Please note that some of the links below may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase.

Welcome to Lavish Punta del Este

Punta del Este, nicknamed the “Miami of South America” and the “Hamptons of South America” is the perfect day trip from Montevideo, Uruguay. Whether you enjoy the vibrant party scenes or a relaxing walk on the beach, Punta del Este offers something for everyone. There are boujee restaurants, trendy cafes, and the usual activities you find at a beach destination. We’ll go over the things to do in Punta del Este, how to get there, where to eat, where to stay, and just how to spend a day in Punta del Este!

If you’re interested in tours, check out these:

Punta del Este 1 Day Itinerary

Start Your Day Off Right at the Cat Cafe

While we didn’t have time for the Cat Cafe, we’ve been to many in Southeast Asia, and can’t recommend them enough! You can enjoy some great food and a cup of coffee while petting the cats.

Many of the cats here are up for adoption, and the profits they make from the food and drinks people buy go towards cats they rescue on the streets.

Check out the cats up for adoption on the cafe’s Facebook page!

Cat Cafe Punta del Este

Hang Out on the Punta del Este Beaches

Punta del Este’s two beaches are Playa Brava and Playa Mansa, which stretch out along almost the entirety of Punta del Este’s coastline. Here you’ll see people running, surfing, playing volleyball, relaxing, or partying it up! If you’re lucky you’ll see sea lions!

Beach Punta del Este

See “El Mano” – Punta del Este’s Famous Sculpture

El Mano is probably Punta del Este’s biggest tourist attraction, probably because it’s hard to miss! This giant hand is mostly buried below ground is the perfect photo opp for those seeking a good instagram post, but it does get crowded!

El Mano Things to do Punta del Este

Marvel at Nuestra Señora de la Candeleria Church

This beautiful Catholic church looks like it belongs in the Caribbean. The baby blue walls and orange tile roof is a beautiful piece of architecture. Chances are you won’t be there the 1 hour it’s open on weekdays (from 7-8 pm), but don’t worry, the best part is the exterior! This is a must-see when in Punta del Este!

Beautiful Church Punta del Este

Shop at Plaza Artigas

Plaza Artigas hosts a market where you can buy different kinds of artisanal crafts. You can find anything from typical souvenirs to Mate kits to boutique knitting goods. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, this is a great place to walk through!

Plaza Artigas is open from 1 pm to 8 pm Thursday-Sunday, from 4 pm to 11 pm on Mondays, and closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Artisanal Market Punta del Este

Grab Lunch at Box Garden Food Court

The small eateries at Box Garden truly encompass the immigrant influence in Uruguay. Here you’ll find every cuisine from Italian to Japanese to American, and of course, Uruguayan. They have a stage for live music and a big screen for sports matches, so you get some entertainment while you eat!

The Box Garden is open daily from 10 am until the early hours of the next day, but keep in mind that each food stand has its own hours. Many are open from noon to 4 pm and from 8 pm to midnight, so just be aware that you’ll have limited food options if you visit between 4 pm and 8 pm!

Best Place to Eat in Punta del Este

Venture Out to the Islands

Punta del Este is in close proximity to two national heritage sites, Isla Gorriti and Isla de Lobos. Isla de Lobos is the second largest colony of Sea Lions in the world. You can’t stop on the island but rather you’ll circle the island to slowly admire the wildlife!  Isla Gorriti houses an old military fort, has beaches prime for picnics, and restaurants! Ferries to Isla Gorriti run every 20-30 minutes in the summer months (December – February) from the yacht harbor and less frequently during other months.

Go to the Antonio Lussich Arboretum

Escape the urban sprawl that is Punta del Este and head over to Punta Ballena for a relaxing end of your day. The Antonio Lussich Arboretum is a great sprinkle of green nature and is also another reason we recommend renting a car if you’re doing a day trip to Montevideo.

The Antonio Lussich Arboretum is open from 9 am to 7:30 pm Tuesday-Sunday. It is free to enter but they do have a paid museum as well as a restaurant and store!

Enjoy the Famous Sunset at Casapueblo

Casapueblo is an unbelievable structure in Punta Ballena, which kind of falls under Punta del Este in my opinion, making this the uncontested, unarguable, absolute best thing to do in Punta del Este. This massive hotel and museum is like a slice of Santorini on the Uruguayan coast.

Casapueblo Uruguay

Carlos Páez Vilaró began building a studio/summer home armed with nothing but his bare hands, cement, and a massive dream. Watching the sunset here is extremely popular, and to spice things up, the museum does a “Sun Ceremony” where everyone gathers around the terraces and listens to a recording of Vilaró saying goodbye to the sun. It gets fairly crowded here so make sure early!

The museum is open daily from 10 am to 7:30 pm and costs about 13.20 USD, but we highly recommend staying overnight if you have the time to experience all that the hotel has to offer!

Casapueblo, Punta Ballena

Head Back to Montevideo – Or Stay and Party

If you’re doing a day trip from Montevideo, you may want to start heading back. But if not, it’s time to grab dinner, get freshened up and ready for a wild night out! OVO night club is the most popular club in the city, but there are tons of other bars to go to. There are also lots of casinos, so take advantage of that if that’s your thing!

