(Colonia del Sacramento --> Montevideo --> Punta del Este --> Punta del Diablo --> Valizas --> Cabo Polonia)
Colonia del Sacramento
A hop over from Buenos Aires on the “Bouque” (boat, well the South Americans call all boats ships!) to Colonia del Sacramento. The journey was just an hour long. We were served champagne and nibbles. A nice way to start the morning, the first thing to ingest, champagne! Yes, we are backpacking in style! An easy trip over. It was just a shame we were unable to enjoy the view of Buenos Aires as we departed this great city, as there was no outside viewing area.
Colonia del Sacramento was founded in 1680 by Portuguese. The colony was later disputed by the Spanish who settled on the opposite bank of the river at Buenos Aires. The colony was conquered by Jose de Garro in 1680, but returned to Portugal the next year. It was conquered again by the Spanish in March 1705.
Now part of the independent country of Uruguay, Colonia del Sacramento has expanded to the north and east, but the original historical area retains its irregular, terrain-fitting street plan built by the Portuguese, contrasting with the wider streets in the newer Spanish area.
We thoroughly enjoyed wandering around the picturesque cobble stone streets. The weather was amazing and almost too hot (believe it or not)! We love the heat, however, one of the days we were there it was almost unbearable as there was no breeze! It was over 40 degrees centigrade! We loved the artisan shops; cafes and especially hearing Danza Kudra by Don Omar being sung live by a waiter at a restaurant as we were walking by one night! One of the other amazing sights in Colonia was seeing the sunset over Buenos Aires in the distance. It was amazing to be able to see the buildings of Buenos Aires in the distance!
From Colonia we took a two hour bus ride and to the city of Montevideo.
The capital, Montevideo, is the largest city and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento. The city was under brief British rule in 1807 and was involved in the first major naval battle in the Second World War - the Battle of the River Plate. Montevideo has a rich architectural and cultural heritage, which includes tango and candombe. The architecture of Montevideo reflects its history, ranging from colonial to Art Deco, and influenced by Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French and British immigrants. It is rea
Our time in Montevideo was unique and made perfect because of our awesome CouchSurfing hosts, Tamara and Matias. Tam collected us from the bus station and took us to their apartment which is by the sea about 15 minutes drive into the city. They were such kind, generous and fun hosts! We had such a fantastic cultural and local experience thanks to them! They took us around the city and out for a fantastic asado / parilla lunch at the local market. Dean sure loved the mass amount of meat on offer for lunch!
We also got to spend time at their office meeting their work colleagues, drinking mate and using their internet! Thanks guys!
Not only that, we also got to go to a Copa Libertadores football match and saw Defensor (Uru) vs Valez Sarsfield (Arg). It was an incredible experience. We got tickets for $4 and they do not stop selling tickets when the stadium is full as they sell as many tickets as there are people that show up! This meant that the first half of the match we did not even get close to the entrance of the pitch. We enjoyed the match from the entrance of the stadium watching people cheer, chant, and climb onto the railings as well as climb to the top of toilet blocks in order to get a view! It was insane! Luckily at half time we managed to make our way through the mass amount of people and get to the very front of the pitch thanks El Bomba…check out the following youtube link of El Bomba…he is famous in South America for a tv commercial he is in at the moment (he is the big guy in the commercial with the tattoo on his torso).
We have been all over South America and keep seeing this commercial with El Bomba in it!!! Funny stuff!
From seeing nothing to being right in front of the action. Even if you are not a football fan the atmosphere is amazing. Everyone is cheering, chanting, jumping up and down, fireworks and flares were going off… what a show! Have never heard “puto” yelled out so much in my life! Hilarious! It was well worth the $4.
Not only did Tamara and Matias bring us to a football game we got to experience the “Murgas and Candombe”. These are events that take place during the Uruguayan carnival, which is the longest in South America and lasts for 50 days!
The Murgas is like a show where the participants sing, dance and tell a story. It is very cultural as well as funny as they mock the politicians and other social aspects of the country. Although we did not understand everything, just listening to their songs, peoples’ reactions and getting to meet some of the best known Murgas actors (see pictures) was an awesome experience!
The Candombe is the drum and dancing parade during the carnival and we went along to one of the schools (actually Matias’s mother’s local community Candombe school) and watched the drummers and dancers practice. The drumming sure made our bodies and hearts shake and the dancers sure knew how to move their hips! Just amazing how the South American’s know how to move their bodies! We loved our time in Montevideo thanks to our new friends Tam and Mati, they were such awesome hosts and we sure hope to meet up with them again sometime in the future! Thanks guys for making our time in Montevideo so unique and fun! We miss you both lots! OK!
Luckily Uruguay is such a small country and all our bus rides were so short compared to Brazil and Argentina. A two hour bus trip and we were in the Miami of Uruguay, Punta del Este.
Punta del Este
A very built up and commercial beach resort, Punta del Este is the Miami of Uruguay where all the rich Argentineans come to hang out! We enjoyed some time on the beach and in the sun. We went on some great walks on white sandy beaches, checked out a few different beaches in the area, enjoyed walking along the port area and checking out the boats and we even got to see some seals! It was nice to be in a beach town and just relax and walk around. However, we enjoyed our next stop even more… another two hour bus ride and we were in the very chilled out beach town of Punta del Diablo.
Punta del Diablo
The next stop..we really loved Punta del Diablo and much preferred it to Punta del Este. Mainly because it is a lot less developed, the roads are still naked and covered in dirt, it is a hippy like town and the area and beaches are a lot more chilled out with small artisan shops, cafes and restaurants. We enjoyed chilling out on the beach and Dean sure loved all the thong bikinis! After a while you just accepted it as normal attire! I have to say the women have amazing bodies and we have never seen SO many thong bikinis in our lives! Crazy stuff! Dean wanted to buy me a thong bikini, but was not able to convince me.
As a day trip, we decided to take the bus to Valizas (nearby hippy town) one morning and walk along the beach across the sand dunes for a few hours to the beach town of Cabo Polonia. In hindsight we wished we had more time to spend in Valizas and Cabo Polonia – these places are even less developed than Punta del Diabolo (which is hard to believe). We loved the morning walk over the sand dunes from Valizas to Cabo Polonia as well as walking through their small towns. These places are extremely hippy so we saw some really interesting people during our day trip! It sure was an awesome full day. We even splurged and had a seafood feast on the beach once we got to Cabo Polonia to celebrate our one-year anniversary! Crazy to think a whole year had gone by since we were all in Thailand celebrating our wedding! Such awesome memories and only perfect to be celebrating on another beach in the world, in Uruguay!
So nice to have had some chilled out days at the beach before heading to Brazil, slowly making our way to Rio for Carnival, next stop Porto Alegre…