Punta del Este is the go-to summer vacation spot for the elite from Buenos Aires and beyond.
In addition to casinos and mega yachts, you’ll find distinctive architecture, secluded beaches, and a thriving local art scene. Sculptor and painter Carlos Páez Vilaró built his Casa Pueblo retreat in the 1960s. Visitors can spend a night in the Gaudí-esque complex (its design is inspired by the nests of native ovenbirds), buy art, and sip drinks at the bar—a quintessential Punta experience.
Playa Vik José Ignacio, Punta del Este, Uruguay
Modern design defines Playa Vik José Ignacio, a new beachfront retreat 12 miles northeast of Punta del Este. Six casas surround a central glass-and-titanium building designed by Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott. Enjoy soaking tubs made of beech wood and a swimming pool that seems to extend into the horizon.
Celebrate Yemanjá, Punta del Este, Uruguay
On February 2, residents of eastern South America celebrate Yemanjá, the African goddess of the sea. By late afternoon Punta’s beaches are crammed with thousands of worshippers dressed in white and blue. Some burn candles in the sand as others wade into the water with offerings of miniature boats filled with food, money, and sculptures of the goddess.