Posted on December 15, 2012
First thing that I have to write is: I am so happy that I went to this place! I will always remember that it was for the first time here, where I had a bath in the Atlantic ocean – in the southern west hemisphere, of course. Now I am missing only the African side of the southern hemisphere. Northern hemisphere is covered by Tenerife, Portugal and Morroco from the east side and Long Island from the west side. Ok, back to the topic…
Cabo Polonio is a small settlement on the Uruguayan cost, formed in the 1970ties. As I understood from the locals, this land was squatted by people who were looking for something different than the ordinary society and the regime of those times. No wonder they choose a spot that is full of freedom and picturesque landscape. And as the years followed, others heard more and more about 40 people living in basic conditions (no electricity and warm water) and bringing their children on a horse carriage to the school behind the sand dunes. Over the time, some curious people found their way how to move to Cabo Polonio. It slowly became a popular tourist destination for travellers seeking something different than Punta del Este (also sarcastically called “the quarter of Buenos Aires”) and Punta del Diablo. For me personally, Cabo Polonio does remain one of the least commercial hippie and artistic places that I visited, far away from spots like Christiania in Copenhagen.
The unique position guarantees that it is impossible for cars to enter the village. It is located in the national park and surrounded by sand dunes and the only way how to enter is either to walk through the sand dunes and along the beach (this might be pretty difficult caring backpacks) or to take a local truck that goes back and forth several times per day.
Usually, there are lot of possibilities for accommodation. Varying from hostels to private rooms or houses. But if you arrive during the peek season (mid December – end of January), make sure to book accommodation in advance or just run to the closest hostel you’ll see when you get off the truck ☺ Regarding the food, there are two groceries, but don’t expect too much. Try the local cheese, buy 1l beer, and enjoy your snack on the beach. There are restaurants too, but I just tested one of them – the one where they make “milanesas” of fish and chicken. It is cheap and tasty, perfect for backpackers!
There are lot of things to do in Cabo Polonio. For example, long walks along the beach, getting lost in the sand dunes, visiting the lighthouse. I recommend walking around the village and check out the huts and houses. Some of them are pretty original. Nowadays, the village keeps its number of inhabitants stable and it is not possible to build more huts or cottages. I guess that the main reason behind is that in the past years there were lot of newcomers and the place started to be crowded. Well, this is still a national park, so it would be a shame to ruin it with civilized world…
Luckily Pancho, the owner of the hostel “del Cabo” spent more than 2 decades in Cabo Polonio and had the opportunity to built a little hostel, with friendly atmosphere, located around 50m from the ocean and with comfy hammocks! I arrived alone, but found friends immediately. That is how it should be ☺ First night was kind of scary, because there was a huge storm and the lightning over the ocean seemed like the end of the world. All of us – strangers – sat in the hostel kitchen, played cards and drank wine. I made a short recording of the lightning from that night:
Next morning, the sun came back again and I saw a colony of seals for the first time in my life! They were so funny and made even more funny sounds. Sometimes you wonder why there are certain creatures on this planet? I am happy that seals exist. It was just sad to see some of the unlucky ones that appeared dead on the beach and were slowly eaten by the local “wild” dogs. That was weird, but as one of my travel buddies said, this is the nature…
Honestly, if I could build my little hut somewhere in the world, I would do it here. I can’t imagine the winters, but the rest of the year has to be amazing. So close to the ocean! And there are is a colony of seals living around the corner! Those moments when the sun goes down and the lighthouse starts to take over and send signals to the boats sailing on the ocean. And the night sky… Oh man, I spent a long time chilling in the hammock and looking at the stars. And when one of them fell down, I had a wish… to have a hut in Cabo Polonio hehe.