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Posted by Jessica on Mar 21, 2005
We May Buy a Cabana There Yet...

We first heard about Punta del Diablo when we were at our hostel in Buenos Aires. At the time, we were in search of something quiet, something remote, and something with the ocean at its doorstep. Our fellow travelers, Rob and Caroline, had just been to the remote coastal village and their faces lit up when they described their visit. (We later found out that they suggested the beach to several other travelers and had also convinced them to go as well.) Of course their pitch to make our way up the coast of Uruguay to Punta del Diablo worked and we bought our boat/bus tickets to our first stop along the coast (La Paloma) the next day.

The second time we heard about Punta del Diablo was in La Paloma itself. We had visited an adorable restaurant, Nueva Bahia Chica, located just a few blocks from the ocean and immediately made friends with Victor, a local who frequented the restaurant every day. On our second visit to the restaurant, we asked Victor to recommend another beach for the remainder of our time in Uruguay. We asked that the new beach be similar to La Paloma, tranquil, and (preferably) as free from tourists as possible. Victor immediately responded by telling us about Punta del Diablo. And it was the way his eyes lit up, very much the way Rob’s and Caroline’s had, that confirmed in our minds that we would need to see Punta del Diablo for ourselves.

Although we had now received positive endorsements from three people, we were slightly skeptical if anything could compare to La Paloma for us. We had enjoyed our time there so much and had found so much peace that it was hard to imagine anything better. But, I think, the moment we stepped off the bus after our two hour ride from La Paloma (to the tune of $3.98 each), we both knew that La Paloma and Punta del Diablo would fall under completely different categories. One wasn’t better or worse then the other, they were just different. But it was this difference that captured our imaginations in Punta del Diablo and had us day dreaming about simply buying a cabaña the next day, never to return to the States. (Or, at least, not to return for a while. And no worries, Moms and Dads, we didn’t buy one. Yet.)

We spent our first hour in Punta del Diablo marveling at the sheer adorableness of it all. Tiny shacks, makeshift shops, cottages, cabañas, and what have you lined the roads...well, what one would loosely define as a road. It seems that only one of the roads had a name and none of the roads were paved. (Instead they were comprised of sand in various states: very packed, lightly packed, or basically like a beach you drive on.) The sound of the ocean crashing against the rocks and rolling onto the beach surrounded us on three sides. And we saw, literally, at least 15 dogs sleeping in the sun or wandering down the paths in just those first few minutes after our arrival.

(It should be noted that there were probably about 100 dogs in the village and these are not just dogs, they're dogs. I'm talking German Shepards, Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers, and even a St. Bernard, casually strolling around, looking adorable, and searching for a human to adopt for the day. It appears to be a regular occurrence in rural Uruguay and outdoor dogs seem to be as common as outdoor cats in the States. After the initial shock wears off, it's quite a delight to see a big, drooling, furry thing walking along in front of you on the beach. For the worried readers among you, I won't mention the day we saw the Rottweiler chasing a car full-speed down the hill...that, I must admit, was a bit, um, impressive. The car, Rotti, and innocent bystanders are fine though, no worries there.)

Our next hour in Punta del Diablo was spent walking around in search of lodging. Given the size of the village, this took all of about 20 minutes. But in that stretch of time we passed dozens and dozens of places advertising their availability for rent. (We were visiting during the off-season, which we recommend highly not only because the prices are lower but because there are less tourists too.) Unfortunately, they advertised their services with a phone number to call and, well, we didn't have a phone available. (Not to mention phones in Uruguay are an entire adventure all unto themselves....) And so we continued walking until we saw a beautiful white building up on a nearby hill overlooking the ocean about 500 meters below it. Given the size of the building (two stories and about half a block long), we guessed it was a hotel and a good place to start inquiring about available rooms. We decided if it was under $30 (which is a bit higher then we'd prefer to pay for a night's stay), we'd go ahead and book for one night and then spend the rest of the day looking for cheaper lodging.

As it turned out, the available room we were shown in the Hostel del Diablo was exactly $30. And upon seeing the room for the first time, it took us a whopping 3 minutes before I looked to Tim and said, "Ok, how about we just stay here for all 4 nights?" Not only was it a beautiful private room with it's own private bathroom, but it had two gorgeous doors (with airy, bright orange curtains that danced in the wind) that opened onto a private terrace. And, this is the kicker, our terrance had an absolutely breathtaking view of parts of the town and all of the ocean below. So, yup, we were willing to sacrifice ourselves and rough it.

