Uruguay is simply beautiful but sadly relatively unexplored. It is often left off many South American itineraries as travellers flock to its neighbours Brazil and Argentina. Uruguay has some real gems, however, and if you’re looking for some fabulous beaches, chilled vibes and great wine, I’d suggest you’d book a flight now. Keep reading for the ultimate coastal Uruguay itinerary which includes the best places to visit in Uruguay.
Uruguay is a real descript place. It’s just nice. All of it. There are so many gorgeous beaches to explore and relax on and the country has at atmosphere, an air of like no-where else in South America. It’s almost European, but not. If you love unexplored, uncrowded and unpretentious places be prepared to put Uruguay very high on your bucket list.
Two weeks in a perfect amount of time to visit Uruguay to really get to know it’s coastline and beaches. You may need more time if you want to head inland. Simply cut out one of the featured beach destinations or adapt the Uruguay itinerary as you please.
This Uruguay itinerary starts in Colonia del Sacramento taking into account an arrival from Buenos Aires by boat. It ends in Montevideo for a flight out. Allow a little more time if you need to get back to Colonia to get the boat back to Buenos Aires. I would also strongly recommend renting a car for this itinerary as it makes travel easier and faster. I did this as a road trip and I had an amazing and care-free time. Uruguay, however, does have great bus connections and the whole itinerary can be done by bus.
DAY 1-2 Colonia del Sacramento
Start your trip in one of Uruguay’s most historical and visually pleasing places. The old colonial town of Colonia is an absolute gem. Spend your two days here taking in the old cobblestone alleyways, strolling around the historical centre drinking coffee, taking in the marina and relaxing on the beaches. I’d also recommend walking up to the top of the lighthouse, which gives fantastic views over the historical centre and the Rio de la Plata.
DAY 3-4 Punta del Este
Travel up the coast to Punta del Este, which is quite a large, modern, coastal city with all the amenities. If you’re not ready for all the hustle and bustle then I’d definitely recommend staying in either La Barra, a small town outside Punta del Este or Punta Ballena, a glorious rocky outcrop, famous for Casa Pueblo and glorious sunsets. In Punta del Este, head to the main beach Playa Brava and admire La Mano, the famous beach sculpture that resembles a hand coming out of the sand. You can also walk to the Marina and admire all the grand yachts as well as the storefronts along the main street, Rambla General Artigas. Fancy a boat trip? Take a short boat trip to Gorriti Island, where you can sunbathe and explore or take a sea animals sightseeing boat trip. This tour will take you to an island, home to a large sea lion colony and don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and whales.
DAY 5-6 Punta del Diablo
Much further up the coast, towards Brazil is Punta del Diablo. This was once a sleepy fishing village, now popular with travellers during the summer months. The best time to visit Punta del Diablo is outside January and February when it becomes a sleepy village once again. Walk the splendid, sandy alleyways of this town, breathe the fresh salty air and of course spend some time on the glorious little beaches. Punta del Diablo also gets some really good surf, so jump in (if you know what you’re doing), otherwise, there are many surf schools where you can learn. Punta del Diablo really comes alive at night, especially in the summer where you’ll find street performers, amateur singers playing acoustic guitars and some lovely chilled beach bars on Playa Pescadores, perfect for grabbing a beer and watching the sunset.
DAY 7 Barra de Valizas
From Punta del Diablo it’s not far to Barra de Valizas, a sleepy beachside village with a gorgeous, long, pristine beach. Even in the summer, you can find a slice of beach all to yourself here. I’d definitely recommend taking a walk down the beach to your East. If you keep walking and cross the lagoon you’ll find yourself at the base of some rocky sand dunes and in the Cabo Polonio National Park. Climb to the top and you’ll be rewarded with the most gorgeous views, with Barra de Valizas on one side and Cabo Polonio on the other.
DAY 8-9 Cabo Polonio
No Uruguay itinerary is quite complete without a visit here. Located inside the National Park of the same name the only way into Cabo Polonio from the main road is a fun ride on a sand truck. Catch this at the entrance to Cabo Polonio National Park. If you haven’t already been in a state of relaxed bliss, spend the days here really chilling out and listening to the sound of the ocean. There are no cars or motorbikes here and no real roads. Spend your days in chilled Cabo Polonio doing yoga, working out, chilling on the beach and having long lunches.
DAY 10-11 Jose Ignacio
Head back down towards Punta del Este stopping at Jose Ignacio. While Cabo Polonio has a more hippie vibe, Jose Ignacio boasts a more refined, upscale vibe.
DAY 12-14 Montevideo
From Jose Ignacio,
Montevideo is best explored by foot where you can people watch and really get to experience local life in Montevideo. I would highly recommend a trip to Mercado del Puerto where you can eat and mingle with the locals. (
Uruguay really is a great country to visit and explore. It’s full of life, friendly locals, best places to visit and great experiences. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Any questions about your Uruguay Itinerary? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment or question below.
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