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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A trip to Uruguay - Day 3 - Punta del Este !!!

Once we had covered all the major spots in Montevideo, we started our journey for Punta del Este. We opted the COT bus service from Montevideo to Punta del Este. The cost was around 300UYU for one side. Frequency of Cot bus service (from Montevideo to Punta del Este) is in every hour. Buses are really comfortable and free wifi throughout the way adds another plus point.

Bus Service – You can check for the schedule of bus service here :
COT bus            -
TURIL bus         -

Punta del Este is a beach resort town in Uruguay complete with casinos, beaches, yachts and lots of tourists. You can rent a moped (scooter) or car at several places. You can go to the beaches, being a peninsula you have two coastlines, one of them is pretty quiet and calm (called "mansa"), and the other one is windy, with some surf spots (called "brava"). La Barra the Bikini Beach is famous because of the models and famous people that go there. The endless beaches, beautiful seaside mansions, tree-lined streets, chic boutiques, stylish people.

The upper crust of Punta del Este has its yachts there and if you want to rent a boat, this is the place to ask. You can also rent sea bikes, windsurf and kite-surfing equipment, and surf boards.
Punta del Este has an island nearby, that is called the Isla Gorriti. It is protected because of its nature so there are no great buildings or anything like that. You can take a 20 minute ferry at the port that will drop you off at the island where you can enjoy the fun atmosphere, paradisaical beach, and good food at the restaurant. It is also possible to take private yachts, speedboats, or sailboats to the island and anchor by the shore. Renting a boat is nice in good weather. Isla de Lobos is another island that is also protected because of its sea lion population.

How to Start :
Like all other places in Uruguay, it is best to hit tourism office at first (at bus stand). You can get the map of Punta del Este and information about places you need to visit. Our hostel was walking distance (just 5-6 blocks) from there. I stayed in El Viajero Brava beach hostel. The hostel is present at the perfect location, near to bus stand, most famous attraction point ‘La playa de los Dedos’ (The finger beach), casino, market.

Attraction Points :
  • La playa de los Dedos (The finger beach) — This beach is near to main street of Punta del Este, close to surf spot, and it has a giant hand emerging from the sand.
  • Casa-Pueblo – From Punta del Este bus terminal, ask for a bus to Punta Ballena. Tell the driver that you are getting out at this destination. Casa-Pueblo is a beautiful resort-museum near Punta del Este. It was created by Uruguayan artist Paez-VilarĂ³ in a kind of mediterranean surrealistic architecture, making the whole place to look like a giant sculpture. He is the father of one of the survivors of the infamous plane crash on the Andes. 
  • Candelaria Church. Candelaria Church, or Saint Mary of Candelaria Parish Church, is the most important catholic temple in Punta del Este. The building is located in the Lighthouse square, in which facade impacts the sky blue color and in its interior it is an image of Candelaria Virgin who was brought from Spain.
  • Museo del Mar - Marine museum
  • Museo Ralli  - A large collection of contemporary Latin American art
  • Maam  - A museum based on the private art and archaeology collection of the Uruguayan artist Vilaro (architect of Casapueblo).
  • Port - With the fish market and a lighthouse.
  • Isla de los Lobos - The largest seals colony in the southern hemisphere. Tours leave at the port.
  • Arboretum Lussich - A botanic garden displaying mainly exotic species. It is one of the most important botanic gardens worldwide.
  • Uriburu Museum of Contemporary Art  With Argentine and Uruguayan artists on display.
  • Museo del Indio y Megafauna
  • Reserva de Fauna Autoctona - Pan de Azucar - A zoo of indigenous animals on Uruguay's highest hill.
  • Castillo Pittamiglio
  • Cuartel de Dragones - Historical site

Money Exchange :
 Like anywhere else in Uruguay, money exchange is not a problem in Punta del Este. Almost all currencies are welcome at official rate except ARS (which I know). For instance, when I visited (Nov 2013), official rate was 3.6UYU/ARS but we got deal as 1.9UYU/ARS. Few of the restaurants accept ARS too but exchange rate can vary. But still I would recommend you to get some money convert to UYU (bus stand).

Pics : You can visit my facebook album to check for few of the pictures I clicked at this link.

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