Backpacking in Uruguay

By now also the second country of my trip did already pass by… Uruguay. Yes! It is in latinamerica but compared to all other countries in that area it seems really different for me. One example: Did you ever hear of Mate? Well seems like that is the only drink they have ;). Seriously … no matter where you go, nearly every person has its cup of mate in his hands. So here I want to show you my experience in that country and obviously also what there is to do in Uruguay.

Uruguay

First of all I want to mention that Uruguay was way diferent then I expected it to be. Being there in summer the landscapes are really green and in general there is a beautiful mix of palm trees and other vegetation besides the many cows the country has next to all its roads.

Green Landscape uruguay
Green landscape with palm trees in Uruguay

Of course the country seems very small but compared to its size it actually has even less inhabitants which you can recognize on the many but very small villages all over the country. Sadly I feel like I didn’t have enough time for that country so I could basically just visit the coastline. Anyway already there is a lot to see and to do as a backpacker. However – Uruguay is very expensive for a latin american country so if you are looking for a cheap place to travel… that’s not what you want to do! Also it was interesting to see hat the country appeared like a mix of a european and a latin country. To understand what I mean with that… just go there by yourself!

Montevideo

Montevideo, the capital and only really big city of the country is the obvious starting point arriving by plane. Still it didnt seem like an international city as the airport is really small! Also pretty much all of its center is easily walkable so there are no worries for taking buses or anything like that. Doing this kind of walking is also really beautiful as the city is by itself.

City Center Montevideo
City Center Montevideo

You can find parties for the night very easy and to me it seems like in all different styles. In the city and also very close to there are a lot of beaches to hang out and relax. But my favourite part was definetly to walk around the Parks at the street La Rambla! It is a very inspiring green ozean front with a very beautiful view.

Park La Rambla Montevideo
Ozean view at La Rambla in Montevideo

Still there is no need to stay in the city for many days. Also the small villages up the coast are more beautiful and interesting to spend some time. That’s why I went to Punta del Este / La Barra, Barra de Valizas / Cabo Polonio and Punta del Diablo.

Punta del Este / La Barra

Punta del Este is like the most famous touristy town of the country. So especially in the summer holidays around January it is pretty crowded and even more expensive than usually.

Fingers in Punta del Este
Fingers in Punta del Este

That’s why I decided not to stay there but really close in the village of La Barra. There I did stay in a place called THC Hostel. Yes! Weed is legal in Uruguay so yo can imagine which kind of giant plants were all over the Hostel. However the town itself wasn’t that much hippie like yet. But it is definetly worth a visit as its a cute town for tourism. Honestly Besides going out and relaxing on the beach I didn’t find anything to do so for me one night was enough!

Barra de Valizas / Cabo Polonio

Barra de Valizas and Cabo Polonio are two villages that are really close to each other. Cabo Polonio is probably the more famous one as it is in a natual reserve and there is no electricity! That’s why friends recommended me to spend a night there with seeing all the stars. Sadly there were just really expensive places left so I decided to go to Barra de Valizas. Actually this decision was really lucky because here comes my favourite part of Uruguay. Between those villages there are sand dunes so arriving in Valizas I decided to hike really early in the morning (7am! Otherwise I would have not been able to stand the sun) cross those sand dunes to Cabo Polonio. The way was really beautiful and doable in 3 hours.

Sand Dunes Valizas and Cabo Polonio
Sand dunes in the hike from Valizas to Cabo Polonio

Cabo Polonio itself is obviously really small and even in the touristy season pretty quiet. Honestly it is the most hippie town I have seen in my life! So don’t miss this when in Uruguay. I had some beers in the village before hiking back next to the coast the 3 hours in the evening. The hike can be done crossing the sanddunes or just along the coast – both ways were really worth it!

Coast Valizas and Cabo Polonio
Hiking in the coast between Valizas and Cabo Polonio

That hiking was definetly my favourite activity in Uruguay. Even though I would have liked to stay one night in Cabo Polonio I was really happy that I stayed in Valizas to do this hike.

Punta del Diablo

For me Punta del Diablo is the city you shouldn’t miss in Uruguay. It is surrounded by huge beaches so you will definetly find your own private space!

Beach in Punta del Diablo
Big beaches in Punta del Diablo

It is also really small but still has one club that is open every night to go out to! Here I actually want to recommend a Hostel as it is one of the best I have been to: “Compay Hostel”. For Uruguay the vilage seemed also pretty cheap. If I would have had more time I could have stayed very long in that cute vilage.

So in genereal Uruguay is an amazing country to visit! I am sure it has way more to offer than I have seen and even that small part that I know was really beautiful! Still I wouldn’t recommend it if you are planning to do a really low budget trip… better go to central america or somewhere north.

For more Photos check out Instagram with #maxploringuruguay

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