We decided to take a short trip across the river during our last few weeks in South America, and arguably the quickest flight we've ever been on. A whole thirty minutes in the air to Punta del Este, Uruguay. For the uninitiated, Punta is a famous beach town here in South America, busting at the seams with tourists during the summer months of December to March and (as we learned) virtually empty during the off season. It's located at the very south-eastern tip of Uruguay on a peninsula, with the Rio de la Plata on the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The joke here is that if the winds or waves are too strong from the ocean, you just can take a quick walk to the other side of the peninsula where the water will be calmer.
There were many cute cottages dotted along the coast, with huge 20 floor condos in between. We found a great deal at a five star hotel called The Grand Hotel for an ocean view room for $165/night. During high season these rooms go for as much as $650 😲.
What's the catch? Well, we discovered only about 10% of businesses and restaurants were open this time of year. Even the hotel restaurant, which we heard was phenomenal, was closed for the season. We still had fun nonetheless! It was sunny with temperatures in the mid to high 40s (Fahrenheit). We ended up renting a car for a ridiculously low price. This allowed us to explore Casapueblo one day and the next day drive up the coast to Jose Ignacio, a smaller but more exclusive version of Punta del Este (out of curiosity we looked up housing prices in Jose Ignacio… property starts in the many millions of dollars. Yikes!)
Overall, in the less dense areas, it felt like we were back in La Jolla. See below.
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Denser areas, like where our hotel was, looked like this:
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But I won't bore you with all the beach pictures. We had a really nice time 😊
DWNTGB (Do We Need To Go Back) Rating
I can't wait to get back to Punta del Este. It's a great place to relax, enjoy the beach, the boardwalk, and the food. I figure next time we go it'll have to be (close to) summer to experience what it's like closer to high season, but I'm happy there either way.
I love the ocean so this is an easy one for me. Even in winter it's worth it.