Punta del Este, Uruguay - Stein Travel

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Welcome to Punta del Este

Glitzy and vivacious, the Punta del Este holiday resort is known as the 'jewel of Uruguay', the favoured vacation station for upper-class South Americans recent years discovered by the international jet set. Punta del Este lies at the southern tip of Uruguay, about 87 miles (140km) from Montevideo, covering a spit of land extending into the Atlantic Ocean from the mouth of the Rio del la Plata, lined with 20 miles (32km) of pristine, sandy beaches.

The resort town of Punta del Este bristles with luxury hotels, holiday condominiums, restaurants, hot night spots and sophisticated shops. These, together with a casino, bustling yacht marinas and an array of natural attractions, draw thousands of visitors during the summer holiday season, which extends from December to March. Out of season many of the Punta del Este restaurants and shops close and it becomes more like a sleepy coastal town, but the temperate climate still offers the chance to make the most of the less crowded beaches.

Punta del Este offers a laid-back holiday lifestyle, most of the tourists not emerging before noon and dining at around 10pm, after watching a splendid sunset. Discos and nightclubs then keep up the action until dawn, when weary sun-bronzed revellers creep to their beds.


It is possible to holiday in Punta del Este and do no more than lay on one of the beautiful beaches, but it will be hard to resist the myriad of tempting alternatives on offer. Local vendors hawk a host of watersports opportunities on the main beaches, Playa Mansa and Playa Brava, including parasailing and snorkelling, while those who prefer to be on the water rather than in it can arrange all manner of boating and fishing expeditions. When it comes to land sports there are some excellent golf courses, the chance to play gaucho(cowboy) or polo on horseback, or serve up a game of tennis. When it comes to holiday sightseeing and excursions there is also plenty on offer, from the historic lighthouse (Faro de Punta del Este) to the celebrated modern art museum of Casa del Pueblo. Zoos, parks, trips to offshore islands, and visits to inland towns and villages are all part of the menu of 'what to do' while on holiday at Punta del Este. On top of all this Punta del Este has a summer season literally bursting with events: music and dance festivals, rodeos, sports tournaments, beauty contests and fashion shows are just some of them.

The official language is Spanish.

The official currency of Uruguay is the Uruguayan Peso (UYU), but US Dollars are also accepted by some tourist businesses, retailers and taxi drivers. The peso is divided into 100 centécimos. Currency can be exchanged at banks and Money Exchange Shops, which both offer similar exchange rates. Exchange rates tend to fluctuate frequently. There are plenty of ATMs available in shopping centres and attached to banks in commercial areas, but not all cards are accepted. Credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club, are widely accepted by shops and restaurants. Travellers cheques are easiest to exchange if in US Dollars.


Punta del Este is extremely crowded during the summer holiday season. Its sophisticated commercialism may not be to everyone's taste.


The Punta del Este holiday resort is one of the world's most vibrant party places, with a huge variety of bars, discos and clubs to choose from - in the open, on the beach and indoors! There is music everywhere as the nightlife hots up around midnight, from sultry Latin American beats to the latest chart toppers. A great deal of night-time activity centres on the Conrad Resort and Casino, which glitters with Las Vegas-type entertainment and a sophisticated disco. A hot favourite with the younger set is the Buddha Bar on Bikini Beach, in the party district of La Barra. This beach hut bar serves up cocktails and sushi all day and has DJs ripping up the decks until all hours of the night.


There is no need to go hungry at any hour of the day while on holiday in Punta del Este, which is packed with a huge array of eateries to suit all tastes and budgets. Enjoy simple kiosks offering chivitos(steak sandwiches) to salons serving haute cuisine. Seafood is a top choice, and the range of cuisine covers everything from Spanish to pizza and sushi. Most restaurants only open around noon, but keep serving until the wee hours. The reputed top restaurant in Punta del Este is La Bourgogne, on the Calle Pedragosa Sierra in the El Bosque area. A less expensive and very pleasant option is Lo de Tere, on the Rambla waterside, offering a lovely harbour view and some tasty fresh fish.


Punta del Este is hard on the holiday budget, offering exclusive shopping in a string of boutiques lining the Calle Gorlero (the main street) and crammed into the Punta Shopping Mall on Avenida Roosevelt. Goods on offer range from well-known international brand labels and designer-wear to local Uruguayan arts and crafts. Prices in Punta del Este tend to be higher than elsewhere in Uruguay. Favourite holiday purchases for any visitor to Uruguay are leather items. On weekends there is an evening craft market at Plaza Artigas.

GMT -3 (GMT -2 from October to March).

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