Punta del Este

High-rise hotels and fine beaches
Carlos Páez Vilaró’s Casapueblo
The Hand in the Sand at Playa Brava

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Punta del Este

South American glamour

When you’re cruising the Atlantic Ocean with MSC Cruises, Punta del Este is the port of call for you in Uruguay. Situated on a narrow peninsula 140km east of Montevideo, Punta del Este is a jungle of high-rise hotels, expensive restaurants, casinos and designer stores bordered by some of the finest beaches on the coast.
Exclusive and luxurious, between this and the nearby towns of La Barra and José Ignacio, this is the place to be seen for many South American celebrities in summer.

The best thing to do in Punta del Este is what everyone else does: go to the beach. Within striking distance and well worth the trip is the whitewashed Casapueblo, a remarkable villa and art gallery. The beaches are what attract most visitors to Punta del Este, and two of the best are on either side of the neck of the peninsula.

Playa Mansa
on the bay side is a huge, arcing stretch of sand, with plenty of space for sunbathing and gentle waves, while Playa Brava on the eastern side is where you go if you’re serious about surfing, or simply to compare your height to the fingers of the uncanny Hand in the Sand sculpture, one of Uruguay’s most famous sights. The area’s best sight is Casapueblo, by Uruguayan artist Carlos Páez Vilaró, a vision just waiting to be seen on an MSC South America excursion.

He started the construction himself in the late 1950s, and today it’s an unwieldy yet strangely beautiful villa, restaurant, hotel and art gallery clinging to the side of a craggy peninsula 15km west of Punta del Este. Bright white and lacking any right angles, it’s well worth a visit to see Vilaró’s artwork.

Must see places in Punta del Este

  • Carlos Páez Vilaró’s villa

    Carlos Páez Vilaró’s villa

  • Los Dedos

    Los Dedos

  • Casa Pueblo

    Casa Pueblo

Discover our excursions

3 results found




    Arriving at the pier by tender, you'll board your coach for a lovely drive through the city's residential districts. This famous South American seaside resort is the playground for the regional jet set and a world renowned site of many film festivals and international conferences. Often referred to as the St. Tropez of Uruguay, this popular resort area, with its miles of pristine beaches, is an international favourite. One of the more interesting features of Punta Del Este is that visitors can actually see the sun rise and set in the same waters due to its location on a peninsula that extends into the ocean. Your tour will first take you along the magnificent beach areas of Playa Mansa and Playa Brava Portezuelo and then through the tree-lined residential districts of San Rafael, Cantegrill and Beverly Hills, where you can see many of the city's beautiful mansions and well-tended private gardens. Your route also passes by the Tudor-styled San Rafael Casino. A brief photo stop will be made at Punta Ballena, before returning to the Pier, where you'll find a wonderful panoramic view of the peninsula and Casa Pueblo. Please note: There will be no time to enter the Casa Pueblo, only a photo stop and the entrance ticket to Casa Pueblo is not included in the tour. Although this tour is recommended for guests with walking difficulties, buses are not equipped with hydraulic elevators for wheelchairs. This excursion includes approximately 30 minutes free time depending on the traffic conditions at the beach board walk for stroll, pictures and enjoyment. There are kiosks in the beach boardwalk, therefore we advise guests to carry currency in cash if wishing to buy ice cream, coffee or drinks.
    • Long route by bus

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level

    • Duration
      3 h




    Ride on a real Segway right from the pier of disembarkation. Before the ride the guide will give all the explanations in how to ride and you will have some time to adjust yourself in this amazing walking machine. You will be guided along safe paths to visit Mansa Beach, where sea lions can be observed at the Port. You will also see the cityâ019s symbolic lighthouse, dating back to the year 1860. The lighthouse is 147 feet tall, and the cristal panels which are part of its illuminations system were brought from France and its tower built with volcanic ashes brought from Italy. Another highlight of the tour is the church Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, a beautiful sky-blue-and-white Victoria structure as well as:the Four Seas point, Punta Salina - where the famous and old navy battle of River Plate between German and British ships took place on December 1939, English Beach, Emir Beach, Punta Vapor (where the first mass was held in 1516) and the famous monument known as â018THE HANDâ019. Our goal is to make of each city tour an unforgettable experience, where safety, good-fellowship, fun and acquired knowledge are the main attributes. Don´t forget to bring your camera for this amazing experience. Remarks: This excursion is only available for guests over 16 years of age. Please note: Extremely limited seats, only Segwayâ019s available so please book early to avoid disappointment. This tour will not be cancelled due to weather condition (rain).. The bikes are electrical type and are of one size only. This excursion is ONLY available for guests over 16 years of age (complete). The maximum weight that the Segway´s can carry is 120 kilos. Guests must be in good physical condition to participate. The battery capacity is estimated up to 1.5 hours but it is subject to the weight which means the battery can run dead before 1.5 hours depending on the weight carried. The units will be Segway X2 brand. Units are available for men and women. The tour involves approximately 8 kms of ride over cobble stone, paved road and unpaved road (dirty road) both in plane and uphill roads. Strongly advice guests to wear confortable clothing, shorts, t-shirts, hat, tennis snickers, sunscreen and to carry a back pack with a beach towel and a bottle of water. Guests must wear a helmet and reflective vests as the new regulation in Uruguay which will be provided. The tour will be in a convoy system where all guests will follow the leader. All guests will have to sign a waiver form from the tour operator before the start of the tour. Strongly advice guests to wear confortable clothing, shorts, sunscreen and to carry the minimum weight as possible. It is mandatory the use of tennis snickers (closed tip shoes). The excursion time is approximate and is subject to change.
    • Shopping

    • Possibility of swimming

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level

    • Duration
      1 h

  • Van with driver & tour guide (7 seats)



    Disembark in the port and have a vehicle with a professional driver waiting for you, your family and friends. Create your own tour and enjoy your day with a vehicle at your disposal. Please note: Rates valid within Punta del Este limits, it does not include tickets to any touristy attraction or lunch. The advertised price for this service is per vehicle, not per passenger. This service is available with or without a tour guide, depending on availability. The driver speaks only Spanish and the tour guide (if requested) speaks English or Spanish. The service without tour guide is not available for Grand Voyages. The departure of service can be requested for any time during the time call.
      • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

        Difficulty Level

      • Duration
        4 h

    The excursions in the programme are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this programme is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise. 
    Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.
    Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.


    Surfing and night life
    Surfing and night life

    It’s no wonder that Uruguay is often referred to as the Switzerland of South America. Through misfortune and good times, the Uruguayans maintain their traditionally laidback and cheerful attitude, and it’s not hard to see why with a cruise to Uruguay.

    From the secluded surfing beaches of the Atlantic coast, to the rolling pastoral land of the interior tended by gauchos, or the picturesque streets of Colonia del Sacramento and the buzzing nightlife of Montevideo, theirs is a gem of a nation set between the South American giants of Brazil and Argentina.

    “Tranquilo” (peaceful) could be Uruguay’s national motto, and, after witnessing the beauty of the land and the relaxed kindness of its people, you are unlikely to be in any hurry to leave. You are unlikely to walk down a single street in Uruguay without seeing someone carrying the thermos, pots and metal straw (bombilla) required for maté.

    In a tradition that goes back to the earliest gauchos, Uruguayans are said to drink even more of the grassy tea than the Argentines, and a whole set of social rituals surrounds it. At the close of a meal, the maté is meticulously prepared before being passed round in a circle.