Punta del Este

Punta del Este

Author Anne Plau

The 290 kilometers long and up to 220 kilometers wide estuary of the Paraná and Uruguay rivers is known as the Rio de la Plata. The Uruguayan city of Punta del Este is located at the mouth of the Rio de la Plata in the Atlantic Ocean. It is about 140 kilometers to the capital Montevideo.

Punta del Este is a popular booming seaside resort. In addition to the approximately 20.000 inhabitants, there are 600.000 to 700.000 holidaymakers annually who visit the place mainly in the season from mid-December to mid-March.

Punta del Este - skyline

The climate

The climate in Punta del Este is subtropical. The months December to February are hot with 27 degrees and more, the months June to August are cool with around 10 degrees, the remaining months have temperatures around 20 degrees. It doesn't get really cold in Punta del Este. Precipitation is constant; rain must be expected on five to seven days a month. January and February are considered the best time to travel.


The transport connections are good. There is an international and a regional airport, ferries to Buenos Aires in Argentina and buses to the capital Montevideo and the surrounding towns. The city also has a large marina. Excursion boats go to the islands of Isla Gorriti and Isla de Lobos.

Attractions in Punta del Este

Punta del Este is mainly visited because of the long sandy beaches. Still there are some sights.

Playa los Ingleses

The old fishing village

The oldest part of Punta del Este lies on a headland that juts out into the Rio de la Plata. Here is one of the attractions of Punta del Este, the lighthouse built in 1860. It is 25 meters high and can only be viewed from the outside. Next to the lighthouse is the Iglesia de la Candelaria, a Catholic church built in 1941. The Rambla General Jose Artigas runs around the headland. Plazoleta Gran Bretaña is on the tip of this headland. From there you can watch the water of the Rio de la Plata delta meet the waves of the Atlantic.

Church of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria
Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria - nave
Punta de la Salina

Beaches with calm and rough seas

Due to its location on the Rio de la Plata and on the Atlantic Ocean, Punta del Este has different beach sections. To the west on the banks of the Rio de la Plata are quiet beaches such as Playa Mansa; There are rougher seas and higher waves on the Atlantic coast in the east at Playa Brava, Playa Emir and Playa de los Ingleses.

Punta del Este - Playa El Emir

Punta del Este - Playa El Emir

Another landmark of Punta del Este are “Los Dedos”. The fingers of one hand form a five meter wide and three meter high stone sculpture in the sand of Playa Brava.

Los Dedos stone sculpture

Isla Gorriti and Isla de Lobos islands

Isla Gorriti is located in the Rio de la Plata about two kilometers from Playa Mansa. It is 21 hectares in size, no longer than two kilometers and no wider than one kilometer. The island is uninhabited, but developed for tourism and mainly interesting for water sports enthusiasts. Excursion boats there start from the marina in Punta del Este.

The Isla de Lobos is 41 hectares in size and lies a good 10 kilometers off the coast in the Atlantic. It is completely designated as a nature reserve and is not allowed to be entered.

On the horizon - Isla de Lobos

More than 200.000 fur seals, over 12.500 sea lions, many species of birds, and elephant seals also visit the island regularly. An island for nature lovers. The only structure is a 59 meter high lighthouse from 1906. Excursion boats start from the marina in Punta del Este and circle the island.

Avenida Juan Gorlero and Plaza Artigas

Avenida Juan Gorlero is the main shopping street in Punta del Este. It is partially traffic-calmed. There are casinos, banks, restaurants and all kinds of shops, from inexpensive to expensive, over a length of over a kilometer.

Art and handicrafts have been exhibited and sold in Plaza Artigas for over 50 years. More than 150 stalls open every evening in summer and on weekends in winter. There are simple souvenirs, but also tasteful leather goods and woolen items as well as jewelry made of silver, gold or semi-precious stones from northern Uruguay.

Avenida Juan Gorlero
Punta del Este - Plaza General Artigas
Punta del Este - Monument to General Artigas

Places of interest around Punta del Este

townhouse is located around 15 kilometers west of the port in Punta Ballena. It is the former home of the artist Carlos Páez Vilaró. There is a museum and an art gallery there.

The bar, 12 kilometers to the east, is a former artists' colony. A suspension bridge, the Puente de la Barra, is well worth seeing and leads over the Arroyo Maldonado to the village.

The Fundacion Ralli, a private museum for modern art, is a good five kilometers from the harbor in the Beverly Hills district. Contemporary Latin American art is shown on an area of ​​6.000 square meters. Works by well-known European artists such as Dali are also represented.


In addition to state casinos, there is a large American casino in the Hotel Conrad in Punta del Este. Major poker tournaments are also held here.

An international film festival and a jazz festival take place regularly in Punta del Este.

The port of Punta del Este is a stage destination for international regattas.

Punta del Este for crusaders

Large ships cannot dock in the port of Punta del Este. Cruise ships therefore anchor near Isla Gorriti. The passengers are brought ashore in tender boats. The tender boats dock next to the marina at the fishing pier. A journey takes about 20 minutes.

Punta del Este - waiting tender boat

Punta del Este - waiting tender boat

The fishing pier sells freshly caught fish and boat tours to the islands of Isla Gorriti and Isla de Lobos. And in the middle of the harbor, South American sea lions lounge on the quays.

Punta del Este - resting South American sea lions

Punta del Este - resting South American sea lions

Punta del Este - South American sea lion shows its teeth

Punta del Este - South American sea lion shows its teeth 

When a cruise ship calls at Punta del Este, tours with minibuses or taxis to the places of interest and the surrounding area are also offered at the pier. 

There are a few bars and restaurants on the pier. The tourist information office is around a kilometer away and is opposite the Muelle de Mailhos. The old fishing village, many beautiful beaches and Avenida Juan Gorlero are within walking distance.

Update February 2024