One of the most popular departmentos (states) is Rocha (about a three hour drive from Montevideo) and its most popular beaches are in La Paloma, La Pedrera, Punta del Diablo, Valizas and Cabo Polonio.
My favorite is Cabo Polonio, a very small town surrounded by dunes that doesn’t have water or electricity. This is not very comfortable to spend a long vacation but it is certainly worth it for a couple of nights. After sunset everything is so dark that you can see an amazing number of stars. Never forget your flashlight when you pack though, or you won’t be able to get out of the house at night. There’s a beautiful light house there and right next to it is one of the biggest sea lion reserves in the world. They all gather there at around sunset and start making noises until it gets dark. I can show you the picture but I guess you need to go there to listen.
La Paloma, La Pedrera and Punta del Diablo are all very pretty and more conventional, as they have nice houses with all the basic needs. Many people go to their beaches to surf and occasionally surfers are the only ones who can get into the freezing cold water. Sometimes however, it is really hot outside and you don’t mind. There are times when the temperature is decent but you should not count on it, if you only like warm water go to the Caribbean.
Another option in Rocha is Santa Teresa. This is a national park where you can go camping, enjoy the beautiful beaches and see some animals that you don’t get to spot anywhere else. There is also a very old fortress to visit that has a lot of historical objects inside. At around noon, some guys dress as they used to when the fortress worked and they perform a little show.
While you are driving from Montevideo to any of these places the landscape is more or less the same all the time. You see lots and lots of green meadows with cows, sheep and horses. You get to see these white flowers when you are in Rocha and there are palm trees all over as well.
Next posts will be Maldonado and Canelones.