Punta del Este has a reputation as a higher-end beach resort that draws visitors from within Uruguay, but also from Argentina and elsewhere in South America. You might not find many tourists from other parts of the world, even though this is pretty much the best beach resort in the entire region.
Much of the new development in Punta del Este is new highrise hotels and developments, so of course prices in those areas are going to be very high. You can definitely still find some bargains, at least by international standards, if you look into the older parts of town.
During the month of December and the first half of January, this resort town is packed to the rafters with anyone who could afford it. It’s a major party and nightlife scene, and most of it is rather pricey.