Long favoured by Argentines looking to desenchufar—disconnect and unwind—the laid-back town of Carmelo lies on Uruguay’s shore of the Rio de la Plata, a short trip from Buenos Aires by hydrofoil ferry across the world’s widest river. Its secluded location has kept Carmelo blissfully quiet: Locals prefer bicycles to cars, or putter round in lovingly kept Ford Model Ts. Strolling the town’s cobbled streets will take you past historic one-storey houses, a meandering arroyo and parrilla steakhouses that serve Uruguay’s much-loved chivito beef sandwich. Golden beaches on the riverfront are interspersed with wildlife-rich wetlands, the rolling hills beyond planted with vines. Wineries such as Los Cerros de San Juan, the country’s oldest, and Irurtia, open by appointment, offer a level of attention rarely found in busier locales. Winemakers often accompany bodega tours, and owning families are on hand to explain why the Tannat grape fares well here. Other delightful escapes include traditional cheese dairy Narbona and former Portuguese enclave Colonia del Sacramento, its historic quarter named a UNESCO World Heritage site for its intact colonial architecture, tangled history and unsullied quaintness.
Ruta 21, km 262
Carmelo, Dpto. de Colonia
Tel. +598 (4542) 9000 or Toll Free from Argentina +598 (800) 122 0178 0179
Fax +598 (4542) 9999
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