My New Travel Obsession: Beaches in Uruguay

Waves crashing ashore in La Paloma

Let me start at the beginning. Due to Argentine visa restrictions, I occasionally need to make a border run to Uruguay. At first, I relished the enjoyable day trip to the coastal town of Colonia. But since summer is in full bloom in the Southern Hemisphere and I have made this trip several times, I decided that I was not going to Colonia una vez mas! It was time to seize the day. The problem was, I didn’t have much time and the best beaches in Uruguay are in the north, five to eight hours from Buenos Aires.

What is a girl to do?

The answer: Go to La Paloma. Two hours north of the absurdly posh and ridiculously expensive Punte del Este, La Paloma is a much more relaxed beach destination. An even bigger bonus, Buquebus offers a night boat-bus service that gets you there directly from Buenos Aires with a minimal stopover in Colonia.

I book myself the cheapest hostel option I can find, a bed in a 12-person dorm. Ugh. I pack an eye-mask and earplugs.

Done and done.

La Pedrera

La Pedrera

I’m making this trip solo and it has been a long time since I have traveled on my own. I am a little nervous, but more than anything, I mentally prepare myself for days of reading, writing and thinking deep pensive thoughts while taking long walks alone on the beach.

Instead, I find travel buddies, beach bars, bonfires, biking adventures and the occasional liter of beer. (It’s the only way they sell it in South America.)

Pilsen - Uruguayan Budweiser

Getting ready for my jumping photo

Bonfire Love and Music

Unexpected adventures are the best.

Largely responsible for my fun is the fact that I’m staying at the El Cruz del Sur, a local bar turned tranqui hostel with whale bones hanging from the ceiling. Sweet.

Whale Bones

For the next 4 days, this is my home. El Cruz del Sur seems to inspire guitar playing, random acts of dancing and informal cultural exchanges. The hostel is also close to the golden sands of La Aguada (beach for surfing), La Balconada (beach for watching sunsets) and Bahía Grande (a calm bay perfect for swimming). The beaches are full of shells.

Why are beaches in Uruguay my new travel obsession? Because my trip to La Paloma was awesome and it awakened a strong desire to get the hell out of the city more. On my list of places to explore: La Pedrera, Pabo Colonio and Punta del Diablo. This will not be my last post about Uruguay.

Beaches in Uruguay

La Aguada

Practical Stuff: January is high season in Uruguay. And when I say high season, I mean expensive-as-hell-all-hostels-are-booked-weeks-in-advanced season. Book ahead, or go in December, February or March.