Punta Del Diablo is a small beach town near the Brazilian border in Uruguay. It is a popular spot for Uruguayans to get away for awhile, so much so that the local population can grow 30x during the tourist season. The year round residents are typically fishermen and artisans, but it swells with Uruguayans, Brazilians, and Europeans every January and Febraury (South American summer).
The entirety of the town was owned by one farming family, the Rocha’s, but they have been steadily selling the land to investors. These investors are building posh hostels and hotels creating a range of budget to luxury options for staying. We chose the budget option as best we could and spent about $50 a night for all three of us traveling.
This is a familiar trend in South America. There is something beautiful and quant, and then foreigners buy the land and invest in it, taking away a part of the charm that made the place enticing in the first place. Luckily, Punta del Diablo has a height limit on new buildings, so we shouldn’t be seeing huge sky scraper hotels anytime soon.
To get to Punta del Diablo, we took a bus from Montevideo, which was extremely easy. We stayed in a little cabin we booked on booking.com and the host was nice enough to pick us up from the bus station (about a mile outside of town). Punta del Diablo has one ATM that we could find, and it didn’t work every day. Bringing a stack of cash is recommended. Other than that we spent most of our days carefree relaxing on the beach.
We arrived in Punta del Diablo in March, after the tourist crowds leave so a majority of the restaurants and bars are closed up. This left us in a sleepy and deserted pueblo, with almost no one on the beach. Our AirBnB, and later hotel, both had kitchenettes, allowing us the cook our own meals. This was a significant benefit, seeing as how most restaurants had closed for the season.
This is a great location for anyone looking to just relax and focus on whatever it is they need to focus on. Our days were simple and uneventful. Which may be annoying to some people. For me, it was a nice retreat. I remember one time while I was in London, I was speaking to a friend who had no plans on a Thursday night. He was feeling anxious about it, like he was missing out on something or not living life to the fullest. In a city like London, it is easy to have every day booked for weeks or months ahead. If that is the lifestyle you’re used to, the quiet solitude of Punta Del Diablo during the off season could lead to something near an existential crisis.
Not for me though.
One day we were walking towards the beach, and there was a dog that I gave a few pats. That dog followed us for the rest of the day. Which became a theme for our South American travels. She was super sweet but also hyper. Taylor and I had to walk her back home at the end of the day and hide behind a building in order to get her to finally go home.
To continue the puppy love, in the hotel we stayed at, TWO doggos came up to our room to say hello and sleep under the barbecue. They wanted snoozes but also got some pets.
And they must of told some of the other local fauna because when we woke up there were two burrowing owls hanging out on the balcony.
We were going to return to Uruguay in a few weeks for a frisbee tournament being held in Montevideo by a friend of ours. It is a nice country, with beautiful scenery that I think gets skipped by a lot for the more populous Argentina or Brazil. It’s also more wealthy than its neighbors. Uruguay has a lot of the same stuff to offer as those countries but at a smaller more chillaxed speed.