14 February 2017- We took off on the overnight bus from Iguazu Falls headed to Concordia on the Argentinian border. At Concordia we crossed over into Uruguay and hopped on another bus to Montevideo. This 26hour+ journey was probably not one the ideal warm-up for our first night of the trip in a hostel dorm room.
At 27 years of age we were slightly concerned that we may be getting too old for the #hostellyf although our fears were somewhat allayed when we found out that we were sharing our dorm room with an Argentinian mum and her two teenage children. However, our good feeling of not being the oldest in the hostel was quickly eroded when the Argentinian family ended up staying out later than us every night.
We tried to salvage some of our Valentine’s Day by following the Hostel’s recommendation and heading out for dinner at a nearby bar. For his first taste of Uruguayan cuisine Tristan went the adventurous route and ordered Granmojo, which turned out to be some sort of weird combination of scrambled egg and potato chips. Jen played it safe and ordered Nachos but was sadly disappointed when they came out as plain corn chips with a bit of melted cheese on the side. As we returned to our dorm we agreed that it was probably one of our more disappointing Valentine’s Days.
We were spending two days in Montevideo before heading up the Uruguayan coast stopping in at various coastal towns before returning to Montevideo for a few more nights.
First stop on the coastal adventure was the hippy commune of Cabo Polonio. This was an isolated town which required transport in 4×4 trucks from the nearby bus terminal across the sand dunes to reach the town. The town was a ramshackle collection of huts with a few dirt roads and limited power. This meant dining by candlelight at night and some beautiful starry nights.
We had already booked a hostel and we had prepared ourselves for the most basic of accomodation. When we got there, Jen was pretty sure the hostel (shack) could fall down at any minute. The only thing more disgusting than our room was the bathroom. It was basically in a cupboard with a smelly urinal inside, no windows and hair everywhere!! Normally, Jen would take as long a shower as possible but during this stay she was out in record time. Luckily the beaches were so beautiful we didn’t have to spend too much time in the hostel! Jen had decided the only way to cope with our new accomodation was to get very tipsy every night, it eased the pain.
Punta Del Diablo
After two nights in Cabo Polonio it was time to move further up the coast to Punta Del Diablo, another hippy kind of town with a bit more infrastructure. After our short stretch of hostel living it was time to check into an AirBnB. Like the true backpacker Tristan thinks he is, after hopping off our bus, he made Jen walk up some mountains in the sweltering heat with their bags rather than paying for a taxi. Our spirits lifted when we saw the quaint little cottage in the bush we would be staying in! Then they were quickly quashed that first night when Tristan came down with the dreaded ‘man flu’. Needless to say it was going to be a painful couple of days for Jen.
The next day we explored some of the nearby beaches and the town of Punta Del Diablo. That night we followed our AirBnB Host’s recommendation to a nearby local “restaurant” which was down an unlit dirt road and turned out to be a little set-up in one of his neighbour’s backyards. Apart from the owner and a few dogs we were the only people there and were a bit apprehensive about the whole thing. Fortunately the food turned out to be amazing and we had some of the best fish tacos we had ever eaten. Like the adventurous backpackers we are we decided the food was so good that we had to come back the next night.
Next stop on the Uruguayan coastal odyssey was La Paloma, a sleepy little beach town on the road back to Montevideo. Unfortunately for Tristan, despite an abundance of surfers hanging about the hostel, the beach had no waves and he had to entertain himself with some ocean swimming. Jen wasn’t to be convinced to join him even though we were told that you had a higher chance of being bitten by Luis Suarez whilst in Uruguay than a shark (Luis Suarez).
Punta Del Este
Punta Del Este was our final stop before returning to Montevideo. We had originally booked in for 2 nights at a hostel here, but given its “party” reputation we quickly changed our booking to one night at a quiet hotel instead. Lest there be any interference with our usual 9pm bedtime. This worked out well as we had a nice rooftop terrace pretty much to ourselves on which to enjoy the sunset.