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Cabo Polonio: Sand Lover’s Paradise

Somewhere up the coast of Uruguay, about halfway between Punta del Este and Punta del Diablo you will find the tiny caserio of Cabo Polonio. Or maybe you won’t. No roads go to to this laid back beach town, it’s separated from the main highway by several miles of mud dirt and sand paved roads. You have two options to get there really:

1. Walk. It’s only 4 hours from Punta del Diablo on foot I’m told.

2. Catch one of these hilarious looking pick up truck buses:

After a pleasant teeth-jostling ride you’ll arrive in town. If you can even really call it a town. According to wikipedia the population in 2011 was 95 people. There are no roads, no running water and variable electricity (there is wifi though, just like everywhere in Uruguay). The place consists mainly of a few ramshackle houses, hostels and restaurants spread out across the sand and grass sprinkled with the odd horse, turkey or rabbit.

The place has a decidedly hippie feel, and quite a few of the omnipresent Uruguayan hippies selling bracelets, smoking joints and drinking mate. Aside from the hippies it’s become a bit of a daytripper tourist experience, with huge amounts of people being carted in for a few hours to poke around. Nonetheless it’s an incredibly unique little town.

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17 Responses to Cabo Polonio: Sand Lover’s Paradise

  1. Cori March 20, 2012 at 9:42 AM #

    Stop it! You are REALLY making me want to go to Uruguay, and in the near future. This looks absolutely amazing, looks like what I have been searching for. How is the swimming here if you did any? Great article as always…

    • Steph March 20, 2012 at 2:42 PM #

      Thanks! I didn’t get a chance to go swimming here unfortunately, but if it’s anything like the water elsewhere on the coast it would have been CHILLY. Now is technically off season- the high season is Dec-Feb.

  2. John March 20, 2012 at 10:54 AM #

    Amazing that they still have wifi there! It seems to be just about everywhere now…

  3. Nicole (colehaber.com) March 20, 2012 at 11:51 AM #

    Any idea why they installed wifi before running water? I am fascinated! Love all the cool places you’re going.

    n

    • Steph March 20, 2012 at 2:43 PM #

      Kind of says something about their priorities! I believe they used well water.

  4. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures March 20, 2012 at 3:37 PM #

    I’m dying to visit! I’ve heard such cool things about this place.

  5. Sophie March 20, 2012 at 11:35 PM #

    Love to see articles about Cabo Polonio. Such a quirky cool place. I did a road trip back in November up and down the coast of Uruguay with a pitstop in Cabo Polonio. It was definitely a highlight. If you’re interested here are my pics from the trip: http://mirabile-travel.com/2011/12/16/how-to-roadtrip-uruguays-coast/

  6. Jenny March 21, 2012 at 8:02 AM #

    That looks like so much fun! I will have to add Uruguay to my travel lust list for when I make it to South America. Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. Hogga March 21, 2012 at 9:40 AM #

    See I’m not that crazy about sand but I’d check out this place. Looks like a lot of fun!

  8. suki March 21, 2012 at 3:55 PM #

    Looks like such a relaxing place! You guys definitely have me putting Uruguay on my list of places to go.

  9. Bobbi Lee Hitchon March 21, 2012 at 5:43 PM #

    This is definitely off the beaten track. I’ve been wanting to visit Uruguay for years and places like this just make me want it more. Thanks for sharing this place and posting such amazing photos. I will get there one day soon. Just not sure if I’ll ever want to leave!!

  10. Ron | Active Planet Travels March 21, 2012 at 8:05 PM #

    That pick up truck bus looks seriously sketchy…you didn’t sit at the far back did you? lol I love the photos though! I wouldn’t have ever guessed that a horse would be in this area though…got to love Uruguay!

    • Steph March 21, 2012 at 8:17 PM #

      Haha no, I sat in the front big, above the cab. Better view!

  11. Amanda March 25, 2012 at 12:35 AM #

    Looks like a fun, funky place! And so colorful! I love your photos.

  12. avalizas March 30, 2012 at 6:22 PM #

    I’d rather not walk from Punta del Diablo to Cabo Polonio! From Valizas it’s already a two hour walk 😉 They’ve been joking, it’s a least a 2 day walk! So it’s better to take a bus, which will take you there in 1 hour. Saves you a lot of time and some blisters as well 😉

  13. Inés April 3, 2014 at 11:56 AM #

    There’s not running water because Cabo Polonio is a protected area, so no plumbing is allowed except for some people who afford the extra taxes it requires. Also, you can arribe by horse riding following the beach! I was there by all ways, walking though the dunes (al night!! Surreal), by the lovely tucks, and my favourite by far is by horse.
    Come back! The interior of Uruguay has a local flavor that tourist-not-tourist will defenitive appreciate.

  14. Kaira November 12, 2014 at 1:25 PM #

    Love your post. Amazing photos! I will use this post as inspiration for my next post.

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