Sunday, October 25, 2009

La Paloma and Cabo Polonio, Uruguay

I spent part of my last week in the department of Rocha, an area of Uruguay with Atlantic beaches. I visited two towns, La Paloma and Cabo Polonio.

My wonderful host in Montevideo, Aliusha, kindly recommended that I stay at her family’s cottage in La Paloma (which literally means “the dove”). I took her offer and was pleasantly surprised that the cottage had views of the ocean and was only two blocks from the beach!

La Paloma is a beach town that is very rustic, unlike its glitzy, commercialized counterpart, Punta del Este. In fact, the town is surrounded by forests and cattle (e.g., cows, horses) were grazing outside my cottage! The town gets very crowded during the summer but very empty during the rest of the year. I happened to visit during their “down time,” which was great as I got miles and miles of beach to myself. There was not a single soul in sight! I was surprised at how empty the town was. In fact, there seemed to be barely any locals around. Everyone who was there seemed to be busy building homes, hopefully ready for the coming summer.

The other town I visited in Rocha was Cabo Polonio. This town next to the beach is so remote that people have to take 4WDs to enter. The town is famous for two things--seals and sand dunes. The dunes were nowhere as large and impressive as those in Namibia, but were nevertheless aesthetically pleasing when juxtaposed to the ocean. Upon leaving, I was very lucky to secure a ride from the 4WD drop-off point (by the highway) back to La Paloma, courtesy of traveling Spaniards. Otherwise, I would have had to wait over an hour on the highway. This area is so empty (the beach towns are surrounded by farmland) that hitchhiking did not seem feasible.

No comments:

Post a Comment