From penitentiary to shopping mall, Punta Carretas Shopping is a popular meeting place and historic landmark.

Punta Carretas: The Best Blend Of Lifestyles In Uruguay

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Uruguay still leads the pack for a large number of overseas property buyers, with good reason. In many ways the Montevideo neighborhood of Punta Carretas exemplifies what brings people to Uruguay and why they stay.

Since 2004, Uruguay’s property market has been one of the world’s best performers. Property values—and Uruguay’s economy as a whole—continued to grow during the Great Recession, and, in 2011, prices in Montevideo rose an amazing 22%.

But then Argentina—Uruguay’s primary source of buyers and rental market customers—put strict currency controls in place, making it very difficult to get U.S. dollars out of the country. To make matters worse, Argentina’s central bank refused to redeem the Argentine pesos that its citizens had spent in Uruguay. Despite dire predictions, the property market in Uruguay refused to die and tacked on another 9% the following year.

Properties aside, Uruguay remains one of the world’s premier offshore havens, with a solid banking system, strong currency, and a business-friendly environment. It’s drawn people from the region for years. Since about 2009, Uruguay has been a virtual magnet for North Americans wanting to establish a presence outside their home country.

Finally, the lifestyle in Uruguay is second to none, with its old-world, European ambiance mixed with a tango-culture romance and some of the world’s friendliest and kindest people.

Punta Carretas lies on a peninsula that juts southward into the sea. The signature Punta Brava lighthouse marks the end of the point and the beginning of a wide, mile-long seafront park (my golden retriever’s favorite feature). Punta Carretas also hosts the nation’s premier golf course, the Club de Golf del Uruguay ( ).

Punta Carretas Shopping is located here, which contains a large, modern grocery store in addition to the mall’s other cafes and upscale (expensive) shops. The mall was originally built in 1915 as a prison and remained so until 1986. It reopened its doors as a high-end mall and historic landmark in 1994. Continue reading