Cabo Polonio / Uruguay
This beach is far out, 7km by 4×4 truck away from the highway. So remote and off the grid that the few hundred homes have no plumbing or electricity. Instead, they use solar and wind power, pull up water from wells or collect rainwater, some of the restaurants run generators, sometimes. The annual population is 95 humans and infinite sea lions (home to one of the largest populations in South America). The West facing side is spotted with small, beautifully maintained white homes and facing West you’ll find layers of colorful restaurants serving up simple beach eats and hippie (hate to classify, but really) stalls offering all things crafted of seashell and the like.
When I visited 13 years ago I thought it was the most magical place and returning as an adult (well, mostly) I still felt the same way. Seems that the rustic, off the grid lifestyle is cherished and and maintained by dwellers (year-round and summer).
Lucy’s a popular lady, so again we were welcomed into someone’s (beautiful) home, to chat on the deck facing the ocean. Santiago, the grandson of Lucy’s friend and around our age, offered us up some wetsuits and boards and we got to go surf clean little waves, off the coast of this offbeat community. It was one of those moments I wished we had a Gopro to capture, which is the modern way of saying I will remember it regardless. Lucy’s friend took us to visit her cool granddaughters, one selling cups of tomatoes layered in infused oil (healthiest beach snack!) and the other serving cold beers at a bar tucked into the dune. What a cool family! We hope to return again in the next few years.
At a glance…
- Do hang on the beach, go for a surf (there are board rental shops, just ask around). Visit the lighthouse and the sea lions lounging on the rocks.
- Sleep at a hostel on the hippie side, or for a few hundred dollars a night you can rent one of the beautiful bungalows on the other side (check AirBnB).
- Eat in town at one of the restaurants where the waves are basically lapping against your feet. Maybe grab a beer later on at sunset right on the beach, before hopping on the last buggy home.
- Don’t miss the sunset.
- Tips Catch a 4×4 park at the entrance off Ruta 10 (at Km264.5) and buy a roundtrip ticket. To see all the beaches in Uruguay try hop on hop off Summer Bus.