The City of Punta del Este is located on a rocky peninsula that juts into the waters of the Atlantic Ocean from which it takes its name. This tourist city is located in the extreme southeast of Uruguay, in the department of Maldonado. It is one of the most exclusive spas in Latin America, the most important in Uruguay and is a popular destination for the international jet set to spend the summer.
Its wide beaches of white and golden sands, transparent waters, extensive wooded areas with luxurious residences integrated into nature and a refined and calm lifestyle make it a highly valued destination for those who enjoy the good life.
Since its beginnings at the beginning of the 20th century, this city has not stopped growing and expanding its influence to surrounding areas, from Ocean View, in the Bay of Maldonado, to José Ignacio to the east, residential and tourist development has had a sustained growth thanks to the strength of Punta del Este.
Today converted into a modern city thanks to the numerous real estate developments and a developed service infrastructure, hotels, an airport, the yacht and cruise port, roads, communications, bus services and only 130 km from Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay. Punta del Este is a strategic place for international business and entrepreneurship in the southern cone.
Punta del Este has a population permanently residing in the city of about 15,000 inhabitants, and during the summer season when it receives tourism (from December to March), it is around half a million people.
During his expedition to the Río de la Plata in 1516 the Spanish conqueror Juan Díaz de Solís baptized these coasts as "Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria".
The first constructions in the peninsula were military installations built between 1765 and 1766, the guard room and the powder magazine of the San Fernando battery that guarded the positions.
In 1829 there were already some human settlements, at that time Francisco Aguilar, first mayor of the department of Maldonado baptized the incipient town as "Villa Ituzaingó" in homage to the victory of the forces of the United Provinces of Río de la Plata over the imperial forces Brazilians occurred on February 20, 1927.
Francisco Aguilar also developed the plans for the future city and carried out various infrastructure works such as the construction of numerous schools, churches and institutions that still stand today.
Aguilar also obtained the exclusive right to fish and fish the whales, which visit the peninsula on their journey south, for 10 years in Puerto de Maldonado and the department´s shores. It also had the concession for the slaughter of the sea lions of Isla de Lobos and the department of Rocha.
On June 13, 1843, the peninsula was sold to brothers Samuel and Alejandro Lafone, who bought it for 4,500 pesos, as well as Isla Gorriti, which cost 1,500 pesos. Like Aguilar, the Lafone brothers exploited fishing and saladeros.
In 1889 the first hotel in Punta del Este was built, the Hotel Risso (its owner´s last name). At that time Villa Ituzaingó was already a hamlet, inhabited by seafarers and by customs and lighthouse employees, which gradually increased its population in the summer months, people began to see in Punta del Este a place of rest and enjoyment of the natural beauties that the peninsula offered.
In 1906, Punta del Este had about 500 inhabitants, a hundred houses built, and several hundred more in project and construction. Many of its inhabitants had plans for the future and many others promoted initiatives to make Punta del Este a resort town in the style of the great and sophisticated European spas.
In 1907 the first vacationers arrived aboard the steamer "Golondrina", a group of Argentine and Montevideo families invited by the Board of the "Balneario Punta del Este" Society.
On July 5, 1907, then-President Claudio Williman promulgated Law No. 3186, officially declaring "... with the name of Punta del Este the set of houses located on the peninsula of Punta del Este, Department of Maldonado" thus granting To the peninsula the category of town, Punta del Este already had a definitive division carried out by the surveyor Francisco Surroca.
In 1909 the cornerstone of the Church of Punta del Este was laid and, seven years later, in 1916, the spa was illuminated with the first electrical installation. In 1924 Niceto S. de Loizaga and a group of friends founded the Yacht Club of Punta del Este. The division of the San Rafael neighborhood was carried out by Laureano Alonso Pérez, a Spaniard from Argentina. With Pizzorno and Antonio Lussich they formed the partnership that built the Hotel San Rafael in Punta del Este.
Punta del Este had a formidable real estate development around 1980; apartment towers, condominiums, gated communities, country houses and hotel complexes flourished in the spa. Since then, with ups and downs conditioned by the economic cycles of the country and the region, real estate activity has become another engine of the economy of Punta del Este.
Here is a brief tour of its main areas and characteristics: