How to Spend 3 Days in Punta del Este
Punta del Este is Uruguay’s flagship beach resort, and with three days to see it, you’ll have time to take in all the highlights, explore the beaches and coastal resorts, and experience local culture and cuisine. Here are some ideas for how to spend three days in Punta del Este.
Day 1: City Sights and Coastal Views
The beaches and attractions of Punta del Este are dotted along the coast, and joining a tour is the most convenient way to get around. Start the day with a visit to the town’s most memorable landmark, Mario Irrazábal’sThe Hand sculpture on Brava beach—get there early to snap a photo before the midmorning crowds arrive.
Nearby, the La Vista 360 tower affords panoramic views over Punta del Este and Uruguay’s south coast. Tickets can sell out during busy periods, so book your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. Browse the shops for traditional art and handicrafts along Gorlero Avenue and Artigas Square, then enjoy lunch at one of the seafood restaurants looking out across the marina.
Spend the afternoon exploring Punta del Este’s neighborhoods, stopping to see the animal sculptures in Jagüel Park and admire the lavish villas of the Beverly Hills, Cantagril, and San Rafael neighborhoods.
End the day with a visit to the Casapueblo Museum, the masterpiece of Uruguayan artist and architect Carlos Páez Vilaró. Book your tickets in advance to save time, and stick around to watch the daily Ceremony of the Sun at sunset.
Day 2: Swim, Surf, and Sunbathe
Punta del Este is famous for its beautiful beaches, so set aside a day to relax on the golden sands. The windy Atlantic coast beaches are best suited for surfing, windsurfing, and other water sports, while the calmer waters of Playa Mansa and Las Delicias are popular with families and ideal for swimming and snorkelling.
In the afternoon, head to La Barra, where Bikini Beach is Punta del Este’s most glamorous beach, frequented by celebrities and lined with restaurants and beach bars, as well as plenty of beachside entertainment. Tear yourself away from the beach to explore the town, where highlights include the Ocean Museum (Museum del Mar), the wave-like La Barra Bridge, and the Pablo Atchugarry Foundation art museum.
La Barra and neighboring Manantiales are also the best places to party in Punta del Este, so after sunset, sip cocktails and dance into the early hours at one of the beachfront nightclubs.
Day 3: Take a Day Trip
There are a number of options for day trips from Punta del Este, and visiting as part of a half- or full-day tour means that you can explore multiple destinations in one day. Set sail on a morning cruise to Isla de Lobos, a small island just off the south coast renowned for its colonies of sea lions and South American fur seals, as well as South America’s tallest lighthouse.
Back on the mainland, head north to the beach town of José Ignacio, where you can spend the afternoon lazing on the sandy beaches and strolling around the many shops and art galleries. For dinner, tuck into delicious Uruguayan cuisine at La Huella, one of Uruguay’s most famous restaurants—make sure you book your table in advance. Alternatively, opt for a wine-and-cheese-tasting tour and sample regional varietals as you watch the sunset over the Atlantic.