The City of Maldonado is only a few minutes drive from Punta del Este. You can get a good view of the peninsula, which is 15 blocks long, from there.
Its climate is mild all year round. In the winter, temperatures reach 10º C, whereas in the summer the thermometer marks over 25º C and many times it goes over 30º C.
Maldonado is a pretty town and a wide white sand beach.
Take a trip to Isla de Lobos. Just a few miles off the coast of Punta del Este, Isla de Lobos is a natural habitat for Sea Lions. Half day tours in small boats can be easily arranged at the port. Boats leave frequently during the day. Bring sun screen and your camera! NOTES: boats circle the island which has a light house but they are not allowed to land in the island.
If you do not want to take the trip out to the island, walk by the piers at the port and you are likely to see a sea lion basking in the sun, as they hang out in the area eating the scraps from the fishing boats as they come in to port.
In Punta del Este there are a few blocks called "Beverly Hills", the name says it all, here you will find some of the most impressive houses in all Punta, it's worth a visit, there is also a museum there.
In the old days, José Ignacio was a fishing village but it started growing as many tourist began visiting the place to spend the day at its fabulous beaches and eat at its seafood restaurants. With time it turned out into an ultra exclusive retreat where celebrities and wealthy people have their summer residences overlooking the sea.
In spite of its growth it still remains a small village with only 2 or 3 lodges and a bunch of nice restaurants.
José Ignacio is a peninsula with natural bays that host the Playa Mansa to the west (with a beautiful sunset) and the Brava with stronger surf to the east where most people prefer to spend the day.
In a corner of the Mansa beach you can find the local fishermen, their orange boats and flocks of seagulls crying to be fed. Fresh fish is readily available here.
Make sure you explore whats between the avenues in Punta, you will find endless blocks of very nice houses with perfect green lawns and a real quiet atmosphere, worth taking a walk or a drive.