A short two hour bus trip from the capital city of Montevideo, the town Punta del Este is situated on the southern coast of Uruguay. The town is a popular tourist destination during the summertime and is visited by lots of Argentinians. As it is still off season the town was quiet and relaxed and we chose to stay in this beachy destination for two nights.
The town of Punta Del Este
We arrived in Punta del Este just after midday and proceeded to check into our hostel before heading out to explore the town. Being a small town it didn’t take long to wander around as see what it had to offer. You could tell it certainly catered for tourists with lots of high rise hotels that sort of reminded us of the Gold Coast in Queensland, but on a smaller scale. The streets were filled with cafes and souvenir shops but some of the shops were closed due to it not being the busy summer season.
We were very excited to find a healthy café combined with a health food store called Mercado Verde. On the first afternoon we got a green smoothie and shared a raw brownie, both of which were absolutely delicious! So much so that we returned the next day for green detox juices, a buddha bowl and more brownies of course. This was our definitely our favourite hang out and it was such a nice place to sit outside in the sunshine.
Coastal walk around the point
As we had spent the first afternoon seeing the town, we decided to spend our second day doing the walk around the coast. We started the walk at Brava beach and went to see la Mano de Punta del Este. La Mano is a giant sculpture of the tips of each finger of a human hand, making it look like there’s a giant hand buried in the sand. It was done by a Chilean artist and is probably one of the most photographed spots in this resort town.
From here we continued along and made our way along the walk, we got great views of the town as well as some pretty coastal scenery. One of the main things I noticed about this walk was the really strong wind that felt like it was pushing us along at times. I wonder If this is a preview for what is to come in Patagonia and the notoriously strong winds there. Overall the walk was definitely a nice way to spend the morning and see more of this cute town.
Being charged by a sea lion
As part of our coastal walk we came across the port of Punta del Este where we had heard it was a great spot to see sea lions. I’d never seen a sea lion before so I was pretty keen for this and as we were walking along we had our eyes peeled. We were surprised by how easy to spot them and one even happened to be relaxing on the pier that we were walking along.
Of course we decided to get a closer look which was great until it decided to give us a scare and charge towards us. It was one of those moments I wish I had got on film, our faces would have been priceless as we turned and ran. Thankfully it didn’t actually get us but we learnt our lesson not to get too close again.
As we continued to walk along the pier we saw a few more sea lions swimming in the water. It seemed they all had high hopes that they’d be getting some of the fish that the fishermen were cleaning to sell. It was pretty cool getting to see them in the flesh and I was surprised by how big they actually were.
Boat race around the world
It just so happened that while we were in Uruguay the Clipper around the world boat race was going to be at their first stop in Punta Del Este. It was cool to get to see the boats and learn a bit about what they were doing. Before they arrived in Punta they had been on the ocean for five weeks, coming from the UK.
El Faro de Punta Del Este
Another place we visited while we were here was the town lighthouse, which was a really cute, old school looking one. Unfortunately we weren’t able to climb it as it was shut to public but I’m sure the views from the top would have been amazing. Across from the Faro there was also a gorgeous blue church and a nice garden. It was nice to see these touches of character amongst all of the resorts and hotels.
As our time in Punta Del Este came to an end we hopped back on the bus and headed back to Montevideo to experience another side of Uruguay.
Photos from the coastal walk:
More pictures of the sea lions: