For years, fashionable beachgoers in Uruguay headed to the resorts of José Ignacio and Punta del Este. Lately, though, they’re being lured inland to nearby Pueblo Garzón instead. Chef Francis Mallmann put the sleepy town on the map a decade ago with his five-room hotel and restaurant El Garzón restaurantegarzon.com; doubles from $780. Since then, many other stylish venues have followed. Bodega Garzón bodegagarzon.com, a sustainable farm estate, just unveiled a stunning state-of-the-art winery, which is open for tours. The restaurant and bar—which has a chandelier fashioned out of metal mesh hanging above a tree-trunk reception desk—serves the vineyard’s Tannat and grassfed beef cooked on a massive wood-fired grill.
Closer to the sea is a sleek, circle-shaped bridge over the Garzón Lagoon conceived by native architect Rafael Viñoly. The arresting and not uncontroversial structure leads to the quiet beaches of Rocha, once accessible only by raft. Whether the bridge brings in yet more development remains to be seen; for now, it stands as a reminder of the area’s natural beauty and growing ambitions.