What can be done in Punta del Este without spending a lot of money?
“Sometimes different cities follow one another on the same ground and under the same name, they are born and die without having met, incommunicable with each other.“Italo Calvino warned in the Invisible Cities. Something similar happens with Punta del Este. There is another Punta del Este in Punta del Este. Although this spa is usually associated with glamor, white parties, high-end cars and the jet set, There is a side B with more bohemian, relaxed and inexpensive places. From a bar with a skate park, through unspoilt beaches without a stop, a museum with the skeleton of the world’s largest seabird, to a Chinese canteen where you can enjoy the spicy and bittersweet taste of the Far East. If you are in the East wanting to go on an adventure and discover new spots, here is a list of options to avoid the mass of tourists and discover very local corners with all the wave.
A few meters from the bridge of the bar, on Av. Juana de América, the Sleeping Beauty is a bar submerged in the middle of the forest. With wooden tables, candles and a stove it is ideal to go and enjoy a craft beer or an exotic drink and a snack on a warm night with a starry sky. Sometimes there is live music and open mic for anyone who wants to get on and sing. The gastronomic proposal is varied: grill, veggie dishes and grilled pizzas. During the day, there are fresh and nutritious breakfasts to start the day well up, in addition to yoga classes and reading workshops. Prices suitable for all audiences.
The Museum of the Sea is a classic not to be missed if you are walking through La Barra. Founded in 1966 by Pablo Etchegaray, It contains in its interior the Museum of the Sea, with 8000 pieces of marine snails, shark jaws, skeletons of whales, sea elephants and the Albatross, the largest seabird in the world, chronicles of real pirates, and an art room for children ; the Insectarium with 38,000 dissected insects from all continents; the Museum of Spas with photos and anecdotes of coastal cities such as Punta del Este, Mar del Plata and Copacabana; and the Museum of Memories, with nostalgic fossils such as cookie tins, medicine bottles, etc. In addition, there is a garden for picnics. Minutes from La Barra Bridge, an ideal walk for the whole family.
If you are for a good Italian lunch with abundant and delicious dishes, you are going to fall in love with this place. The “Tan’oss” It is a small home-cooked food house, run by its owners, an Italian couple, which operates all year round. Infinite plants between the tables, umbrellas and country air. It is in the middle of the Treasury, a neighborhood of houses and dirt streets, behind La Barra. In season, it opens every noon, with three dishes: a pasta, a meat, a green option. The menu is accompanied by homemade breads and focacchias, flavored waters, and with the bill a homemade honey staple that is a delight. An open secret in the heart of the Treasury, which once discovered is difficult not to recommend. It is key to arrive early because there are few tables and they fill up very quickly.
If you are looking for a relaxed atmosphere, good music and few tables so that there is not a lot of noise, La Fusa is going to win your heart. This quaint little pizzeria is a favorite with locals. With a traditional decoration, a bar intervened with cassettes, pictures with old posters and a library, this little bolichito takes you to another country. Plus It is characterized by its infinite varieties of white flour, whole wheat and gluten-free pizza, prepared at the moment to your liking. The vedette? The hyper-crisp faina with mozzarella and chives. The prices are lower than the average in La Barra. The very family atmosphere.
If Punta del Este has something, it is a great variety of beaches for all tastes.. If you want to escape to the parador with the music at full volume and the pile of umbrellas and lounge chairs, you are going to love these beaches. On Route 10, after Manantiales in the direction of José Ignacio, the beaches become wider and quieter. If you are for a desert island-style beach day, we recommend stopping at La Juanita. Miles and miles of white sand, blue ocean and dunes. Ideal to go early with the umbrella, an ice cream maker with fruits, a sandwich, something delicious to drink and a good book or just want to forget the world for a little while. There are some parking lots and if not, you can follow your intuition and brake the car anywhere on the route.
Candles and fire pits, murals of typical fish from the Uruguayan coast and a pool that is filled with players every night. Family projects emanate a special energy, which is done with love, effort and dedication. Malabar is a restaurant bar devised by two brothers, Diego and Gabriel Tamón, who dreamed of creating a space, near the beach, to pour their knowledge of gastronomy, prioritizing fresh and local products and maintaining the price-quality ratio. They say that the name of the place, “Malabar”, comes from that happy availability to juggle with daily challenges, to achieve what one sets out to do. The cuisine proposal does not fail: hamburgers, classic goats, pizzas, very fresh fish and salads. All homemade. Malabar is one of the meeting points most loved by the residents of La Juanita, for its warm and family atmosphere. You cannot miss the goat with a bread that does not sit in your mouth and the homemade potatoes, as well as the super tender and tasty Neapolitan Milanese, and the pizza combined with onion and Roquefort. The cover ranges from 500 to 900 Uruguayans.
Ideal to go in flip flops and a diver, after the beach. This exotic place that fuses the universe of skating with a bar and pizzaria proposal is the one chosen by several young Argentines who settled this year in La Juanita. Having an ice cold beer, with your feet in the sand, on a rustic table and with the possibility of skating and meeting people is part of El Spot’s proposal, as well as enjoying the forest and the starry sky of La Juanita. Some nights, there is live music or DJs and there is an air of a club, a meeting point. Open every day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m.
A classic Esteño walk is to go around the peninsula and enjoy all the panoramic views of the bay and Gorriti Island.. It is recommended to buy churros in Manolo’s (29th street between Gorlero and 24), prepare the mate and start walking at stop 1 of the mansa, in the direction of the port. Passing the area of bars and night pubs, you can visit the docks where they anchor from small sailboats to multi-million dollar yachts. In addition, arriving at the breakwater, the best sweet potato and quince cakes are sold, and the sea lions are usually lying in the sun. Finally, complete the return to the tip, enjoying the sunset in a very local spot: “Las Mesitas”. It is so called because among the rocks, in the 50s, cement tables were built for those brave who want to see the sunset from the water.
If something was missing in Punta, it was a small Chinese canteen to enjoy the bittersweet and spicy flavors of the Far East. At the gastronomic pole of stop 2, with a movie decoration, Wantan Cantina China offers a variety of delicious options and good value for money. Try the Pollo Piña (breaded chicken with sweet and sour sauce sautéed in the wok with pineapple and vegetables), the Mongolian Meat (a spicy dish with beef sautéed with green beans, bell peppers, celery, broccoli, onion) and the classic spring rolls. Wednesday to Sunday, noon and night; Tuesday night. There is delivery and take away. Super accessible prices.