Punta del Este
The ‘Saint Tropez’ of South America, is a beautiful, modern city located just two hours driving from Montevideo. Although build on tourism, houses with thatched roofs and ‘Casapueblo imitations’ give the city a lot of character. This well-groomed area does not feel sterile, like some might think, because of the variety of building styles and colors throughout the city. The air is scented by the many pines, and the sand of the beaches glitter in the sun by the many tiny jellyfishes waiting to be picked up by the next wave. Swimming in the sea with dozens of jellyfishes stroking your skin is also a crazy experience, which some people seemed to like but others went berserk and couldn’t stand to stay in the water for more than 5 seconds.
During lows season, the city has 15.000-20.000 inhabitants, but a flood of about 1.7 million tourists find their way to Punta del Este during high season.
On Brava beach Mario Irarrázabal created a statue of five fingers emerging from the sand. As the hand is the last part seen of a drowning person (so they say) this sculpture was made as a reminder to be careful in the rough Atlantic waters.
Punta Ballena has only 750 permanent inhabitants, but is a major tourist attraction on the coast of Río de la Plata. It comprises an approximately 12 kilometers long stripe of beaches and landforms. It borders the resort Chihuahua to the west, which includes the Casapueblo citadel.
The magnificent ‘livable sculpture’ Casapueblo was built by Carlos Paez Vilaro over the years as a place to live, paint and receive his friends, and has since grown into a small apartment complex which includes a museum, an art gallery and a hotel.
A 30 minute walk from the Casapueblo, brings you to the beach ‘Playa Las Grutas’. You will encounter a serie of caves that served as a disco or nightclub in the late ’70s. The place is completely abandoned, but the bar, dance floor and graffiti still remain. Being there is absolutely fascinating and a bit scary too, to be honest!