Punta del Este, Uruguay
Attractions in Punta del Este, Uruguay: What to do and where to go
In Punta del Este, the main attraction is the beautiful beaches, filled with locals and tourists sunbathing and relaxing by the ocean. What sets the beaches of Punta del Este apart from the rest is the unique crowds that frequent the shore; being one of the most stylish beach destinations in South America, this city draws in famous personalities, gorgeous models, and powerful business people, along with enthusiastic young men and women looking for an exciting vacation.
Situated on the edge of a peninsula, Punta del Este offers distinctive beaches, each with its own unique characteristics, including everything from fine-sand beaches to coastal rock formations. All this natural beauty is complemented by attractive nightlife, promenades and islands, along with avenues overflowing with shops, casinos and much more.
Thanks to its ideal geographic location on a peninsula surrounded by ocean, you'll be able to view sunrise as well as sunset over the water. Within the peninsula itself, you should tour Avenida Gorlero, which includes a variety of stores along with a shopping center. Take a walk along the Rambla Costanera, a pedestrian avenue going around the peninsula that offers pretty views and access to a few beaches. Another important spot you shouldn't miss out on is Plaza de los Artesanos (Artisans' Square), which has a wide variety of souvenirs and other items at great prices.
The most famous beaches in Punta del Este are Playa Mansa (Calm Beach) and Playa Brava (Wild Beach), and they both do honor to their names. Playa Mansa has completely serene waters since its coastline faces Rio de la Plata, making it ideal for relaxing and lying out on the sand followed by a swim in the crystal waters. Playa Brava directly faces the Atlantic Ocean, making for much choppier waves. It's the perfect spot for windsurfing during the winter months.
The city also has other attractive beaches, such as Punta Ballena, a rocky site with shallow waters that are reached by walking down the rocks. In Portezuelo, you'll come across a beautiful beach with very fine sand, nearly no waves, and shallow waters, perfect for a relaxing swim. Playa Chihuahua is the ideal option for those who prefer nude beaches for swimming, chatting and getting a tan.
Most of the local beaches offer restaurants and other diverse services for visitors. Nearly every one of the beaches within Punta del Este and its surrounding areas is teeming with people. However, if you prefer nearly untouched beaches, all you have to do is travel a few miles further to find the tranquility you're looking for.
La Barra de Maldonado is the best area to visit during the summer. Over half a century ago, it was little more than a small fishing village situated by the mouth of the Maldonado Stream. It's a great place for fishing and other water sports, and it has a variety of recommendable beaches, such as Playa Bikini, Playa Montoya and Playa Manantiales. This picturesque town has friendly people, shops, restaurants and tourism services. In addition, here you'll find the Museo del Mar (Sea Museum), an interesting venue where you can explore a collection of more than 10,000 examples of marine life, including starfish, shells, fossils, shark skeletons and more.
Like many of the other local beach areas, in past days this was once an area for fishermen. Today, it's a neighborhood where many celebrities have their summer homes and apartments. Here, you'll find an enormous amount of nightclubs, bars, restaurants and even casinos, along with multiple other attractions for spending a few exciting days in the sun.
In Punta del Este, you can take one of the boats found at the port and go on an adventure to discover the nearby islands. On Isla Gorriti, you'll see the ruins of an old Spanish fortress, along with a number of incomparable beaches. La Isla de Lobos, a beautiful nature reserve, offers you an unforgettable experience with impressive displays of plants and wildlife, along with being one of the largest sea lion reserves in the world.
Many people come to Punta del Este to visit its casinos. If you enjoy gaming, adrenaline and chance, Punta del Este is the destination you're looking for. Among the most recommended casinos is Hotel Conrad Punta del Este Resort and Casino, the only one of its kind in the city; this hotel is known for being luxurious and over-the-top, similar to the Las Vegas casinos. There's also Casino Nogaro, one of the oldest in the area, which was recently remodeled and offers amazing services. Finally, you'll find Mantra Resort, Spa and Casino, another great option if you want to try your luck.
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