Punta del Este

(continuer en français) – Last updated: October 10, 2020

Its name may suggest that it is the easternmost point on the Uruguayan coast. This is not the case, at best it would be the southernmost point of the country. It is a rocky point closing off the wide bay of a hundred kilometres or so starting in Montevideo. Then the coast goes northwards.

It is first and foremost a seaside resort. At the height of the summer season there are people everywhere and parking spaces are hard to find. From the mid-season on, however, the buildings seem oversized for the few people found in the streets. In winter, it soon looks like a ghost town. The city officially has around 10,000 inhabitants, but it is the temporary residents and the fluctuation in their numbers according to the seasons that decide the pace of the city.

It is Uruguay’s posh resort, it is also very popular with Argentines, they are trying to get away from the polluted waters of the Rio de la Plata, and the coast further south is quickly becoming too cold. Punta del Este also attracts wealthy people and celebrities from Latin America, there are nightclubs and casinos, such as the Conrad.

The marina has luxury yachts, reflecting the wealthy population frequenting the resort.

There are still a few fishing boats, their colourful hulls contrasting with the uniform white of the boaters. An entire wharf is reserved for fishermen, where in the morning they sell the product of their sea trips.

The 1860 lighthouse guides boats to the port of Punta del Este. From its 45 metres, it also participates in the navigation of ships around the estuary of the Rio de la Plata.

Strictly speaking, Punta del Este refers only to the rocky point at the end of the peninsula. In the past, this was where the fishing village was settled. Their modest houses have long since been replaced by beautiful villas, in this part there are no high-rise buildings but individual houses in very eclectic styles.

It is in this area that the Church of the Candelaria, completed in 1911, is located.

If Punta de l’Este is famous for its long sandy beaches, the point is on the contrary lined with rocks where the waves come to crash.

The harbour or the rocks make a perfect setting to follow the sunset, the thermos flask and the calabash for mate are never far away in these moments.

La Mano en la Arena

These five giant fingers emerging from the sand of the Playa Brava are the most popular monument in Punta del Este. This sculpture dates from 1982 and was created by the Chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal. Since then it has appeared in millions of souvenir photos, and many visitors come to pose for it, such as the Spanish rugby team that day.

Casapueblo

A dozen kilometres from the centre of Punta del Este, in Punta Ballena, there is a strange construction clinging to the cliff plunging down to the sea. Casapueblo is the baroque work of Carlos Páez Vilaró, a multidisciplinary Uruguayan artist. He began by building a workshop and then his house with driftwood found on the coast. Coated with cement and whitewashed, he turned it into a giant sculpture, growing over the years, adding new rooms, terraces and floors according to his inspiration, until his death in 2014.

Today Casapueblo contains a museum, a cafeteria, a restaurant and a hotel, always with the same atypical style where straight lines are forbidden.

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12 comments

    • There is indeed a great diversity of architectural inspiration, especially in the individual villas, there is certainly the desire to impress, but also the very international backgrounds of the owners, who come from abroad or have travelled around the world and are related to other cultures.

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  1. I never got to Uraguay and now it’s probably too late, but reading your post at least I can imagine what it would be like to be there. I enjoyed both the post and the images that accompanied it, so thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your kind words. Each country leaves different sensations, in Uruguay I have found a country that embraces modernity with tranquillity, with an open mind quite rare for the region.

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    • You’re right, when you can spend time at the beach you feel like you’re on holiday. Uruguay is not very well known outside Latin America, but it is a quiet country that offers a bit of everything. Montevideo is a big city, Colonia still has a beautiful colonial quarter and the coast offers several types of resorts, depending on your taste.

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