Sunday, April 1, 2012

The beach and desert weekend in Valizas, Cabo Polonio and La Paloma

After we confirmed to stay one more week in Uruguay, leaving the city Montevideo to other place of the country became a long-standing plan in mind. Although there were still many museums and films of the festival to be reason of staying, the cheaper bus tickets (compared to Brazil and Argentina) and the convenience to go from the city to any part of the countries within the five hours made us want to go out. Therefore we went to the eastern coast of the country, famous for beach.
The bus ticket to Valizas is sensible in term of tourist’s budget, but it’s a little expensive to us. Therefore we decided to pack a budget trip: taking tent and hitch-hiking for the trip back, so we packed light but still have a tent without stove. The bus started early in the morning (7am), we started off a little late and therefore had to take a taxi to be on time. We failed on the first move of a budget trip: taking a taxi. After 4.5 hours we were in the small village Valizas. Taking the advice from Danial our host we bought food from the supermarket there. Then we walked along the long beach, which actually stretched along the east coast of the whole country from the luxurious punta del este (which was claimed to be the resort for hollywood stars) up to Chuy, which was near Brazilian border. There is the classic walk from Valizas to Cabo Polonio through the dessert like beach. Even there are sand dunes with fine sands that people can horse ride through or drive a 4x4 trekking through. We saw the sunset on the land and then found a place having a tree sheltering the wind and set-up a tent, then we saw lots of stars and the galaxy above us. It was a very good night.

The next morning we woke up to see a clear sky and the sun coming out from the sea, the first time in my life. Any cloud in the end of the horizon will make such sight impossible. It was like a red egg floating out of the sea and pushing the darkness and coolness of night away. No wonder the sun has been praised and worshiped by many different cultures and religions; even seen as god itself, but indeed it was the work of God. We went back to sleep after the sunrise and let the warmth of the noon woke us again. We were undisturbed at the middle of a sea-side dessert. It was a nice experience.


We started off to Cabo Polonio at noon. It was supposed to be a free land for hippies who built personal houses with different colors and styles. However, now it became so touristy that it was not free anymore and only touristy place. There we saw a few sea-lions left from the larger crowd who stayed for summer earlier. If it was summer there should be penguins as well. After we saw the lighthouse we took a local truck connecting to the main road. I would rather like the truck crossing the desert, but it went around it.

When we got to the mainroad, we tried the first successful hitch-hiking in Uruguay. At the back of a small truck of a family we went for 10km to near the Paloma, another beach town and it was more expensive than the previous one due to the tourist business. Therefore we went to the nearby smaller town Costa Azul, where we found a small church with water for clean-up. Then we walked to the end of the coast to find a place to camp. We could have found some vacant house to stay in the balcony facing the sea, but it was a risk that we needed not to take, given some natural habitat nearby. It was also another comfortable night with shelters of trees from the wind. In the next morning, we were less lucky than the previous one and the sun just came out from the cloud in the horizon. On the coast of Costa Azul there were supposed to be whales and we did see some fins of whales in the far end of the sea !

There was a port on our way between Costa Azul and La Paloma; we thought about trying luck to see any sailboat on the way to Punte del Este or even Montevideo. Without luck we sat there and saw only a few boats. One was a sailboat with canadian flag, probably on a long trip, given the gas tank at the stern and the solar cell hanging out. Accepting the reality that there would be no free boat trip going south, we went to La Paloma, hang around in the less interesting beach and light house. We then started the hitch-hiking journey back by going south.


  1. Hi! Nice trip! Im planning to do a similar trip and i would like to know how much did it cost to go by taxi from Mtvd to cabo Polonio. Thanks!

  2. Hi Guiherme, it will be very expensive to take taxi from Mtvd to cabo Polonio. I suggest taking a bus from the main bus station to Cabo Polonio, there is bus everyday going there.

    1. The taxi we took was only inside Mtvd downtown, to the bus station. We had planned to take public bus to the bus station but we were late.


You can give comment easier by being our followers. You can also do that as anonymous or put your name in the message. Meet you somewhere in future.