Exploring Punta del Este: The Best Way to Get Around

Punta del Este is a city that is best explored on foot or by bike due to its short distances. However, if you're coming from Buenos Aires, the most convenient way to get there is by ferry. The trip takes around 7-8 hours and is relatively inexpensive compared to flying. You can also take a ferry to Montevideo and then take a bus to Punta del Este.

My cousin, Michele, who still lives in Buenos Aires, suggested a reunion tour of the region. We crossed the Leonel Viera Bridge and descended along Coastal Route 10, passing through the miraculously undeveloped sand dunes and the open beaches that I remembered from my childhood. The coolest city of all is José Ignacio, a quiet fishing enclave that has become the epicenter of Uruguay's beach scene. My cousin's tour of the place was personal.

He pointed out the houses he had rented over the years, some with boyfriends and others without; the lighthouse on the rocky tip that divides the city; and a pebble beach where you can buy fish from the fishermen in the morning. Sure, he shrugged, with the arrival of pop stars, soccer players and supermodels, some smaller houses have been replaced by larger ones. Almost every corner of the city offers one, if not two, angles of the Atlantic. On one side there is Playa Brava, which means rough beach; on the other side there is Playa Mansa or quiet beach.

Both views are not affected by doors, walls, flashy signs, or conspicuous buildings. Here you walk to the beach, to the restaurant, to the square after the beach for coffee. “You don't need a car”, Michele said. When we settled into our spacious rooms at nightfall, we saw Orion, the Southern Cross and the Milky Way in all its glory.

The charm of the waves and the grass became more evident by the hour. In recent years, wealthy Argentines and Brazilians have come to explore Uruguay's interior which offers horseback riding trips through rivers and ranches. Guided by an experienced gaucho, we rode horses equipped with traditional saddles errands with comfortable lambskin pads and jogged to the beach before heading to the waves. The most disconcerting thing was when I was urged to try a polo class - I thought it would surely break my pelvis! It was proven that I was wrong on all counts - it was an intoxicating experience! In conclusion, Punta del Este is best explored on foot or by bike due to its short distances but if you're coming from Buenos Aires then taking a ferry is your best option.

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