General Review

On February 2, 1516, when Juan Díaz de Solís took possession of these lands in the name of the Spanish crown, he designated Punta del Este and the Bay of Maldonado with the name of Santa María de la Candelaria. This area was named by Juan Díaz de Solís as Cabo Santa María de la Buena Esperanza during the 16th and 17th centuries. In the 18th century, the rocky peninsula was renamed Punta del Este, and remains so to this day.

The peninsula of Punta del Este is an extension of land that meanders between the Río de la Plata and the Atlantic Ocean, marking the boundary between both. The Gorlero avenue divides it, leaving three blocks towards Maldonado Bay and two towards the Atlantic in its widest part. This means that in a few blocks you have the opportunity to enjoy a center with towers that go up to 20 floors and an area of low houses, many of which date from the early years of Punta del Este. The panorama of the perimeter of the peninsula walking its Rambla de Circunvalación The Peninsula has an extension of approximately 1500 meters that enter the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Río de la Plata, essentially it is the boundary between these bodies of water.

Therefore, it has 2 beaches of different landscape and completely different characteristics. The "Playa Mansa" in the waters of the Río de la Plata has calm waters, the "Playa Brava" in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean has great waves and a different color. Unlike the rest of the city, its streets are recognized by numbers, even though each of them has a name related to navigation or marine nature. The numbering of the streets goes from the street 1 in the end of the Peninsula until the 31 that arrives at the casino "Nogaró". . The Peninsula is the commercial center of the city Punta del Este where it is possible to enjoy the most diverse activities, such as visiting different art galleries and exhibitions, nightclubs, restaurants, casinos, cinemas, get to know the craft fair and make purchases of all kinds .

In the southern end the so-called Old Quarter of the Peninsula is maintained in the most insular sector of the resort. With just 7 blocks long by 6 wide in this small and exclusive location where the oldest buildings are located, including the Lighthouse that has been there since 1860, the Capitania of the colonial port and the church of La Candelaria, among others. Punta de la Salina is, geographically, the southernmost point of Uruguay. The rocky point marks the boundary between the oceanic waters of the Atlantic Ocean and those of the Río de la Plata. There are some curious siren sculptures that attract the attention of visitors.

The Lighthouse

The lighthouse, 45 meters high, was built in 1860 by Tomás Libarena with materials from Europe. It was erected with the objective that navigators of the Río de la Plata and the Atlantic Ocean could orient themselves. It was built and delivered to service on November 17, 1860 by Tomás Libarena, in order to guide navigation in the Atlantic Ocean and the River Plate.

The lighthouse is preserved in perfect condition until today because a mixture of earth of volcanic origin from Rome, harder than cement, was used for its construction. The lighthouse, 45 meters high, was built in 1860 by Tomás Libarena with materials brought from Europe. It was erected with the objective that navigators of the Río de la Plata and the Atlantic Ocean could orient themselves.

The lighthouse is preserved in perfect condition until today because a mixture of earth of volcanic origin from Rome, harder than cement, was used for its construction. It is 45 meters high and the glass prisms that constitute the lighting system were brought from France, it works with electricity and in case of emergency it is supplied with acetylene gas.

It has a focal height of 44 meters, geographical range of 18 miles, luminous range of 11 miles, luminous intensity of 43,000 candelas and emits 2 white flashes every 8 seconds. The ascent inside the Lighthouse is possible through a spiral staircase of 150 steps. At first it was thought that the best place for installation was on the "Isla de Lobos", but the fishermen claimed that the light bothered the sea lions, which is why it was moved to the peninsula.

Church of La Candelaria

Opposite the Plaza del Faro in Punta del Este is the building, whose facade impacts the color of the sky and inside you can see an image of the Virgin of the Candelaria that came from Spain. It was inaugurated in 1911 and financed with the contribution of masses, lotteries and funds administered by a commission of ladies. In 1913 the First Communion of 23 local children took place, being the first act of this nature carried out in Punta del Este.

