Travelguide Uruguay - off season

Travelling Uruguay during off season 

(And off season really means off season here!) 
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Due to the fact that we were in Uruguay during off season (March - November), we did not spend a lot of time in Montevideo or Punta del Este. Therefore we spend more time in Cabo Polonio and Punta del Diablo. Small, cute backpacker villages on the coast of Uruguay. 
There are other popular places during high season like La Paloma or Jose Ignacio. But as we drove by you could see that those places where just ghosttowns. 
Uruguay is for sure the most relaxed country I have ever been to! Seriously if you ever have the chance to do a roadtrip there, DO IT! Its one of the most underrated countries ever.
It is a perfect country for Roadtrips, beaches and an absolutely relaxed time! 
Just be prepared, that during off season there is basically nothing  going on there. Punta del Este is a ghosttown during off season and Miami Beach during high season. Cabo Polonio is a cute, bungalow village during off season and a overcrowded hippie mecca during high season. 
So depending on what you are searching for, be sure to know when to go. If you like to hang around with a lot of people, or traveling alone, off season can be kind of lonely. But if you go November of Febuary you will mostly have the an amazing time. 

Montevideo is the capital city of Uruguay and backpackers often skip it. I spend just two days there, walked around a little bit and checked out some sights, but I need to say that Montevideo is a city, that has something to offer when you spend more time there. It is not a city you can go from one sight to another and live the travelers dream. It is a city you learn to enjoy when staying there for a bit more time, knowing the hotspots to go.

Punta del Este is for sure the hotspot during summer months. Its called the Monaco of South America with long beaches, hot days, a lot of glamor parties and a high lifestyle. 
During our time there it was kind of depressing. Boy its just a huge city that increase from 20.000 people to 200.000 people during high season. Off season its a town off empty streets, beaches and skyscrapers. This city is not even nice! Seriously there is nothing to see there but the popular hand that is reaching out of the sand (and its not even that impressing). I don't want to sound too pessimistic, but seriously, if you go there during winter time you will consider leaving that city after two hours after arriving... ;) 
So if you come here, be sure to do it in summer (If you are down for a glamorous Miami feeling). 

If you are more into chill, backpackers atmosphere with a bit of surf and nature you better check out Cabo Polonio and Punta del Diablo

Cabo Polonio

First ofI cant tell you how much I loved this amazing place! 
Its a colorful little bungalow village located between dunes and hills at the beach. Mostly visited by hippies or crazy people as we are. 
The village only has the electricity they gain from renewable energies. Do not expect to have wifi or any contact to the outside world. 

How to get there 
First of all to get there you either need to walk 7km or you need to take one of the huge dune jeeps. 
Cabo Polonio in the middle of a national park. Between dunes, beaches and forests. 
You will arrive with the bus at the entrance of the Nationalpark. (if you come by car you can park it there for a fee of 190 Pesos for 24 hours). 
The Jeep leaves every few hours, so might be easier to check the hours before arriving. The Jeep costs 100 pesos each ride. But seriously take the jeep. It was so much fun. And if you have the chance sit on top! Best view and adventure. 
You will ride through dunes and over the beach. Its a fun drive, for sure. 

Where to stay

Imagine Cabo Polonio as a bungalow village. Small huts randomly located next to each other over hills and dunes. Pretty amazing! During off season there where just two hostels open.  We stayed at the LOBO HOSTEL. Even during the off season there where backpackers! The hostel is amazing. Its super cute, the people working there really nice and the atmosphere more than chilled. (Mostly because everyone is stoned all day long). 
During the morning often a neighbor comes by to sell bread or space brownies. Try them but be careful. They are intense (of what I heard from people of course haha). 
During the evening you often sit outside when its not to cold around the fire. Every night there is a different dinner that you can order. If you prefer cooking yourself you can get basic stuff at a very rustical (but amazing) "supermarket" around the corner. They also sell the best chocolate cake (normal one!).
The hostel is just a super chill place. 

Be prepared that in Cabo Polonio most of the people that travel there off season are wild backpackers, stoned hippies, digital nomads or crazy roadtrippers as we were haha. 

What to do 
Do not expect to do much. Seriously the only thing you can do here is walking around in the beautiful national park. Visit the lighthouse, watch the Lobos (sealions), eat space brownies and chill at the beach. 
During evenings you sit around fires, read books, socialise and open some bottles of wine from the store. It is a perfect place for three days of relax, sunshine and total happiness. 
Get yourself a book, chill in the hammock and enjoy your life! 

Punta del Diablo

Punta del Diablo is also a very calm, chill village during off season known for its surf and chill vibe. There is not much going on. There are a few open hostels, but it can not be compared to Punta del Diablo during summer. 
Its the new hotspot for Uruguay backpackers since some years. You can see that its a pretty vibrant place during summer months. 

How to get there
There are buses running from Punta del Este, La Paloma or Cabo Polonio to Punta del Diablo. The village is located in the northern part, 50 km south of the boarder to Brazil. Coming there by car is also not that dificult. You basicly just follow the only highways that exist in the east northern part of Uruguay. 

Where to stay
The two most popular hostels are called THE DIABLO TRANQUILO (the one we stayed at) and HOSTEL DE LA VIUDA.
The diablo tranquilo is a nice hostel not far from the beach. You will find a lot of hammocks, a chill, nice inside area and an outside kitchen. Anyways the hostel has a huge outside area. They arrange every kind of tour, offer you food in the evening and FREE Breakfast. You can rent mountain bikes and surf equipment. 
The night cost around 8 dollars. The beds are a little uncomfortable, but all in all its a perfect place to stay. 

What to do
Surf. Surf and Surf. And if you do not surf rent a horse or do a sunset horseback riding tour. You could also easily walk around all day or chill at the beach.  
You could also rent a mountain bike and drive north to the Santa Teresa national park. 
The national park is just located some km north of Punta del Diablo. You can access it from the beach or from the highway. The entry is free (for sure during off season I don't know about the high season.)
You can get a Map at the entrance of the park and explore it the whole day. There are viewpoints and picnic areas. Castles and whale watching places. Due to the weather that changed between sunshine and rain we took the car to drive around. If you walk, you definitely need the whole day because its a huge place. It reminds of an us national park with summer camp feeling. 

All in all, Urugauy is the perfect off the beaten path travel destination. If you could summarize it in three words it would be: Nature, animals and weed. 

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