Punta del Este is a great place to go with your loved one. Despite also being know as a partying and playing online casino destination, Punta del Este offers many attractions for a couple such as a walk on the marina and the sunset at Casapueblo. Punta del Este may be kind of expensive, especially during the summer. We found it was almost as expensive as London.
How to get to Punta del Este.
The most common way to get to Punta del Este is flying to Montevideo and then getting a rental car at the airport. But you can also get a taxi or a bus to Punta. Check phone numbers for these service at the Carrasco Airport. Leaving the airport by car, just follow the signs for “Este” (East) to get route 101. Down 101 you will find two tolls costing 50 pesos each (US$ 2.5). They also accept dollars, brazilian reais and pesos from Argentina. The route is in very good conditions as of summer. Just be aware of speed limits once they vary a lot along the route, from 75 to 120 kilometers per hour (46.6 mph to 74.5 mph).You will need a plug adapter for your electronic devices. Check this guide of plug adapters and get one like the model WA12A.
When to go to Punta del Este.
Don’t even try any date before mid-December or after Carnival. The city becomes empty though the prices drop a lot. We recently have been there and the hotel room price dropped from US$ 335 during Carnival to US$ 130 on Thursday after the holiday.
What to take to Punta del Este.
Even during the summer it is a good idea to take some warm clothes to wear at night. The wind blows strong all day but at night it may get colder. In a recent trip we experienced around 64F (18C).
Rent a car if you want to enjoy Punta for real. You will want to check different beaches and some of them are far from downtown Punta. There are Avis and Hertz locations in Punta but if are flying to Montevideo you may want to rent a car directly at the airport. There is an Avis location just after the arrival gates.
If you like to stay comfortable at the beach, you will need a chair and a sunshade. You can rent both on some beaches. They will cost from 80 to 120 pesos (US$ 4 to US$ 6) each. You may buy one chair at the local supermarket for 300 pesos (US$ 15). It may be good a idea to buy one if want to stay on the beach for several days.
Where to stay in Punta del Este
Punta has some very nice hotels. In our trip in summer we stayed at Barradas Parque Hotel. It is a mid-sized hotel surrounded by nice trees in a residential neighborhood. It is located at Rio Branco St. near Francia St., three blocks from parada 9 of Rambla Claudio Willman, the avenue that runs along Playa Mansa. You can walk to the beach from the hotel. But you will need a car to enjoy most parts of Punta del Este. During carnival 2011 we paid US$ 350 for each night. After carnival we paid US$ 130 a day.
What to eat in Punta del Este
It is impossible to avoid the chivito, a sandwich made with beef, tomatoes, olives, mayonnaise and in the canadiense (canadian) version also with bacon, red beets, eggs and ham. It is usually huge so try it when you are hungry or want to share. La Pasiva is the most traditional restaurant to have one. La Pasiva is one of the main restaurants in Gorlero St. and also has a branch in La Barra. We paid 250 pesos (US$ 12.5) for a chivito comun (plain chivito) there. Also don’t miss the medialunas. It is a very soft croissant, usually served very fresh. There is a place called Medialunas Calentitas in La Barra but we tried one at a small coffee shop at street near Gorlero St.
Another typical option is the tostada, which is a sandwich pressed on a hot plate, usually with ham and cheese but it can have some variations.
You will also find a good churrasco (barbecue) and seafood. But the greatest discovery was the ice cream at Arlecchino (Gorlero, 612). It usually has a line with more than 10 people but the taste is worth the wait.
Les Delices is a good patisserie but a bit pricey. They have tostados, chivitos, cakes, palmiers and other dishes with fish or meat. One cuadrado (a kind of tostado) cost 425 pesos in summer 2011 (about US$ 21).