In 1919, Fray Celestino de San Colombano, took over the parish of Maldonado and decided to build a new and more spacious chapel. He then formed a fundraising commission. In May of 1921 the permission of the archbishopric was obtained in order to begin the required works. The new chapel was built by Emilio Schmisser, covering more than 200 square meters of surface (20 m long and 10 m wide). The entrance was built facing the north and the altar to the south. It had roof to two waters with red tiles and the tower was constructed that then officiated of bell tower. The blessing of the new chapel was made on February 2, 1922 and was in charge of the Archbishop of Montevideo, Monsignor. Juan Francisco Aragoné. In 1941 Padre Domingo de Tacuarembó took over the parish of Maldonado and, because the chapel was reduced, he decided to expand it. Once again he formed a commission "pro-expansion of the temple of Punta del Este." It was decided to request the contribution of one hundred pesos to one hundred well-off families. With plans of the architect Antonio Chiarino, the temple was built as it is known today. In February 1941 Monsignor Alfredo Viola, Bishop of Salto, blessed the cornerstone of the new temple to be built. Of the previous chapel there was only the portal and the tower, building a large Church and adjacent Parish House. On January 31, 1942 the archbishop of Montevideo, Monsignor Antonio María Barbieri, blessed the new building. In 1947 the pre-conciliar marble altar with bronze tabernacle was added. In 1950, the multicolored monolithic floor with geometric motifs was inaugurated. In 1953 the internal perimeter of the Church and the plinths of the pilasters were covered with an onyx marble frieze. In 1955, until then the Vice-Parish of Punta del Este rose to the rank of Parish, being appointed as the first parish priest the capuchin Rafael M. de Montevideo. That same year the Baptismal Pile in Carrara marble was inaugurated. In 1956 the marble communion altar was installed, with small columns of Roman travertine. In July 1965, an image of the Virgin of Luján, coming from the Argentine ship "Santa María de Luján", was enthroned in the church and ran aground in the vicinity of the Emir beach that year. Finally, in 1967, Father Anselmo M. de Treinta y Tres carried out the necessary reforms in the temple to adapt it to the reforms introduced by the Second Vatican Council.

Port and Shipwrecks

The Port of Punta del Este is an inextricable part of the history of the place. Already in the sixteenth century, Juan Díaz de Solís had discovered the excellent natural harbor of the area. The port terminal was officially inaugurated in 1906. The absence of detailed nautical charts and inclement weather made these coasts a dangerous place for a long time.

Several boats succumbed when approaching this area, the most prominent were: - Sea Horse: It ran aground in 1728 near the Isla de Lobos. The ship was carrying slaves and the shackles are still in their remains as witnesses. - San Rafael: Frigate from Cádiz under the command of Captain Francisco López Fiesco, with provisions for Santa María de los Buenos Aires. In 1765 it was shipwrecked near the Isla de Lobos, and the hundred or so traveling crew members (stowaways included) survived by reaching the coast by swimming. - Agamemnon: English ship that participated in the Battle of Trafalgar against the kingdom of Spain, under the orders of the navigator Horatio Nelson. It was shipwrecked on these coasts in 1809. - El Salvador: Protagonist of the greatest tragedy suffered in the waters of the Río de la Plata (which were more than 1200). Under a terrible storm, on August 31, 1812, the ship was shipwrecked with a loss of more than 500 lives. - USS LST 511: This ship of North American origin participated nothing less than the landing of Normandy in the Second World War, transporting tanks. Withdrawn from service in 1945, it was bought by an Argentine company, renamed Santa María del Luján and converted into a transport vessel. Under a thick fog, in July 1965 ran aground on the coast, 150 meters from Playa del Emir. All attempts to rescue the boat and return it to the sea failed; even today when the tide is low you can see the silhouette of the boat.

The Captaincy

The customs building was the first building in Punta del Este. Built in 1886, it is designed by architect Jaime Mayol. At that time it was called Harbor Master's Office. Their few employees and their families are among the first settlers of the future city. Currently, the Prefecture of Punta del Este is located there. It exercises control in the maritime movement and is responsible for security and order on the beaches, the coastal rest areas, resorts on the beaches and, of course, the port area.

Punta del Este of today

Reseña General

Luxury and nature converge in Punta del Este, which is internationally recognized as one of the most important seaside resort in the Americas and the most exclusive in the region. It is located in the department of Maldonado, just an hour and a half from the capital of the country. Luxurious summer residences, high-rise apartment buildings facing the sea, huge yachts in the harbor, luxury hotels and restaurants make it the most glamorous in the American continent.

Not in vain, it was chosen as a summer destination by great celebrities of the world. Touring the city the visitor finds a wide recreational offer, which includes exhibition halls, restaurants, pubs, discos, antique shops, art galleries, cinemas, theaters and a varied nightlife. The seaside city is chosen for the realization of great luxury parties, fashion shows of prestigious brands and a wide range of cultural proposals of great dimension such as the International Jazz Festival, the International Film Festival or exhibitions of renowned contemporary artists . Punta del Este is also a unique natural destination.

