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Getting There

By Plane -- Punta del Este has its own international airport, Laguna del Sauce Airport (airport code PDP; tel. 042/559777), about 16km (10 miles) from the city center, which has direct flights from Buenos Aires's Jorge Newberry Airport. Aerolíneas Argentinas (tel. 000-4054-86527 in Punta, or 0810/222-86527 in Buenos Aires; www.aerolineas.com.ar) services the airports. Pluna Airlines is another carrier (tel. 042/492050 in Punta, or 11/4342-4420 in Buenos Aires; www.pluna.aero).

By Bus -- The Terminal de Buses Punta del Este, Rambla Artigas and Calle Inzaurraga, has buses connecting to Montevideo, Colonia, and other cities throughout Uruguay. COT (tel. 042/486-810, or 02/409-4949 in Montevideo: www.cot.com.uy) offers the best service to Montevideo. The trip takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours and costs about U$284 round-trip.

By Car -- If you are driving from Montevideo, you can reach Punta in 1 1/2 hours by taking Route 1 east past Atlántida and Piriápolis to the turnoff for Route 93.

Getting Around

If you're staying in Punta del Este itself, the beaches are just a quick walk over either the Rambla Claudio Williman, on the Río de la Plata side, or the Rambla Lorenzo Batlle Pacheco, on the Atlantic side. Although these two ramblas have different names, they are part of the same coastal highway, Ruta 10. The city's main shopping street is Avenida Gorlero, lined with stores and cafes. Another shopping street is El Remanso, 1 block parallel.

Many people hitchhike -- it's not considered dangerous here. It's best to rent a car, though, if you want to do some exploring or head to La Barra or José Ignacio. Car rental can be expensive, however, starting at $90 a day in high season. Europcar is at Gorlero and Calle 20 (tel. 042/495017 or 042/445018; www.europcar.com.uy). Dollar is at Gorlero 961 (tel. 042/443444; www.dollar.com.uy).

Taxis are hard to come by, especially in high season. Keep the following numbers handy: Shopping (tel. 042/484704), Parada 5 (tel. 042/490302), and Aeropuerto (tel. 042/559100). The bus company COT (tel. 042/486810: www.cot.com.uy) runs a service up and down the coastal routes, connecting the various towns in the area. You may have to wait a long time for one to pass by, though.

Visitor Information

Punta del Este has several tourist information centers. Within the bus station Terminal Punta Del Este (tel. 042/494042), there is a very small one with a very helpful staff. Overlooking the ocean at Parada 1 near Calle 21, the Liga de Fomento has a tourist information center (tel. 042/446519). Another city office is at Plaza Artigas, on Gorlero between calles 25 and 23 (tel. 042/4465190). The city's offices are open daily from 10am to 10pm. The government of Uruguay also maintains a tourist information office for the entire country at Gorlero 942 between calles 30 and 29 (tel. 042/441218). The national office is open 10am to 7pm every day in the summer, and in winter daily from 10am to 5pm. The city government website (www.maldonado.gub.uy) has a section on tourist information; also visit www.uruguaynatural.com. Pick up Qué Hacemos Hoy (www.quehacemoshoy.com.uy), a free tourist publication, available throughout the city, with information on events around town.

Tour Companies

Take a break from such a hard life on the beach and take a 2-hour boat tour to a nearby island called Isla de Lobos. Calypso Charter & Excursions, Rambla Artigas and Calle 21, Punta del Este (tel. 042/446152; www.calypso.com.uy), has a 17m-long (55-ft.) catamaran that lets you go in style. For city tours and a day visit to the beautiful Casapueblo, try Novo Turismo, Terminal de Omnibuses, Localo 4, Punta del Este (tel. 042/493154; www.novoturismo.com).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.