Although the room was more then we like to pay, the room and everything it offered was exactly what we needed at that moment. (Not to mention we still stayed below our daily budget without any effort during our entire time there.) I know it might sound funny given what we're currently doing, but after the hectic months (hell, the hectic year) which led up to our departure from the States, Tim and I needed a comfy place to, well, basically get away from it all. (As it turns out, consolidating two apartments, selling all your earthly belongings, preparing to leave the country for twelve months, and quitting your jobs tend to add a wee bit of stress to your life. Not to mention it takes away any time for yourself and your partner. Huh, who knew?)

And so Punta del Diablo was able to give us that space, that time to just be again. And now we both understand quite well the look in the eyes of our friends when they urged us to go visit the most tranquil place in the world. In the days to come, we'll try to share a bit more of this little piece of heaven. In the meantime, though, it's suffice to say that we are very, very happy.

March 21, 2005 at 11:54pm
I keep repeating myself – but it's beautiful. I love that dogs are everywhere in the sun. It seems idyllic. Wonderful. I'm glad the two of you got some quiet time together. So much of your last year has been frenzied. You've been through lots of changes, preparing for this… so, this is good. To reap the benefits. :)
March 22, 2005 at 12:12am
That top picture just blows my mind. I've enjoyed reading this entry while listening to Michael Franti and Spearhead. It fit well together. You know…I remember the dogs from my travelling days. It was one of my favorite things. It was a little sad, but you could adopt one for a day, they were like unofficial tour guides.
Carried away
March 22, 2005 at 5:52am
Those photos are unbelievable. The light!
March 22, 2005 at 12:47pm
Beautiful! Like Juno said, that first picture is just mind-blowing.

And hurrah for free-roaming puppies!

March 22, 2005 at 1:27pm
That first pic is Pure it looks like it isn't real
March 22, 2005 at 3:12pm
That picture at the header is beyond-words-awesome! Seriously…you could put that on postcards and sell them!
Dogs running wild .. adorable village .. ocean .. sand.. sun…cottages = You Are In HEAVEN !
If I close my eyes really tight, and get into my Zen place, breathe slow, deliberately, I can almost imagine that I'm ther…NAH…damn phones keep ringing!
Pet a pooch for me and enjoy each moment!
March 22, 2005 at 5:10pm
That first picture is awesome! I just got home from taking a test and it was a perfect sight to see! I am glad that you guys are having such a great time! Enjoy! Love, Colleen
Sister Soldier
March 22, 2005 at 5:53pm
Love the pic and the story too, but as the one who once threw Tim into a closet when we were play fighting I absolutely forbid you two to buy a Cabaña in Punta del Diablo, or anywhere elese that is not near Maryland! I'm missing you two too much already.. You must come back to the states in 2006 and that's an order! No go do 20 laps around the pool! > ; o P
March 22, 2005 at 9:45pm
OHMYGOSH! These pictures are so unbelievable. That first one would win some sort of contest. Again, I am very jealous. It all looks wonderful and I'm glad you're having a wonderful time. Love you guys!
March 23, 2005 at 1:29pm
Pictures have been wonderful! I agree with Julia. Marmalade and China say hi mommy, we've been having a great time. Plan to write a travel book or contact travel magazines and show them your pictures and writing…bet you could get a contract…love you both and will e-mail soon. Mommy
Sister Soldier
March 24, 2005 at 10:06am
Listen to your Mommy Jessica! You guys make other travel shows, magazines, and books look boring. In other words you guys totally rule! Keep writing and taking those pictures, for you are an inspiration to us all… Far more than you'll ever know my dearly beloved hedgehogs.
March 25, 2005 at 7:00am
Magnifique! Don't forget to describe the sounds of the silence. The pictures last but the quality of sound soon get lost in other memories.
March 25, 2005 at 2:34pm
hello… just wanted to say hi and say wow. it's nice to live vicariously through your photos and words.
March 25, 2005 at 4:52pm
Hey guys, I agree with everyone the pictures are wonderful and so is the writing i completely agree with mom that you can do something with it. Sorry I havent wrote for awhile. Miss you guys and love you both too. bye Seana
March 28, 2005 at 11:56am
oh I found Henry the mascot duck
November 29, 2005 at 2:03am
Hi Tim & Jessica,

Love you post. I am planning to visit BsAs and might wonder off to Uruguay. Your La Paloma & P d Diablo posts really make me want to be there right now. Since I travel alone, is that generally safe in such a small town from mugging and such?

Tim the hedgehog
November 29, 2005 at 1:19pm

Your La Paloma & P d Diablo posts really make me want to be there right now. Since I travel alone, is that generally safe in such a small town from mugging and such?

Absolutely. Both La Paloma and Punta del Diablo felt completely safe and welcoming to us the entire time we were there. We're generally very safety-conscious people, but in both of those places it wasn't something that ever needed to cross our minds. :)

So when are you planning to be in South America? We miss it so much! :)

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