Punta del Este

 

Punta del Este is located in the South of Uruguay, in the district Maldonado, approximately 140 kilometers from Montevideo, and parts the river “Río de la Plata” from the Atlantic Ocean. With its 12.000 citizens Punta del Este is one of the most important seaside resorts in whole Latin America and is famous for its beautiful beaches stretching for miles. Punta del Este is one of the most vivid cities of Uruguay, especially in summer, and it offers a large number of free time activities, no matter if you’d like to enjoy the nature, explore the nightlife, or do water sports.

In the center of the city there´s the famous main street Avenida Gorlero which is one of the most popular places in whole Punta del Este. There you can find all you need, whether it’s restaurants, bars, cinemas, art galleries or any kind of shops. You can spend a whole day at the Avenida Gorlero, with shopping during the day and going to some bars at night, since most of the best bars are near the main street at the port of the city.

Like in Montevideo there’s also a monument in honor of the national hero José Artigas, who’s the symbol of the independence of Uruguay. On a regular basis there’s a market called “Feria de los Artesanos” at the Plaza Artigas where artists sell their handicrafts. Near the old town you can also find the famous lighthouse of Punta del Este, which is the oldest landmark of the city. In 1860 it was built out of volcanic ash from Italy.

The most famous monument of Punta del Este is probably the Paseo de las Américas, which was built in 1986 and consists of eight different sculptures. One of the sculptures looks like fingers or a hand rising out of the sand, and it’s one of the most photographed landmarks of the city. Outside the city there are a lot more places worth seeing, such as the seaside resort Portezuelo, the nature reserve Isla Gorriti, or the Isla de Lobos which is one of the biggest and most important nature reserves for seals in whole South America. Also worth seeing is Punta Ballena, where amongst other things you can visit the “Casapueblo”, a building from 1960 designed by the Uruguayan artist Carlos Páez Villaró. The most interesting fact about this building is its architectural style which reminds most people of Greece. At the beginning it was only used as a museum but now it also functions as a hotel and restaurant with concerts and art exhibitions in summer.

Apart from its beautiful beaches Punta del Este also offers a great variety of cultural activities such as numerous interesting museums. The Museum Ralli opened in 1988 and there you can see a big collection of contemporary art of Latin America. Furthermore there´s the so called Museo del Mar, or Maritime Museum, with more than 5000 species of sea mammals. You can also learn something about the history of pirates and visit the insectarium, which is part of the museum. The Museo del Mar is one of the most famous museums of Punta del Este and can be visited during the whole year. It´s located in La Barra, a former village of fishermen, which is still suitable for fishing as well as doing water sports. Another place that is definitely worth a visit is the Arboretum Lussich, which is one of the most important Forest Reserves in the world with a great diversity of species, 400 exotic species and 60 local species from Uruguay. The Reserve is located about 15 kilometers from Punta del Este and was created by the Uruguayan botanist Antonio Lussich. With the forestation of this area he wanted to stop the winds from the East, so that he could create an environment appropriate for birds of several species to live there.

Nevertheless the main activity of most tourists is going to the beach. Punta del Este is famous for its beautiful and diverse beaches. The city looks like a peninsula and can be divided into two areas or coasts: Playa Mansa and Playa Brava.

Playa Mansa is at the Western coast of Punta del Este and therefore borders on the river Río de La Plata. There you can find beaches with a calm stretch of water, since they’re protected against the intense wind of the Atlantic Ocean. These are very suitable for doing water sports like water ski or windsurfing. On the Eastern coast of Punta del Este there’s Playa Brava which borders on the Atlantic Ocean, so that there are beaches with high waves suitable for surfing.

Since Punta del Este is a peninsula, you can also watch how the sun rises at one coast of the city and then at night sets at the other side of the city.

For a long time Punta del Este was considered to be a vacation destination for the Jet set because of its luxurious hotels and exquisite restaurants but there are numerous alternatives at a lower price so that everybody can find an adequate accommodation and suitable free time activities. In Punta del Este there’s something for everybody, that’s why the city is also called “the pearl of Uruguay”.

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