Best Time to Visit Punta del Este

If you want to lay out on the beach, take dips in the water, enjoying the summer weather, then from December to February (which is Uruguay’s summer) is the best time to visit Punta del Este. This is also when prices are higher, and attractions get more crowded. Uruguay’s fall (March to May) and spring (September to November) are still great times to visit, you just won’t be enjoying the beach as much as you would in the summer.

Punta del Este Best Time to Visit

Where to Stay in Punta del Este

There are tons of great places to stay in Punta del Este. If you plan on enjoying the nightlife, try to stay on the peninsula. For a quieter beach vacation, check out some of the hotels a bit farther from the center.

View More

How to Get to Punta del Este, Uruguay

Montevideo to Punta del Este by Car

If you’re doing a day trip to Punta del Este from Montevideo, we recommend renting a car. This will allow you to go to Punta del Este for most of the day, then drive from Punta del Este to Punta Ballena, where you can enjoy the arboretum and the sunset at Casapueblo before heading back to Montevideo. While possible with public transportation, renting a car gives you more flexibility. Book your rental car here!

If you don’t want to rent a car, consider doing this tour instead. It takes care of transportation, provides an English, Spanish, and Portuguese speaking guide, gives you some freedom to explore outside of the predetermined destinations, and you can opt in for lunch!

Montevideo to Punta del Este by Bus

To get to Punta del Este from Montevideo, you can take the two hour bus that leaves from the Tres Cruces Terminal. A one way ticket from Montevideo to Punta del Este costs 418 pesos or $11. You can find the tickets you want on the Tres Cruces website and book them in advance on the website of whatever company you choose. 

Punta del Este by Plane

Punta del Este has an international airport (PDP) that is just west of the city, but don’t get too excited – they only have direct flights from four locations: Buenos Aires in Argentina, Porto Alegre and Sao Paulo in Brazil, and Asuncion in Paraguay. Book your cheap flights here!

How to Get to Casapueblo

How to Get from Montevideo to Casapueblo

To get to Casapueblo from Montevideo, follow the above instructions for getting a bus to Punta del Este. However, when you board the bus, ask if you can get dropped off in Punta Ballena. It helps if you don’t put your bags in the undercarriage so the driver doesn’t have to fully stop to get out and help you with your bags. From your drop off point, you’ll have to walk or get a taxi/Uber the rest of the way. If they can’t stop, follow the directions below for how to get from Punta del Este to Casapueblo!

How to Get from Punta del Este to Casapueblo

To get from Punta del Este to Casapueblo, the best option is an Uber that will typically cost 20-30 USD or a taxi that is a little more expensive. If you’re on a budget, you can take bus 20 from Punta del Este to Punta Ballena for 2 USD and walk about 30 minutes to Casapueblo. The Moovit app is helpful for finding this bus’s schedule.

spend a day in Punta del Este Uruguay

Punta del Este FAQs

Is there public transportation in Punta del Este Uruguay?

There is a great public transportation system in Punta de Este. The buses run frequently and can be tracked with the Moovit App. The same tips apply for bus rides in Montevideo: wave the bus down, ask for a común if you only need one bus or a combinación ticket if you need to take two buses, and before your stop push the button above the back door to let the driver know to stop.

Is Punta del Este Safe?

Punta del Este is very safe, especially in the touristy areas. Montevideo may be the safest city in Latin America, but Punta del Este follows close behind. Similar to most tourist destinations, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your belongings and don’t wander the streets at night.

Is Punta del Este Expensive?

Punta del Este, and Uruguay as a whole is fairly expensive. Punta del Este has tons of upscale restaurants, exclusive nightclubs, and luxury hotels. You can certainly spend a ton of money here, but if you’re just walking around and seeing the sites, it is very much possible to visit Punta del Este on a low budget.

Is Punta del Este worth Visiting?

Punta del Este is definitely worth visiting. Its beaches, nearby islands, gastronomy scene, and the nearby Casapueblo Museum and Hotel make this the perfect beach destination. The summer is the best (and most popular) time to visit, but the fall and spring are great options unless you are committed to hanging out on the beach all day.


Keep Exploring Uruguay…

Our Favorite Travel Resources

Accommodations: We use for hotels and HostelWorld for hostels. We also use VRBO or TrustedHousesitters for longer stays.

Flights: We recommend using Skyscanner to find the cheapest and best flights.

Ground Transport: We use 12Go and Omio for buses and private transfers, and and Discover Cars for rental cars.

Activities: GetYourGuide and Viator are the best websites for booking organized tours.

International Medical Insurance: We highly recommend SafetyWing for Digital Nomads and HeyMondo for those not traveling full-time, or who frequently engage in higher-risk adventure activities.

eSIM: We recommend Airalo or Holafly for getting data internationally.

Check out our Travel Resources Page for more of our favorite travel-related products and services!

You might also enjoy: