Punta Ballena is a peninsula in the Rio de la Plata. It is located thirteen kilometers away (a ten-minute drive) from the major tourist resort destination, Punta Del Este. Both are located in the department of Maldonado in Uruguay. Punta Ballena is a much more peaceful option for the traveler who wants to avoid crowds and the party scene. Punta Ballena translates to "whale point," as it is very typical to see orca whales here in the winter months. This is also one of the best places in the area to watch a beautiful sunset off of the coast of Rio de la Plata. Nearby beaches include Portezuelo and Playa Las Grutas. There are many restaurants and bars nearby serving traditional Uruguayan cuisine. There are bus stops in Punta Ballena so you can easily transfer here from other parts of the country or take a local bus from Maldonado city or Punta Del Este.
Punta Ballena is home to the architectural beauty, Casapueblo -- the white house, known fondly by locals as the sand castle, was created by sculptor Carlos Páez Vilaró. The sculptor referred to his palace as a "living sculpture," as he would often add on new rooms and wings to accommodate guests. You may find the cliffside architecture to be reminiscent of Oia in Greece’s Santorini Island. You can visit Casapueblo and browse the museum, artist studio, and art gallery, which features works from Pablo Picasso. Keep a lookout, as there are no straight lines inside! Try to visit near sunset -- since the nineties, there has been a sun ceremony every evening with a recording playing an artist reading a poem to the sun.
Another thing to see, other than Casapueblo and the beautiful beaches, is Lussich Arboretum National Park. This park is very close and is actually one of the largest forest reserves in South America! If nature is your thing, you should also check out Laguna del Diario, which is a beautiful oblong lake nearby.
As Punta Ballena isn’t quite as popular with backpackers as Punta Del Este, you should have no trouble finding a bed in a hostel in Punta Ballena, Uruguay. Keep in mind the most popular times to visit are over the holidays in December and January. These summer months are when South Americans and worldwide tourists flock to Uruguay’s sunny beaches. Most Punta Ballena, Uruguay hostels will offer breathtaking views of the ocean or have swimming pools on their property. If your Punta Ballena, Uruguay hostel includes breakfast, you can expect a typical Uruguayan meal of fresh-squeezed orange juice, coffee, ham, cheese, bread, and -- maybe if you’re lucky -- seasonal fruits!
Hi, I'm Lola,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Punta Ballena hostels. Welcome.