by Mac Candee
things to do in punta del este

Posted: Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Punta del Este is located in Uruguay and is a popular beach destination for Uruguayans, Argentines, and Brazilians. This beautiful and modern beach town has a population of around 15 000 people but depending on the time of the year, you can expect much more than that. This is the hotspot for Brazilian and Argentinian tourists to come and spend some time enjoying the sea, nightlife and vacation. I want to share with you ten things to do in the downtown area of the city. There is really so much to do here, I could probably tell you up to thirty things, but I want to keep it short and simple, so we’re sticking with ten. Also, everything is within walking distance, so you don’t need to think about transportation. If you’re only coming for a weekend trip, you could probably do all these things in just one day if you wake up early enough.

If you prefer watching a video on things to do in Punta del Este to see the beautiful sites for yourself, you can do that here.

1) Visit Playa Brava for sunrise


If you enjoy the beauty of the sun, I’ve got you covered. This is seriously one of the most beautiful sunrises that I’ve ever seen. If you go around 6AM(depending on the time of year that you’re visiting, this can vary) you can sit on the beach while there are still not so many people there. At this time, it’s really peaceful and relaxing - a great way to get your day started with the beauty of nature. If you want to see the footage I have of this amazing experience, you can do that here.

2) Visit La Mano (Los Dedos) in the morning


After you’ve spent some time on the beach, this is a perfect next destination within walking distance. What this is, is a large sculpture of a human hand, partially submerged in the sand so that you can only see the fingers. The reason I recommend going there early is that there are a lot of tourists during the day, so this is a great way to “skip the line” and enjoy this attraction without being surrounded by a crowd. The sculpture is really cool and you can take some amazing photos with it, so don’t miss out!

3) Walk the Perimeter of Punta del Este


This makes for an amazing stroll around the beach, walking around the whole outer part of the city. You can enjoy the view of the beach, also you can stumble upon many famous spots where locals like to hang out. Overall, if you have the time, I would definitely recommend this as a way to explore and enjoy the whole perimeter of the city.

4) Visit the Old Town area in Punta del Este


If you want a piece of history and a vintage feel, make sure you come down here. This place holds the memory of the city back to when it was a small port town, and not yet the tourist attraction that it is now. You can see the old lighthouse and a few other historic things. This also doesn’t take that long, so you won’t get tired. And if you do, and it’s close to lunchtime, there are a lot of little restaurants you can sit and enjoy a meal in.

5) Visit Playa Brava (And Surf if you are up to it)


This is the beach we mentioned in the beginning to visit for the sunrise. But this time, I recommend you grab the surfboard, or just chill, catch a tan and enjoy the breeze. This is a beautiful spot, so it’s definitely worth a visit for the sunrise and again, after it’s a bit warmer and ready for relaxing.

6) Walk around and explore the Marina


If you make it here early in the morning, we were told by some locals that the fisherman set up and sell their fish here. But even if you don’t enjoy that and just want to hang out, it’s a great spot for a stroll in the lunch hours. If you have any boat excursions planned, this is where you’ll get picked up. There are many walkways you can go up and down on, as well as a lot of restaurants you can choose from.

7) Lay out at Playa Mansa


This beach is much calmer than the previous beach I mentioned. The waves aren’t as big, so if you want to go for surfing, Playa Brava is definitely a better choice. It also feels warmer, as there isn’t that much wind going on. For this reason, you can expect more people here, but the coastline is longer, so it will be easy for you to find a place to rest and enjoy the sea. It’s also very close to the other destinations, so you can easily reach it by walking. You can definitely explore both beaches in one day, switching between one or the other depending on how you’re feeling.

8) Eat one of the famous Chivitos


This is Uruguay’s national dish - and let me tell you, it’s delicious! If you’re from Argentina or a Uruguay native, you probably know what I’m talking about, but for me it was completely new, and I was shocked to find out how tasty it was. The “Chiviteria Marcos” is dubbed the best place to enjoy a bite, but it was sadly closed when I was on vacation. Nonetheless, I loved it so much, and I don’t recommend you miss out!

9) Try Mate

Free if you make a friend!

From what I heard from the locals, this drink is religiously drank here - one of my servers said 98% of the people in Uruguay drink this every day. People carry their thermoses with boiling hot water, as well as the herbs with them, then they combine the two and drink as they go. The most traditional way to try this is to be offered a mug from one of the locals, who wants to share some of his drink with you. Sadly, for our first 9 days there, we didn’t get to try that, but when we asked our server at a restaurant - the chef came out and gave us some of his to try! It’s something all the people here share traditionally, so if someone offers, don’t say no - you need to have a sip.

10) Watch the sunset in Playa Manza


This is actually one of the best spots to end your day. It’s an amazing view with a beautiful location, since this beach faces directly to where the sun is going down. You can sit directly on the beach, or just find a nice spot at the dock, where you won’t get as sandy and you can still have a lovely sea sunset experience. You can see the footage from the beautiful sundown we had on my channel here.

Closing Thoughts

This concludes my list of recommendations on what to do in Punta del Este. This list is in no way ordered, it just includes what I did, what I found enjoyable where I had a good time. There is definitely much more that you can explore, but treat this list as a guideline. Since everything here is super close, you can reach all these locations by foot. If you have any other recommendations or experiences with Punta del Este you would like to share, please let me know in the comments below!

Want to learn more about Punta del Este? Check out these videos on YouTube:

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