Punta Del Este: A Quick, Off Season Day Trip
Uruguay is underrated. There’s so much more to the country than the popular Montevideo. There’s the untouched countryside with a growing wine industry, natural beaches and quaint colonial towns.
However, for us, Uruguay served as a moment in time when we regrouped. While we settled in Montevideo and didn’t get to explore all Uruguay has to offer, we did make a day trip to the famed Punta Del Este.
Punta Del Este isn’t necessarily emblematic of the rest of Uruguay, but it is a wonder to behold.
In short, Punta Del Este is a resort town. And a swanky one at that. It’s known to be a glittery and trendy exclusive beach getaway for the wealthy and for celebrities alike.
We were also told it wasn’t to be missed. Although it’s long been popular for Argentines and Brazilians, it’s gaining more international notoriety by being dubbed the Côte d'Azur of South America.
Will and I took an easy two hour bus ride from Montevideo for the day.
In late October, it’s springtime in South America, and still the offseason for Punta Del Este, in preparation for the busy summer months. The particular day we went it was incredibly windy, and downright chilly.
We stopped for a quick bite, likely the most emblematic of Uruguayan fusion. Margarita pizza and caprese empanadas.
Punta Del Este is the eastern spit of land separating the Atlantic Ocean from the Rio del la Plata.
The port has some colonial architecture, but more recently, modern buildings, department stores and restaurants are being constructed.
Since we visited at the end of the offseason, the city had a low key vibe.
Largely because of this, it wasn’t quite what we expected. There were a couple stalls open in the market.
But overall, it was quiet, the more residential streets felt deserted.
We walked along the Rambla General Artigas to the end of the marina.
Th rambla itself felt like a smaller version of Montevideo. Scenic nonetheless.
The Playa Brava on the Atlantic and Playa Mansa on the Río de la Plata are the two main beaches.
Due to the less than ideal weather, both were best enjoyed from the boardwalk.
We walked by the most recognized landmark, La Mano de Punta del Este. The sizable concrete hand rising from the sand on Playa Brava was designed in 1982 by Chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal. It was originally meant to warn swimmers of the strong waves from the opposite direction.
When the wind really picked up and it started to rain late afternoon, we cut our losses and stopped for a drink.
After a few generous pours of the house Uruguayan red, we were both feeling good and ready for our trek back.
I would love to check out Punta Del Este during the summer. I’m sure it’s quite a different experience.
Regardless, it was a nice change of scenery. And if you’re not going to the beach, definitely doable in one day.