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Visiting Punta Ballena, Uruguay: rocky and scenic whale watching point
Another reason why Uruguay should be on the traveller's itinerary
Whale watching? Spectacular scenery? Historic location? Uruguay's Punta Ballena fulfils all these aspects.
By the sea? by the river?
Punta Ballena (literally, in Spanish: Whale Point) is situated on the edge of the River Plate estuary. At Maldonado Department, the fresh waters of the River Plate meet the salt waters of the Atlantic, and whale watching at Punta Ballena has become an organized tourist attraction for at least a decade.
The Casapueblo museum — the dreamchild of Uruguayan artist and architect Carlos Páez Vilaró — is found in a spectacular rocky location along the western side of Punta Ballena. This attraction is much visited and much photographed. For many years now, the gleaming white walls of the extensive residence, gallery, hotel and restaurant have been a defining feature of much of Uruguay's tourism publicity.
Views of Punta del Este
From the east of the Point, across the bay, there are fine views of the city of Punta del Este. Most visitors to Punta Ballena will also visit this scenic city; indeed, many of them may be based there.
Also worth seeing:
Close to the main road junction with Punta Ballena is the Arboretum Lussich . With its large selection of tree types and museum about the life and times of its founder, Antonio Lussich (1848-1928), I was absorbed by the historical memories. A former participant in the intermittent Uruguayan Civil War, Antonio Lussich later hosted Presidents and former political rivals at his arboretum; he was also a writer about Gaucho life.
Solanas is a scenic resort, with thatched cottages and restaurant facilities not far from the road junction with Punta Ballena.
How to get there: LanChile flies to Montevideo , Uruguay from North American destinations including New York and Toronto . The Uruguayan airline PLUNA, which codeshares with VARIG, flies to a number of Latin American regional destinations. Car rental is available at Montevideo Carrasco International airport. Mainly seasonal flights from Buenos Aires also operate to Laguna del Sauce International Airport, which principally serves the nearby Uruguayan resort of Punta del Este . Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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