We are Carol and Cláudio – a travel couple from Brazil who have just experienced one epic road trip through Uruguay. We’re originally from the small Brazilian state of Sergipe. It’s a place with many beaches, a traditional way of life, great food and lots of sun all year round.
Cláudio previously worked in his family’s small business as an administrator of a pasta factory. Carol, on the other hand, studied cinema and worked as a director of film advertising. Although we love Sergipe, both of us always wanted to travel and explore the wider world.
It’s something we have dreamed about our whole lives. Like many people though, we have been putting off our dreams due to the harsh routine of our jobs and daily lives. But in June of 2016 we decided to take our first trip away in our awesome 1970 Volkswagen Beetle.
We embarked on a 1,500 km trip to Chapada Diamantina – a fantastic place in the interior of Bahia. It was the best trip of our lives! Everyone in Brazil loves Beetles and that opened all the doors for us to make new friends. We decided to film the entire experience.
On this trip we made so many friends and had such a good time that we wanted to expand our route. So we studied and worked hard until October, 2018. Then on one very stressful day, Carol suggested that we take a few months off and do a trip through South America.
In the flash of a moment we had our route mapped out and knew exactly which vehicle we would take: our beautiful red 1970 Volkswagen Beetle! Thus, Fusconautas was born. That was the starting point of our life project.
The Ultimate South America Road Trip
A 52-Day Road Trip in Uruguay
We spent a total of 52 days in Uruguay on our road trip. Our route followed the entire coast of Uruguay – from Chuy to the historic Colonia del Sacramento, passing by beautiful and deserted beaches, the famous Punta del Este, and intriguing cities like Piriápolis and the wonderful Montevideo.
Our road trip in Uruguay was confined to the coast as we did not have the opportunity to enter the centre of the country. We travelled more than 1,800 km and found some great highways and roads. It was a safe and comfortable driving experience.
During our Uruguay road trip, we had the opportunity to experience the most diverse adventures. For example: we did exchange volunteer work for accommodation and slept in public spaces and in the midst of nature.
We met travellers from all over the world in hostels and experienced true Uruguayan hospitality when we stayed at the homes of locals we met.
Favourite Place in Uruguay: Cabo Polônio
Uruguay is an underrated country with so many amazing places to see and experience. We loved Piriápolis and Colonia del Sacramento. But the place we fell in love with the most was a small village called Cabo Polônio, a hamlet located on the eastern coast of Uruguay.
It’s an isolated place with no electricity inhabited by fishermen, artisans and the employees of a beautiful lighthouse that work in the village.
The houses are all colourful and everything has this mystical atmosphere about it. You can experience a warm feeling from the first moment of seeing Cabo Polônio.
In summer, establishments such as lodgings and restaurants of local administrations are opened up to receive tourists who go in search of the beach and the peaceful esoteric atmosphere of the village.
It even has a small circus for entertainment. Furthermore, next to the lighthouse you can get up close and personal with a colony of seals.
When night falls the biggest show begins. As there is no electricity, the village is lit by candlelight and lamps. Everyone can enjoy a super starry sky. What a magical experience!
Special Memories on our Uruguay Road Trip
Of all the incredible memories we had in Uruguay, the ones that left the greatest impression on us were related to sunsets.
We were in the country in the middle of summer and the sun goes down around 7:30pm at this time of year. The sunset is really beautiful with the sun large, orange and dramatic broken by clouds.
It was like this all along the coast, from east to west. What made the sunset even more special was that we had the chance to see the sunset from Casa Pueblo in Punta Ballena.
Every day at sunset at Casa Pueblo we were presented with verses from the poem “Ceremonia del Sol” by the Uruguayan painter, ceramist, sculptor, muralist, writer and composer Carlos Páes Vilaró. It was surreal!
Top 3 Experiences on a Uruguay Road Trip
We had so many unforgettable experiences on our 52-day Uruguay road trip. Our top 3 experiences that we would recommend are the following:
1) Watch the Sunset at Casa Pueblo: for all the beauty of Carlos Páes Vilaró’s artistic work combined with the spectacle of the sun as we just mentioned prior. This experience must certainly be lived by any traveler who comes to Uruguay.
2) Visit the Historic Colonia del Sacramento: this city has a rich history. Preserved in its streets is the charming style of old times when it played an important role in the flow of Peruvian silver. A stroll through its center is a true travel back in time leading to reflections of the past.
3) Experience Night Time in Cabo Polônio: a magical village at the foothills of a distant lighthouse. Cabo Polônio is located 7 km from the nearest road and is only accessible by horse, a 10 km hike through the dunes or by an authorised 4×4 jeep.
The village has a singular beauty at night. You can observe (without interference from the strong lights of the city) the spectacle of the night sky in a super cozy atmosphere. It will take your breath away.
All of these three experiences were very different from each other and will certainly remain in our memories forever.
Meeting the Wonderful People of Uruguay
There were several occasions when we interacted deeply with the Uruguayan people. We had the opportunity to exchange work for accommodation at hostels, to stay with Uruguayan families and even gave an interview on a radio program in Montevideo.
All of these experiences have given us an image of a peaceful people, kind and aware of their role as citizens. It is not our intention to generalize the entire population of a country, but wherever we went we were delighted with the people and have made friends for life.
Culturally, we were impressed with the amount of events we saw. Uruguay is famous for its Tango and Milonga. It was precious for us to experience other types of events such as Candombe – a rhythm of African origin popular in the capital of Montevideo which is played to the sound of drums.
Another surprise was to discover the Montevideo carnival. In addition to being a strong syncretism of African, European and indigenous cultures – it’s the longest carnival in the world with 45 days of celebrations!
The Hearty Gastronomy of Uruguay
Did you know that Uruguay has three times more cattle than people? This fact is reflected throughout the country’s gastronomy. It’s highly recommended to go to a “Parrillaria Uruguaya” and taste an authentic Uruguayan barbecue. They are awesome at BBQ’s!
This concentration of cattle also drives the dairy industry. We recommend trying the delicious alfajores and sweet milk treats. Then there is the national drink of Mate. It’s amazing to see locals with their Mate Thermos and bowls of herbs which they take with them everywhere.
Uruguay is also renowned for its street food such as empanadas, panchos and tortas fritas. We loved eating chivito, the national dish of Uruguay. It’s a sandwich containing thin slices of tender cooked steak with bacon, egg, mozzarella, tomatoes, mayonnaise and olives.
Why you Should Road Trip through Uruguay
Uruguay is a small and diverse nation inhabited by friendly people. We felt safe right across this country. We recommend visiting destinations that are off the beaten track on your Uruguay road trip. These places are untouched and you can find so many friendly little villages to relax in.