A Remote Beach Town in Uruguay: Cabo Polonio
With no running water, no electricity, no roads, Cabo Polonio is a truly singular experience. It is a remote beach village in Uruguay where around 70 people live there year round. It is a mix of fishermen, eccentric artists (local and foreigners) and hippies. The village is made of a few hundred multi-coloured houses and shacks strewn across the grass and sand. It is common to see chickens, cows and horses grazing around. Many travelers come seeking an off the grid experience.
Cabo Polonio is located between the Atlantic Ocean and a desert landscape of shifting sand dunes.To get there, most visitors cross the sand dunes to the west by jeep, horse or on foot. This gives it a wonderful sensation of complete isolation. Trekking to Cabo Polonio takes about 4 hours from the nearby village of Valizas. You should get a local guide, otherwise you may get lost. It may seem long but it is totally worth it. Climbing giant dunes and appreciating the view of the ocean is a wonderful experience. You will get in tune with the rhythm of the town, where no one is rushing to get anywhere. Unplug and enjoy the peace. Part of the beauty of this place is the slow pace of life. The eccentricity of the settlement draws a multitude of day visitors, who make the town a curiosity stop along their vacation route.
You can explore the town in less than an hour. You will find the lighthouse just a short walk away. Make your way up the never-ending staircase, and appreciate the view from the top of the endless sea and across the flat farmlands of Uruguay. You will encounter one of the largest colonies of sea lions. The principal attraction is, the beaches. You can often have the beach completely to yourself. Only the lighthouse has electricity, while some shops and posadas have generators to run essentials like refrigerators and lights. All the shacks have wells, and the showers are buckets with holes at the bottom.
Cabo Polonio has been declared a National Park Preserve. The regulations limit further construction, and building materials are not allowed in unless they are for repairs. If additions are made to existing houses, patrolling rangers force their removal. The idea is to preserve it as it is, no more houses or businesses.
Each year Cabo Polonio’s receives from artisans and hippies to professionals like lawyers and doctors and even some celebrities.There are a few hostels in the village center but most visitors rent homes from locals. During the summer tourist season, locals set up makeshift restaurants in their homes.
After the sun sets, you will be able to experience complete darkness and see the starry night sky like you have never seen it before. The only source of light are candles. With no televisions or radios, the loudest sounds are those of waves breaking on the sand.