South American beach towns,
before they go upscale.
Around glamorous Punta del Este and boho-chic José Ignacio, there’s no deficiency of boutique hotels, expat art galleries and exclusive waterfront brasseries. But farther east along the Uruguayan Riviera, a relatively untrodden stretch of Atlantic coast tucked between Argentina and Brazil, sun, sand and simplicity remain the draw — for now. In the Rocha region, villages like Cabo Polonio, La Pedrera, San Antonio and Punta del Diablo are just starting to attract serious international attention, bringing a sprinkling of first-rate accommodation — like Brisas, a clifftop 14-room inn restored by an Argentine tech mogul — without compromising the area’s natural charms: miles of undeveloped beach, rolling pastures and a culture where gaucho cowboys and fishermen with wooden boats aren’t just props. — REMY SCALZA