Punta del Este is a stunning beach town in Uruguay, full of heavenly beaches, exotic sophistication, beautiful people and a fiery night scene. But how easy is it to get around without a car? Fortunately, there are several ways to explore this amazing destination without having to worry about navigating traffic or finding a place to park. The most recommended way to get around is to walk or rent a bike. This is the most cost-effective option, as regular commercial flights within Uruguay have been disrupted. The urban buses in Punta del Este and Montevideo are clean, reliable and cost around a dollar.
If you're coming from Argentina, you can take a ferry to Cologne and then rent a car for the four-hour drive to Punta del Este. Alternatively, if you're driving from Buenos Aires, plan a trip of at least eight hours and some delays (huge in summer) at the border due to customs controls. When you arrive at Montevideo International Airport (MVD), you can take a bus to Punta del Este or rent a car. We chose to rent a car because there were 3 of us and the rental cost was comparable to that of 3 round trip bus tickets.
In the end, we were very happy to have chosen the car option, because it gave us the freedom to drive around the area and visit several places that would have been difficult without the car. Staying on the Punta del Este Peninsula is probably the best option if you don't have a car, since buses are few and taxis are expensive. Stops along Roosevelt include the elegant Punta Shopping Center and the driveway to the Cantegril Country Club, with its swimming pools and tennis courts. Car rental is available at the international airports of Carrasco and Punta del Este and in major cities, such as Montevideo, Punta del Este and Colonia. The most popular tourist spots include La Barra, Punta Ballena, Casa Pueblo, Pan de Azúcar or the island where you can swim with sea lions. Located 13 kilometers from the center of Punta del Este is the magnificent work built by the painter Carlos Páez Vilaró.
From the Mercado del Puerto, it's fun to walk around the cobblestone streets for a bit and visit several small shops or shop windows while you walk. Every year the nightlife changes, so you never know where you will spend the summer in Punta del Este. We left Punta del Este quite early after breakfast and went to return the car to the MVD airport. As Punta del Este is a small city, walking or using public transport is probably your best bet. Punta del Este can also be reached by bus from the coastal resorts of Canelones and Rocha, as well as from Colonia del Sacramento, Minas, Durazno and Salto. However, it's important to note that Punta del Este is considered to be a very expensive and exclusive place to travel in general, so unless you want to travel outside of the high season (summer, which is between December and February), it is not a recommended place for people looking to not overspend.