Best Things to Do in Punta del Este, Latin American Miami
Latin American Miami: Punta del Este
Punta del Este, a tiny town in the Maldonado state of Uruguay. This tiny city, which has a population of 9,000 in winter, hosts hundreds of thousands of tourists in summer. It is especially popular with Argentines and Brazilians. Brazilians leave their beaches and come here, and on the way back, “We were in Punta del Este this summer.” they air. 🙂 Also, cruises coming from Europe to South America take a daily break in Punta del Este, and 3,000 people suddenly flock to the city.
Punta del Este is home to the wealthy summers of Argentina and Brazil more than Uruguayans. People have designed such houses that some of them are straight out of The Hobbit, some from Harry Potter.
There is a promontory in Punta del Este that divides the city in two. The beach to the west of this cape is called “Playa Mansa”, that is, “calm beach”, and the one to the east is called “Playa Brava”, that is, “brave beach”. As the name suggests, Mansa is generally calm, unwavering; Brava, on the other hand, is very wavy and exuberant. That’s why surfers often choose Playa Brava.
So what else to do in Punta del Este besides the sea-sand-sun trio?
The first stop for all tourists is the hand sculpture called La Mano. This statue is located on the beach called Playa Brava. It was made in 1982 by Chilean sculptor Mario Irarrázabal. There is no one who goes to Punta del Este and does not take a photo at this statue.
The area around the harbor and the shopping street Gorlero are the most lively places in the city. The port is full of stylish cafes and restaurants. Let me make a quick reminder here, if you pay with foreign credit cards in restaurants in Uruguay, you don’t pay the value added tax called IVA, and you instantly get a 22% discount.
The port is a must visit place. Ok, the yachts are beautiful, the places are beautiful, but the most important thing is the sea lions. Sea lions, which can be seen in abundance on the Uruguayan coast, have inhabited the port of Punta del Este. You can even ask fishbones from the fishermen in the port and feed these sweet and huge animals with your hands.
Other places to visit in the city are the lighthouse and the azure church opposite. There is also the Pablo Neruda Museum.
There is a very interesting hotel about 10-15 km away from Punta del Este. Its name is Casa Pueblo. It was designed by Uruguayan artist Carlos Páez Vilaró. It’s a haunted place. It serves both as a hotel and has an art gallery inside. Especially if you go towards sunset, you will both visit the exhibition and witness a magnificent sunset.
There are very nice cafes, bars and restaurants in the district called La Barra, about 10 km to the east from Punta del Este. The beach is just as beautiful. A river flows between La Barra and Punta del Este, and Puente Leonel Viera, which locals call the Bikini Bridge, is one of the places to photograph. The bridge is so beautiful that Pablo Neruda even wrote a poem for it.
If you want to have lunch on the beach, on the sands, in a place with a very elegant and magnificent food, and sip your cocktail against the view, your address should be La Huella in the Jose Ignacio district, a little further from La Barra. I am specifically mentioning the name because unfortunately there is no other place like this in the sand, on the beach, in this area. Just a few kilometers from Jose Ignacio, there is a lake called Laguna Garson. This is kite surfing paradise.
Places to visit in Punta del Este are a bit messy. That’s why it’s best to rent a bike. Thus, you can dive into the side streets and get lost among the magnificent houses. Beverly Hills is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods to bike around and look at legendary houses.
Winter in Punta del Este
If you are in Punta del Este between December and February, do not forget to follow the activities in the city. You can come across a concert, theater or film festival almost every day. Moreover, most of them are free.
Finally, if you come to Punta del Este in winter, don’t worry about not being able to swim in the sea. You can see a whale at any moment while you are sitting on the beach and enjoying yourself, or even sipping your mate if you are a Uruguayan. From June to September, whales come to the shores of Punta del Este to mate. They are almost dancing at a distance from the beach.
Sounds like a lot of fun, right? We are waiting your comment!