We knew Punta del Este would be a quick, expensive stop, and so we picked out a smaller beach town a little further north that sounded mellow and a bit more secluded. We chose wisely with La Aguada, a small beach village located just outside of the larger beach town of La Paloma. We also lucked out that the only hostel in town, just a block from the beach, turned out to be the perfect place to call home for a few phenomenal beach days. Hostal Gitanos really is a special place. We weren’t sure at first, as it’s not the cleanest place ever, and the bathrooms were a bit of a walk from our room. But we warmed up to it quickly and enjoyed meeting some great fellow travelers, and getting to know the 2 hippies, and their dog Hoco, who own and run the place. Most of our time there were spent splitting the day with the mornings at the beach and the afternoons lounging in the hammock just outside our room or in the lush tropical gardens on the property. There are no restaurants in town, at least none that we saw, so we visited all the little mini markets in town to gather fresh produce and cook healthy meals in the great shared kitchen at Gitanos. One afternoon we walked over to the local fishing pier to buy Danny a freshly-caught, full Sea Bass to cook himself for dinner, which barely fit in the frying pan.
We came, we lounged, we swam, we got burnt, we finished our books…I’d say it was successful beaching.
- Danny was able to stay up late and stream the Super Bowl.
- We made a day trip to Cabo Polonio, a unique beach town only reachable by a 4 wheel drive truck/bus. This town is completely off the grid, a total backpackers haven. There is maybe one “upscale” hotel in town, but the rest of the buildings are brightly colored, beach shacks with dozens of hammocks and patios opening right to the sand. The whole town is walkable in about 10 minutes, including the main Shakedown Street-like commercial area. And none of the restaurants in town have a bathroom, they all share one public restroom building in the center of town. We spent a full day there walking on the beach, seeing the seal colony and having a great swim in the warm ocean waves.
- We got to know a couple from Michigan, John and Ann, who are mentally on their way to become expats in Uruguay some day in the future. They found out about a full moon party out in the mountains an hour and a half from La Aguada from the 2 guys who own the hostel we were all staying at. It was held on a permaculture farm coop, kind of like a big commune of farmers, where the hostel owners live and work in the winter. We hopped on board with John and Anne, in their rental car, and drove out to the commune for the party. We somehow wound up arriving awkwardly early, and had to kill some hours exploring the huge property. And so we soaked our feet in the river for a bit, then walked around to see all the common buildings, which included a round, acoustically enhanced structure called a “copola” for mediation and music performances. There was also a guest house area for friends and family of community members and a kids’ building as well. We stayed for the dinner of homemade pasta and fresh veggies from their garden. Then there was some live music and drumming. All the buildings looked like they were right out of the shire. And the community members were right out of my past life. Lots of dreadlocks.
For all of our La Aguada photos click here.