A Surprise Trip To Uruguay!
I’d been in Argentina less than 24 hours when Jair surprised me with a week trip to Uruguay to celebrate 2016! I barely had time to shake off the dust of the arrivals lounge at Buenos Aires airport before I found myself presenting my passport at Uruguayan immigration. The only thing I knew about Uruguay? I couldn’t spell it without auto correct, so I was excited to see what was in store.
Two buses, a overnight ferry ride and two more buses later – South America, how I have missed these epic transportation missions….*ahem* – we arrived in the coastal town, Aguas Dulces.
I was almost delirious with exhaustion. It had been a rocky start to the trip, I had a visa issue at the airport almost missed my flight literally by minutes. Hands down the most stressful airport check in of my life! Then whirlwind few days in Buenos Aires and Jair’s hometown, epic jet lag and the bus bus + ferry + bus bus combo to get to Aguas Dulces. I was more excited to fall face first into anything that resembled a bed than investigate the town. Our arrival coincided with the start of a huge storm, the sound of rain hammering the roof of our cosy beachside cabin was the perfect music to fall asleep to.
The following morning, town investigation was the order of the day…. I planned to pay particular attention the only heladería (ice creamery) as I’m on a mission to consume as much ice cream as possible during this trip. It’s a tough assignment, but someone has to report on the quality of South American helado.
Aguas Dulces is laid back and peaceful, a popular spot for families vacationing here from Argentina and Brazil. Beach houses located smack bang on the water front are available for rent, if you want to secure a place at this time of the year, get in quick. Each house has it’s own sea battered character, brightly coloured walls and salty ropes clinging to verandahs, some sloping quite precariously towards the sea.
It was on the beach we welcomed twenty sixteen. The evening around the town had been so quiet I began to wonder if it was actually New Years Eve. Bars seemed deserted and only a few people hung out on the sandy main street. But there was no mistaking the clock ticking over to the new year. Home made firework displays lit up the beach as families gathered by the waves. But the brightest light of all was the beautiful half moon that hung between the stars, lighting the sea below with it’s yellowey goodness. A little reminder, no matter where we are in the world, we are all under the same sky.
We spent a few days in Aguas Ducles itself, just being busy doing nothing. Strolling the beach and eating. On other days we took the bus to awesome boho chic beach hangouts Punta de Diablo and Cabo Polonio. More posts to come on these spots, I’ve fallen a bit in love with the rustic bohemian beaches in Uruguay.
One night, I was surprised to hear the primitive beat of drums throbbing through the night. I ran outside to see what was happening and came across a Uruguayan drumming procession, drummers and their instruments curling their way through Aguas Dulce’s sandy streets as a crowd of people followed. Pretty Uruguayan women danced in front, their hips their instruments, played as expertly as the band behind them. The music was simple and absolutely mesmerising. The crowd swelled and surged around the dancers and drummers. People were drinking. People were dancing. But no behaviour was out of order, no catcalling or stumbling drunks. A peaceful, respectful unity, a street of people dancing as one to this amazing beat. I found myself surprisingly moved by the simplicity and passion of the music and it’s bohemian maestros. We followed along at the edge of the crowd as the beat rose into one final crescendo. Put simply, it was a beautiful musical experience and the highlight of my week in Uruguay.
Another highlight? I can now type Uruguay without auto correct. Winning at spelling.
Heading to Aguas Dulces? Stuff you may find helpful:
Beach houses can be rented through this agency: http://www.aguasdulces.com.uy/en/propiedades/playa-aguas-dulces
The bus station is located about a 10 minute walk from the beach. From the bus station you can easily travel to Punta de Diablo and Cabo Polonio.
Frogs restaurant on the main street has great service and pretty yummy dishes.
I can assure you I inspected the Heladería Tropical on the main street throughly. Frutas del bosque (fruits of the forrest) was a winner and the serves were extremely generous!