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Punta del Diablo

In just a few short years, Punta del Diablo (or Devil’s Point, so-named due to the peninsula that pierces the Atlantic) has quickly become very popular with young Uruguayans and Brazilians wishing to relax by the beach for the summer. It is now also seen by many travelers as a must-visit on their way to or from Brazil, making it a memorable first or last stop in Uruguay for virtually everybody.

It is incredible to think that it was not too long ago when this was just a small, quiet fishing town; even in the mid-Noughties, there were no hostels or cabañas in sight. These days, though the permanent, year-round population may be only around 600, this explodes to over 30,000 during the summer months, peaking in January.

Although fishing remains an important industry here, the rise of tourism has brought further economic opportunities, particularly in construction and property management. Yet even in the height of summer, it is perfectly possible to be in Punta del Diablo and consider it fairly empty and peaceful. However, unlike nearby off-grid Cabo Polonio, the growth in tourism is not being regulated here, which means it is expanding fast; go now if you want to experience it while it remains a bohemian, artsy hang-out, before it is too late. This said, it seems unlikely that it will develop to the commercialism and high-rises of Punta del Este any time soon, so for this we can be very thankful.

Located five kilometers (3.1 mi) eastward off the Ruta 9, the focus of the town is its three spectacular beaches, as well as the cluster of shops and restaurants that pack its central area near the peninsula, between Playa de la Viuda and Playa de los Pescadores. Everywhere else in town, including most of the hostels and hotels, has expanded outward from here.

When attempting to navigate yourself around Punta del Diablo, the best thing to do is not pay too much attention to any map or road signs, as they are incomplete, inconsistent and generally fairly useless. Instead, every hotel, hostel and restaurant has frequent hand-made signs stuck onto virtually every streetlight, so follow these and you should manage to find where you are going. Otherwise, ask around for directions. If you are somebody who cannot survive being in a new place without a map, head to Franca restaurant and pick up its flyer, as that has the most reliable one available.

Upon arrival, the town appears quite rustic, but you will quickly discover that there is much here that is surprisingly upmarket and chic. While you are here, once you have had your day’s fill of sun-worshipping and shopping at the open air Feria de los Artesanos, you can watch the sunset from astride a horse that is pounding along the dunes, or simply gaze at the stunningly clear night sky. Punta del Diablo is also an excellent spot to take surf lessons or just rent a board and give it a go yourself. As well as this, allow at least an additional day in order to visit the nearby Santa Teresa National Park and its magnificent 18th-century fort. Try also not to miss the beautifully peaceful Laguna Negra, in which you can take a relaxing dip.

(Tel. code 4477; altitude 0 m/0 ft; pop. 600)


Other places nearby Punta del Diablo: Cabo Polonio, La Paloma and Punta del Este.

By Emma Jones

Emma Jones, 30, is from London, and recently spent nine months enjoying travelling and writing in South America.�Her favourite...

04 Jan 2012

Things to do in Punta del Diablo

Santa Teresa National Park and Fortaleza Santa Teresa

142747Just a few kilometers north of Punta del Diablo lies the 3,000-hectare (7,413-ac) National Park of Santa Teresa, a site of national importance in environmental conservation and the promotion of ...
Other Activity, National Park
Punta del Diablo, Uruguay

The Beaches Of Playa De La Viuda, Playa Del Rivero And Playa De Los Pescadores

144011The main way to spend your lazy days in Punta del Diablo is sunbathing on one of the three long sandy beaches. On summer afternoons they get pretty busy, so start earlier if you’re looking for a ...
Other Activity
Punta del Diablo, Uruguay


144012With its best waves hitting in the autumn and winter, when the water is also less populated with newbies, the excellent surf could be why you find yourself heading to Punta del Diablo out of season. ...
Punta del Diablo, Uruguay

Horseback Riding

144013A common activity in Punta del Diablo is to take a horseback ride along the beaches. Popular excursions include rides along the dunes and to the forest of Parque Nacional Santa Teresa. Trips can be ...
Horseback Riding
Punta del Diablo, Uruguay

Feria De Los Artesanos

144014Whether it’s a unique gift that you’re looking for or a treat for yourself, Feria de los Artesanos is the best place to try, especially if you want to stay close to the beach. Situated on the ...
Punta del Diablo, Uruguay

Paseo Del Rivero

144015A peaceful retreat from the bustle of the beaches, even in the height of summer, Paseo del Rivero is a surprisingly upmarket place to visit. Offering excellent shopping and a couple of good quality ...
Other Activity
Punta del Diablo, Uruguay

‘la Casa Magica’ (la Casa De José Bentancor)

144016The brainchild of local artist José Bentancor, this bright yellow house in the shape of a face is worth a visit if you fancy seeing something on the unusual side. Built in 2010 by Bentancor and his ...
Punta del Diablo, Uruguay

Laguna Negra

144020When you want to get away from everyone and everything, even in the busiest heights of summer, a visit to Laguna Negra (Black Lagoon) is ideal. Only a short bus trip from Punta del Diablo to the ...
Other Activity
Punta del Diablo, Uruguay

Cerro Verde And Karumbe

In the area of Cerro Verde, 18 kilometers (11.2 mi) north of Punta del Diablo, the excellent volunteer organization of Karumbe can be found. Operating between January and April, daytrips are possible ...
Other Activity
Punta del Diablo, Uruguay
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