How to Spend 24 Hours in Punta del Este

Punta del Este city center
Punta del Este city center | © Marcelo Campi/Flickr
Photo of Milena Fajardo
27 October 2017

Punta del Este is a favourite of many locals and travellers that visit Uruguay. It truly has it all: amazing beaches, stunning hills and viewpoints to admire the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets, a bustling city with excellent bars, restaurants and shops, art sculptures and museums… the list goes on and on. With so much to do, it might seem overwhelming to plan the perfect day in Punta. We’ve got you covered so you make the most of every minute.

Start your day in Punta Ballena, which is closest to Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo. If you start your day early, you can visit Las Grutas beach, the nicest in the Punta Ballena area because of the cliffs, caves, and rocks that you can explore. The sun in Uruguay is brutal, and avoiding sunbathing from the hours of 11am to 4pm is highly advisable.

Grutas, Punta Ballena | © Mai Rodriguez/Flickr

Around 11am, get dressed and make your way to the Lussich Arboretum, for a late morning of walking around and admiring more than 100 different species of plants, under the safe shade of the vegetation.

When you’re done, head to Punta Ballena’s characteristic viewpoint to enjoy a marvellous 360 degree view of the Atlantic. On the viewpoint, go to Casapueblo, an art workshop turned museum that now also serves as a boutique hotel. Instead of paying entry to visit Casapueblo Museum, have lunch at their terraced restaurant to enjoy a splendid ocean breeze. After lunch, you can admire the unique honeycomb-shaped, whitewashed architecture from the inside, and visit the museum.

Casapueblo, Punta Ballena | © Felipe Tocchetto/Flickr

It should be around 3pm now, so it’s actually time to go to Punta del Este city centre. If it’s summer, make sure you park quite far so you don’t have to spend ages finding a spot. You can walk on the promenade of Playa Mansa, nearest to Punta Ballena, to the port located at the peninsula. There’s a charming fish market with resident sea lions. From there, you can walk or drive up to the city centre for some shopping. Gorlero Avenue is famous for its shopping, but the more luxurious brands are on other streets.

Sea lion at Punta del Este's port | © Isidro López-Arcos/Flickr

Drive across to Playa Brava and take some pictures next to “The Hand”, a sculpture by Mario Irarrázabal that depicts five fingers coming out of the sand. You can stay at that beach for the rest of the afternoon to see the sunset, or drive up to La Barra.

The Hand, Punta del Este | © Jimmy Baikovicius/Flickr

Cross the fun bridge and reach La Barra, where you can enjoy a beautiful sunset from La Posta del Cangrejo beach (if you didn’t already in Brava Beach). The sun sets around 8pm in the summer, so if you are used to having an early dinner, walk on La Barra’s main street and you will see a lot of bars and restaurants of different cuisines to choose from. If not, head to Freddo to have an ice cream with a view of the Atlantic – you can also have the ice cream for dessert.

Fun bridge crossing to La Barra | © adrian/Flickr

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