The primary reason we went to Uruguay, was to get our Suzy of the container in the port of Montevideo to start our overland expedition. Focused on this 2 days operation with 12 procedures in the best ‘Spanglish’ we could speak, we didn’t prepare well for the rest of our trip once we got the car 🙂 But hey, no problem, right?! We got some good advice from friends and people we met along the way to make it a great experience travelling along the road for the first time.
What did we like?
- The kindness of the people. The locals are heartwarming. They smile all the time, are glad to help you out and are very curious why we are in their country 🙂 There’s no problem at all to sleep in their backyards, so of course we did!
Tip: don’t forget to make friends with the police when travelling. We went to ask where we could sleep for the night and they recommended us this park nearby where they would keep an eye on us. Feeling immediately safe, right? 😀
- The coastline, wild and free. You can stop almost everywhere and don’t see anyone on the horizon.
Tip: In the dunes you can sometimes find little lakes where the water is not salted. We took the opportunity to wash ourselves in one of them (no harmful products of course). It’s a real ‘into the wild feeling’ 🙂
- The yellow flowers. You see them on every road you take, in big fields. Their color is amazing and you just feel immediately happy!
- We can understand the Uruguayan spanish very well! They don’t speak too fast and will do their very best so you can have a chat with them.
- You can camp everywhere for free! We slept in a park, in a grassfield, in gardens, besides a lagune. Possibilities are endless and it’s safe to do so.
What didn’t we like?
- To our surprise, Uruguay is really expensive! Fuel and groceries (big supermarkets and small shops) are more expensive than in Belgium. Bad surprise for our budget 🙁 That also means that cooking yourself or going to a restaurant is almost break-even so that was a nice alternative we didn’t had to feel bad about.
Tip: the vegetarian dishes are usually better than the meat dishes (they overcook the meat, even if you ask it ‘bleu’).
- Nature is beautiful in Uruguay but not very spectacular. You have a mix of green forests, palm trees, yellow fields and a coastline but no mountains or impressive wild life – except for the birds! So if you’re asking us: should we visit Uruguay the answer would be: if it’s on your way, go! If it’s not, don’t make a detour.
- Cabo Polonio, where the streets have no name (because there are no streets) 😉 It was recommended to us from locals in La Pedrera. It’s a small town on the coast line where people choose where they build their (small) houses. You can only enter with special vehicles not to damage nature. You can find a lot of art painted on the houses. The town is very colorful. You can observe sea lions up close and take a long walk on the beach.
- Punta del Diablo, a charming little beach town with surfers for daytime and a big black lagune where we could camp. What a view!
More detail planning
- Day 1-5 : Montevideo
- Waiting & prepping for the car to arrive. Montevideo is a calm town, you can easily visit it in one day.
- Day 6: Canelones
- Passing through, slept in a park.
- Day 7: Atlantida & Punta del Este
- Little trip down the coast, bathed in the dunes.
- Driving through Punta del Este, the ‘Saint Tropez’ of Uruguay. It’s a sweet spot for the rich & the famous.
- Day 8: La Pedrera
- Stayed in a retro hostel to shelter from the storm. The just opened for the new season and started their homemade cooking that night. We were happy to try it out and have a fun evening sharing stories!
- Day 9: Cabo Polonio
- Check the highlights!
- Day 9-11: Punta del Diablo
- Check the highlights!
- Day 12-13: Colonia del Sacramento
- It reminded us of a small village in the south of France. Charming but o so tiny and a place where they drop off big buses of tourists for a day. You can park your car in the local park to sleep but because we hadn’t showered in 3 days and we were planning to cross the border, we slept in a hostel 🙂
- Day 13: Fray Bentos
- Crossing the border to Argentina! We had a small problem with the papers of the car that we had translated in Spanish and apparently, we had to prove that that person was legal to do so. Just stay friendly and everything worked out! In 20 minutes the job was done.
Where to next?
Argentina, here we come!