Right now (from late December to early March) is high season in Punta del Este, Uruguay, so why am I talking about Punta del Este in the low season? Because in less than a month things will begin to calm down, but the weather is still nice. In the low season the city is calmer, we can find excellent deals in hotels, but many shops and restaurants are closed. But here I’ll show everything you can do while visiting Punta del Este in the off season!
*Everything is in a map at the end of the post!
What to do in Punta del Este during the low season
On the way from Montevideo, a little detour takes you to Punta Ballena, a place with great views of the ocean and the city, as well as the Casa Pueblo, a museum.
Probably the most known spot in Punta del Este. “La Mano” – “The Hand” is a sculpture right on the beach. In the low season it’s hard to take a picture with no one else on it, in high season it must be impossible!
After a drive downtown head to the port to see sea lions. When we went there they were probably taking a nap, because we only saw two of them! There is a great seafood market there as well.
We just stopped by the lighthouse to take some pictures. It is located in the Peninsula, the southernmost and oldest part of the town.
La Barra (Wavy bridge)
If you’re driving, slow down and let the car in front of you get some distance and then, speed up a little when you get at the bridge. You’ll feel like at a roller coaster! Kids love and if there is a distracted passenger, you will get great laughs 🙂
One of the days we where there was some raining, so we went shopping. You can head to Punta Shopping, where we spent a long time at Tienda Inglesa (supermarket) and then at Disco, another supermarket, just a short drive from Punta Shopping. These are great places to buy local wine an dulce de leche!
To unwind after a long day of sightseeing, nothing better than watching the sunset at the beach.
Where to eat in Punta del Este in the low season
Café el Tesoro
The downside of visiting Punta del Este during the off season is that many restaurants are closed. In the middle of the afternoon of our first day there we wanted to have some coffee and get something to eat, and everything was closed near where we were, except for Café el Tesoro, close to La Barra bridge.
It is small coffee shop/decoration shop/bookstore/art gallery sort of place. We ordered coffee, tea and split a brownie, but we felt like eating a little of everything they had!
One tip: when ordering coffee in Uruguay, always order the ones with a brand (Illy and Lavazza are the one you’ll see the most), because their regular coffee is really bad! It is a little more expensive, but totally worth it!!
This restaurant in not excactly in Punta del Este, but in Maldonado (you won’t even notice you are in another city). Some friends said we had to go to Si Querida, so we went 🙂
When the GPS said we had arrived, we were confused, because the only thing we saw was a garage door. We went in and were surprised!
We got a table very close to the kitchen, so we could see the dishes being made as well as the rest of the restaurant. Every table and nook is decorated in a different way!
It was hard to order, as everything sounded delicious 🙂 We ordered pumpkin soup as a starter (excellent). Our main courses were Brocolli Gnocchi with Cheese Sause (wonderful), Ojo de Bife with Salsa Criolla (fantastic) and Salmon in a bed of Pureed Peas with Citric Sauce that was fenomenal!!
We had one lunch at Artico, as a less expensive seafood option. They offer a self service buffet charged by the weight of the food you choose, as well as other options, fast food style. Everything is quite tasty and with a reasonable price.
We parked downtown and walked around a bit looking for the best medialunas (Uruguayan croissants). We had coffee and medialunas at Blas, and then later went to Panificadora La 2 where we bought medialunas to bring home (our home is a 10-hour drive from Punta del Este).
Waffles at Hotel L’Auberge
We went to Hotel L’Auberge to taste its famous belgian waffles!
We ordered two, one with chocolate sauce and the other dulce de leche sauce. To drink we had coffee and Isabella had a hot chocolate. Fantastic!! They are not cheap, but are worth it. But you can easily share just one!
Besides wine and dulce de leche, Uruguay is famous for the empanadas. They are baked dumplings filled with assorted goodies! One of our dinners was just empanadas at Las Charruitas. There are a lot of options, but our favorites were the ones with ham and cheese and caramelised onions!
Where to stay in Punta del Este in the low season
The advantage of visiting a destination such as Punta del Este off season is that hotel prices are much lower. We searched and found that The Grand Hotel had pices for about a tenth of what it’s charged in high season!
The room is huge with comfortable beds, a large tv, lots of closet space and a bathroon you will not forget. We also loved the heated pool and jacuzzi 🙂
And we had an ocean view!
Breakfast is fantastic. Many options of breads, fruits, cereals, good coffee, juices and some items you could order from a menu 🙂 It was the first hotel outside Scandinavia where we found smoked salmon at the breakfast buffet – but we almost never stay at hotels such as this one 😉
The hotel even has a movie theater room and places for the kids to have fun!
It is a great place to stay. Please do consider it when you visit Punta del Este! And for more hotel options check here.
Here in this map you can find everything I have mentioned, as well as things we did not have a chance to do, but will next time!