About an hour along the coast from La Paloma is a caserio, or hamlet, that is only accessible by 4×4 and is without electricity or running water – not sure how they do it! We boarded the 4×4 (only $1 pp) and set off to see this gem of a place. There are approximately 100 houses, ranging from basic shacks to high-end shacks, a beautiful lighthouse, a few hostels and B&B’s, and restaurants (again, most closed due to the season). It’s a magical place to visit and I wish we had had the time to spend the night. There are greedy investors trying to take over this spot and fill it with eco-lodges. I sure hope this doesn’t happen anytime soon as it will take away from the beauty of this remote place. The beaches are huge, the waves are great for surfing, and a sea lion colony is right there – it’s a must-do in Uruguay!
Punta del Diablo
Back in the car after our 3 hour visit to Cabo Polonio and on to Punta del Diablo. We weren’t sure what we would find when we arrived and I was extremely concerned about the quality of the internet because there are no ATM’s in town. We figured we could always head back to La Paloma to that great hotel if we had to. Boy, were we wrong! The town is a little piece of paradise with dirt roads, cute hotels and hostels, an amazing National Park, great beaches, and fantastic internet. Most of the town is closed for the season, but we found hostel El Diablo Tranquilo which was busy. It’s nice spending time in hostels to meet other travelers and cook our own food, but it’s even better to rent our own cabin for a few days which is exactly what we did! After two nights at the hostel, we moved across the street to Las Bossas (cheaper than the hostel for an entire cabin) and I couldn’t be happier. We have an awesome view of the ocean from our living area and super comfy bed. I want to stay here another month as this place is the bomb!! Unfortunately, the weather is hit and miss and I won’t want to be there over the winter. Besides, we’re heading to Florianopolis to see Anita and Joe. Yippee!
A few half day trips in the area that we did, I mean Wayne did whilst I was working are:
- Andrea and I did three hours of horse riding with Fabien along the beach and into Santa Teresa NP. This was loads of fun and was our second horse riding experience in the past 7 months, the first being on half starved horses in Costa Rica. This time the horses looked healthy and were fortunately very well disciplined – a couple of good heal kicks into the stomach and off they went, followed by a pull on the reigns and they pulled up nicely! Half way through we dismounted and polished off a bottle of Uruguayan red wine, Gaucho style. Great treat from our host. Still not so sure I like this gallop thing that horses like to do, even if it is on sand!
- A 2km walk from town, going along Playa Grande beach to Santa Teresa NP in the hopes of spotting capybaras, after hearing from our horse tour guide that they can be seen at laguna Peña. Mission accomplished after having 2 close encounters with the huge rodents weighing in excess of 50lbs and around a meter long.
- Heading to the Uruguay / Brazil frontier at Chuy, or Chui if you cross over Ave Brasil into Brazil. Nothing here but the chance to use an ATM and endless duty free shops in a typical frontier town. You can be standing with a foot in each country and wouldn’t even realize you’d left one country for another! 8km along the frontier road is one of the 2 forts in the area, San Miguel, which I thought was worth the visit, even if it was only to watch a bunch of the military park keepers trying to ignite a cannon without blowing themselves to bits.
Oh, I forgot to mention that Thursday night before flying to Florianopolis I’ll be sleeping in Montevideo airport, a first for me! Can you feel my enthusiasm?
Uruguay started off slow, but ended with a bang! If you have a chance to make it here, head to Punta del Diablo and you won’t be disappointed! And that’s a wrap! By the way, Wayne is on the mend!
We’re off to Ironman Brazil! Later…
May 17th – May 24th 2013