Country Code â€“ 598; City Code - 454
Altitude â€“ 23 meters
Population â€“ 8,410
Also known as â€śthe gateway to the southâ€ť, the port town of Nueva Palmira is located on the very northwestern tip of the department of Colonia, a few kilometers from the border with the department of Soriano. The town originated from a rancherĂo (a settlement comprised of rural ranches) called Las Higueritas, which dated back to the early 19th century. Nueva Palmira was officially founded on October 26, 1831, by the priest Felipe Santiago Torres Leiva who was inspired by the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. His vision was that his â€śnewâ€ť Palmyra would become the most important commercial hub in the region, just as its Syrian namesake. Considering it is the second biggest port in Uruguay, itâ€™s safe to say the name was chosen well.
Nueva Palmira lies on the banks of the Uruguay River, a highly navigable river, which allows the passage of deep sea vessels. Its unique geographic position makes it the ideal port for the storage of goods coming in from Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina, hence its fame as â€śgateway.â€ť Despite the portâ€™s commercial importance, the town is relatively small, with most of the population employed in the port or agricultural industry.
Although tourism is not the main economic driver in Nueva Palmira, the town is consistently chosen by domestic and international tourists for its laid-back atmosphere and scenic natural beauty. The Uruguay River is wide and clean, thus offering great opportunities for sailing, swimming and other water sports, as well as kilometers of white sand beaches. In the summer, the waterfront promenade is chosen by both tourists and locals as the place to cool off after the sun has set on a hot summer day. Only a few kilometers away, tourists will find Punta Gorda, a breathtaking natural site. The sparsely populated area culminates high up on a hill where the views of the river and its banks below are the stuff of dreams.
Donâ€™t expect to be spoiled for choice in Nueva Palmira as far as hotels and restaurants are concerned. However, the handful of available hotels do offer comfortable and affordable lodging, the newest and trendiest being Mi Pueblo, the hotel with the best river views in town. Restaurants offer the usual fare in Uruguay comprised of chivitos, parrilla and pasta, with the exception of Clemente, a place that goes beyond the basics to offer a fusion between the local and international cuisine that will please most palates.
What Nueva Palmira lacks in variety, it makes up for in jaw-dropping natural beauty. It is the perfect place to disappear from the rest of the world and simply indulge in the river breeze and fragrant trees.
Claudia Pesce was born in Buenos Aires, but started traveling shortly after her first birthday. Upon returning to Argentina at...