The St Tropez of
South America, Punta del Este pairs a vibrant nightlife with
sprawling countryside, white-sand beaches and a hefty dose of
Punta del Este, Uruguay.
The St Tropez of South America, the
Hamptons of the South, the Pearl of the Atlantic… endless fond
nicknames have been given to the ritzy resort city of Punta del
Este. Pairing its iconic cityscape and vibrant nightlife scene with
vast countryside on one side and coastal charm on the other, it is
much more than just a quick beach stop-off.
Explore the city’s galleries and museums to get a taste of
Uruguay’s culture. Head to striking Casapueblo, the former seaside
home of Uruguayan artist Carlos Páez Vilaró, pop into the Museo Ralli to admire contemporary Latin
American art, and don’t miss Punta del Este’s most famous landmark
– La Mano en la Arena – the gigantic hand that protrudes from the
white sands of Playa Brava, created by Chilean artist Mario
Irarrázabal in 1982.
There are more than 20 miles of white-sand beaches here, so rise
early to nab a good spot or spend days hopping between them to find
your favourite. Playa Mansa – meaning calm beach – is perfect
catching some rays and celebrity-spotting, while Playa Brava is
best known for its waves, and is popular among surfers and thrill
seekers. Come evening, head to Punta Ballena to watch the sun go
down across the city.
Punta del Este’s famed shopping scene. Head to the chic
neighbourhood of La Barra to discover quaint boutiques, or Gorlero
Avenue for an artisanal clothing, curios and a local food market.
After a successful morning shopping, catch a boat from the harbour
to spend the afternoon on Punta del Este’s neighbouring islands.
Isla Gorriti has pristine beaches rimmed by rugged greenery and
crumbling forts, while Isla de Lobos is home to South America’s
tallest lighthouse, as well as the world’s second largest southern
Who to take with you
Someone who enjoys an evening discovering nightlife. Head to the
yacht harbour, where locals and tourists unite over cocktails and
good music. If you’re looking for something less glitzy,
Manantiales has some local drinking dens where hours disappear as
quickly as the drinks.
When to go
Where to stay
José Ignacio is perfectly placed outside of the bustling centre,
but not too far away from the action. Stay at Estancia Vik José Ignacio for a
sparkling-white dream-like resort. There are only 12 suites, each
designed by local artists and adorned with modern art. Laze by the
black-granite swimming pool in the courtyard and dine on local
barbecued dishes cooked on the fire pit in the hotel’s
brick-vaulted dining room.
Most likely to bump into…
The resort is loved by many sun-seeking celebs – Shakira often
wanders along the city’s sandy shores.
Essentials to bring with you
The sun gets very hot around lunchtime, so bring a big hat to
protect your head from the heat. This Bettie grosgrain-trimmed hat by
Eugenia Kim is perfect for getting some respite from the
How to get there
Indirect flights land at Punta del Este International Airport
via Mexico or several US cities.