World’s Best Beaches – Punta del Este, Uruguay
If you’ve been following this website you will know that we love beaches. During my travels I am almost analytical about how good a beach is. Is the sand nice and soft? Are the waves smooth? Is the water not too salty? Bonus points are given for hammocks and beach bars serving chilled pina coladas.
Some of our favorite beaches we’ve written about is the one in Tulum, Mexico, at the Calanques in the South of France or Hel in Poland. During a recent trip through parts of South America I discovered a new favorite stretch of sand and sea – Punta del Este in Uruguay.
For people in South America, Punta is THE spot to hang out in during the summer. Only about a 90-minute drive from capitol Montevideo, a lot of people from the city own holiday apartments here and come down during weekends and holidays.
The beach in Punta might not be as rare and secluded as some of the previous beaches we’ve raved about, but there is something quite soothing and beautiful about the water here, the perfect power of the waves (just enough for a bit of fun jumping around) as well as the ideal temperature, combined perfectly with a super wide stretch of sand, giving you the option of lying in between the crowd or more privately further back by the dunes.
There really isn’t just one beach but 13, their names being Playa Chihuahua, Playa Chileno or Playa de los Ingleses. Some differ by population (Chihuahua beach is used primarily by nudists while Playa Manantiales sees more celebrities hanging out) others by the intensity of the wind (Playa Chileno and El Emir for example see more of it and consequently attract more surfers).
A stroll along the whole of the beach proves highly entertaining, as you will pass zones with mostly children and families, others with lots of surfers and bodyboarders and even a number of people fishing. Fact is, it’s difficult getting bored hanging out here.
A little touristic gem for holiday snaps – the big hand reaching out of the sand – a leftover from the 1982 international meeting of sculpture when Chilean artist Mario Irrazábal created this unique piece of art. It has since become so popular that you can now find hands on various other grounds across the globe.
Highrise condos, a yacht harbour and a long stretched shopping boulevard with countless clubs and restaurants make this spot a prime holiday destination for the rich and fabulous. But even if you’re poor and fabulous you will still have a good time. We stayed at the F&F hostel which, besides an ultra laid-back attitude, sports a nice backyard area complete with swimming pool, bar and good-looking Swedish surfer boys.
Punta del Este might not be a place you want to stay in longer than a few days because apart from a few options for day trips there really is not that much else to do other than tanning, swimming and chilling. But if you’re traveling around South America and are looking for a cozy place to lay low for a few days, this just might be it.
To give you a better idea of the Punta vibes I’ve put together a short video. Enjoy!