The enigma of Cabo PolonioRocha Department, Uruguay
Just south of Brazil, squatters have cobbled together scrap-wood houses in the desert landscape of Cabo Polonio National Park. The town is a hippie’s paradise – there are no paved roads or running water, there’s little electricity and private vehicles are banned.
Ownership of Cabo Polonio is split between private citizens and the government, who designated it a protected national park in 2009. Buses from Montevideo drop those in the know at a petrol station by the highway, where they hop onto a truck that chugs across the dunes and down to the beach. A handful of hostels lurk between shacks, and residents rent rooms to guests. Spend your days lazing in a hammock while watching cows cruise the beach or sea lions congregate below the nearby lighthouse.
A mini-high season flourishes from December through to February, when locals transform their kitchens into restaurants and vendors travel door to door selling mussels and cake.
- One of the few remaining off-the beaten track destinations for backpackers to explore
- The breathtaking coastal landscape and wilderness
- The accommodation – rustic, colourful shacks dotted around the grassy knolls
- Watching the sea-lion colony play
- The small array of tiny shack restaurants offering cheap and delicious fish or chicken milaneses
- Don’t count on wi-fi – there’s only a handful of places with a generator that can provide