Cabo Polonio is a little Uruguayan beach village of 90 inhabitants.
There's no electricity, no running water. You have to ride a 4x4 seven kilometers over sand dunes to reach the village.
Exactly the sort of adventure I wanted to have on Remote Year.
Cabo Polonio requires a four-hour bus ride from Montevideo. The bus drops you off at the Cabo Polonio station, wherein you buy a ticket on a 4x4 to actually get to the village. You could hike it, if you want, but only before sundown. Natural light is the only guiding light in this remote area.
There are no roads to Cabo Polonio. Only paths between the dunes.
It would be tough to do on a short trip to Uruguay - but so very worth it.
Cabo Polonio itself is adorable. There are no hotels, only small homes and a few restaurants and shops. Visitors stay in hostels - really just bunk beds inside the little cottages.
The houses are bright. Restaurants are basic. Food is cooked over a fire. People are friendly and relaxed. Dreadlocks are very common, as are printed flowy skirts and shoeless feet.
We stayed in a hostel at the edge of the tiny village.
Of course we traipsed over the craggy rocks to the lighthouse, a beacon in the little village. 25 pesos to climb the 132 steps to the top was a bargain. We relished our aerial view of the village, scoured the rocks for sea lions, grasped the railings to brace ourselves against the powerful wind.
There are two: a gorgeous surfer's beach, with strong winds and rough waves, and a calmer family beach. Our hostel was right on the family beach, but the surfer's beach was a short walk away.
The family beach had calm waters, giggling children, and lots of dead fish on the shore. We even saw a couple of dead hammerheads.
The surfer's beach was much prettier, but the whipping wind pelted us with sand. The temperature was mild, and standing on that beautiful beach quickly turned chilly and uncomfortable if you forgot your jacket.
But the surfer's beach was the perfect place to watch the sunset.
I can't recall witnessing more magnificent sunsets. The fiery sky on our first night was almost too majestic for my camera. The second night was also gorgeous, and so peaceful to watch from our vantage on the beach. A kiteboarder skimmed the waves, cutting through the setting sun. A dog chased the kite and never seemed to tire. Fellow travelers did handstands on the beach. Our group perched on the lifeguard tower, assuming it empty, and started when a lifeguard poked his head out to say hello. We listened to distant drums, peals of laughter.
It was relaxing and energizing, both at once.
Cabo Polonio, you are my favorite piece of Uruguay.