Beaches of Uruguay: Punta del Diablo

By Charlie Higgins

 

A charming beach village with a Bohemian air, Punta del Diablo is a great place to get of the city during your Buenos Aires cultural immersion.

In recent decades, the beaches of Uruguay have grown increasingly popular among Argentines looking for less crowded alternatives to mainstays like Mar del Plata and Villa Gesell, which get truly mobbed during the summer. The most famous of these beaches is Punta del Este, an exclusive peninsula with some of the best beaches in the region.

Further up the coastline approaching Brazil, you’ll find a decidedly more off beat beach community known as Punta del Diablo. This quirky Bohemian enclave is worth visiting and makes for a great short getaway during your Buenos Aires cultural immersion experience.Despite growing development in recent years,Punta del Diablo has a decidedly low-key feel.
Hundreds of small cabañas and ramshackle dwellings can be found within easy walking distance to the beach, and many of these look like they just sprouted up on a whim. Given this largely improvised feeling to the town and its buildings, it’s surprising the extent to which Punta del Diablo has maintained a certain architectural consistency. The countless charming beach shacks with their soft pastels, thatched roofs and Paraguayan hammocks all come together to create a place that is equal parts picturesque and humble.
 

After tourism, Punta Del Diablo’s second biggest industry is fishing. Don’t expect to find big commercial fishing boats or gourmet sushi clubs, however Fisherman here do things the old fashioned way and sell their daily catches to restaurants and individuals around town. Variety is limited to whatever’s biting that day, which depending on the time of year can be salmon, dogfish, smelt, flounder, hake or shark. Be sure to check out the old fishing boats and pescaderias stationed along Calle de los Pescadores.

The two main beaches in Punta del Diablo are Playa Rivero and Playa de La Viuda, both of which can get pretty crowded during high season.If you’re looking for more privacy, head past Playa Rivero to the enormous Playa Grande, which boasts nearly 2 km of uninterrupted coastline. Another good option is to head over to Parque Santa Teresa (45 km from Punta del Diablo), which is home to an impressive Portuguesefort built in 1762. The surrounding Parque Nacional de Santa Teresa offers great walking trails and opportunities to observe local wildlife.

Nighlife in Punta del Diablo can be the highlight of your visit or the biggest letdown, depending on your interests. Downtown offers dozens of laid-back restaurants all offering more or less the same options: chivitos (skirt steak served with ham, cheese and fried egg), hamburgers, calarmari and fish of the day. Don’t expect anything memorable, but it’s all perfectly safe to eat and relatively inexpensive. A number of boliches and bars have cropped up in recent years and are concentrated in a small area behind Playa de La Viuda. Here you’ll find a mix of foreigners, Brazilian partygoers, and Uruguayan jippies selling all kinds of handmade jewelry. Youth hostels scattered throughout the town also host parties and live music events. Ask around for the latest scoop on Punta del Diablo nightlife.

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