A Magical Peninsula

Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
Trip End May 15, 2011

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Where I stayed
A Shack On The Beach

Flag of Uruguay  ,
Monday, December 13, 2010

    In the morning we woke up early to head to our next destination. Part of the reason for the early start was because of the noisiness of the building we were staying in, but also
because we had a significant travel day ahead of us. Today we were heading to Cabo Polonio on the Southeastern coast of Uruguay. We have been very excited for this place, and had high expectations. Cabo Polonio is a very small community that sits on an isolated peninsula
that is separated from the mainland by miles of huge sand dunes. There is no electricity, except for some wind and solar power in a couple of the restaurants and in a couple of the fancier homes. To get there from Punta Del Este we had to take a one hour local bus to
the nearby town of San Carlos. From there we waited to catch the bus towards Rocha which only had standing room, and then got another bus towards Cabo Polonio in which we had a seat. Once we were dropped off at the sign welcoming us to Cabo Polonio we had to wait for the huge
4x4 modified monster truck to take us on a 15 minute ride over the sand dunes and into the town. The first glimpse of Cabo Polonio is the peninsula off in the distance with waves crashing against it and scattered shacks/houses randomly dispersed across the rocky and sandy

    When we got dropped off there were about 10 people standing with their backpacks on, with same confused looks as we had. “Where do we go to find housing?” we asked them.
Since nobody had any clue, we just wandered around in a big group asking some locals about renting houses. Eventually we found the local hostel, which was somewhat pricy but in a nice location right on the beach, and with hot water for showers. We met a really nice French couple named Diane and Ben who decided that they wanted the true Cabo Polonio experience, as did we, and wanted to rent a house. Diane spoke great Spanish, thanks to her Colombian stepmother, so she was our translator as we tried to find a place for the two couples to share. We asked the hostel owner if he knew of any, and a couple of hours later a friend of his showed us a couple of extremely rustic places that we decided were not going to work for the four of us. By our good fortune we met another local who had a nice place for rent for slightly more money.
(1000 pesos a night. $50 for the four of us.) we promptly took it, and the four of us settled in.
    Cabo Polonio moves at its own snail like pace. You can't help but get into the relaxed vibe that
permeates every part of this place. In the morning we woke up to a glimmer of sunlight coming through the window and the rhythmic sound of waves crashing only a few steps from our beds. Once we woke up we would lazily start our days by relaxing in the hammock on our front
porch and drinking tea prepared from the water that we got by pumping it from the well in the back. After staring at the lack of activity in our immediate view for a little while, we took a walk to one of the many beaches to get some of the potent sun. On one side of the peninsula there is a lighthouse, that serves as Cabo Polonio's only landmark. Below this, is a rocky outcropping into the water that is home to a huge colony of Lobos (Sea Lions) We sat for a long time just observing the hundreds of sea lions that played and fought both on the rocks and in the huge waves just off the shore. On one of the days a big wind storm brought huge waves and many dead baby sea lions washed up onto the beach which brought an interesting smell to the
    After some daily lunch in the “downtown” area and some freezing cold beers we wandered back to our home to escape the hottest part of the day in the shade of our porch. The only sounds, even during the day, are the waves and some occasional reggae music coming from the hostel on the beach. As the sun was starting to go down we went to the local convenience store to
pick up fire wood and the supplies for our nightly BBQ over open flame in our backyard pit. It was very quiet and dark at night, as it is still a few weeks away from the high season. During the winter
there are only about 60 inhabitants in Cabo Polonio, but this number skyrockets to almost 1000 in the height of the summer. While we were there we could only see a few other houses with candle light coming from their windows during the night. The stars were so bright, and on our last night there we followed the moonlight out to the sand dunes and played on them until we were saturated with sand. We had only intended on staying for 2 nights but bargained the price of the house down a little bit, and were able to afford a third night in this magical place. It was really sad to leave but it was time, as the only shower we had had for the last three days was from dumping
buckets of cold water over our soap covered bodies. It is hard to explain exactly how serene and relaxing Cabo Polonio is. It is such a unique and special place that we feel lucky to have spent a few days at. It also nice to have made some good friends who's Spanish abilities and laid back attitudes helped make the trip even more enjoyable.

    Next up is a long travel session to get back into Argentina, as we venture deeper into the continent.

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David Liddell on

Great to catch up with your blog, just read Zoe's too,got to do something when you trapped inside by the worst winter in 40 years!!

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