Towering mountains, beautiful beaches, and some of Uruguay's most bustling, vibrant cities make Maldonado Department a region you shouldn't miss. Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the south and the majestic Sierra mountains to the north, Maldonado attracts tourists of all stripes, from those curious about the province's near-200 years of history to revelers and beachgoers looking for sun, surf, and dancing. Whatever your interests, this southern pocket of Uruguay has something great just waiting for you!
The city of Maldonado is the capital of the department, and with a population of 62,000, houses well over a third of its population. As such, Maldonado is among the most vibrant sights in the area, with the hustle and bustle of the city creating a fun atmosphere as you explore its many shops and restaurants. The city also offers several old buildings, churches, and museums detailing the storied history of the province, making for a nice change of pace from relaxing at the nearby beach.
Speaking of relaxation, the resort town of Punta del Este offers a wide variety of beaches to choose from, with varying currents that allow for surfing, windsurfing, jetskiing, and more between them all. Of course, every beach offers the soft sands for simply kicking back on a beach towel, which is a great way to rest up during the day for a night full of adventure. Theaters, dance clubs, and upscale wineries are abundant throughout Punta del Este, as well as a variety of art galleries - if you want to take in some culture, Punta del Este is just waiting for you!
There's more to Maldonado's coastline than the miles of gorgeous beachfront. Punta del Este offers frequent boat rides to explore nearby islands, from sea lion habitat Isla de Lobos to the restaurant and ruins of Isla Gorriti. Even more natural wonders await you inland! Arboretum Lussich to the east of the region offers beautiful forestland to explore and quiet natural tranquility that's truly one of a kind. Also to the east are the animals of La Reserva de Fauna, a natural preserve that lets you admire some amazing wildlife. Finally, several towering mountains await in the Sierras to the north, offering experts some natural beauty and challenging hikes and climbs.
Every destination has its own charms, but Maldonado is unique in that it encompasses many different types of attractions, from exciting night clubs to cultured museums to miles of sandy beachfront. If you'd like to experience everything Uruguay has to offer, a visit to Maldonado gets you off to a great start.
Photo Credit: Lufonz via Flickr