“El País” Announces Crystal Lagoons® PAL™ to Arrive to Uruguay

A place to spend the day at the beach with crystalline waters and white sand, somewhere to swim or practice water sports and enjoy a concert or cultural event in a gastronomic and commercial setting. Uruguay’s leading newspaper, El País, has announced that Public Access Lagoons™, or PAL™, can offer all of this without leaving the city. This business model created by Crystal Lagoons®, the multinational that creates crystalline man-made lagoons in urban environments, is set to land in Uruguay in 2021.

The company’s first development in the country was a holiday resort complex known as Solanas, located in Maldonado, but operates privately, not as a PAL. Public Access Lagoons, on the other hand, grant the general public access via ticketed entry and offer a day at the beach and use of all the amenities available, said Jean Pierre Juanchich, Crystals Lagoons Regional Director for Latin America.

This new business model was launched in October last year and already represents 90% of the company’s turnover, he added. “Since then, we have already signed contracts for 130 PAL,” he said.

The plan is developed in three phases. The first, which requires an investment of approximately US$ 8 million, is anchored by a lagoon, a beach, green areas with kiosks and basic services such as bathrooms. It can be built in one year and, judging from past experiences, the investment is recovered in one or two years, confirmed Juanchich.

The second stage includes services around the lagoon, such as a wedding peninsula (an event center for weddings overlooking the lagoon), an area for concerts, road shows, restaurants and retail stores. This phase involves an additional US$ 7 million and is finalized in two years once the PAL is operational.

Finally, the more complex plan includes the construction of a hotel overlooking the beach and is considered an opportunity rather than a necessity for the model to succeed.

Jean Pierre Juanchich stated that, in general, each project spans over about 25 acres and usually include a 5-acre lagoon. The income generated during the first phase kick starts the investment for the second phase. “In one or two years the investment is recovered, because it requires low maintenance.”

The company estimates a ticket to cost US$ 10 and, according to studies carried out in the country, each lagoon would receive an influx of between 500,000 and 800,000 people per year. “Their proximity to Argentina is key,” he added. In any case, the main income is provided by other businesses, such as restaurants, retail, event centers, weddings, food trucks and brand sponsorship on the beaches. “With the three phases in operation, ticket revenues make up just 20% of the total.”

Negotiations in Uruguay are already underway with investment funds moving forward. At the moment, the negotiations have advanced quickly so as to start building between three or four PAL in Uruguay that would include hotels. “We license exclusive agreements with each country and are in advanced conversations to roll out between four and six projects in Uruguay. The negotiations are most advanced in cities such as Montevideo (which may include two), Paysandú and Carmelo, but Punta del Este is also on the map”.

The plan is to start building the first lagoon in 2021, so it is operational in 2022.

Private projects

Additional to the PAL, the company will continue with its private use lagoons in real estate projects and Juanchich expects as many as five such amenities in Uruguay (including Solanas).

Unlike Solanas, those that follow will anchor residential housing projects. One will be in Montevideo’s Carrasco neighborhood, in Colinas de Carrasco II. The design and details are still being studied and will be defined at a later date. The second will be in José Ignacio (Maldonado) in an area for holiday homes, and is currently being studied, he added.

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Throughout this year, Crystal Lagoons has achieved several milestones. Among them are the inaugurations and filling of lagoons on different continents, Real Estate, and Public Access Lagoons™ projects, also known as PAL™ developments. Many of these complexes stand out for their successful sales performance and also for the impressive size and spectacular nature of their crystalline lagoon.


In the United States, the main market for Crystal Lagoons worldwide with 260 projects in different stages of development, the multinational company achieves two significant milestones, both in the state of Florida, where it experiences great dynamism with 51 projects.

The first one is marked by the inauguration of Mirada Lagoon in Tampa, the largest crystalline lagoon in the United States, covering an area of 6 hectares. This is the fourth project in association with Metro Development Group.

On the other hand, in Orlando, the filling of an iconic new crystalline lagoon has been completed, the city’s first. It is situated within the Evermore Orlando Resort tourist complex, located near the renowned Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort theme parks, and will host the first Conrad Hotel in the area. The crystalline lagoon in this project offers the opportunity to enjoy the idyllic beach life experience in the country’s most visited destination.

Latin America leads in openings. Two projects stand out in Paraguay, both in partnership with Raíces Real Estate: Costa del Lago, in Hernandarias, a few minutes from Ciudad del Este, and Aquaterra, in Luque, on the outskirts of Asunción. Once the lagoon of the exclusive residential and hotel complex “The Beach Punta Cana City Place” completes its filling, the Dominican Republic will boast the largest artificial lagoon in the Caribbean, covering an area of 3 hectares.

In Argentina, the most important market for Crystal Lagoons in the region, Remeros Beach, with 3.5 hectares, was inaugurated in the northern area of the capital, Buenos Aires. Baia Kristal, in the top tourist city of Colombia, Cartagena de Indias, is also preparing for its upcoming opening.


