Debating on whether to make the trek to this tiny coastal village? Do it – it is definitely worth the trip. A scenic 2 hour drive along the coast from Punta del Este will get you to the entrance of the national park that houses Cabo Polonio. The only access to the village – for residents and visitors alike – is by military all-terrain vehicles that leave frequently throughout the day. We enjoyed the bumpy half-hour ride through the sand dunes and along the beach and got to the town a little before sunset, free to explore until the last departure. The village is made up of a few hundred shacks placed haphazardly on the peninsula with dirt roads and stray dogs running between them. From what I understand, almost none of the residents have the legal right to live on the land as it is a nature preserve, but they seem to have formed a tight-knit and enjoyable community nonetheless.
Feel like a longer getaway? There are plenty of rooms to rent – especially in the off-season – and we were quoted $50 for 4 people. Five-star accommodations they are not: the town does not have electricity or running water, and food can be purchased from the town general store. Activities include long hikes through the dunes and watching the sea lions gather on the beach (although there weren’t too many this time of year). While this is definitely not the destination for everyone, I loved its romantic, hippy charm. This is where to go to enjoy the beach and the surfer-vibe, to be barefoot and wind-beaten, enjoy a cup of mate, and forget the rest of the world.