Punta del Este

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Punta del Este - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. José Ignacio

    This hamlet with a vibrant art community and some of the most jaw-dropping properties for miles is the choice beach for Punta's most well-heeled and...

    This hamlet with a vibrant art community and some of the most jaw-dropping properties for miles is the choice beach for Punta's most well-heeled and stylish visitors. José Ignacio sits on a miniature peninsula and has beaches with both calm and rough waters. Because it's just enough outside the downtown Punta orbit, visiting is a day trip for most, but if you're an art lover, make time to visit artist James Turrell's new Ta Khut Skyspace (US$40). Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; toilets. Best for: partiers in the know; sunrise; sunset; surfing; swimming; walking; windsurfing.

    Punta del Este, Maldonado, Uruguay
  • 2. La Barra

    The La Barra hamlet is both artistic and trendy, with a number of popular boutiques, restaurants, and nightlife spots that spring into life in January....

    The La Barra hamlet is both artistic and trendy, with a number of popular boutiques, restaurants, and nightlife spots that spring into life in January. A mostly locally patronized beach sits here, too, where the Río Maldonado spills into the ocean. Keep in mind that swimming is risky. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; parking; toilets. Best for: partiers; sunrise; sunset; surfing; walking.

    Punta del Este, Maldonado, Uruguay
  • 3. Playa Manantiales

    Locals have dubbed this trendy stretch of sand Bikini Beach. The swimwear skews a tad more daring here, where people come to see and be...

    Locals have dubbed this trendy stretch of sand Bikini Beach. The swimwear skews a tad more daring here, where people come to see and be seen, as well as swim or play volleyball. During peak season DJs often spin through sunset. If you're looking for a party beach, this is where you want to be. Amenities: food and drinks; lifeguards; parking; showers; toilets. Best for: partiers; sunrise; sunset; surfing; swimming; windsurfing.

    Punta del Este, Maldonado, Uruguay
  • 4. Playa Mansa

    The waters are calm at Punta's longest beach and one of its most popular. Good sand, shallow water, many food stands, and proximity to the...

    The waters are calm at Punta's longest beach and one of its most popular. Good sand, shallow water, many food stands, and proximity to the center of town make it the area's most family-oriented stretch of coast. Catch good sunset views here, and take in one of the late-afternoon beach aerobics classes, too. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; parking; showers; toilets; water sports. Best for: sunset; swimming; walking.

    Punta del Este, Maldonado, Uruguay
  • 5. Arboretum Lussich

    Naturally perfumed with the scent of eucalyptus, this huge arboretum is one of the most important botanical gardens in the world. Its creation was the...

    Naturally perfumed with the scent of eucalyptus, this huge arboretum is one of the most important botanical gardens in the world. Its creation was the labor of love of Croatian-Uruguayan botanist Antonio Lussich (1848–1928). The approximate 474 acres contain more than 350 species of trees from outside Uruguay as well as 70 domestic species. Guided tours are in Spanish only.

    Av. Antonio Lussich, Uruguay
    2713–5915

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
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  • 6. Avenida Gorlero

    Punta del Este is circled by the Rambla Artigas, the main coastal road that leads past residential neighborhoods and pristine stretches of beach. You can...

    Punta del Este is circled by the Rambla Artigas, the main coastal road that leads past residential neighborhoods and pristine stretches of beach. You can find everything on Avenida Gorlero, Punta's main commercial strip. The thoroughfare runs northeast–southwest through the heart of the peninsula and is fronted with cafés, restaurants, boutiques, and casinos.

    Av. Gorlero, Punta del Este, Maldonado, Uruguay
  • 7. Casapueblo

    A hotel and museum at the tip of a rocky point with tremendous views of the Río de la Plata is the main draw in...

    A hotel and museum at the tip of a rocky point with tremendous views of the Río de la Plata is the main draw in Punta Ballena. Uruguayan abstract artist Carlos Páez Vilaró created his work as a "habitable sculpture" and it defies architectural categorization. With allusions to Arab minarets and domes, cathedral vaulting, Grecian whitewash, and continuous sculptural flourishes that recall the traceries of a Miró canvas, this curvaceous 13-floor surrealist complex climbs a hill and is highly unique. The spaces include an excellent series of galleries dedicated to the artist's work and peruse copies of his books: one book tells the true story of his son Carlos Miguel, who survived a plane crash in the Andes, which was made into the 1993 film Alive.

    Punta del Este, Maldonado, 20100, Uruguay
    4257–8041

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 350 pesos
  • 8. Isla de Lobos

    This island is a government-protected natural reserve and national park home to one of the world's largest colonies of sea lions. You can view them...

    This island is a government-protected natural reserve and national park home to one of the world's largest colonies of sea lions. You can view them from tour boats that leave regularly from the marina. Its 1907 lighthouse stands nearly 190 feet tall.

    Punta del Este, Maldonado, Uruguay
  • 9. Isla Gorriti

    Once the site of a prison, Isla Gorriti now attracts a different type of exclusive crowd. High-end residents with their own boats often set Gorriti...

    Once the site of a prison, Isla Gorriti now attracts a different type of exclusive crowd. High-end residents with their own boats often set Gorriti as their destination to play and party for the day. You can catch a ferry ride from the marina, though, and make a day trip of it. Note that the island is reachable only by boat. (The parador, or beach club, has a good restaurant.)

