There are a lot of beach towns in Uruguay, including Punta del Este, Punta del Diablo, La Paloma and Cabo Polonio. But we felt like getting away from people, chilling by the beach and surfing! Everything pointed us towards Punta del Diablo, a remote beach town known for being one of the best surfing in Uruguay.
A backpacker’s prime destination
Punta del Diablo is known as a small little hippie village popular for surfing. It has become popular over the years for backpackers as a more affordable and laid back alternative to the glamour of Punta del Este. The town is filled with international surfers, local fishermen, backpackers and Brazilian / Argentinian holiday makers looking for some fun by the beach.
The accommodation in Punta del Diablo is a mix of luxurious holiday homes, budget hostels and hippy houses made out of shipping containers. One of the charms is that there has been little infrastructure work done here, but the ever-growing tourism industry is visibly stressing the town.
Santa Marta National Park
Beach time : workout and chill!
We had been traveling pretty much non stop since we arrived in South America so we were determined to make the most of the good weather, the great beaches and warm water. We woke early on our first day and headed straight to the beach for a relaxing morning of stretching, a light workout and a swim. Time to recharge the batteries a little.
We presumed that going early would mean we would avoid the heat of the sun, but we should never underestimate an Irish man’s skin… Steven, like all Irish men, is no stranger to sunburn but the two parts of this burn meant we would end up leaving Uruguay early.
Steven’s sunburn & Jenny’s caterpillar attack
It took a day and it started out like a small sunburn in the areas that Steven forgot to put sun cream on after he took of his t-shirt while doing Pilates on the beach (He can hear the abuse from the lads at home). See the beautiful whiteness below?? It didn’t last long !
In the meantime we decided we had enough of our hostel, queuing to cook our food, dance music until 5 am and terrible dorms so we changed hostels. After a night in the new hostel the sunburn had fully appeared over most of Steven’s upper body and was quite painful. But “it’s just a burn, it will go away”. Again determined not to let events ruin our stay and covered in cream and a t-shirt we rented a bike to cycle to Parque Nacional Santa Teresa, where first we got lost taking a shortcut on the advice of locals and Jenny got a sting off an aggressive caterpillar which made her finger swell to the size of a cocktail sausage!
A slight detour to the health clinic and a pleasant cycle around the Parque Nacional Santa Teresa and the second bad part of the sunburn appeared once we returned. Many who know Steven knows that he gets very sweaty in the sun or when doing exercise and while cycling in 30 degrees Steven began to sweat. Because his skin was burnt the sweat was unable to escape and the became trapped underneath the burnt skin causing some pretty ugly sweat bubbles. PANIC!
Having to leave Uruguay to heal
After a visit to the health centre… again… and a less than enjoyable time in Uruguay we decided it was time to give up and go back to Buenos Aires to allow Steven to heal in a clean and relaxing environment at Jenny’s friends house.
Leaving early and with the bad burn meant that we will spent Valentine’s night in a hotel in Montevideo on the way back to Buenos Aires. Steven unable to move and Jenny applying cream to his shoulders while eating reheated supermarket food was not how we imagined ending our Uruguayan experience or our Valentine’s Day, but we think this showed our love for each other.
Let’s finish on a positive note
We had a pretty fantastic moment on our final night in Punta del Diablo. After changing hostels we ate in the restaurant which was part of our accommodation and watched as a storm came closer and closer to us. It was already night and we could see the sky lighting up as if the most powerful firework display was going on over head. Every time lightning would strike we could see that the point of explosion moving towards us. We spent 30 – 40 minutes staring out the window as the storm moved across the sky from left to right.
What if ?
Our plan was to spend a few days in Punta del Diablo and make our way back to Argentina via the really remote beach towns of La Paloma and Cabo Polonio. The last one is so remote that there are no electricity and it can only be accessed via a prearranged 4x4s through dunes. We were really excited on spending time in those places but even the best made plans don’t always work out…
Cost and useful information
Exchange rate – average as of February 2017 : €1 = 29.67 Ur
Bus Montevideo to Punta del Diablo: 618 Ur (€21) per person
Bus Punta del Diablo to Montevideo: 599 Ur (€20) per person
Hostel El Diablo Tranquilo – 8 dorm (we do not recommend – noisy, overcrowed): 690 Ur (€24) pp/pn – Prices triple in High season…
Hostal La casa de las boyas – dorm (we do not recommend – damp and smelly): 435 Ur (€14) pp/pn
Hotel Orpheo Express, Montevideo – Double bedroom (very nice place): 1392 Ur (€47) pn
Rental bike at hostel La Casa de las boyas (badly taken care of – bad breaks) : 435 Ur (€14) half a day…
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