It is situated southeast of Maldonado street, 7 km from the capital of the city of Maldonado.
Placed on a straight strip that divides River Plate from the Atlantic Ocean. It has a population of 7.298 inhabitants.
It is internationally known as one of the main beach towns of South America.
At he beginning it was a native whereabout, then a fisher's town.
Its first name was "Villa Ituzaingó" but in 1907 a change of name was requested and it changed definitely to Punta del Este.
This village was founded in 1829 by Don Francisco Aguilar, he was the first one to exploit the resources of the area, developing many industries mainly salting houses.
Francisco Aguilar arrived in our country in 1810, he was a man of fortune, owner of a fleet of merchant ships and the first ship steering house of Uruguay. Apart from a ranch man and a livestock farmer, he was owner of a grocer's shop and a politician, taking up important positions as Mayor of Maldonado from1829 to 1830, Post Administrator in 1834 and Senator in 1840. He settled in Maldonado in 1811 where he bought land and with some partners farmed for a living (the main plantations that belonged to him were the ones of tobacco and potatoes). He also breed silkworm and manufactured floor tiles being Punta del Este the first place where the first tile's factory was set up.
There was plenty of Whales in our coasts in those years. During the term of General Fructuoso Rivera, Aguilar was granted the exclusive right to fish these animals for 10 years in Maldonado's port and in the coasts of the state for 75 pesos per 6 months. He also had the awarding to fish sea dog in the Isle of Wolf and in Rocha state.
Francisco Aguilar as Maldonado's Mayor took part in the building of public work as schools, jails and churches. As the highes authority he was, the fernandinos sweared before him the Constitution of 1830. He died in 1840 when he was 64 years old, still working as Senator, leaving Punta del Este growing to what it is today.
On July 13th, 1843, the peninsula was sold to the brothers Samuel and Alejandro Lafone, who bought it for 4.500 pesos. They also bought Gorriti Island for 1.500 pesos, Following the steps of Aguilar, the Lafone brothers exploited the salting houses.
The vehicles that allowed people to travel from Punta del Este to Maldonado in those years were the carts, that had to go through huge sand hills and went back through the coast. This is why the first animals that were brought to work were dromedaries, Aguilar brought them, because they were the inle ones capable of doing the work as the place was a big desert.
Punta del Este owes Enrique Burnet most of the forestation it posseses, because it was him who started the planting of pines in the peninsula. Thanks to them a sand avalanche that threatened to cover the little town was prevented.
In 1907, in Punta del Este existed a little population: Risso Hotel, the Captaincy, Suarez Chalet and fifty houses. In that year, the first tourists arrived on board of the steamship "Golondrina"; a group of Argentinian and Montevidean families invited by the Directive of Society "Balneario Punta del Este."
We can say that: "Punta del Este is the happy result of a mixture of factors, as a hand that penetrates the sea, separating the River Plate from the Atlantic Ocean; it has gentle and rough beaches, woods and isles, it also posseses an excellent infrastructure, residential areas, shopping malls, casinos, roads and avenues, airport and port (for tourism and sports), as well as a modern communication network."
The peninsula has a sea climate strongly iodized mixed with pine aroma; the avarage temperature of cold months is 10º and of warm months 25º.
What could be called great Punta del Este is surrounded by an arch of beaches of 40 km length. Inside this perimeter there is the peninsula and its environment. It covers the spaces of gentle and rough beaches and the residential area of the neighbourhoods Cantergil, Aidy Grill, San Rafael, Golf Park and Beverly Hills, among others.
Nowadays, Punta del Este has Official Institutions as Coast Guard; Customs; Punta del Este Police Station (10º); Schools number 5 and 21; secondary schools; post and Institutions of private teaching, culture, sports, etc.
In the streets of the peninsula among varied styles of buildings there are a vast number of restaurants, confectioner's, tearooms, pubs, discos and a big shopping mall where you can find the most important brands of the world; thus providing all necessary services of a beach town.
It is possible to practise sea sports all along the coastal area. It has an excellent natural scenario, as well as an important range of entertainments for all the family.
Source: Maldonado County
USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS OF PUNTA DEL ESTE
fire brigade 104 - (042) 223777
Police (042) 225958
Radio Patrol 109
Coast Guard (042) 441967
Hospital (042) 225889 to 90
(042) 234235 to 36
Electricity 0800 8111
Water (042) 222796