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Piriapolis is about 65 miles east of Montevideo.
From the terminal "Tres Cruces" buses depart about every hour during the day , specially in the high season (December to March). Try to get a direct one , they are a little more expensive but you'll get there in less than two hours. If you travel to Piriapolis directly from Motevideo's airport , it is about 50 miles but not all the buses that depart Montevideo "Tres Cruces" station stop by the airport so you need to plan accordingly. If you are staying in Punta del Este, then Piriapolis is about 35 miles west and bus service is also good . Having the hotel arrange a day trip from Punta del Este to Piriapolis is an option. Costs of these day tours would be about triple what the bus ticket costs by itself but still very reasonable.
If you land in Punta del Este airport, then Piriapolis is only 15 miles west. Ironically,this airport is closer to Piriapolis than Punta del Este and for those lucky enough to get a connection through, it is an option. Flights usually come from Buenos Aires and Brazil only, and mostly during the high season.
*Piriapolis, like Punta del Este, is a beach resort and active between December and March. Crowds and prices drop dramatically in the low season. If you do not care for the beach there is still plenty to see. The first order of business is to go to the top of "San Antonio", the city's main hill. Pick a clear day and you can see the condos of Punta del Este 30 miles away. Stay until sunset and enjoy the chapel , the views and the souvenirs shop. How do you get to the top? By taxi, a long walk, or better yet, take the sillitas ("little chairs") at the marina. *Another hill, not so prominent but a nice day walk nonetheless, is "Cerro del Toro" (Bull's Hill). It is on the outskirts but still less than 3 miles from the coast to the top. This is mostly a picnic area but a must of local custom. Do not forget to take a picture at the bull's statute, as this will almost certify you as a true local. *Piriapolis was developed by Mr. Francisco Piria (hence the name) and you probably guess that the best house in Piriapolis belongs to the founder. Well, it does. It is called Castillo de Piria (Piria's Castle), whether you look at it as a big house or a small castle, it is still a must-see. Ninety nine percent of the locals have probably never set foot in it but this is a local historical gem, so take route 37 north (the road on the left of the casino) for about 4 miles and it is situated on the right. Please check with the tourist office (next to the casino/hotel)for opening times and available guided tours.*Another 1 mile north on the same route, there is a natural reserve of native and rare South America fauna. You do not want to miss this, so dedicate a full day for it .*If you visited the Castle and the Preserve you (hopefully) noticed the Cerro Pan de Azucar (Sugar Bread Hill) a massive granite formation with a large cross on top of it. The cross has a spiral stairwell in it that you can climb, but first you have to get to the top of the hill. The walk to the top is through a
poorly marked trail and takes about 2 hours each way. It is not Mount Everest but is is a good idea to take some water, rain gear and suitable shoes/boots. Check with the Preserve guards for access times and other conditions.
*After these five classic tours you still have to eat and drink. Try the brick oven pizza, chivitos (thinly sliced meat sandwiches) and local beer available at any of the seaside restaurants. You can try your luck at the casino or just stay up all night at one of the local discos. By the way, the discos open at around 11 pm but nobody would dream of showing up that early - 1 am would be just about right. If you are not the disco type, just prepare some mate and walk around town and enjoy the crowds and the South Atlantic breeze.
*Take the cable car to the top of
san antonio hill(the old name was hill of the english)...wow what views.
*Iguanas next to Mcdonalds by the Hotel Argentino is serving all kinds of international foods including thai and Mex etc . Has great coffee too. A MUST. THIS RESTAURANT MIGHT BE CLOSED A/O 4/14
*If you are staying at one of the local hotels that offer breakfast, then expect a relatively simple continental menu with good coffee and better pastries. Do not expect American style menus anywhere for breakfast, except at the large hotels, nor ask for scrambled eggs - anytime!
*If your hotel does not have a restaurant, any of the local bars will do. Please note that a bar in South America is where you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.
*The Hotel Argentino is a bit expensive by Uruguayan standards, but provides a taste of old style luxury. The saltwater pools and thermal spa are incredible. Rooms with sea views are spectacular. Breakfast is excellent. There is also a casino for entertainment.
*Sunseaviews Property offers very affordable great quailty flats in the "La Riviera" building next to the agentino hotel on the beach front. They are very friendly and helpful and are based at the bottom of the building itself should you have any problems. The owner is English so no language issues there.