    Punta del Este, Maldonado, Uruguay
  • 10. Playa Brava

    The golden sand and numerous food stands here draw a young crowd that mostly stays on the beach rather than braving the rough water (brava...

    The golden sand and numerous food stands here draw a young crowd that mostly stays on the beach rather than braving the rough water (brava means "rough"). Brava is one of the most frequented beaches—largely thanks to La Mano de Punta del Este, a giant sculpture with the fingers of an enormous hand appearing to reach out of the sand—where many visitors will surely be snapping photos. This work by Chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal gives the beach its colloquial name, Playa de los Dedos (Beach of the Fingers). Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; showers; toilets. Best for: sunrise; sunset; walking.

    Punta del Este, Maldonado, Uruguay
  • 11. Playa Chihuahua

    One of Uruguay's only two sanctioned nude beaches (the other being in Rocha, well up the coast)—look for the playa naturista ("naturalist beach") sign—sits out...

    One of Uruguay's only two sanctioned nude beaches (the other being in Rocha, well up the coast)—look for the playa naturista ("naturalist beach") sign—sits out near the airport west of Punta Ballena and divides into a straight and a gay section. Be cool about it if you go: no cameras, no binoculars, no gawking. Amenities: none. Best for: nudists.

    Punta del Este, Maldonado, Uruguay
  • 12. Playa de los Ingleses

    While this beach has fine sand, the wind and waves are strong here. Venture into the water at your own risk. You're still close to...

    While this beach has fine sand, the wind and waves are strong here. Venture into the water at your own risk. You're still close to the center of Punta, meaning this beach sees many non-swimming visitors. Restaurants lining this so-called Englishmen's Beach were the spots for afternoon tea in a bygone era. Amenities: none. Best for: walking.

    Punta del Este, Maldonado, Uruguay
  • 13. Playa El Chileno

    The wind gusts dramatically at Playa El Chileno, making this beach a favorite among windsurfers. Amenities: toilets; showers. Best for: surfing; windsurfing....

    The wind gusts dramatically at Playa El Chileno, making this beach a favorite among windsurfers. Amenities: toilets; showers. Best for: surfing; windsurfing.

    Punta del Este, Maldonado, Uruguay
  • 14. Playa El Chiringo

    This beach, just east of Punta Ballena, can be a bit rough, with gritty sand and deep water. Chiringo catches full sun at midmorning, but...

    This beach, just east of Punta Ballena, can be a bit rough, with gritty sand and deep water. Chiringo catches full sun at midmorning, but shadows descend as the afternoon progresses, and the sun sets behind Punta Ballena. The wind and waves make swimming risky here. Amenities: lifeguards. Best for: solitude; sunrise.

    Punta del Este, Maldonado, Uruguay
  • 15. Playa El Emir

    This beach is named for an eccentric Middle Eastern emir who vacationed here and built a house near this stretch of sand. High waves make...

    This beach is named for an eccentric Middle Eastern emir who vacationed here and built a house near this stretch of sand. High waves make this beach popular with surfers, but somewhat dangerous for swimmers. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; showers; toilets. Best for: surfing; walking.

    Punta del Este, Maldonado, Uruguay
  • 16. Playa Montoya

    Just east of La Barra beach (but still belonging to La Barra) is this stretch of sand, where a young, attractive crowd mostly stays dry...

    Just east of La Barra beach (but still belonging to La Barra) is this stretch of sand, where a young, attractive crowd mostly stays dry but always seems to have volleyball or soccer games going. Montoya also is the site of a number of surf competitions. Amenities: lifeguards; showers; toilets. Best for: partiers; sunset; surfing; swimming; walking.

    Punta del Este, Maldonado, Uruguay
  • 17. Playa Pinares

    A continuation of Playa Mansa, Playa Pinares has deep water and rocky sand that make this a beach you'll likely have to yourself. Expect little...

    A continuation of Playa Mansa, Playa Pinares has deep water and rocky sand that make this a beach you'll likely have to yourself. Expect little in the way of facilities. Amenities: none. Best for: sunrise; sunset; walking.

    Punta del Este, Maldonado, Uruguay
  • 18. Playa Solanas

    The famous Casapueblo museum and hotel sit above this calm beach, also called Portezuelo, at Punta Ballena. Its shallow water shielded from the wind makes...

    The famous Casapueblo museum and hotel sit above this calm beach, also called Portezuelo, at Punta Ballena. Its shallow water shielded from the wind makes it a favorite of families with small children. Great sunset views are a plus here, too. Amenities: lifeguards; showers; toilets. Best for: sunrise; sunset; swimming; walking.

    Punta del Este, Maldonado, Uruguay
  • 19. Punta del Este Port

    Punta's sunsets seem even more spectacular when witnessed over its port, with sails and boats dotting the bay. Stop for a drink at any one...

    Punta's sunsets seem even more spectacular when witnessed over its port, with sails and boats dotting the bay. Stop for a drink at any one of the many restaurants lining the street, or make it your destination for a leisurely walk or scenic run.

    2 de Febrero at Mareantes, Punta del Este, Maldonado, Uruguay

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