La Barra Maldonado, Uruguay, is transforming from an idyllic vacation spot to a year-round retreat.
The upscale coastal city has been a popular second-home market with international buyers, especially Argentines, but its permanent and diverse population is growing.
La Barra, Maldonado is located on the Uruguayan coast located on an estuary in the Atlantic Ocean where there are long sandy beaches, which offer great surfing.
The area has the La Barra Golf Club, and four main beaches, La Barra, Playa Los Cangrejos, Playa La Boyita and Playa Montoya, the latter with a surf school with the same name.
This is an old fishing village, a haven for the artistic and fashionable ensemble, and a place of second residence, located on the outskirts of the city of Punta del Este.
It has pastel-hued coastal homes, a striking “wavy” bridge, and a vibrant and diverse community. It is known for its trendy venues, art galleries, contemporary architecture, and rolling waves, which buzz during the summer months. It has a laid-back elegance and heart-stopping sunsets.
The current coronavirus pandemic has brought La Barra a significant increase in its permanent population, when before it was mainly a vacation destination.
More and more people seek to escape to what this place offers, a natural environment. And settle there to enjoy it all year round. In addition to the beautiful landscapes and striking lifestyle, Uruguay's new favorable residence tax rules, along with social and economic stability compared to many of its neighbors, have contributed to an increase in foreign buyers at these resorts. .
According to experts in the local market, the high-end of the market has performed incredibly well, thanks to the arrival of new wealthy residents, both local and international. Houses with large gardens or along the coast, luxury apartments and country estates are absorbing most of that boom in demand.
In La Barra Maldonado, the most sought-after apartments or houses are those found along Route 10 and towards the sea. They are the most sought after and the highest in price together with the large farms (or haciendas) in the La Barra countryside.
In La Barra, prices range from $ 300.000 to $ 20 million. Being the so-called first-line houses, or those closest to the sea, those with the highest prices. Front-line luxury apartments range from $ 1 million to $ 3 million, while front-line home prices start at $ 3 million. In Uruguay, including La Barra, properties are offered in US dollars.
La Barra, Maldonado has a variety of low-rise farms, houses, and apartment complexes and many of them reside within gated communities. A mix of Mediterranean style, classic and examples of contemporary minimalism can be appreciated, including notable designs by internationally renowned architects.
There are gated communities, with apartments and houses, that offer security and high-level services, such as Laguna Blanca, this luxury complex has a swimming pool, parks, soccer fields and tennis courts. Among the new developments is the Reserva de Montoya gated community, which sits around a lake near the shoreline and has 10.700-square-foot lots and 24-hour security.
One of the most exclusive places in the area is undoubtedly the Fasano Las Piedras hotel and villa complex opened in 2011, managed by the Brazilian hotel brand of the same name, it is an emblematic and fashionable place. It has a minimalist, concrete architecture, with private box houses and bungalows with interiors designed by Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld. Here, prices start at $ 500.000 for undeveloped homes and $ 1,3 million for homes.
La Barra, Maldonado is a seaside resort and its name "Barra" means "estuary" in Uruguay. It began to become a refined place after the arrival of the “undulating” Leonel Viera bridge in the mid-60s. It connects the city of La Barra with the city of Maldonado and is known locally and by tourists as El Puente de La Barra. .
The resort is characterized by the colorful houses, and being one of the most beautiful maritime landscapes in Punta del Este, low population density and safe and closed communities.
But without a doubt, for a long time the charm of La Barra has been in its nightlife, in the great designer stores, in the street vendors, and in the cultural diversity, in its bars and restaurants that are attractive for all ages ” .
In La Barra and the surrounding towns there is no shortage of luxurious and relaxing places to eat, drink, play sports and relax.
At the Hotel Fasano Las Piedras, which overlooks the grassy plains and the Maldonado River, there are three restaurants, including the Fasano Restaurant, focused on Italian cuisine, with a ranch-style wooden interior and glass walls offering views that are saved in memory.
It also features a rusty steel clad pool and bar, an 18-hole golf course, polo and equestrian facilities, tennis courts, a private airfield, and a spa and gym, among other facilities.
For its part, the Narbona wine estate, in Manantiales, 3 kilometers away, has a house-hotel and a cozy and refined restaurant with Mediterranean cuisine.
Along the main street of La Barra, Route 10, there are antique shops, cafes and a variety of places that will make your walk a unique experience.
Among them, a market that offers interesting and affordable articles for the home, and the contemporary art gallery Galeria Sur, which seeks to consolidate the art of the Río de la Plata region and Uruguay.
Café Borneo, among many other coffee shops, and small informal restaurants, many of them with healthy menus and an ethical mindset make gastronomy one of the main services.
Some of the most prominent are Mahalo Bowls, which serves smoothie bowls; the vegetarian restaurant El Popu; the vegan / vegetarian restaurant Sana A Rou, which serves vegan frozen yogurt, wraps and salads; and the seafood and vegetarian restaurant Baby Gouda.
Other popular spots in La Barra, Maldonado are Chill Out, which serves the local dish chivito (sandwiches stuffed with thinly sliced beef fillet); Crepe crepes; and Barbas Kitchen, in Bartolomé Hidalgo, located inside a wooden structure, has a local menu that includes homemade cold cuts, whiskey and a relaxed atmosphere.
La Barra has many magical things, but it is not alone, there are places like the nearby town of Manantiales that also offer extraordinary services. Manantiales also has a wide range of healthy and delicious options, and the renowned Parador La Huella sushi restaurant is located 12 miles away on José Ignacio's Brava Beach.
But the most important nearby city in the department and is the most recognized spa in Uruguay.
Nearby Punta del Este is a cosmopolitan place with several international schools, such as the International College, a relatively new private center for pre-school, primary and secondary school students offering the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program, and the Woodside School, a private co-ed school for students from kindergarten to high school. In addition to being the largest tourist spot in the department offering hotel and gastronomy services for all tastes.
Who lives there?
The residents of La Barra, Maldonado are mostly second homeowners, mainly business people with young families who want to spend time away from the city and enjoy outdoor activities, mainly the south.
Around 80% of the buyers on the coast of Punta del Este, and specifically La Barra, are foreigners, mainly Argentines, followed by Europeans.
The Uruguayan coast is the most popular region within the country among foreign buyers looking for a place to start a new life in a relaxed and safe environment. Many of them come from Argentina, Brazil, Europe and North America "
In 2020, Uruguay changed its “tax holidays” regime, which provides a temporary exemption from income tax to new residents for income from foreign investments. The new policy allows new residents to choose between not being subject to income tax on foreign capital income during the year they became tax residents and the following 10 years (previously it was five years) or being subject to a rate of 7% forever on the returns of foreign capital, which was previously 12%.
(Residency can be obtained with a real estate investment of $ 370.000 or more and 60 days of residence)
The area is home to Doña Paola Marzotto, the companion of Italian aristocrat Don Carlo Ferdinando Borromeo, Count of Arona, as well as Argentine supermodel Valeria Mazza, and many wealthy businessmen, politicians and aristocrats.
Argentine businessman and real estate developer Eduardo Costantini has a residence here, as does Uruguayan soccer star Nahitan Nandez.
The real estate market of Punta del Este and La Barra is currently experiencing an upward trend, in which prices are moving up due to strong demand, led by foreign investors and people fleeing the uncertainty of their countries and a supply every time less.
Real estate agents in the area hope that since our borders have been closed for almost two years, this year many tourists will come to enjoy our paradisiacal beaches and homes. Therefore, the income and sales of the products increase.