In South Africa, the award-winning and top-selling Munyaka project, driven by Crystal Lagoons in partnership with the country’s main developer, Balwin Properties, achieved a new record by inaugurating the largest crystalline lagoon in the country. Recognized as “Johannesburg’s first beach” this stunning body of turquoise water covers an area equivalent to seven rugby fields.

With more than 31 projects, Egypt has positioned itself as Crystal Lagoons’ most solid market in the MENA region. In 2023, the filling of the lagoons at Swan Lake Stage 3, Fouka Bay, and Il Monte Galala will be completed, with the latter standing out as the world’s first crystal-clear lagoon in a mountainous area.

Crystal Lagoons enters the Latin American retail market as part of the largest shopping and entertainment center in the Colombian Caribbean. The central element of the project located in Cartagena de Indias, “Azul de Arenas,” will be a 3-hectare crystalline lagoon suitable for swimming and water sports.

These developments, to which anyone can enter by paying a ticket, also incorporate commerce, a 150-room hotel, offices, apartments, and health centers, among other spaces.

The 120-hectare development is located in this dynamically growing city and will be one of the most important commercial projects, with 110,000 m² of leasable area, highlighting its design and sustainable urbanism, characteristics of Crystal Lagoons® technology.

“Shopping centers today must reinvent themselves and introduce new functional and experiential offerings to the public. PAL™ projects provide an answer to this need, as they not only offer an idyllic beach life but also bring together restaurants, event centers, culture, shows, and attractive activities, factors that enhance public attraction. An example of this is Ary Laguna, one of the largest shopping centers in Pakistan, and the advanced conversations with major US retailer chains,” explains Miguel Ángel Cabañas, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of Crystal Lagoons.

A Long-Term Agreement

Azul de Arenas is part of one of the largest agreements signed by Crystal Lagoons in Latin America, in association with AED Constructores, one of the main real estate firms in the country. The mega-contract includes 13 projects with crystalline lagoons that, in addition to the Colombian Caribbean, will also enhance another tourist icon such as the “Eje Cafetero”.

The success of Baia Kristal, Crystal Lagoons’ first real estate complex in the country, also in partnership with AED Constructores, prompted this company to sign the master agreement to develop projects in Barranquilla, Santa Marta, Pereira, and Cartagena de Indias itself.

“The fact that one of Colombia’s leading developers, such as AED, partners with Crystal Lagoons to build numerous projects, including the largest shopping center in the Colombian Caribbean, shows how our concept and technology are a success in Colombia,” adds Cabañas.

The PAL™ model has piqued the interest of important players worldwide. Crystal Lagoons experienced a record global expansion with these projects. The company entered more than 15 new markets and closed mega-commercial agreements in countries such as Japan, Australia, the United States, India, Korea, Pakistan, Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica, and Central America, among others.

Learn more about our PAL™ projects here.

Crystal Lagoons already has a strong presence in Latin America, with 200 projects at different stages of development and negotiations in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, the Caribbean region, and other countries. 

The regional expansion is set to continue with the addition of Guyana and Suriname, two new markets with a limited geographical area, population, and tourism infrastructure. The company will develop Public Access Lagoons™ projects under a master agreement with Grupo Monarch, a local leading conglomerate of international franchises.

The agreement is centered on developing the real estate, financial and tourist potential that these crystalline lagoons offer, transforming urban lifestyle by introducing idyllic beaches in the middle of major cities.

Recreating urban developments hubs

In Guyana, the venture will seek to capitalize on an expanding economy that has seen a 60% growth in GDP due to the discovery of oil deposits in recent years. The first of several PAL™ projects will be developed in Guyana’s capital Georgetown, which has a coastline with water that is unattractive for bathing

The new resort will be called “Golf Club Houses & Eco Hotel,” and will feature a lagoon as the central attraction, surrounded by a hotel complex, a golf course, residential homes, and other related infrastructure typical of this public access model.

“The entry of Crystal Lagoons to Guyana and Suriname is proof of the added value of this type of amenity and its role as a catalyst in creating urban development hubs. For the price of an entrance fee, the general public will be able to enjoy the crystalline lagoons and white sandy beaches of the PAL™ complexes, a true tropical paradise in the middle of a city,” said Miguel Angel Cabañas, regional director of Crystal Lagoons for Latin America and the Caribbean.

These large bodies of crystalline water maximize the touristic potential of urban areas in different countries and cultures through the creation of environmentally friendly hotspots. PAL™ projects have received a number of international awards for their sustainable technology that has been certified by Bureau Veritas for its minimal use of water – which is 40% lower than a green area of equivalent size and 33 times less than an 18-hole golf course – and energy, which is only 2% of the power required by conventional swimming pool filtration systems.