Cabo Polonio: By 4x4 and Candlelight

· by wendy · uruguay

It’s funny that we heard about our next destination in Uruguay from another traveler we had met in Cotopaxi, Ecuador. We’ve learned to listen up and take notes when other travelers rave about a place. It’s better information than what you can find in a guide book or online. Thanks to this traveler, we ended up in Cabo Polonio, Uruguay. She sold us with, “You have to go to this place. To get there you have to take a 4×4 in and it’s only lit by candlelight.” Sounded just strange enough. We were in.

Continuing our travels with Postcard Valet, we arrived just outside Cabo Polonio where we had to take these supposed 4×4 vehicles. They weren’t typical SUV’s like I had envisioned, that’s for sure. We were a bit jealous of the first people to board the vehicle because they got the sweet seats with a view. Just a minute or so into the ride, though, it began to downpour on them, soaking them from head to toe. Ha ha suckas! I mean, too bad.

Our vehicle traveled through the sandy paths to the beach where we continued on for a few minutes before stopping at the so-called “city center”. There are no road signs and we had no way of knowing where to go. Luckily, some man knew where our hostel was and pointed us down a nondescript sandy road. All we knew was that our hostel was on the beach. We found it easily, as it was marked with the word “HOSTEL” on the roof, and huddled in our room out of the rain.

With the rain coming down hard, being holed up in a tiny room with 3 sets of bunk beds and having far too much time to lament the $25 per person, per night rate for a bunk, our moods began to sour. We took turns complaining about how sucky it all was. It seems there was always at least one of us that would throw in the “You know, it wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t raining!” We tried to believe it and not to punch that person in the face.

Eventually, the rain let up and we were able to come around mentally in time for the arrival of the rest of our party, Stephen and Stephanie. 1 The 2 Stephs, had a flight to Montevideo, then a taxi, bus and 4×4 ride to Cabo Polonio and arrived at 2 a.m. Dusty and I stood at the “city center” waiting for them to show them the way. They never would have found us at that time of night. Finally, it all came together. Our two new sets of friends met each other for the first time, in a candlelit bunk room, in the middle of night, in the middle of nowhere Uruguay. We all sat in our bunks chatting, like we were at summer camp, until it was 4 or 5 a.m. and we couldn’t stay awake any longer.

The next morning was different and just as we had suspected. This place wasn’t so bad when it wasn’t raining.


How to get there:
Bus to the outskirts of Cabo Polonio, then 4×4 to town
Cost of 4×4: $150 UYU or $8 USD round trip

Hostel del Cabo
Cost: $25 USD per person/per night
Wendy’s Review: pricey but it was Semana Santa when we visited, nice beach front location

1 If you recall, we met Stephen and Stephanie while watching the Super Bowl in Santiago, Chile.

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