If you are planning a trip from Montevideo to Punta del Este, please read this article as it documents my recent vacation there. I hope that you find this helpful!
Arrival At Montevideo Airport
Firstly, once you arrive at the Montevideo airport, you might want to rent yourself a car. The reason I say this, is because the car will allow you to go at your own pace to Punta del Este, and check out any of the sights in between. If you want to get there faster or take your sweet time, this is up to you.
The drive to Punta del Este from Montevideo is a pleasant one, with good road conditions along the way.
You will be met by a total of 2 toll stops on your way to Punta del Este, and they each will cost you a total of 55 pesos to pass through (equal to about $2USD).
Make sure you take out some money while you’re at the airport using one of the ATMs there, and then you’ll be set for the journey.
Before you head for Punta del Este, make sure you take a look around Montevideo!
This is not a city that you’ll want to ignore, and when you leave the airport it takes about a half hour, and the directions to the city are clear.
You can find parking near the port, and you can take a look around Mercado del Puerto
This is an awesome place to pick up some nice souvenirs, and might I suggest you try one of their churrascarias. This is a type of meat that I am tempted to refer to as a delicacy, because it’s so delicious!
If you love meat that is grilled to sublime excellence, over an open fire, this will be a treat for you. One place you can stop to find such flavourful meat is at a place known as Estancia del Puerto.
Estancia del Puerto
The staff there are amazing, speak three languages (Portuguese, Spanish, and English), and the food is to die for! If you aren’t prepared for their portion sizes, you can order a half portion, and that will be more than enough for one person.
Sorry to get on this food kick here, but it’s too good not to mention, and I highly recommend you try it. You can buy yourself a rump steak (AKA colita de caudril) for around 360 pesos (or $17USD) for half of one, or you can go for the full portion for just a little bit more. The sausage is great as well (called chorizo) and will run you about 100 pesos.
You will notice, if you are a fan of food, that the chorizo in Uruguay is not the same as in Mexico – where I find it to be more greasy.
If you please, you can order their Zillertal (local beer) by the liter and pay 150 for that, or if you’re a wine drinker, get yourself a medio y medio, which is equal parts sparkling wine and chardonnay, for about 80 pesos a glass.
As you can well imagine, this place is a great place to stop, enjoy a good meal, and refuel after a long flight.
Afterwards, you may wish to go for a little walk around the old quarter there, which is called Plaza Sarandi. There you will find many places of interest, as it is a beautiful spot with a lot of history and charm.
Once you’ve seen all you want to see, then you can complete your tour of Montevideo by cruising along the coast and enjoying an unequaled view, where you will see why people fall in love with this city.
Of course, there is so much more to see in Montevideo, but chances are you’ll find your way and maybe even want to spend the night there before proceeding to Punta del Este.
Punta del Este
Now, Punta del Este, as I mentioned before, is one decent car ride away from Montevideo. Once you arrive there, you will notice how much smaller it is, though quite beautiful and near the water.
You will find that there are a lot of lovely beaches here with a whole lot of laid back Argentinean tourists, many clad in bikinis and speedos.
If you want to get around to see the different beaches that are not necessarily within walking distance, you will be thankful that you rented that car, because this will make it easy to get around to seeing all of them.
Punta del Este is an easy town to navigate, and your chances of getting completely lost are quite slim, because the town is so compact and signage is everywhere.
Atlantico Boutique Hotel
One place you might want to start is the Atlantico Boutique Hotel, which, last I checked, rooms for the night were $120USD. The hotel itself is amazing, with a refreshing cleanliness, attentive staff, and it also sits in the ideal location.
If you are standing out front of the hotel, from that vantage point you can see water in four different directions. It’s quite the view!
From there, it’s a quick hop, skip and a jump to the main street where all of the restaurants and shops are located.
If you are into live music, it’s only a 3 minute walk to get to Moby Dick, which is a nice little drinking establishment. Some might say it’s the place to be in Punta del Este – where all the action is.
Other places you can check out, include a neighbourhood called La Barra, which is about 15km away, and has a number of cool amenities such as bars, shops, and more. If you are a fan of fish, I highly suggest going to the Manatiales Fish Market, which is a lovely little restaurant on the corner of the main strip and a small side street.
The fish there is exquisitely prepared, and you can get seating outside where there is a garden and great staff to boot. I recommend getting the ceviche – in a word, it’s amazing!
If you continue another 18km past Barra, you will reach José Ignacio, which is a small town that has a nice beach and restaurants as well. While it isn’t necessarily the main attraction in Punta del Este, it is worth a look!
Playa de los Dedos
As I mentioned before, there are beaches, beaches, and MORE beaches here. If you visit Playa de los Dedos, you will encounter the famous hand sculpture that everyone voyages to get a look at (and take pictures with it), as it really is something else.
Playa de los Dedos is also a great spot to take a dip and catch some rays. It isn’t far from the main street.
Playa Brava, Playa Mansa, and Punta Bellana
If you look around, you will come across Playa Brava and Playa Mansa. The swimming at all of these beaches is great, and, depending when you go, it might be crowded, so keep that in mind.
A few clicks up the coastline is Punta Bellana, which is well worth the trek as you can take in a gorgeous view of the city proper.
The nightlife in Punta del Este is famous around the world, and this city has been compared to St. Tropez, as it has a wild nightlife and gambling at establishments like the Conrad Casino, where you can test your luck. You’ll need to take some USD with you, because that is the going currency there.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a great time in Uruguay!