8. – 16. Jan 2019
Having arrived in Uruguay (NOTE: Don’t buy the ferry ticket to Montevideo since there is NO direct route with Colonia Express. The ship takes you to Colonia – a nice city you should definitely take a look at first.), and then you are put into a bus to Montevideo right after immigration.
In Montevideo we just dropped our bags at Buens Vibras Hostel (it was ok, but not really the best one I’ve ever had – kept very simple) and walked to the city center in order to take part in the Curioso Free Tour of the Old Town (Mon-Fri 10:30am & 3:30pm / Sat 11:00am @ Plaza Independencia / in English and Spanish / also offering tours of Parque Rodo and Punta Carretas). It was a great way to experience the city with lots of funny hints and historic background stories. Our tour guide Florencia was amazing and even had a typical surprise for us at the end. During this tour we also got to know Caroline and David who would become our new travel buddies. When the day got to an end, we enjoyed the beautiful sunset at the beach. The next day, we just took a stroll through the park and along the promenade before taking the next bus.
Having arrived in Punto Diablo (NOTE: At the bus stop, catch a van that takes you to your hostel or wherever you want to go for a small amount of money.), we just had a drink at the beach bar, and soon went to sleep at El Diablo Tranguilo – a hostel with a very laid-back atmosphere. The next day, it was raining cats and dogs but nevertheless, we got our rain jackets out of the bag and walked 9 km to the National Park Santa Teresa where we gazed at marvelous green palm trees, lots of flowers, birds, and fish in a tropical surrounding. The way back along the beach was very exhausting because of the pouring rain and the wind clashing in our faces.
From there, we took the bus to Cabo Polonio, a natural reserve at the Atlantic coast where you have to be picked up by a four-wheeled truck at the terminal. Thus, we were taken through the woods and the sea to a couple of houses without electricity and hot water, and this is what our hostel there looked like – what an experience:
The next day, we discovered the town, strolled along the beach, and paid a visit to the seals and sea lions hanging out at the shore near the lighthouse. What an amazing piece of earth!
When we arrived in Punta del Este later on, our first thought was WHAT A DIFFERENCE! We stayed in the neighborhood “La Barra” in the cozy Hostel Seven, but still, this was a vibrant Miami-style city with lots of shady clubs and bars, fancy restaurants, and high-class villas and holiday homes. It was amazing to see this in the middle of Uruguay – one would not have expected it.
Having missed to see Colonia on the day we had arrived in Uruguay, we took the bus (transfer in Montevideo) to this small city in the South. And it’s really worth seeing it. From our hostel it was only a short stroll and we were standing right in the middle of the Old Quarter with its churches, colonial-style houses, the town wall, and the harbor. From there, we took a bus to Salto, stayed in a home stay owned by a very nice Uruguayan lady, and crossed the border to Argentina the next day where we took the night bus from Concordia to Puerta Iguaçu. The buses here are very comfortable, especially when you buy “semicama” or “cama”.