishes like rack of lamb and rabbit in mustard sauce.

For dinner, we favour La Huella, (598-486) 2279, http://www.paradorlahuella.com/ , a rustic beachside spot in José Ignacio that serves grilled fish and sushi. But the ultimate insider spot is Marismo, a restaurant in José Ignacio that is known for its tasty slow-braised lamb and rough-hewn décor of wood tables in the sand, lit by candles and heated by a bonfire (nights can get chilly). Here's the phone number: (598-486) 2273.
These restaurants open in high season, from December to February.

How to get to Punta del Este:

Aerolineas Argentinas and Uruguayan airline Pluna fly several times daily from Buenos Aires domestic airport ( Jorge Newbery ). It is a 50 minute flight and the flights arrive at Punta´s Laguna del Sauce airport, 10 miles ( 16 km ) away from the city.

Another way to get to Punta from Buenos Aires is by boat and road. From Puerto Madero terminal, Buquebus has at least 2 ferries a day to Montevideo ( 2 hours and 35 minutes ). Montevideo is located 140 kilometres ( 87 miles ) from Punta del Este. It takes 2 hours and 30 minute-drive.

If you are going to Punta next summer, let us know and we will send you a very useful list of restaurants, cafés, beaches, shops, private parties, private lounge bars that you should visit during your holidays in Punta.