Uruguay

Chuy and Fortaleza Santa Maria

Chuy is a border town where the city is split in the middle between Brazil and Uruguay and a free trade zone. The border between Brazil and Uruguay is also divided – the Brazilian customs is north of Chuy and the Uruguayan customs south. Exiting and entering was  quick and easy and Uruguay gives out a one year TIP (Temporary Import Permit) for the vehicle. Therefore many Europeans leave their campers in Uruguay over winter and go back to Europe.

Cabo Polonio

Cabo Polonio is an “off-grid” Hippie town with now roads into it. There are multiple 4×4 tracks through the dunes but only locals are allowed to drive them, thus one has the option to take one of the many 4×4 Trucks to get there or one can hike the 7km to the town.

I decided to walk and it was nice. The town itself was pretty deserted, like everything in Uruguay during the low season and unfortunately the lighthouse tower was closed for repairs.

Laguna de Rocha

Along the coast of Uruguay are several Lagunas with a mix of salt- and sweetwater. One of the bigger ones is the Laguna de Rocha. The whole area is very pretty and offers quiet a few options for wild camping.

Punta del Este

The coastal road to Punta del Este is very scenic and this time of the year it’s possible to see whales from the road. The city also known as the Monaco of the South or  the Hamptons of South America is the rich boys playground of Uruguay (and Brazil and Argentina). It features many skyscrapers (including a Trump tower), pretty neighborhoods, open air art installations and beaches.

Piriapolis

Piriapolis is like the older brother of Punte del Este. Everything looks a bit depilated but more charming than PdE. Piriapolis was founded by the Italia emigrant  Francisco Piria. After he built he private residence castle 1897 he built the harbor, the waterfront and the train line from Montevideo. The long waterfront hosts several impressive buildings, one of them the Hotel Argentina which was built between 1920 and 1930 and was one of the biggest hotels of South America of the times, also built by Pira.

Montevideo & Loop

After a few days at Paraiso Suizo I continued to Montevideo to meet the Agent and get the paper work ready to ship the Landy back to Switzerland. I had another week before the shipping date, so I decided to continue along the Rio de la Plata to Colonia del Sacramento, the oldest Portuguese settlement in Uruguay. Colonia was an important outpost and was conquered by Spain and Portugal several times. From there I drove inland to visit one of the many dams. The weather got bad again and my time was almost up, so I decided to go back to a nice camp near Montevideo run by a Dutch couple.

After a few days in Montevideo it was time to say Goodbye to Latin America and I boarded to plane back to Seattle to meet Rachel and Mitzi!

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