“Developed in the 1930s as a resort for wealthy Argentineans,” writes Uruguay Correspondent Sol Tuya, “Piriapolis has evolved into one of the world’s most affordable and appealing retirement havens, attracting expats from North America, Europe, and elsewhere throughout South America.
“I include myself among them, and I can tell you that, here in this small city on Uruguay’s coast, we are enjoying peace and harmony and a quality of life that I think would be hard to match.
“Every month, the Piriapolis English Speakers Club gathers by the sea for good conversation, good food, and a chance to network among fellow English-speaking expats. This month, the lunch was held at the Parador restaurant on the beach at Playa San Francisco, adjacent to Punta Colorada (Red Rock Point), just east of downtown. This is my favorite of the five distinctive beaches that make up the city of Piriapolis. The sea rocks are brick red, the ocean waves break onshore like whipped cream, and the red sunsets are breathtaking.
“In attendance at this month’s lunch were…
Judith and Harold, retired to Punta Bellena, Piriapolis
“Originally from Palmer, Alaska (50 miles north of Anchorage), this couple retired to Uruguay two years ago. Judith, a former schoolteacher, had worked with a Uruguayan art teacher, so, when the time came for retirement, she was already convinced that Uruguay was the place. Though they had the opportunity to live in one of Uruguay’s larger cities, Judith and Harold fell in love with the natural beauty and quiet lifestyle of seaside Piriapolis.
“Not ones to sit beneath a palm sipping piña coladas all day, the couple bought 50 acres of farmland and today raise sheep and grow raspberries, blackberries, grapes, eucalyptus, and more. Both are avid whale-watchers during the winter mating season, and their home in Punta Bellena (Whale Point) provides them a front-row seat right from their front porch. They prefer to get around on horseback and say the number-one reason they love their new home as much as they do is the wonderful Uruguayan people.
Jean and Ralph, retired to Playa Hermosa, Piriapolis
“As the original organizers of the Piriapolis English Speakers Club, Jean and Ralph are responsible for bringing together the expat community in this part of Uruguay. Originally from Calgary, Canada, they visited Piriapolis for only a month before choosing it as their dream retirement haven six years ago and have not regretted their choice for a minute.
“Their reasons for choosing Uruguay in general and Piriapolis in particular are personal safety, banking security, excellent health care, little political corruption, and great real estate values. Jean and Ralph, like many other retirees in this part of this country, have chosen to buy two small residences instead of one large one. They own a home in Piriapolis and a condo on La Mansa in Punta Del Este. In addition, they have invested in rental properties and today manage a half-dozen apartments and homes in the area.
“Jean is also the local host of the Seven Seas Cruising Association. For more details on Piriapolis sea life, visit the group’s website at www.ssca.org.
Patricia and Omar, retired to Solanas, Piriapolis
“Pat and Omar chose Uruguay as the place to raise their six grandchildren (ages 7 to 22) and have settled in beautiful Barrio de Porto Suelo in Solanas, where watching the sunset from their patio is a part of their everyday routine. Omar, a real estate developer and investor by trade, and Teri, a board member of the American Cultural Alliance in Uruguay, are active community members and advocates for the Uruguayan educational system.
“The grandchildren are studying in English and Spanish and benefiting from the many extra-curricular opportunities, including horseback riding, sailing, music, ballet, modern dance, grass hockey, golf, tennis, surfing, voice, sculpture, rugby, soccer, film, chorus, and theater with a Shakespearian teacher who takes students on a field trip to England each year.
“The couple has developed a cattle ranch into mini chakras maritime and is a good example of the entrepreneurially minded expats who are taking advantage of opportunities in Uruguay for growth and discovery beyond retirement.
Lawrence, retired to Piriapolis
“Originally from Ireland, Lawrence was living in England when he was commissioned to design boats in Uruguay. He sailed from the UK to the Canary Islands and then on to Brazil, before docking in his new home in Piriapolis.
“Lawrence spends summers at the Piri shore, then, in winter, rents an apartment in the capital city of Montevideo, just an hour west. With annual rentals in Piriapolis available for as little as US$250 a month (for a one-bedroom loft), summers by the sea and winters in the capital is an affordable option.
“When he isn’t designing boats, Lawrence is an avid athlete and stays in top form cycling from one end of Uruguay to the other.
Rex and Sherrie, retired to Las Flores, Colonia
“A high school wrestling coach from Seattle, Washington, Rex retired to Uruguay with his wife Sherrie less then a year ago. Though it was only their first visit to South America, when they discovered the beautiful city of Colonia, they knew this was where they wanted to be. They returned home, quit their jobs, packed their things, then flew back to Uruguay for good. They’ve never looked back.
“Like so many U.S. retirees, this couple had watched their nest egg shrink in value these past few years, as the situation in the States continued to worsen. By retiring to Uruguay, they have taken control of their financial future and found new hope that they will, in fact, be able to enjoy the retirement they dreamed about all through their working years.
Alex, retired to Playa San Francisco, Piriapolis
“Born in Chile and raised in Argentina, Alex was a fan of Piriapolis for years before he decided to take early retirement five years ago and settle here. An architect by trade, Alex grew up on a farm in Chile and had always dreamed of having one of his own at some point. His dream came true in Piriapolis, where Alex found a home on a farmable tract on the main road on the outskirts of the city. Alex maintains his farm solo year-round, with the exception of harvest time in November.
“Living in Piriapolis, this bachelor accepts building assignments from a lucky circle of friends, farms his land, and enjoys an active lifestyle, traveling in Uruguay and throughout South America.
Jaime and Olga, retired to Playa Piriapolis, Piriapolis
“Natives and lifelong residents of Uruguay, Jaime and Olga take pride in assisting newcomers to their country. Retired after successful careers as a dentist and an accountant, this couple has spent more than 70 years in the area. They live part of the year in Montevideo and enjoy spring and summer in Piriapolis, and there’s simply no one better qualified to give you the full scoop on where to go, what to do, and all things Piriapolis.
“Completely bi-lingual, Jaime and Olga were kind enough to agree to make their e-mail address (email@example.com) available to Live and Invest readers so that you can contact them directly if you have questions on living in this part of Uruguay.”
Kathleen Peddicord www.liveandinvestoverseas.com