Punta Del Este, Uruguay cruises

A wonderful glitzy seaside resort on Uruguay’s Atlantic coast, Punta del Este has earned the nickname of Uruguay’s St. Tropez, thanks to its glamorous visitors, energetic setting and famed nightlife.

Punta Del Este is way more than party-town, though. As the crowds dissipate and the sun rises, its calm, stunning beaches and its quaint colonial atmosphere take centre stage once again.

The town of Punta del Este belongs to a region of the same name. The area’s coastline is divided in two: Brava, which means ‘fierce’ in Spanish, is the windier side of the peninsula, and Mansa, or ‘tame’, is sheltered and calm.

Visitors can find a cement sculpture of five enormous concrete fingers emerging from the sand, almost as though the hand’s owner is drowning. This serves as a warning that swimmers are venturing from Mansa to Brava waters. The famous sculpture, called Mano de Punta del Este, was designed in 1982 by Chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal.

Located 87 miles east of Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital city, Punta del Este has a permanent population of just under 10,000. This increases significantly in the summer months when visitors come from near and far to revel in the sunshine.

The 16th century saw the first Europeans arriving in the Punta del Este area, but it was only colonised at the end of the 18th century by the Portuguese.

It was not until 1843, when a group of businessmen purchased the peninsula, that modern development really began. It was known as Villa Ituzaingó until 1907, and in the same year that its name was changed to Punta del Este, the first tourists arrived.

Families from Argentina travelled by boat to explore the area’s beaches, and since then a steady flow of visitors has arrived every year to sunbathe, relax and party.

Passengers on a cruise to Punta del Este will be able to rub shoulders with the rich and famous of Latin America.

Celebrities join the crowds on the beaches during the day, where time is passed by tanning or taking to the water on boards, sails and even wheels. Sea bikes, surf boards and other watersport equipment can be rented on Punta del Este’s beautiful beaches. If watersports are not for you then people-watching is an equally attractive option.

Strolling through the streets of the town will reveal quaint colonial architecture, modern developments and installations of street art that add character and flair.

The main street is called Gorlero Avenue, and it is here that you will find many restaurants, bars and shops to explore. A handicraft market is located in Artigas Square, and it is here that you can pick up authentic souvenirs of your visit. The seafood here is mouthwateringly fresh, and traditional steak sandwiches (chivitos) and barbecued steak (asado) are also abundant on local menus.

Above all though, the must-do activity for Punta del Este cruise visitors is to enjoy a meal and a drink on board while watching the sky being painted in vibrant colours as the sun goes down over the ocean. All in all, the sheer beauty and vibrant atmosphere of Punta del Este make it a destination that everyone will enjoy.