Aventuras en Uruguay (Adventures in Uruguay)
Trip Start Aug 01, 2009
18Trip End Nov 30, 2009
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The trip started off with a 16 hour bus ride, which isn't actually as bad as it sounds because you get to sit in these really comfortable recliner like chairs on a bus with two different levels. They feed you alfajores (the cake-like equivalent of a candy bar) and play 80s soft rock from the United States and really bad thriller/action movies. When we got to Uruguay we checked into our hostel. Once again, not the most glamorous part of the experience, but you definitely meet some interesting people
Anyways, our first day in Uruguay we hopped another bus for about two hours to Punta del Este, which is this really touristy city located on a little tiny strip of land located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Rio de Plata (think the equivalent of Door County, Wisconsin). It is one of the most spectacularly beautiful stretches of beaches I have ever seen. It isn't very crowded and the sunsets and sunrises are absolutely incredible. Although,come to think of it, the reason why it probably wasn't very crowded was because we went in the middle of winter...oh well. Doesn't make it any less beautiful. We essentially spent the entire day walking around the entire peninsula. I waded into the ocean despite the cold weather (and horrified looks from my traveling companions) and was glad in the end that I did.
Other highlights in Punta del Este (or Point of the East in Spanish) are a really old lighthouse and this incredible blue church to see
We made sure that we scheduled our bus trip back late enough so that we could stay in Punta del Este and watch the sunset over the water. I honestly mean it when I say that sunset was magical. We didn't make it all the way to the end because we got so cold, which ended up being for the best. When we absolutely could not stand being cold and were all slightly damp from sitting in the sand we went to this little cafe nearby and had dulce de leche brownie marshmallow cake and coffee. I personally slept like a baby all the way back to Montevideo.
We spent the following day in Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay. It's not exactly a very touristy city, but the buildings are pretty beautiful and there are some great parks for relaxing. Be careful with your belongings, and make sure to keep moving. A friend of mine had her camera stolen there. If I had to make a suggestion, I would say skip Montevideo (or spend an afternoon there at the most) and spend your time in Punta del Este or maybe one of the old cities close by.
Whatever you do though, do not skip over Uruguay entirely. It is definitely worth seeing, especially for the relaxed traveler who just wants some good food, a beautiful strech of beach and a sunset.