Uruguay, which you don’t often hear much about, is actually one of the most developed, prosperous and progressive countries in Latin America and was our 15th country to visit. Interestingly, it is also the first country to legalize the public use of marijuana. Only an hour ferry ride away from Buenos Aires (BA) is Colonia, one of the oldest European settlements in the country, unfortunately we passed through without spending much time there. It makes a fun day-trip as it has old colonial style buildings and cobblestone streets. After much research on the prices we opted to go straight on to Montevideo, the country’s capital, and then on to Puerto Del Diablo. A one-way, one-hour ferry ride to Colonia with the most popular company will set you back 105 USD, which we thought was ridiculous so we found the cheaper company that used a smaller catamaran and got round trip tickets from BA to Montevideo for 80 USD.
It was a long 12 hour day of travel starting with a taxi ride, to a ferry ride, and then 2 bus rides to arrive at Puerto Del Diablo on the eastern coast of the country. It is a small fishing village that has turned into a local summer destination only during the months of January and February. During these months there are 30 plus hostels/hotels open and multiple restaurants. When we arrived there were only 4 hostels open, a handful of restaurants, no ATMs and one taxi driver in town. It was perfect for us to have a vacation from our vacation! The beach was only a short walk from our hostel and most days had almost no one on it. It was amazing to see a beach that had no infrastructure right on it. Instead the beach was lined with large natural sand dunes. The first few days were cloudy and windy but then we had a couple miraculously sunny days without a cloud in the sky. To top of the lovely feel of the town the roads were lined with unique fern type plants and multi-colored birds.
Everyday we ran the beach separately. Getting lost in our own thoughts and having some time apart was a healthy choice for our travel situation. Being together 24-hours a day has been amazing but if you really know us you know we also love our alone time. We suggest for any couple traveling together to try to workout separately or have an afternoon apart as a healthy break. Getting caught up on movies, reading and correspondence was a nice bonus during our lazy days in this village.
After our 5 days on the beach we headed back to Montevideo for a day. We stayed at a hostel near the bus station, as our bus was to leave at 6AM the next morning. Our short visit was spent walking around “old town” which has the feel of Bourbon Street with old 2-3 story buildings with balconies. To get to these portions of town we entered through the city gate, which is the only remaining piece of the wall that once separated the old capital of Montevideo. It is a shame because if this area of the city were kept up it could be so beautiful and antique but instead is very worn down.
We enjoyed people watching as everyone here also has their Mate setup everywhere they go. On a random street corner we came across a water fountain surrounded in locks. There is a story that if 2 people’s initials are carved into a lock and placed here they will be together forever. Lunch was enjoyed at one of the many food trucks through the city that serve chorizo sandwiches with fresh salsas. Our dinner was the traditional Uruguayan sandwich called ‘chivitos’, which consists of a thin slice of filet mignon, with cheese, tomatoes, mayo, hard-boiled eggs, and ham. The quick trip to this country was well worth it and would recommend spending some time here.