Monday, July 28, 2008


Cabo Polonio

We had a really nice time visiting Cabo Polonio, a beach settlement about 4 hours from Montevideo. In some ways, it´s similar to Punta del Diablo. Cabo Polonio is harder to reach since there´s no road access. You can reach it by 4-wheel drive truck or horseback from Ruta 10.

This is very much the off-season, so we needed reservations to ensure someone would open the hotel. We were the only tourists in the entire town. In the high season (January) every room in every building is filled with artists, hippies, and miscellaneous visitors. Most of the casitas are very small-- merely beach shacks. A few are more substantial. We stayed at La Perla del Cabo, the nicest place in town. (Although it was still very simple-- 2 hours of electricty daily, hot water some days but none while we were there, and for winter a propane heater in the hallway and extra blankets for the beds.)

The town itself was very quiet. All the little souvenir stands, shops and boliches were closed for the season. One almacen offered snacks, fruit, and staples like dulce de leche. The restaurant attached to the hotel opened for us. Their fresh fish was great.

We climbed the lighthouse, which gave great views of the coast. On the rocky point beneath the faro, hundreds of sea lions bathed in the winter sun. We saw a lone penguin, apparently off-course from its annual migration to Brazil from southern Argentina. It´s whale season, but we didn´t happen to see any.

update:A photo album from Cabo Polonio

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So cool that you got to go back so soon--after watching Bourdain's show last night, I miss it even more...

Having had similar off-season vacations in Uruguay's coastal towns, I'd like to add that for me--and probably many north americans from cool climates--having the entire beach to yourself on a breezy 65-70 degree day is fabulous. Yes, the services can almost be nil--but so can the rental prices. Eventually, I think Uruguay will start to see a tourist market besides the annual summer boom, and start marketing quiet get-aways to travelers with hardier dispositions than sunbathers...

Can't wait to see more Chuck! Keep it coming!
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