Off the Beaten Track in Uruguay to a Land of Shacks and Sand, Cabo Polonio

Off the Beaten Track in Uruguay to a Land of Shacks and Sand, Cabo Polonio

If you’re heading to Uruguay and want a bit of an off-roading/secluded beach experience, check out Cabo Polonio.

Be forewarned that Cabo Polonio is pretty much “off the grid” and lacks the kinds of luxuries that some might desire (e.g. electricity, running water, hotels) but if you’re up for an adventure and want pristine sand dune beaches, ad-hoc music performances, amazing fresh food, and hippies galore- this is the place for you. 

Cabo Polonio has the feel of a beachy artist commune, replete with hammocks, sea lions, horses, character-filled shacks and all the sand you could ever want.

I think this was one of the only places where I ever felt I was witnessing the passage of time.  The day moves as gracefully and slowly as could be, giving you an opportunity to soak in every bit of it.  While you can entertain yourself with a trip to visit the lighthouse and sea lions, or a further excursion to see the Ombu trees- the real beauty of Cabo Polonio is doing next to nothing.  I laid in a hammock for hours reading, listening to the waves, enjoying someone’s laid-back guitar playing, and relaxing.  No working TVs, no Internet, just plain good ole nature to keep you occupied.


Things to enjoy in Cabo Polonio should doing nothing not be enough:

La Golosa- the food is as inspirational as the atmosphere. 
-  Staring into the dark nights and bright stars- with only candlelight to keep Cabo Polonio alit at night, the stars are as vivid as you can imagine
- The Dunes- take a stroll to the dunes and get a taste of desert life on the beack
- A visit to the lighthouse and sea lions
- An excursion to see the Ombu trees (via 1-hour boat ride)


Getting to Cabo Polonio:

There is no easy and quick way to get here but that’s part of the fun- right?  The trip from Buenos Aires includes a ferry, bus, and monster truck! 

There are no direct buses to Cabo Polonio. Instead, travelers board buses to Barra de Valizas, simply posted as Valizas on many schedules. Along the way, the driver will stop at a wide spot in the road and let off the Cabo Polonio-bound.  From Montevideo, one daily bus stops at Cabo Polonio on the way to Valizas. It leaves at 9 a.m. Buy tickets at the counter with the sign reading “Bus Ruta 9”. 

A bus station won’t greet you when you get off the bus at Cabo Polonio, but monster trucks will. The trucks charge $60 Uruguayan pesos for a one-way trip into town, a journey that will take about 30 minutes and drive over, through and across sand dunes and a beach.

The driver will push a round-trip ticket, but resist. There isn’t a price reduction for buying round-trip; plus, when you’re ready to leave, you’ll be stuck trying to find a truck run by the same company that brought you in.