Chill-out Uruguay style

Trip Start Jan 04, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Uruguay  ,
Friday, January 18, 2013

After the marvel of the Iguacu falls we decided to move onwards to Uruguay. It took us almost 24 hours on the bus, with a pit stop for the night in the border town of Chui, where we got a first taste of the difference with Brazil, most people spoke Spanish, the difference in food- more close to western comfort food and a lot of Italian also, beer was sold only in huge 1 litre bottles, coffee was shocking.

Uruguay is a small country with only 3 million people. Its mostly plains and farmlands, its main produce cattle and grain, but we were headed for the coast, wishing for some more days of beach-bumming. We also wished for a cheaper stay than Brazil had been, now we can only laugh about this, as we soon discovered that Uruguay, in season, is more expensive than even Brazil. In the main resort area Punta del Este you could be charged as much as 180 US dollars for a bunk in a hostel dorm, shocking. But we heard good things about a small village of Punta del Diablo, very popular with young people, cheaper and its main charm- extremely hippie and bohemian. 

It took us a long time to form any impressions about Uruguay. Its just so completely different from any place we had ever been to, we could catch no reference point, no similarities to something else. As we drove down from the bus station in a minivan the stereo was blasting cowboy hip hop music and our eyes were gazing at the curious sight of the village- wide dusty roads stemming from the dunes on the coast, little ramshackle huts scattered around, all different shape and size. It was a wonderful strangeness though, an elating and exciting strangeness. 
And till now, our third day here- the concrete sensation about this place still seems to elude us. It seems to change here as fast as the weather does. In Punta del Diablo you should go out with clothes for two seasons. You can be roasting under the sun one minute, the next a chilly wind (the wind is ever-present here) can make you shiver, then you are hot again, looking up to a clear sky and two minutes later you are soaked from a sudden shower. Also the character of the town changes from Caribbean at times, desert cowboy at times, I even got a sense of an Estonian fishing village here once. Day-time it can seem like a deserted ghost town, then suddenly out of nowhere a hive of activity will start with a market by the sea, selling all sorts of hippie clothes and trinkets, and the bars will suddenly be packed, live music, mainly reggae will be played in several places, and the parties will not stop till around 5 in the morning.

The Uruguayans themselves are lovely, always friendly and their English can be remarkably good. They have no indigenous influence here, so most people are of the European descent, mainly Spanish or Italian. 
But the most important part is that we love this place. Its utterly chilled out and too easy to get stuck in. So we have just extended our stay by a few days... :)
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okei on

So happy to see
your updates here!
I clicked on e-mail
notifications, but
they don't work, so
I only discovered
your last few blogs
when I dropped by.
Happy happy
happy travels :)

hilletulp on

Great to see you as always okei! Hope you are doing fantastic yourself! Much metta! xxx

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