Mar mediterraneo punta ballena, Camino a la Ballena, 20003 Punta Ballena, Departamento de Maldonado, Uruguay
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Photo by Emiliano Rodriguez/Alamy
Gaudí-esque complex, Punta del Este, UruguayPunta 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. —Michael Luongo
This appeared in the January/ February 2011 issue.