While it is true that the most exciting thing about travel is to experience each place on your own, there are always certain things that you wish you had known before, especially when saving time and money. So if you plan to travel to the Uruguayan coast this summer and want to not only sunbathe but also have an amazing experience, here are 10 recommendations for traveling to Punta del Este:
1. The prices are about the same … high
Everything tends to be quite expensive, although it is true that some things are more expensive than others and that in high season even the hostels have prices of 3 star hotels, but in regards to food and fun, the price range is fairly consistent, meaning that it does not matter if you eat chivito and beer in a pizza place or if you go to dinner at a restaurant on Avenida Gorlero, a dinner with drinks will be around 850UY per person. Of course, there are different levels.
2. It is very safe
You can walk around safely, with your camera, smartphone, jewelry; the security in Punta del Este makes it a delight to walk alone or accompanied at any time of the night or day, along the beach or through its avenues. It doesn’t matter if you travel during off-season and there isn’t a soul in the streets, or if it’s mid-summer and booming, it’s the perfect place to travel worry-free.
3. Fresh fish and seafood
If you feel like making a special dinner during your vacation, the port of Punta del Este offers a variety of seafood and fresh fish to take home. If cooking isn’t an option for you, the Arctic restaurant also located in the port, has a buffet per kilo of dishes made with fresh fish and seafood and a varied menu including paella and breaded fish fillets, all at a great price.
4. The party goes until the early hours … of the next morning
Although the people from the Rio de la Plata are characterized by dining and partying late, Punta del Este takes this to a whole other level. After strenuous afternoons in the sun that go until 8pm, it is normal for the schedule to run as follows: return to your accommodation to rest, go out to dinner at 10-11pm, have the “previa” (pregame) in a bar until 4am and just then, you start going out to nightclubs. Unless you want to be the first person to arrive in the nightclub.
5. Summer nights can become chilly
The Uruguayan coast isn’t exactly warm and tropical. The wind is constant and the strong currents can take anybody off guard. The Caribbean neighbors would probably find the nights in Punta (not to mention the sea water) cold and windy, whereas others with less resistance to the heat will find it the ideal climate to rest without suffering. Regardless, it does not matter if you are resistant to the cold or not, the strong wind of the night can catch you by surprise, so we recommend that you bring warm clothes, pants, leggings or something to cover your neck to avoid a cold that could affect your holidays.
6. Perfect for surfers
It doesn’t matter if you are an expert surfer or if you just want to try out some classes during your vacation, take advantage of the waves offered by the beaches in Punta del Este to test your limits and enjoy the adrenaline that this entertaining sport offers. On all of its beaches you will find surf schools for all levels, the most well known is the Escuela de Surf de los Dedos because of its location and convenience; they offer classes for all ages. All you need is a desire to learn!
7. Life is torn between Playa Mansa and Playa Brava
The Uruguayan coast has some beautiful beaches to enjoy, and Punta del Este is surrounded by expansive beaches made of fine sand, but the most well known for tourists who stay in the city are these two: La Mansa, bathed by the waters of Rio de La Plata, allows you to witness beautiful sunsets and enjoy quiet beach days and is ideal for children. La Brava (The Brave), as the name implies, is perfect for those who prefer ocean waves. You have to be careful and follow the safety instructions because sometimes the ocean is very choppy, but it is not an impediment to enjoy the sun and the beach climate that are experienced in summer.
8. Taxis or remises and no Uber
If you find yourself walking for too long and want to go home, you should look for the nearest taxi stop to your location and wait there for an available vehicle to arrive. Taxis in the streets do not stop at the signal of passers-by like in other cities. They do door-to-door services reserved by phone or only drive passengers who come to the taxi stations. Every 3 blocks or so, in the center of the city, you will find taxi stands … there are not many other alternatives since Uber is not available in Punta del Este. So if you decide to walk, keep the distance in mind because if you get tired in the middle, it will be difficult to find someone to come to the rescue.
9. Tax free and VAT refund for tourists.
It applies to all of Uruguay, but it is important to know to help with the rate of spending in Punta del Este. One way to save a little money, is paying with a credit or debit card for any purchase of clothes, food, or entertainment. The commercial premises automatically subtract 22% of the VAT value from the invoice. Furthermore, the hotel services do not charge VAT and as if that were not enough, you can also receive a 10.5% refund for purchases at the sites attached to the Tax Free plan. To access this benefit, you need to request the Tax Free invoice from the local and make the refund process request to any credit card at the Carrasco Airport or the port of Buquebus (the procedure is quite agile). The only exception are the restaurants and bars in the port, which, being in a free zone, do not charge taxes.
10. Not Everything is beach!
It is its main attraction, but if you want to do something involving nature, from Punta del Este you can easily access places like Arboretum Lussich, a forest park located just 15 kms from Punta del Este towards Punta Ballenas. It’s comprised of more than 192 hectares of land, several species of native and imported trees and is an ideal place for bird watching and ecological walks. Definitely worth the trip! You can also visit the Parque de las Esculturas Pablo Atchugarry, or enjoy cultural events such as the José Ignacio Film Festival.