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If you’re looking for things to do in Punta del Este from a cruise, you’ll find this charming city in Uruguay has plenty to offer travelers when their ship arrives in port. With a population of less than 10,000 permanent residents, Punta del Este is a fashionable and exclusive stop for South America cruise passengers. The beaches, like Punta Ballena or Playa Brava, are great places to soak up sun or surf strong waves. The view of Uruguay's coast from Punta Ballena is rumored to be one of the best.
After a sightseeing tour of Punta del Este’s most elegant neighborhoods like San Rafael, take an afternoon for art at the Ralli Museum of Contemporary Art, featuring works from major Latin American artists. Check out Le Mano de Punta del Este, a concrete sculpture of five fingers emerging from the sandy beach. The hand was created to warn visitors and surfers of strong waves in the nearby waters.
Of course, Punta del Este shore excursions aren’t just glitzy beaches and art. The city is also home to fascinating ecotourism and conservation efforts. Hop on a boat to Isla de Lobos, or the “Island of Wolves,” and you’ll find the largest colony of sea lions in the world. Unlike other sea lion colonies, these stay put, making Isla de Lobos a fascinating excursion for animal lovers on a Punta del Este cruise. Dolphins and other species swim the waters surrounding the island, too.
Punta del Este shore excursions will take you beyond the city into wine country, where you can experience a winery tour and afternoon picnic at Vina Edna Winery in the countryside. Another informative culinary experience is a tour of a local olive oil plantation, where you’ll learn the process of oil production from the olive farms in Uruguay. Of course, wine tastings with cheese and freshly baked bread are a must.