Punta del Este
It continues to be the city reference point, with Gorlero Avenue as the main protagonist. The best shops, restaurants and cinemas are concentrated here, and it is a compulsory walk for all those who want to
get to know Punta del Este. The tourist can visit the Promenade, the Lighting House, the Plaza with its Artisans’ Fair, and a lot more attractions.
La Barra (The Bar)
It is the best place for young people, day and night, since it has the most fashionable beaches (Montoya, Bikini) as well as discos. There are innumerable options for everybody to have fun.
La Mansa y La Brava
The beach is divided in Mansa (calm), which, despite located on the river side, has salty and green waters; and Brava (brave), located on the ocean side. These beaches owe their names to the fact that the former, because facing the Atlantic Ocean, has its waters almost always calm, being sheltered from the winds by Gorriti Island, while the latter, already oceanic, has quite more impetuous waves.
Punta Ballena (Point Whale)
This beach offers large and exceptional lagoons where hunt and fishing are a must. Sauce, Diario, Blanca, José Ignacio and Garzón Lagoons are easily reached and apt for the practice of many sports. Here geography copies the figure of a cetacean dozing on the waters. Contemplating a sunset from the whale’s back is an unforgettable and mystic sight, since it is one of the most energetic points in the area.
In 1516 Spanish explorer Juan Díaz de Solís named the place Cabo de Santa María (Saint Mary’s Cape). The first constructions on the peninsula were the guard-room and the San Fernando battery powder magazine, built between 1765 and 1766. Years later, in 1829, the cape, on which there were already some human settlements, was named Villa Ituzaingó in memory of the victory of the creoles over the imperial Brazilian forces in 1827.
In 1889 the first hotel was built, property of Pedro Risso. By then, there was already a hamlet inhabited by sea people and by the persons in charge of the customs and the lighthouse. This settlement increased its population gradually during the summer months, with the arrival of people who started to see Punta del Este as a place for rest and therapy, where, at the same time, they could enjoy the natural beauties of the peninsula.
In 1906 Punta del Este had 492 inhabitants, 111 built houses, 20 under construction and 300 to be built. Many of its inhabitants had their dreams and many others promoted initiatives to make Punta del Este a seaside resort similar to the European Biarritz and Brighton. In 1907 the first tourists arrived on board the ship “Golondrina” (“Swallow”), a group of families from Argentina and Montevideo, invited by the Board of the “Punta del Este Seaside Resort” Association.
Punta del Este was born as a town on July 5th 1907, after President Claudio Williman passed Law N° 3.186, officially declaring “…with the denomination of Punta del Este the group of houses located on Punta del Este, Maldonado Department”.
Punta del Este has very interesting museums to visit. Art, history and nature are represented in different options especially conceived for all publics:
Casapueblo Workshop Museum This area of Casapueblo (Townhouse) was ceded by its creator, artist Carlos Páez Vilaró, with the intention of promoting cultural interest in the region. In order to do so, he donated a large part of his work from the last fifty years.
Museum of American Art
Important collection of pre-Columbian art located in the old residence of Enrique Burnett, one of the pioneers of Punta del Este. Open every day from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Free admission.
It has the most important contemporary Latin-American figurative art collection in the world, with exhibition halls dedicated to contemporary masters like Miró, Chagall and Dalí.
Snails, cetacean skeletons, sea birds, history of the beaches and even a section on pirates…
Carlos Páez Vilaró
Carlos Páez Vilaró was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, on November 1st, 1923. During his youth he lived in Buenos Aires, where he became a graphic artist. Later, when he returned to Montevideo, he connected with the themes of “candombe” (African influenced dance) and afro-oriental “comparsa” ( krewe -group of people participating in a carnival parade) , developing large part of his pictorial work in relation to these subject matters. Washerwomen, wakes, Christmases, markets, moonlit dances, filled his cardboards and canvases. He devoted himself to paint, sculpture, ceramics, cinema and literature in such a way and with so much passion that he left indelible marks in every one of these arts.
Páez Vilaró has his workshop in the major dome of Casapueblo, his “inhabitable sculpture”, molded with his own hands, on the cliffs that look over the sea in Punta Ballena.
Uruguayan meat holds a predominant place in the local gastronomic scenery. Chef cuisine also has a preferential space in Punta del Este. Distinguished chefs and cooks of renowned experience and exquisite culinary art offer their dishes in Punta del Este. Fish and shellfish are another of the outstanding gastronomic specialties, due to the wide variety of fresh fish and sea food available.
Punta del Este is a vivacious city all the time and it offers its visitors the widest variety of activities. The bill board is permanently changing the year round. Those who travel to Punta del Este, no matter the season of the year, will find a large amount of options: fashion shows, concerts, recitals, classical theater, children´s plays, humor, festivals, sports events and the presence of the most prominent music and movie stars.
The beaches in Punta del Este are beautiful, but it is also important to point out the wide variety of entertainment activities it offers.
Casinos are always worth visiting. Black Jack, roulette or slots are waiting to give luck a wink. Besides, agro tourism is gaining adepts due to the existence of excellent complexes where they can get acquainted with rural plants and animals, such as Lapataia Tambo (Dairy Farm).
Not less important is the wine circuit. Wineries and vineyards make the most of the type of soil and its location which, together with a refined quality control and handcrafted production methods, achieve high quality wines aimed at the local and international market.
In Punta del Este there are varied stores which sell the most exclusive brands in the world. Visitors also have the possibility to enjoy from a mall in the open to the premises of a large shopping center as well as a huge first- class supermarket (hypermarket), where they can find everything they need.
It is possible to get to Punta del Este through different means of transport, either by plane, by ship or by land.
It is possible to land at Punta del Este International Airport, called Laguna del Sauce (Willow Lake). Besides, with access from all over the world the year round, it is possible to land at the New Carrasco International Airport, located at only 115 km. from Punta del Este, connected by an expressway surrounded by an unbelievable landscape.
Different companies offer varied daily frequencies that connect Buenos Aires and Montevideo by ship. From there you can take a bus to Punta del Este or continue the trip by car, counting with the most varied offer in car rentals.
Visitors who want to reach Punta del Este by land can do so by bus as well as by their own cars.