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Backpacking Through Uruguay in Winter

We spent 2 weeks backpacking through Uruguay in the winter and gathered here tips on the itinerary (with bus transportation), accommodation and what to expect from each city in the low season.Check it out!

Uruguay is that neighbor who could be a crazy psychopath, a maniacal drug dealer, or just a normal guy, but the truth is that we don’t know anything about them.In fact, we don’t know much about any neighboring countries.

But Uruguay is an even more curious case, because, because they are small and without much international importance, you never read about them, you never see anything about them, and so on.

After our winter backpacking trip to Uruguay, we fell in love with the country and recommend this trip to everyone!

Trivia About Uruguay

For starters, marijuana is legal.On the street there are several Grow Shops, where a multitude of types of herbs are sold, with a catalog and everything.

It is forbidden to sell to tourists, but there are a lot of people on the street who make a living buying weed to resell to visitors.

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Second thing: there are 4 cows for each individual in Uruguay.And, despite the famous Argentine barbecue, in Uruguay the quality of the meat and the skill in the roast are much superior.

Besides the meat is very cheap.It’s not worth being a vegetarian here, as vegetables are bizarrely expensive.

Third thing: their penultimate president, before the global shift to the right that spared no one, was a super nice guy who was a guerrilla and, in the days as president, I lived in a super simple house and rode in a VW.

Righteousness in person, Mujica conquered Uruguay and the world with his simple and calm way.But he did not resist the new conservative wave worldwide.

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Fourth: in addition to marijuana, abortion and same-sex marriage are also legal .If we had hitchhiked, this value would have been much lower.And if we hadn’t found the angels we found on CouchSurfing, we would have spent a lot more.

Tip: if you have a few days to spare, take the opportunity to get to know Porto Alegre and take a day trip to Gramado.Take advantage of the Gramado tips from the Lets Fly Away blog that we recommend, and also from the blog Te Vejo Pelo Mundo: The Surprising Mini World of Gramado

Bus from Brazil to Uruguay

Many people descend from Pelotas to Chuí.It would be a shorter journey, but we chose to take a Planalto night bus, from Porto Alegre, for R$135.A bit expensive, but it was perfect, because the bus was comfortable and the nap time was just right (the journey takes between 7 and 8 hours).

We arrived in Chuí a little before the stores opened, and we had to stay there for about 2 hours until the first bus decided to leave (read the tip just below about the border).

Here the operating companies are Cynsa and Rutas del Sol.The price is always the same, so just search for the times.There are some buses leaving in the morning, then a long break, then others leaving around noon, another long break, and then the late afternoon buses.

Fronteira Chuí (Brazil x Uruguay)

Important tip, if you are crossing the border by land (Chuí), is: remember to tell the bus driver that you are not Uruguayan.Otherwise, he will not stop at the border.This is because Chuy is a city between borders, but it is part of Uruguay.

The Brazilian and Uruguayan borders are separated by a city distance.And the buses that depart from there do national service, assuming (stupidly) that there are only Uruguayans inside.We had to pay another ticket just because of that, and we wasted about 2 hours for nothing.

Like many other countries, you don’t need a passport to enter Uruguay.Only RG with less than 10 years of issuance.Check out:

What to do in Chuy

A city between borders, and in our case, as we arrived in the morning, we were not even sure where we were.The bus stops at Brazilian immigration only if there is a foreigner.You don’t have the feeling that you left the country.It’s also written in Portuguese.

Change your money here.If you go to the supermarket, pay in reais, as they convert better there than at exchange offices.Electronics are reasonably priced if you need something to travel.

Punta del Diablo – Uruguay in winter

Beautiful and bucolic beach in winter.The village is mostly closed, but has 2 or 3 open markets.

Punta del Diablo is the perfect place to take long walks along the deserted beach and enjoy a barbecue at home.

One day is enough to see everything, but the vibe of the place is very pleasant for those who want to enjoy the quiet.We stayed 3 days and would have stayed longer.

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Punta del Diablo – Uruguay in Winter

Good and cheap accommodation in Punta del Diablo:

For those who prioritize maximum comfort in their accommodation, the best hotels are Calas del Diablo and Unique Hotel and Suites.

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Punta del Diablo
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Punta del Diablo
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Punta del Diablo
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Punta del Diablo

Cabo Polonio – Uruguay in Winter

Ahhh what a paradise!Within a national reserve, with no more than 300 residents, the government does not allow any more construction in Cabo Polonio.Bring food and drink, as the village is poorly supplied and prices can be quite inflated.

In addition to enjoying the tranquility of Cabo Polonio, a must-see is a walk behind the lighthouse, where the sea lions are found ( MANY!).They are beautiful and violent with each other, that is, admiring them is a great pastime.

cabo polonio
Cabo Polonio

The sky over Cabo Polonio is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, and strolling along the beaches at night is an unparalleled feeling.

We stayed 2 nights in Cabo Polonio for the same reason as in Punta del Diablo: the The vibe of the place is wonderful.There’s not necessarily much to do, but just being there is wonderful.

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Cabo Polonio

We stayed at Viejo Lobo and we have nothing to complain about, despite the fact that the place is super rustic.Another economical option is the Corazón de Ballena.

For those who want more amenities, even though they are limited in Cabo Polonio: Yacaiste and Narakan are good options.

Cabo Polonio
Cabo Polonio
Cabo Polonio
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Cabo Polonio

Punta del Este and Maldonado

Maldonado is one of the largest cities in Uruguay, but without tourist attractions.Especially in winter, when it’s not so crowded.

There are two main beaches in Punta del Este: on one side is the river outlet (Playa Mansa), with darker water, and on the other (Playa Brava) , the sea.

The giant hand monument (Uruguay’s most famous) is on Brava.

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Punta del Este – Uruguay in winter

To see the main attractions of Punta del Este, stay at least 2 or 3 days in the city.

Good accommodation, well located and cheap in Punta del Este:

For those looking for an incredible accommodation experience: AWA Boutique Hotel and Hotel Art Design.

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Punta del Este

Read more on the blog Cariocas sem Fronteiras: José Ignacio, Punta del Este’s most famous neighbor

Piriápolis in Winter

Better to avoid Piriápolis in winter .It has absolutely nothing.Even McDonald’s is closed, and so is all the shops.

The beach is beautiful, it has a hotel that was once the most chic in South America and some hills to climb and have good views.

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