Area: 176.215 km2
Average temperature: 20C (ish, although Punta del Este was coooold)
Best laid plans often go awry
Our plans for Uruguay changed a bit compared to what we were originally had. For a start, we missed Salto in the North as we skipped Paraguay (choosing instead to fly from Foz do Iguazú to Buenos Aires). We also decided we weren’t going to do much in terms of city sight-seeing in Uruguay; instead opting to take advantage of their infamous (in Argentina and Brazil anyway) beaches for a couple of weeks. Call it a mini-vacation within the trip if you like; spending the days at the pool or beach, and the nights enjoying the bars and restaurants. Perfect plan. Particularly as it was over Jeroen’s birthday.
Or so we thought…
Montevideo (strike 1)
After booking ourselves into a water-front hotel (Esplendor by Wyndham) we were looking to spending a few days hanging out in the good weather at their rooftop pool. Until we discovered upon checkin that the pool was seasonal. We missed it by two weeks. Weird we thought, considering it was 25 degrees outside. For us Northern Europeans that’s almost tropical! Frustrating also, seeing as they did not mention this on their website.
So, no pool-hanging for us this time, unfortunately. The only saving grace was that after kicking up a bit of a fuss we managed to get decent discount and an upgrade. So we instead spent our time recharging in our super king-size bed mostly.
We did take the odd walk along the city beaches and in the city centre. Although, neither were much to write home about; the beaches were nicely kept but relatively dull and the city centre (albeit beautifully quaint) we found to be equally as dull. There was little in terms of tourist attractions; aside the old town, where we were heavily ripped off for lunch one day, and so decided to stay away from there. As for the rest of the city, there wasn’t much of an edge about it; all quite comfortable and very orderly. Perhaps a nice place to retire later in life.
In the end we decided to cut our stay short in Montevideo.
Punta del Este (strike 2)
To try and salvage some of our plans we decided to expedite our trip to Punta. We had high hopes given that we’d heard that it’s one of the top holiday destinations in Uruguay; lively, lots to do and good weather. Surely, the perfect place to ensure we could at least spend Jeroen’s birthday lazing in the sun by day and partying a bit by night.
We arrived to 14 degrees (supposedly, although it felt much lower) and gale force winds. On top of that, because the season didn’t start for two more weeks there was hardly a soul to be seen in the city; with almost all of the bars and restaurants closed.
Again, weird. Not so much the weather – we are learning on this trip how unpredictable that can be. But the fact that the seasonal timing was so precise (with things only starting to open when the season starts) is just something we didn’t expect. Even during shoulder periods in places we have visited in the past, they still have some life in them. So, we spent 2 days hanging out at the hostel (which was a really cute place; Casa Alevines – try it if you are ever there!) and catching up on our planning. Happy birthday Jeroen! (We at least did it with a couple of bottles of whatever bubbles we could find in the only open supermarket.)
Day 3 in Punta at least gave us some respite from the weather. We finally got a day full of the sunshine we had hoped for. This was not a drill – pool time immediately!!
Chihuahua (3rd time’s a charm)
We’d already booked to stay in Chihuahua months ago as a treat; at one of the few gay hotel & spas in South America (Undarius). Despite the fact that the weather was looking more promising, we were worried this wouldn’t last and that we were going to strike out for the whole Uruguay trip (wasting a load of money in the process). Thankfully this didn’t happen and we had the most amazing final 5 days in Uruguay. Thank whatever gay gods are out there!
Undarius was a small paradise. It’s difficult to decide what we loved about it most; the garden bathed in sunlight with the pool and jacuzzi just a few steps from our room, the home-cooked food, the great bar with self service beers, great wines and cocktails, the fellow guests who were super friendly, or the owners (Mario & Fran) – the most amazing hosts we’ve ever stayed with. A combination of all these things really rescued our stay in Uruguay. It’s a place we can’t recommend enough! Only if you have the pre-requisite features of course, being a men-only place.
So, overall Uruguay was not quite what we’d planned or expected. In fairness, partly through our planning assumptions which were off. Had we gone during peak summer season (when there may be more guarantee of decent weather, places being open and a busier atmosphere), we think our experience would have been different. We would definitely like to give it another chance.
So, that’s exactly what we plan to do if we decide to spend more time around Buenos Aires at the end of the trip (if nothing else then to visit Undarius again)!
Till next time!
Carl & Jeroen
For more (daily) pictures, visit our instagram page: 2minionsontour
- Countries visited: 3
- Cities visited: 12
- Distance travelled: 16.000 km
- Modes of transport:
- Plane (4),
- Night-bus (3),
- Day bus (8),
- Boat (1)