In the mid-1800’s the area was
known as Santa Rosa (named after a Portuguese ship that came to trade with the Jesuits). In 1908 a group of Uruguayan doctors and medical students planted an estimated 150,000 pine and eucalyptus trees in an effort to beautify the area and stabilize the sand dunes. After the tree planting the area became known as Playa de los Médicos (Beach of the Doctors). However, the doctors and medical students decided on the name “Atlántida”, after Plato’s legendary lost continent of Atlantis.
By 1912 half a dozen vacation homes had been built along the bluff overlooking the Rio de la Plata. In 1913 the first subdivision of lots was platted (there were additional subdivisions of land in 1925 and 1934). The first hotel was finished in 1916. In 1918 there was electricity and by 1932 there was piped water.
The rate of Atlántida’s development accelerated in 1939 due in large part to the efforts of Natalio Michelizzi. Michelizzi was the Italian manufacturer’s representative for Metro printing machines in Buenos Aires. In 1935 Michelizzi came to Atlántida for vacation and became enchanted with the area’s potential. In 1939 he purchased property and constructed the Planet Palace Hotel (shaped like a ship). In the same year he gained access to gaming rights and built a casino.
After building the hotel and casino, Michelizzi purchased all the remaining land from the local development company. His promotional efforts, combined with a strong domestic economy, resulted in the price of Atlántida lots going up five fold in value.
Atlántida attracts local and international travelers
Most of the people who vacation in Atlántida are Uruguayans from Montevideo and nearby inland communities. Atlántida also attracts summer vacationers from other countries in the region including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Peru. There are even vacationers from off the continent, including people from Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Ukraine, Russia, Australia, Canada, and the USA.
Things to do and see
The Costa del Oro is known for its beautiful Río de la Plata beaches. Atlántida has a south-facing beach known as the Brava Beach as well as a more sheltered west-facing beach known as the Mansa Beach.
Water sports in Atlántida include windsurfing, kite-boarding, and board surfing. Atlantida has a boat ramp and two fishing clubs: Club de Pesca Atlantída located just east of the point and Club de Pesca Piedra Lisa located east of the point on Atlantída’s Brava Beach.
|Atlantida's Mansa Beach|
Atlántida has the most hotels, restaurants, and night spots of any community on the Costa de Oro. It has a pedestrian street, ice cream shops, and a children’s zoo. For the evening there is a movie theater, casino, nightclubs, and free presentations in the Expo Platea outdoor theater.
Points of interest
|Atlantida Planet Palace Hotel|
The aforementioned hotel constructed for Natalio Michelizzi in 1939 is still there. It is located at the corner of the Thomas Berreta Rambla at the corner of 22nd Street.
|Atlantida El Aguila|
A large stone Eagle on the edge of the bluff just west of Atlántida was built by Natalio Michelizzi in 1945 as a place to read, meditate, and visit with friends.
Parroquia Cristo Obrero (Parish Church of Christ the Worker)
This Atlantida church is a national monument. It is famous for its undulating brick walls and its vaulted ceiling constructed without any supporting columns.
The Plaza de los Fundadores (Plaza of the Founders)
The Plaza de los Fundadores is located on the Avenue Artigas three blocks from the beach. It has an artistic fountain sculpture and was constructed as a tribute to the doctors and medical students who first planted trees in the area.
The Iglesia Sagrado Corazón (Sacred Heart Church), located near the main avenue, is an impressive structure known for its European stained-glass windows.
Where to eat
There are several places to eat, but the place recommend most by the locals I interviewed was Don Vito.
Don Vito has a vast menu that includes a barbecue, Italian food, and fish. I was introduced to Don Vito by Doug, an Atlántida local, who suggested it for lunch. We were served in English by a waiter who spoke five languages.
Atlántida has more than a dozen hotels. Following are three places that come recommended:
11th Street and 24th
11th Street and 24th
5th Street, between 4th and 6th
Local maps and travel information
Atlántida has two staffed travel information centers.
- One is on the right side of the eastbound off ramp exiting the Ruta Interbalnearia into Atlántida on Avenue Artigas.
- The other travel information center is next to a park on Roger Balet Street, one block west of Avenue Artigas.
Atlántida is located 45 kilometers east of Montevideo on the Ruta Interbalnearia.
By bus from Montevideo
The COPSA #710 bus goes between Montevideo and Atlántida several times a day. You can catch #710 bus in Montevideo where Daniel Muñoz and Eduardo V. Haedo Streets merge at Acevedo Diaz Street (one and a half blocks south of the Tres Cruces bus terminal) or anywhere along Avenue Italia.