The plan is to travel around South America. Montevideo, Uruguay, was my first stop, primarily so my bike (later named Rodriguez), would have a safe landing. Uruguay has a reputation for low corruption and safety. But those details are covered here.
Punta Del Este
Punta Del Este was next on the list. I spent two weeks there in the off season. It felt like living in a ghost town. Most shops were closed, some even boarded up. Traffic lights on the main road were turned off. I stayed about two blocks from the harbour that was filled with luxury yachts, almost none of which were used. Empty luxury hotels towered over the empty empty beachfront. Yet the locals insist the town is a thriving hub of activity from November to around March. I’ll take their word for it.
The town is superbly maintained. It has all the trappings that attract tourists. Fine dining, entertainment, shopping, are found everywhere. The beach spans the length of the town and though empty when I visited, I imagine it is immensely popular in warmer weather.
Winter, unfortunately is not the ideal time of year for a town like Punta Del Este. The combination of the cold, rain, and heavy winds make for a miserable off-season climate.
Maldonado is one town over, about a 15 minute drive. It is neither as stylish or luxurious as Punta Del Este, and is where the workers of Punta Del Este live. I took a ride through the town and despite it being not as fancy, it felt less fake. It felt like a town where people lived, not just a town people visited.
Punta Del Diablo
I headed to Punta Del Diablo for three nights. The town is small and quaint, and almost every house is unique, which gave it an authentic feel.
The town is pretty small, with the beach close by. Much like Punta Del Este, the town is very quiet in the off season, but is apparently a hive of activity otherwise. The town is perfect for relaxing and taking a break from regular life. I rented a mini house that made very clever use of space, including using a ladder that doubles as a staircase to access the bedroom upstairs.
The nearest fuel stop is 15km from the town and Chuy, to the east, borders Brazil. It’s very convenient for a bit of cheap and/or duty free shopping. About 8km from the town is Laguna Negra, a stunning and huge lake. You either need your own vehicle to get to it, or you’re in for a very long walk, but spending an afternoon there is highly recommended.
After 3 nights in Punta Del Diablo I was off to a Melo, but that’s for the next post …