We spent the last 7 days traveling throughout Uruguay. This marks country #3. Jeff was able to book us a multi-destination trip for a reasonable price on priceline and we made one of the stops Montevideo, Uruguay. While 7 days seems like a long time, it went really fast and we were on the move almost every other day. Here’s what our week looked like.
Night 1: We arrived in Montevideo around 8pm after a full day of travel and delays leaving Bariloche, Argentina. The airport is very nice- one of the best we have been in so far. But the duty free pricing isn’t anything special, in fact it’s kind of expensive. I spend a lot of time in the duty free shops trying on every type of perfume or lotion they have. haha, I’m laughing because the last one we were in has a funny story. I will get to that later so keep on reading. Jeff and I have our little routine- pick a cologne or perfume and freshen up. Sometimes this non stop traveling you get a bit smelly.
Ok back to Montevideo. We went straight to the hotel from the airport. We decided to stay in the old city, known as Ciudad Vieja. Not our smartest idea because it’s about 30 mins from the airport and the taxi was over $50! (but the cab did have free wifi so that was plus) and the next morning we had to catch an early bus out so we didn’t really see the town at all. Looking back we could have just left straight for Punta Del Diablo that night and saved the $. The old part of town is just that, old. It seems ok during the day but at night a lot of sketchy people around and both the hotel and taxi driver said don’t go out at night. We just ate dinner across the street and called it a night.
Day 1 & 2: Bus trip to Punta Del Diablo. Our friend recommended we check out this small laid back beach town 4 hours north up the cost of Uruguay, and we are glad we did. It’s perfect for relaxing and surfing(which we have yet to do)..it wasn’t crowded at all and has 3 big beaches within walking distance to check out. Apparently this place gets super packed at high season where a lot of the locals will come for the weekend. And by a lot I mean 25,000 people versus the 500 that live there. We stayed at a small hostel Villa Lavando just a block from the beach for two nights. The breakfast was included and one of the best we have had so far this trip. We ended up siting out enjoying it from 9 till noon.
Day 3 & 4: 6am bus ride (2 hours) from Punta Del Diablo to Punta Del Este. Pretty early wake up but it was nice to get to Punta Del Este early and have the full day as we only stayed one night here. Our hotel – Hotel Milano – let us check in at 9:30am and we enjoyed an extra free breakfast as a result. Punta Del Este was probably my favorite stop in Uruguay. It’s built up with nice building and hi-rises etc, but it’s located on a peninsula so you have water and nice beaches on both sides. We went out for a nice long run all along the boardwalk and where we discovered the public exercise machines Jeff shared in the last post. We made a stop in the Conrad… yup a casino…and I won! Plus, free drinks if you gamble just like vegas. So 2 hours later and up $250, I can’t complain. Later that afternoon we took a taxi up to a really cool hotel called Casapueblo in Punta Ballena to watch the sunset. It was a great end to the day.
Day 4 & 5: Two friends we met in Bariloche recommended a live-on ranch (called an estancia) that was located in the Uruguayan countryside. The way the described the place had Jeff & I grinning from ear to ear. We had to check this place out.
We did our fair share of research online and began emailing a few places to see where we could get the best rate and package – although we both knew we wanted to stay at Finca, regardless of cost. Luckily every place was priced within a few dollars of each other. We started a fairly detailed email exchange with Gonzalo, who worked at Finca to make sure that they were ready for our arrival. No credit card necessary to make our reservation which was is not the norm, but appreciated. While emailing back and forth with Gonzalo over a week we realized that getting to and from the estancia was going to be difficult by bus (several transfers, long local bus routes, etc..). We made the game-time decision to rent a car and do the drive ourselves. A little more expensive but was fun to get on the road and worth the time we saved.
We let Gonzalo know that we had rented a car and gave him our ETA. Everything was set. Because we had a dozen or so emails back and forth we sort of were expecting this small ranch in the middle of nowhere to know who we were when we walked through the door.
So we arrive at reception give them our name and the lady doesn’t speak English at all, and of course our Spanish still sucks. The receptionist just looks at us fairly confused when we say ‘Jeff Mikos reservation’. We show her the email with Gonzalo and tell her his name. She becomes even more confused, like who the heck is Gonzalo. Hmmm, Jeff and I look at each other like we don’t know it’s the guy who wrote us back about this place. Another lady comes over who speaks English and says there is no Gonzalo here. Uh oh.
It turns out that we had been emailing a completely different estancia that’s in a town more than 3 hours from where we are. Hah yeah, we’re idiots. But it worked out, they had one room left and we settled right in at lunch time.
The estancia is an all-inclusive resort and our two days here were nice, but it didn’t quite live up to expectations. It’s pretty expensive and while all your food (4 meals a day) is included with activities- the activities are really for kids. For example, the day we milked the cow, our group consisted of Jeff, myself, 2 parents, and 6 rugrats. Maybe it was the timing, or we misunderstood what this place was about. Great weekend trip for locals and kids…just not what we had envisioned. However, one of the activities was a tour of the winery they have on site. This was awesome because we spent 3 hours with Jason the owner and the winemaker Manuel. Really neat to see the whole process in a small facility and ask as many questions as we wanted. Two great guys and a great tour. We even got to try several wines that were in the process of being made at various stages so we can better understand how the wines evolve with time, second fermentation, etc.
Day 6: Montevideo. We had to head back the day before as our flight to Buenos Aires was early Saturday morning. We still had our car which was nice to drive around Montevideo during the day and see more of the city. Lot’s of beaches and public exercise equipment. Montevideo was my least favorite part of Uruguay. After these busy 6 days we were ready for Buenos Aires and looking forward to settling in one place for the next ten days.
Oh yeah, the funny thing we did in the duty free shop- I almost forgot. Haha. It’s a virtual makeover machine where you take a photo and then the top brands have certain looks you can apply to help sell makeup. I played around with it for a few minutes and then so did Jeff. Haha so while we are getting him setup and choosing different looks this younger guy who works there is watching us and just cracking up thinking oh my, these crazy Americans. It was pretty funny and he thought so too. Enjoy!
Our Accommodations while in Uruguay:
- Punta del Diablo: Villa Lavando
- Punta del Este: Hotel Milano
- Mal Abrigo: Finca Piedra
- Montevideo: Hotel Palacio (Old Quarter) & Hotel Bahamas (near airport)
Check out more pictures from Uruguay!