The Rising Star of Uruguay – Punta del Diablo
Everyone has days when they’re fantasizing about being on a tropical island, sunbathing and enjoying the most delicious food this world can offer. We know, we do too.
Fortunately, this next destination we are going to tell you about is just the place for enjoying and soaking up the beachy, hippie atmosphere. Of course, it’s the Uruguayan up-and-comer which attracts thousands of tourists in high season - Punta del Diablo.
To experience some of the unique activities this fishing town offers, we left Florianopolis and went to Porto Alegre, from which we took a really nice bus ride. An overnight bus with extra space, bathrooms, and soap was a nice change since you don’t often get all these luxuries when you’re traveling through South America.
This is of course just one of the ways you can get to Punta del Diablo. But the question is not ‘how,’ it is ‘why’ you should visit this colorful town. So, let’s jump right into it.
What should you know about Punta del Diablo, Uruguay?
The beginnings of Punta del Diablo are related to the Rocha family. In 1935, they came to the area for good sea air, in search of a way to ease their child’s asthma attacks.
Ten years later fishermen in search of tiburón (Spanish for sharks) and its liver oil came to fish and sell what they collected. After the first road was built in 1968, more people came to the area, but Punta del Diablo was never densely populated.
When you arrive here today, you’ll see dirt roads, colorful cabins, and people riding horses (which is especially interesting for children). Depending on when you come you may see from 1000 to 35 000 people. Yes, you read that correctly, but more about it later.
If you want to find out when to visit Punta del Diablo, when to expect thousands of people and what exactly you can do there - read on.
What to visit in Punta del Diablo?
Ten kilometers of coastline offer stunning beaches and fun activities for everyone. You don’t even need a vehicle to get around because everything interesting is within walking distance.
Playa de los Pescadores
Playa de los Pescadores (fishermen’s beach) is one of the closest to the town center. The name says it all. It’s a small beach with lots of fishing boats, and if you are interested in their catch just go to the end of the main street where you’ll find fishers selling it.
Playa del Rivero
Also very close to the center of the tow, and it’s perfect for surfing and lounging. If you found accommodation in one of the popular hostels, you’ll be a quick walk away from this gem.
This stunning beach lies some 20 minutes of walking from Playa del Rivero. Besides being an excellent whale-watching point, Playa Grande lies within Santa Teresa National Park which is a must-see for its flora and fauna from all around the world, as well as its historical importance for Uruguay's independence.
As for the activities, make sure you don’t miss whale-watching. The best part is - you don’t even have to pay anything for it or go on trips. Just look towards the sea from the beach - Uruguay's coastline is a popular “playground” for whales migrating, and you can see them clearly as they linger in the deep waters near the beach.
Horseback riding is also available, and many people rent horses or go on guided tours through the forest. This is something we noticed the minute we arrived in Punta del Diablo, and it really stands out.
Surfing is also very popular here especially in autumn and winter when the conditions are ideal, and the town is calm. But then comes the period when thousands of people pour into Punta del Diablo, and this otherwise sleepy and peaceful town becomes a hive of activity.
We, of course, have some tips for you on how to get around in the bustling town of Punta del Diablo, so zero in on the next couple of lines.
Pro tips for curious travelers
If you’re looking for a peaceful, relaxing place to lounge and rest, don’t come to Punta del Diablo from December to March. Those 35000 people we mentioned, mostly Argentinians and Brazilians with their families, come to spend their holidays here. With such a vast influx of tourists, prices skyrocket and due to poor infrastructure the quality of all services declines.
If, on the other hand, you want endless possibilities for accommodation, restaurants, activities, bars and nightlife options, make sure to be there during the high season. Otherwise, the streets and beaches of Punta del Diablo are mostly deserted, and the whole vibe is much less hectic.
Book your accommodation well in advance if you’re visiting during the high season to secure your place. Chances are you won’t find accommodation on the spot so easily if you show up together with thousands of people.
Make sure you bring enough cash and credit cards. There are no ATMs in Punta del Diablo, and when they’re brought in during the summer, they often run out of cash. Because of that, most bigger businesses accept credit cards, which doesn’t apply to smaller ones since its too expensive for them.
As for eating, drinking and nightlife, there’s a plethora of options for various budgets. There are plenty of beachside bars and restaurants where you can take your pick, just look for the signs Nativos or Fish Shack, and you’re good to go. The nightlife is centered around a club called Bitacora where you can enjoy drinks and party all around the year.
We hope that you’ll have the opportunity to visit this increasingly popular Uruguayan town. Until then, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and follow us on Instagram and Facebook to help us share our experiences with others. There are many more to come, so keep your eyes peeled.