Punta del Este

Punta del Este

Punta del Este is a beach resort town in Uruguay complete with casinos, beaches, yachts and lots of tourists. Many of these tourists come from the other side of the Rio de la Plata from Argentina to get some nice fun in the sun on a beach away from the brown waters of the Rio de la Plata.

Understand

The unspoilt Uruguayan peninsula of Punta del Este is all paradisaical oceanic beaches, exotic sophistication, beautiful people and an ardent night scene. Punta del Este is sometimes called the Monaco of South America. There are many travel sights, including the amazing restaurants. In the last year there has been the shoots of urbanization in the form of high rise building obscuring the sun, however. Tourist season varies wildly from totally deserted in the winter to very very crowded in the summer, unusual for a city this size.

Get in

Regular buses come back and forth from Montevideo, making Punta del Este a convenient day trip (two hours by bus, see the timetable ). If you accidentally get off the bus at Maldonado Terminal which is a few kilometers north of Punta del Este you can easily catch a local bus(marked "Punta del Este" in top front) at the stop just behind the bus terminal for 14 Uruguayan Pesos(US$.60) which you pay to the driver.

If you are in Buenos Aires, you can take a short direct flight (less than 1 hour) to Punta del Este. Alternatively, you can take the ferry (about 3 hours) from Buenos Aires to Montevideo. Montevideo is approximately two hours (by car) away from the Peninsula of Punta del Este.

Get around

The bulk of Punta del Este is on a peninsula jutting into the ocean. The perimeter of this peninsula can easily be traversed by foot.

To get to La Barra o José Ignacio you had better have a means of transport like a car (renting a car is always going to be the best way to visit all the places). Buses are not very frequent and public transport like taxis usually has to be called over the phone (very expensive compared to standards of the rest of Uruguay). Hitchhiking is common for young people since night clubs are far from each other and people may be staying in places far from the clubs. If you have a car, be kind; pick up someone (especially in the morning, after the clubs have closed). Remember that Punta del Este is very safe, but normal precautions should always be taken.

You can rent a moped (scooter) for US$10/hour or US$45/day at several places.

See

Casa Pueblo

The beautiful sunsets in the port of Punta del Este, La Barra or Jose Ignacio are other spots not too far away (by car), from Punta del Este itself. Go to the beaches, being a peninsula you have two coastlines, one of them is pretty quiet and calm (called "mansa"), and the other one is windy, with some surf spots (called "brava"). Famous beaches includes: "La playa de los Dedos" (The finger beach"), which is near the main street in Punta del Este, close to a surf spot, and it has a giant hand emerging from the sand. In La Barra the Bikini Beach is famous because of the models and famous people that go there. The endless beaches, beautiful seaside mansions, tree-lined streets, chic boutiques, stylish people.

Do

Punta del Este is a very important tourist port. The upper crust has its yachts there and if you want to rent a boat, this is the place to ask.

Tanning is a popular activity on Punta del Este's famous beaches. You can choose from beaches on the calm side of the peninsula where you can rent jet skis or banana boat trips, or on the other, windier side. Punta del Este has some good surfing spots, not as good as La Paloma (150km up to the north of Punta del Este), but it gets pretty decent in good days. You can also rent sea bikes, windsurf and kite-surfing equipment, and surf boards.

Punta del Este has an island nearby, that is called the Isla Gorriti. It is protected because of its nature so there are no great buildings or anything like that. You can take a 20 minute ferry at the port that will drop you off at the island where you can enjoy the fun atmosphere, paradisaical beach, and good food at the restaurant. It is also possible to take private yachts, speedboats, or sailboats to the island and anchor by the shore. Renting a boat is nice in good weather. Isla de Lobos is another island that is also protected because of its sea lion population.

Eat

Seafood in Punta del Este is delicious. Chivitos (steak sandwiches) and asado (steak) are the locals' favourite dishes. Aside from that, pretty much any type of food can be found: sushi, Indian, Italian, French cuisine, etc.

Great wine selection and charming environment. A wonderful tasting experience! Pesos.

Drink

Local and imported wines (especially Argentinian and European vineyards). There's a famous drink in all Uruguay called "medio y medio" (half and half) which is a mix of sweet sparkling wine, and dry white wine.

Punta del Este is famous for its clubbing scene. Most parties start very late, between midnight and 3AM and end around dawn. You cannot name a specific club because it's probably going to change its name or its location the next year. Don't worry, they do good marketing, so you will find out very easily.

Every year the night life changes, so you never know which is going to be place that will hit the summer in Punta del Este. Most of the clubs are away from the peninsula of Punta del Este, mainly in La Barra. But the fashion places changes, it depends on the year.

You can expect high prices for club entries in late December and early January, and specially in the weekends. After the 15 of January the prices go down (this includes most of the things), and although there may be still a lot of people in Punta del Este, it is not going to be as crowded. Anyway, expect a lot of movement in the clubs at weekends.

Sleep

Book ahead between Christmas and carnival, when most every bed is taken. Staying in the peninsula of Punta del Este is probably the best option if you don't have a car, as buses are few, and cabs are expensive. Keep in mind that beds here are among the most costly on the continent.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Go next

Nearby beach towns in Uruguay make for convenient day trips or nice overnight escapes from the crowds of Punta.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, September 15, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.