HIDDEN SECRETS OF PUNTA DEL ESTE
OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
Punta Del Este is famous for its beaches, restaurants and the summer glamour. However, this time we want to share some of its other secrets.
In order to enjoy an unforgettable visit to Punta Del Este, a minimum stay of five days is recommended. This will allow you to find out more and get to know the region in more depth.
There are plenty of exclusive tours and itineraries and visitors always say it is impossible to get bored in Punta Del Este.
Visiting Uruguay in October through April is ideaI to do outdoor outings and discover the city and what Punta Del Este has to offer. It is a resourceful city, where you can enjoy its beaches and busy nightlife, its several museums, shops and art and excellent food.
As you enter Punta Del Ester on the heights of Punta Ballena you are blown away by the beauty of the place with the incredible skyline of the city at sight.
On the first day we recommend to visit the port, the lighthouse of Punta Del Este, the 4 waterfront roads on the Peninsula, the southeast point Los Ingleses and the famous hand sculpture at the entrance of Brava Beach. The peninsula of Punta Del Este is a walk in itself, and the nearby neighborhoods have homes and breath taking gardens with beautiful landscaping designs, inspired from all over the world.
Venturing in the neighborhoods of Punta along with wide avenues and boulevards and neatness like in no other South American city is fun, specially if you rent a bike to ride from Punta to the region of the old hotel San Rafael and continue into the Golf area and then into Beverly Hills where the fantastic museum called Ralli awaits with surprising artists such as Salvador Dali and John Robinson.
• If you are interested in art and culture then it is worth visiting the Azotea de Haedo. This house was once the holiday residence of the Uruguayan president Eduardo Víctor Haedo back in the 60s who was also a journalist and a painter. He decided to turn his house into a meeting place for artists, politicians and writers such as Che Guevara, Pablo Neruda, Alfonsina Storni, Liza Minelli, Cantinflas, and Prince Philip among other personalities of the time. The large park has sculptures of famous artists, an amphitheatre and a chapel in the back give the place an aristocratic feel to the house. During the summer, several concerts, exhibitions and various artistic and cultural expressions are held. This museum is very nice because it shows the Haedo love for art and Uruguayan culture.
• Another stop is the Museo del Mar featuring important exhibition of marine fauna from all the world, including corals, seahorses that will delight kids, fish, whale skeletons and sunfish of 2,60mts. There is a room with stories of the first visitors to Punta Del Este showing a collection of antique postcards, books, cans, jars, bottles, toys and everything that could have been used in an old house spa. The museum is only 800 metres from La Barra Bridge and it is a great excuse to see Maldonado city in the distance from the museums park.
• If you want venture into nature and experience sailing there are boats that take you every hour to the Gorriti Island. The scenery of the port is worth 100 postcards and allows you to appreciate the magnificent marina of the port while setting sail. The hiking trails full of lush vegetation are a way to explore the island towards the far end where unspoilt beaches await. The Island used to be a stronghold to prevent Portuguese invasions and has historical value for the ruins and vestiges of the colonial era.
• A hidden road appears to the right of Punta Ballena, towards the north, along route 12 and then to the right guiding you to a scenic place that offers the opportunity to enjoy the finest viewing points of Punta Del Este and the Lagoon Del Sauce. But the fun part is the winding ascending road and experiencing the optical phenomenon if you stop the car in the marked spots with the legend “stop here”. At the top, the highlight is the Hotel Las Cumbres, one of the most stunning hotels in Punta Del Este. It was built by architect Ivan Holjevac as the home for his own family, then transformed it into a 5 stars hotel. Fantastic panoramic view of both sides: towards the Laguna Del Sauce, topped by the Pan de Azucar hill and to the Peninsula and Gorriti Island will make your day.
• If you want to linger in the Peninsula of Punta Del Este, you will find the largest fair in the area with 200 stands, where you can buy gifts, souvenirs, silver jewellery, gold, semiprecious stones, paintings, plus clothing, leather products and crafts of all kinds. In the evenings, colorful stands with artists, designers, street artists, jugglers and puppeteers and high quality shows take place. The Plaza Artigas craft fair is very popular among locals and tourists who come to see the wide range of objects of great aesthetic and affordable value. The craft fair is a tourist attraction for Punta Del Este especially during summer nights where there is much movement of people in this place. It is a great place to shop and bring home souvenirs, plus spend a pleasant time with family or friends enjoying the outdoor shows.
Mary Ann Thompson