The first settlement on the site of the future resort was founded in 1829 by Don Francisco Aguilar, who organized salt mining in its vicinity. At the beginning of the 20th century, the city began to develop as a resort.
Punta del Este is one of the best resorts in the world, where natural beauties and magnificent white beaches are successfully combined with a wide range of entertainment and developed infrastructure. The uniqueness of this resort lies also in the fact that in addition to the ocean coast (Brava beach), you can also relax here on the banks of the Rio de la Plata river, which flows into the ocean (Mansa beach). About 10,000 people live here all year round, but in the midst of season, more than half a million people visit this resort, most of them Argentines.
The resort is located 180 km from Montevideo on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. The name “Punta del Este” was born 100 years ago on a peninsula that marks the symbolic boundary between the waters of the La Plata River and the Atlantic Ocean. Today, the city has expanded both east and west, largely through large investments. Many new areas have appeared: Punta Ballena, Solanas, Playa Mansa, Playa Brava, Peninsula, La Barra and José Ignacio.
In addition, there are beaches located on the windy side of the peninsula, perfect for water sports such as surfing and windsurfing. On the opposite side, there are beaches with very quiet and calm waters and small waves. The beaches of El Tesoro, Montoya, Bikini Beach are popular among tourists. The latter is often chosen by celebrities for their holidays.
Playa Mansa is known for its calm salt water and stretches from the Main Square to Pinares (stop #40). From this beach you can see the island of Gorriti, one and a half kilometers long and 800 meters wide, has two beautiful beaches, excursions to this island are chosen by fans of water sports and lovers of exquisite beach holidays.
Playa Brava (big wave beach) is the common name for many beaches on the Atlantic coast, and includes several ocean beaches that stretch along the eastern part of the peninsula. Along these beaches you can find several sculptural compositions, such as “Paseo de las Americas” and the famous “Hand”, created by the Chilean sculptor Mario Irrazabal, which today has become the symbol of Punta del Este. The beach ends at the mouth of the Maldonado Creek, where the famous ” Isla de Lobos is located eight miles from Brava Beach and is the southernmost point of Uruguay. The island was evidence of dozens of shipwrecks, after which the Lighthouse was built on a rocky ledge in 1906. The island is home to a huge colony of sea lions, perhaps the most unique in South America in terms of the number and diversity of species of these marine animals.
Barra de Maldonado was born as a small fishing village located on the banks of the Maldonado River, which over time has grown into one of the most charming areas, chosen by young people because of the vibrant nightlife. Bars and discos start to come alive after midnight and work until sunrise. A very unusual wavy reinforced concrete bridge was built by the Uruguayan engineer Leonel Viera in 1965 at the mouth of the Maldonado River, which flows into the ocean.
The restaurants are strategically located on the main street or next to the most interesting beaches like Montoya, Bikini and Manantiales. In recent years, La Barra has also become known for its quality arts and crafts. The ateliers where the artists work are open to the public. Here the artists personally meet visitors. “Gallery Nights” take place every Friday in January, when the ateliers are open until 2 am.
Near the beaches of Punta del Este, from July to November, you can watch a breathtaking spectacle – the dance of giant whales up to 17m long, exceptionally friendly visitors to the coast.
The climate here is subtropical, temperatures range from +23-24 degrees in summer (January-February) to +10-12 degrees in winter (in July). The resort operates from November to March.
The peninsula consists of two beaches, Playa Brava and Playa Mansa, and each of these beaches is marked with “stops” for better orientation. Stop number 1 is located on the very edge of the peninsula, in the historic center of the city, on the Main Square (Plaza Principal), which offers views of both sides of the peninsula. The place is also known as the “Peninsula” (Peninsula), is the center of the city, where is the port and the main street Gorlero, which divides the peninsula into two equal parts. At the end of the avenue is the old casino Nogaro. A few blocks from the casino, Artigas Square hosts an artisan fair every summer. The port part is a pleasant place for family walks during the day and one of the most popular places for lovers of excellent cuisine and live music in summer evenings. The city has examples of magnificent colonial style in architecture, which coexist peacefully with modern buildings of hotels and villas. The hallmark of Punta del Este is the snow-white building of Casa Pueblo, located on top of Punta Ballena.
Vacationers also have a developed tourist infrastructure: high-class hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and shops, which will allow them to enjoy a truly comfortable stay in Uruguayan Ibiza. Local cuisine is especially popular among tourists. You should definitely try delicious meat dishes, such as Uruguayan parijada – various types of meat cooked on fire.
Within the city, you can travel by bus and taxi. From the capital of Montevideo, Punta del Este can be reached by ferry. Near Punta del Este there is a small airport (Laguna del Sauce Airport) for flights within Uruguay.
The nearest international airport is based 134 km from the city center.