Punta del Este
is an upscale vacation spot on the southern tip of Uruguay, southeast
of the town of Maldonado and about 140 km east of Montevideo. Although
the town has a year round population of 10,506 (2005), the summer
tourist boom often boosts the population to about one million people
between December and February.
The first Europeans to set foot in what is now Punta del Este were the
Spanish at the beginning of the 16th century. However, the colonization
of the area actually began around Maldonado at the end of the 18th
century due to Portuguese expansionism.
Punta del Este and its surroundings (Maldonado and Punta Ballena for
example) at the end of the 19th century were kilometers of sand and
dunes, but in 1896 Antonio Lussich bought 4,447 acres (1800 hectares)
of uninhabited land and there he started a botanic garden and planted
trees and plants from all over the world. Later in the surroundings the
trees started to spread by their own now the area is full mostly of
Pines, Eucalyptus, Acacias and various species of bushes (Quite similar
to Australian flora).
Punta Del Este hosted a Latin American Summit in 1967 attended by U.S.
President Lyndon B. Johnson. In September 1986, Punta del Este played
host to the start of the Uruguay Round of international trade
negotiations. These negotations ultimately led to the creation of the
World Trade Organization in 1994.
You may reach Punta del Este from Buenos Aires by grabbing a ferryboat
(Buquebus) or a hydrofoil boat to the other side of the Rio de la
Plata, or by flying directly into Capitan Corbeta CA Curbelo
International Airport, located near Laguna Del Sauce on the outskirts
of the city. This airport opened in 1996. From Miami or Madrid, you may
fly directly to Carrasco International Airport in the capital city
Montevideo, located 140 km to east of Punta del Este, and arrange