Cabo Polonio is a tiny fishing village, which, due to its charming and boho vibe, has become a popular Summer destination amongst visitors and surfers in Argentina and Brazil.
- January is the middle of summer and the high peak of the season.
- February and March are a good middle option between the January wilderness and the peacefulness of the winter months.
Unspoiled by mass tourism, Cabo Polonio remains the raw, natural beauty of the Rocha region.
- There is no electricity in a village although the lighthouse remains the only building with a steady supply of outside electricity.
Locals get power by renewable sources like solar panels.
Don't expect to get fast Internet access as it is available only through the cell phone services.
- There’s no running water into the village.
Instead, drinking water is sourced from wells, rainwater is collected and groundwater filtered using plants.
- There are no roads in the village. Only sandy paths serve as trails of getting around for locals, visitors, and horses.
The only way of getting to Cabo Polonio is by walking at least 7 kilometers or taking one of the official 4×4 trucks in.
The closest airport is Capitan Corbeta International Airport (PDP) outside Punta del Este.
- Flights from Buenos Aires take less than an hour however it's cheaper to take the ferry to Montevideo, and then jump on a bus.
The total distance is about 280 kilometers and it should take about 4 hours with a lunch break along the way.
Keep some change for toll roads, they’re inexpensive – UY $110 for a car, UY $175 for a camper van
It's around 50km away, but on the way, you will pass La Pedrera, another beach town worth stopping at en route.
This is a free road but good quality. The drive shouldn’t take more than an hour without stops.
From Punta del Diablo – .
An easy 60-kilometer road trip should take about an hour
Most guests arrive in Cabo Polonio by bus
- There’s a direct bus from Montevideo to Cabo Polonio. It takes between 4 and 5 hours depending on stops and costs around UY $632.
That’s about US $17 and there’s 2 or 3 each day.
- Another option is to get the bus to either Rocha, or even closer, Castillos.
Bus company - "Rutas del Sol" takes guests to Cabo Polonio National Park from these towns. A one-way ticket from Castillos costs less than UY $70 and takes about 30 minutes.
Sometimes you might be asked to switch buses in the beach town called Barra de Valizas, which is halfway between Castillos and Cabo Polonio.
- In the high season, you can also take SummerBus, a Hop-on Hop-off backpacker bus that stops at 12 wonderful destinations along the coast, from Montevideo to Punta del Diablo.
Those tickets can be easily found in your hostel or online and the whole route will cost $92.
- Cabo Polonio is located about 7 km from the nearest paved road in a national park by the same name.
Only authorized vehicles are allowed to drive into the village so if you arrive in a car or camper van, you’ll need to park here.
Parking costs UY $190 for 24 hours. Pay when you leave.
- By the entrance in the park, you can pay UY $250 for a roundtrip ride with official 4×4 trucks to get to your final destination.
Walking might take around 2 hours
- You are not allowed to bring pets or tents into the national park and a surfboard costs an extra UY $100.
- You can also get to Cabo Polonio from Valizas on horseback.
This is an organized and guided round trip so only consider this option if you’re not staying in Cabo Polonio.
Check out Cabalgatas Valiceras for more details or to book online.
An alternative route to get there
Crossing the dunes from Barra de Valizas to Cabo Polonio
If you prefer some extra adventure and walk it’s possible to walk to Cabo Polonio from the nearby village of Barra de Valizas.
- The River Valizas runs into the ocean at the south end of the beach, cutting off access to the shore and dunes on the other side.
A local man charges a small fee to ferry across – it leaves on demand and the whole journey takes only 60 seconds.
From here the trek into Cabo Polonio is anything between 7 and 12 kilometers. You can follow the shore for the longest way, or take a more direct route through the sand dunes and along the edge of the forest and swampy area.
You can go directly for Cerro de la Buena Vista, the highest point along the route.
The view is indeed wonderful. You can even see Cabo Polonio lighthouse in far.
From here, the terrain is pretty diverse. The more rocky ground will be more visible than sand dunes.
Soo you will enter the swampy area so move carefully although it is easy to find a dry path.
Finally, you’ll arrive at huge sand dunes of Cabo Polonio’s beach for the final stretch into town.
What to See & Do
Beaches – As the village is situated on a small peninsula, you have your choice of two beautiful beaches
Horseback Riding – ask your hostel for more info.
Lighthouse – A few minutes' walks from the center of town, you can climb up the working lighthouse to get a panoramic view of the shoreline.
Sea Lions – A colony of sea lions lives on the rocks behind the lighthouse.
Need to know
- There are no ATMs in the village so bring enough cash to last for your stay. The closest ATMs are in La Paloma and Punta del Diablo around 50 kilometers away.
Although many local stores, hostels and cafés and bars will accept card payments.
Shopping & Eating
- There are 3 small grocery stores in the village and they seem well-stocked with fruits, vegetables, bread, and other things you might need so there’s no need to carry food into the village with you.
- There are a few cafés and restaurants and bars too.
Although from December to March, restaurants might be closed, and you'll have to cook for yourself.
- Make sure you have a hat and suncream. The wind here can hide how hot the sun gets! You will burn fast!
When to visit
- December through to February the temperatures can heat up to 30°c and the tourist crowds arrive from Montevideo, Argentina, and Brazil.
This is Cabo Polonio’s liveliest period, and accommodation needs to be booked in advance.