With more than 20 kilometers of coastline and small mountain ranges that look out to sea, the resort also offers charming spots and landscapes for those who come in search of absolute tranquility. The meeting point of its two most famous beaches, Playa Mansa and Playa Brava, marks the end of the Río de la Plata and the beginning of the Atlantic Ocean. The diversity of its coast and its fine and white sands make it an ideal destination for sports such as surfing, windsurfing, jet-skiing, motor boating, sailing, fishing and yachting. On the mainland, tourists also find privileged settings for the practice of other sports such as polo, golf, tennis or rugby. In summary, Punta del Este presents endless alternatives to meet the needs of the most demanding and heterogeneous tourists

Yacht Harbor

Apart from its specific function of providing a space for the mooring of boats, the harbor area houses restaurants, pubs, and shops of artisanal fishermen who sell to buy very fresh and excellent quality seafood. Sea lions are always present and come in search of food, and sometimes they let tourists feed them. It is one of the emblematic tourist spots of Punta del Este and the largest and most active port of yachts and sport boats in the whole country.

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Playa de los Ingleses: is a small rocky bay located east of the peninsula, near 15th Street. Very good option for fishing. If the wind blows from the west it is a well sheltered place, although it is not advisable to bathe there. Going a little further east before reaching the well-known sculpture ¨Los Dedos¨ we find La Playa El Emir: it is popular all year round for surfers and families during the summer. It has lifeguard service and some restaurants and bars

The gastronomic zone

If the idea is enjoying a good menu, in the Peninsula there is a lot of very good places with excellent quality and a huge variety of gastronomy options in grills of meat, seafood and international food, such as Los Caracoles, Las Brisas, Miró Resto-Bar.Punta Salina, Isadora, Virazon, ChiviPizza Puerto, Napoleon, La Marea, Yacht Club, Gure Exte, Strada Puerto, Lo de Charlie, etc.

Art Galeries

For fans and lovers of the plastic arts, Punta del Este has a huge amount and variety of exhibitions of contemporary art in the most diverse techniques and concepts. Only in the Peninsula you can find the galleries: Espacio Blanco, Carlos Paez Vilaro, Glam Cultural Center, Ciudacro Delacroix, Expo Punta Arte, De las Misiones, Grillo, Del Paseo, among others.

Night life

In the port area the most fancy and traditional places are the historic and traditionals Soho and Moby Dick, along with other rest pubs and restaurants that are concentrated in that exclusive area. A little further west Ovo Night Club, all with theier own style. The nightlife is complemented by the casinos of Conrad and Nogaró, and theire theaters.

Gorlero Ave.

It is the main avenue of the Peninsula, where the commercial and leisure activity is concentrated in galleries, shops, restaurants, ice cream parlors, cinemas and theaters. It extends for almost 10 blocks that we recommend walking, leaving the car parked in one of the side streets. It starts in the area of ”Los Dedos¨, and the Casino Nogaro reaching its end a few blocks after the emblematic Plaza Artigas

20th street

It's the Fashion Road of the city. On Calle 20 also called El Remanso (parallel to Gorlero), are seven blocks with top stores where clothing, accessories and jewelry of the most important national and international designers are exhibited. Restaurants and cafes are interspersed...

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The Artisans Square

Since 1967, there has been an Artisan Fair, recommended for buying local handicrafts, many of them of high quality, as well as souvenirs, in one of its 200 stands. Out of season the activity in Gorlero ends at 7 pm, but in the high season it extends well into the night with free outdoor artistic shows. It is in this area where most banks and exchange houses are located.

The Casino Hotel Enjoy Conrad

The construction of the hotel began in March 1993, when 1,700 people worked until its official inauguration, on November 14, 1997. The Conrad casino is the only privately owned casino in all of Latin America. It has 3,400 m² and 75 different tables distributed in 3 rooms, and 582 slot machines.

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Rambla de La Mansa

It covers the entire bay of Punta del Este with beautiful sunsets and calm waters ideal for sailing, water sports and bathing. The Gorriti Island completes the nearby landscape. Mansa Beach is for all ages, ideal for children and for those who want to take a pleasant sea bath, where there are few waves, usually of small size.

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Rambla de La Brava

From the southernmost point of Uruguay, called Punta de la Salina, located at the end of the Peninsula, begins to develop to the east, which is locally called the Rambla de la Brava.
Directly on the Atlantic Ocean, it is characterized by very wide beaches, always green water, ...

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Street View