Cabo Polonio, Rocha, Getting ready for the summer in Uruguay.
The launch for the 2023 summer season was held in advance in Montevideo last week due to the intense electoral calendar for the months of October and November in Uruguay.
The presentation highlighted the natural beauty of Uruguay and its coasts, while stressing the tax benefits to tourists once again for the coming summer season 2023. This is the time of the year where all the southern cities of Uruguay are jammed with tourists from Brazil, Argentina and from all over the world.
The summer launches are aiming at promoting Uruguay as a summer destination, yet indeed, there are still places in Uruguay where one can feel the privilege of being alone. Places lost in a barely altered nature where only the wind, the sea and sand dunes impose physical limits. The roar of the waves and dreamy sunsets with few people around describe many places in Uruguay and one of them is Cabo Polonio.
Cabo Polonio is located in the southeast of Uruguay in the coastal region of Rocha. Born as a fishermen village with only a group of houses, it then became more popular as a getaway in the sixties and from then on a must see place. A place still left untouched with no electricity or running water offering visitors the opportunity to be part of nature.
How to get to Cabo Polonio
The highway 9 leading inland from Punta Del Este to Rocha finds a roundabout going south towards the resort of La Paloma, but just before there is another exit to Highway 10 towards the East. The road lined with eucalyptus groves sometimes becomes a dirt road and drivers need to pay close attention to avoid skidding in a curve. Every now and then cattle and sheep can be seen crossing the way. After 50 km the Cabo Polonio Terminal Gate appears on the right hand side with departing 4 × 4 trucks that lead to this small village located on a rocky headland between two beaches. This is the choice instead of riding horses or walking 7 km through sand dunes to Cabo Polonio. Once on the truck the trip runs between sandy roads lined with flowering shrubs and pine trees. Soon the forest is behind and gives way to a sandy beach where you can start to see all the small houses clustered between the sea, the dunes and the blue sky.
Getting around in Cabo Polonio
Despite the anarchic blend in the way these little wooden and colourful houses are scattered on the beach front nobody can get lost here. On one side is the Beach Cape of Skulls and on the other the North Beach. Legend has it that one of the many shipwrecks had cargo of animals and after it sank the beach was full of dead animals, therefore the name “Calaveras” has arisen. Speaking of wrecks, apparently Polonius was the name of a Spanish galleon that sank here giving name to the rocky headland and is one of the front outs in the sea of rocks where a colony of sea lions live in a state of freedom. A lighthouse, some posadas and a couple of groceries stores and home bakeries announcing fresh homemade bread and “torta fritas” offer visitors a clear option of exploring the landscape combined with fantastic dunes, a rough sea, and deserted beaches.
The contrast of the green vegetation growing in the dunes and rocks demands an intuitive exploratory morning walk between the houses nearby. Chicken, ducks and turkeys roam free looking for food. Horses can be seen everywhere grazing unaltered by the movement of owners preparing the small houses for paradise seekers who literally invade this place from December to February.
What to do in Cabo Polonio.
Yes it is true that there is not “much to do” in Cabo Polonio and therein precisely lies much of its charm. But one is to go to the top of the lighthouse opened Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 13:00 and then from 15:30 until sunset.
On the rocks at the foot of the lighthouse, sea lions roar as the waves of the Atlantic are folded tightly over them while clinging to the rocks and they always appear after the bath of marine foam. These magnificent creatures were hunted for many years, and were about to disappear from the coast. They look cautious occasionally to anyone who approaches their territory, but the rocks make a natural fence for anyone who tries to get too close. Some of the males are really powerful and faster than they seem, so sitting and watching from a safe distance is advised.
Diner at Cabo Polonio
A small hotel can be found at the end of the main road walk to the lighthouse. La Perla Del Cabo is the only concrete construction in Cabo Polonio that has a handful of rooms with sea front views. You can relax in a row of hammocks on a wooden deck, have a drink while the view is lost in the infinity. Uruguayan Tanat wine with seaweed fritters and the fish catch of the day –brótola- is more than inviting. The sound of the waves and good conversation with the locals is a magnificent option too. When the sun sets the stars are the only guide to walk around. The candle lighted homes are always inviting and people greet each other on the sandy streets announcing what are the latest or upcoming events of the place. The night walk offers the best starry sky that anyone can imagine. Moonless nights are unforgettable in Cabo Polonio.
Best Time to Visit.
The best time to visit Cabo Polonio is in the months of October and November, before the summer tourists invade the area, or end of the austral summer. Winter is cold and very wet so the choice is clear.
Cabo Polonio had to limit the number of houses of buildings that was altering the dunes of the beaches and was declared a natural reserve area. It has also banned the free camping action to protect the coastal pine forest and sea lion colonies. Hopefully we will continue to enjoy this fantastic untouched place of the south of Uruguay in the years to come.
Small Estancia/Boutique Hotel for sale near Cabo Polonio
We have a a great little posada or historic ranch for sale close to Cabo Polonio. Please contact us for details.
Mary Ann Thompson