Road trip through Uruguay

September 10, 2012 , On the road, Travel pictures

Uruguay - Photo: Tyler Wetherall | All Rights Reserved
Uruguay is South America’s secret that the world is slowly discovering. Tucked between its bigger siblings Argentina and Brazil, people seem to skip right past it. But this small country shares the best attributes of both its neighbours with the gaucho culture, tango and great steak of Argentina coupled with the sandy white beaches and carnival parties of Brazil.

Colonia - Photo: Andrés Moreira | All Rights Reserved
Landing from frenetic Buenos Aires by ferry in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Colonia del Sacremento is like stepping back in time. Everywhere men suck on mate gourds as they walk the cobblestone streets, and in the distance only the Rio de Plata separates us from Argentina.

Travelling up the coast we reach the capital of Montevideo. The crumbling Victorian houses are ramshackle reminders of the city’s former glory days, but this only adds to the faded beauty. The buildings may be crumbling, but the restaurants and bars still thrive.

Cabo Polonia - Photo: Tyler Wetherall | All Rights Reserved
Halfway up the country, Cabo Polonio is a secret that should be kept. A community of just 70 live on this sandy outcrop with no cars, no electricity and no running water.

Uruguay - Photo: Tyler Wetherall | All Rights Reserved
The march of progress has been halted after laws were passed protecting the area from further development due to the incredible flora and fauna such as the colony of sea lions that make this their home. Look out for Perdida, the local bartender’s pet penguin, waddling up the road.

Uruguay - Photo: Tyler Wetherall | All Rights Reserved
Home to an eccentric mix of expats, hippies, fishermen and nomadic travellers, it’s made up of a collection of tumbledown huts and oddities. We rented one of the simple houses, threw off our shoes and made like the locals. We padded down to the bar barefoot by candlelight with the bark of the sea lions in the distance.

Punta del Diablo - Photo: Tyler Wetherall | All Rights Reserved
From here a stretch of motorway deposits you at the final destination, Punta del Diablo, Devil’s Point. In summer (Dec-Mar) surfers and sun-lovers flock here from across South America, and the multi-coloured wood shacks dust out their floors and open their doors as makeshift diners and drinking holes for a four-month party. But by May it is a ghost town again.

Fishermen - Photo: Tyler Wetherall | All Rights Reserved
The fishermen, however, work all year whether the surfs up or not. The final reward is slinging your hammock at hostel El Diablo Tranquilo for some R&R while you figure out your route home.

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