Trip Start Jan 24, 2007
Trip End Mar 22, 2007

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Flag of Uruguay  ,
Friday, February 9, 2007

Decided to make our way back from Brazil to Buenos Aires via Uruguay, plan was to be in BsAs for the 18th when Boca were playing at home ! We would have liked to stay in Brazil for Carnaval but it would have meant giving up either North Argentina or Peru / Bolivia and it would have put a major dint in our funds. Basic backpacker accommodation in Rio was costing US$100 per night and you had to stay a minimum of 6 nights !! 

Got a 7 hour bus from Floripa to Punto Alegre overnight. Thought we could get a bus to Punta del Diablo in Uruguay early in the morning but there didnīt seem to be anything leaving until that night. Then we found out about one bus that was leaving for Chuy (border town) at midday so we decided to go for that. Well talk about the slow boat to China, it stopped in every little small village in Southern Brazil until it eventually dumped us in Chuy at 9pm that night ! The next bus to Punta del Diablo wasnīt until 11pm so we decided to get a taxi. By the time we arrived at our accommodation, we had been travelling for 24 hours !

Punta del Diablo is certainly different - no cash machines, nowhere accepts credit cards, most of the buildings are little shacks, the road is not really a road but a dirt track, no english speakers, all Uruguayans and Argentinian tourists - I liked it, it definitely had character. Didnīt do too much there as we only had one full day, which we spent walking along the beaches. That night had a lovely meal with live music - really enjoyable. 

Got the bus to Punta del Este and found our way to our one star hotel - awful is the only word I can use to describe it. The owner (who looked like a witch) led us up to our room, which had two tiny single beds and about a million mosquitos flying around the place. She left us, we took one look at each other and said letīs get out of her. She had taken a copy of my passport but no credit card details so were alright, we made our excuses and legged it. Made our way to the hostel where Caroline and Paul (the couple from Clare) were staying and got a room there. Was very basic, dorm style and expensive but at least it was mosquito free and we would have a bit of craic there with lots of ppl around and a bar downstairs.

Went to the cinema that night to see Blood Diamond, all the films here (apart from the animated ones) are in English with Spanish subtitles, excellent film - loved it but fairly violent and disturbing. Next day, we walked around the shops and went to the beach. Punta del Este is like the San Tropez of South America, very wealthy with lots of fab hotels and a really big yacht club with lots of amazing boats docked at the harbour. In the evening, visited the seals down at the harbour and watched the fisherman skinning their fish. Next day, we were fairly hungover as we had stayed late in the bar, went to the beach for an hour or two and then got the bus to Montevideo, the nationīs capital.  

We treated ourselves to a room in the Ibis hotel, which was actually the same price as our dorm room in Punta del Este so that shows you how expensive that place is. Went for food and then back to our room to watch cable TV - HBO, ESPN, Warner, Fox - very sad but allowed when you have been deprived of TV for so long. Next day we wandered through the city and then got our bus to La Colonia.

Headed out around La Colonia that evening, the old part of the city is really beautiful, all cobbled streets, watched the sunset down by the water and got some really cool photos of it. Went for a lovely meal around there then. All very appropriate as it was Valentineīs night ! Next day, we walked around a bit more, spent a bit of time sun-bathing by the water and then got our ferry to Buenos Aires.

Summary / Observations:
Uruguay has good beaches but it is expensive especially compared to Argentina, glad we saw it and it was a good way to get back to Buenos Aires but wouldnīt go out of my way to visit it especially with so many other fab places to go in South America (sorry Uruguay).
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