Punta del Este is Uruguay’s Miami Beach, a party town frequented by the rich and famous from Argentina and Uruguay. Located 87 miles east of Montevideo it is known for its beaches, water sports and nightlife. The resort is also home to the famous beach sculpture, the Mano de Punta de Este, or The Hand. Only the ends of its fingers protrude above the sand as an expressive warning to be careful on the wilder, surfing side of this beautiful beach. For a terrific view of the area, climb to the top of the 45-metre high lighthouse.
Eight miles along the coast at Punta Ballena another iconic sculpture, The Casapueblo, is a complete, stunning building. It houses not only a four-star hotel, but also an art gallery, museum and the studio of the original artist, Carlos Paez Vilaro. A unique living sculpture which is a must see on your trip to the area.
For a more relaxed beach experience many visitors choose to stay in Jose Ignacio, 12 miles northeast of Punta del Este. Much developed in recent years, this is a chic resort with some lovely boutique hotels, but still retains its bohemian feel with dirt roads and hand painted road signs. There are fewer tourists here than in Punta del Este and there are long stretches of uncluttered beach.
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