Punta del Este is the largest beach resort in Uruguay. While it is best known as an international vacation destination, the idea of moving to Punta del Este year-round is one that is catching on.
In the past Punta del Este boomed with vacationers in the summer and was almost empty in the winter. Resort workers and other full-time residents lived in the adjoining middle-class town of Maldonado.
However, things have changed. Punta del Este now has a growing full-time population that has reached 20,000. The new residents are affluent Uruguayans and expats from all over the world.
Punta del Este’s identity is evolving. In addition to being the area’s most popular beach resort, it is becoming an education center. It currently has four bi-lingual schools and a new university is being constructed. There is also a new large conference center in the works.
In addition to traditional resort businesses extending their seasons, there are new stores and businesses being set up to serve the people moving to Punta del Este full-time. These new businesses targeting year-round residents include pet stores, dry cleaners, stationary stores, and dental surgeries.
What is referred to as Punta del Este or “Punta” today includes 40 miles of resort development along the Uruguayan coast. The following three areas are my top picks for living in Punta del Este. They are the areas with the most convenient access to year-round goods and services.
The Punta del Este Peninsula
During the high season, the Punta del Este Peninsula is the first place to get busy and the last place to slow down. It has a plethora of places to eat, notorious night clubs, and a casino. It is the location of Gorlero, Punta del Este’s main street, the “Fashion Road,” the artisan’s plaza, the lighthouse, and the marina.
It has a walkway along its perimeter which makes a great walking or running loop. The Peninsula has a grocery market, hardware stores, appliance stores, and all the things you need for everyday living. It is an easy place to get by without a car.
The Peninsula has residential towers, both old and new. There are also low-rise 4-story condominiums and single-family homes on their own lots.
The one downside of the Peninsula is the same as living on a waterfront almost anywhere—when it gets windy, you’ll feel it.
Living in Pinares
Pinares is a coastal suburban neighborhood located a couple of miles west of the Punta del Este Peninsula. The area is mostly comprised of single-family homes on their own lots with mature landscaping. Some of the homes in this area have thatch roofs and hardwood window frames and doors.
Pinares has a nice beach and a park. It is the closest resort neighborhood to the off-resort stores and services of Maldonado’s Centro area.
Living in Avenue Roosevelt
Avenue Roosevelt extends from the beach in Punta del Este to the city of Maldonado. It has several stores along and near its path, and it is the location of the Punta shopping mall.
Avenue Roosevelt has residential towers, low-rise apartment buildings, and single family homes. The Cantegril Country Club is off Avenue Roosevelt. It has a large clubhouse, tennis courts, swimming pools, and a workout center.
Avenue Roosevelt has a side path separated from the traffic for pedestrians and bicycles on both sides. There is regular bus service back and forth between the beach and Maldonado.
Living in Punta del Este provides these and other attractive settings where you can combine the best features of a world-class beach resort; now with convenient access to the goods and services needed for everyday living.
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