Uruguay was just a ‘maybe’ on our original rough plan for travelling, but we’re really glad we went. This little country sits between Argentina and Brazil on the Atlantic coast of South America. The main tourist attractions are along the coast, but we also managed to see a small part of the interior of the country. It is an interesting country, with a pretty liberal government and a more European outlook.
Uruguay is short of ‘must do’ attractions but the countryside and coastal scenery are beautiful. We enjoyed a week with a hire car exploring the coast, from the wild and rugged beaches in the north down to the more manicured beach resorts in the south. A real highlight was staying out in the sierra at Caballos de Luz, getting to really enjoy horse-riding and experience life off-grid.
Hiring a car is not something we’d thought we’d be doing when we left the UK, South America not being somewhere known for great roads, and backpackers not tending to hire cars on a budget. However, we’ve really enjoyed our road trips, we found them a not too expensive alternative to public transport, and they were all a great way to see the countries outside of the main tourist hot spots. Our fourth and final road trip, despite a few car problems, was no exception.
Day 1: Montevideo to Punta del Este
We left our flat in Montevideo and stood in the sun at a bus stop, we’d crossed that road quite a few times in the last few days and pretty much always had to wait for buses to pass. This day however there didn’t seem to be any around. One came past but we checked and it didn’t go near the main bus station so we kept waiting. We got chatting to a guy at the stop and he said there was some kind of strike on. We waited a bit more but in the end, after almost an hour, we decided to use Uber and get a taxi all the way to the airport where we were picking up our hire car. Eventually we made it and were sitting in our hire car and ready to go on road trip number four!
After Iguazu falls we spent a few days in Buenos Aires before heading off to Uruguay. At this point we had just over two weeks of our trip left, time for a little exploration of Uruguay before heading back to Buenos Aires for our final weekend.
We started our Uruguayan travels in the town of Colonia-del-Sacramento, known locally as Colonia. It’s a small town with a beautiful historic centre, a nice place to spend a bit of time relaxing after hectic Buenos Aires.
We arrived by boat from Buenos Aires on the Colonia Express ferry, covering the 27 miles of the Rio Plata between Argentina and Uruguay in about an hour and a half. We arrived at a fairly run down looking port, heading through old shipping containers made into a makeshift walkway and past some sad looking buildings. Then suddenly we came into a new terminal building, very smart but unfinished and not quite connected to the port just yet! From this arrival we weren’t quite sure what to make of Uruguay yet.