Punta del Diablo and the Uruguay Coast
Punta del Diablo Travel Blog› entry 62 of 84 › view all entries
The bus left Montevideo behind and with it most of the signs of civilization as buildings gave way to empty fields and cattle. Except for a few small cities up the coast there wasn´t much to see in the flat countryside. I decided to skip the famous resort town of Punta del Este because it was off-season and it would have been only a ghost town, and with nicer beaches up the coastline I didn´t see much reason to stop. I had decided to stop in Punta del Diablo, only 40km from the Brazilian border, so that I could experience some of the Uruguay coast and attempt to get my visa for Brazil, which had proved not so simple to do in Buenos Aires and Montevideo. In Buenos Aires the Brazilian consulate wanted copies of bank statements, credit cards, proof of onward travel (which I don´t have), and perhaps a processing time of up to 10 business days.
So Punta del Diablo. Despite the intimidating name it is really a tranquil place, especially in the off-season when the population drops from a summer high of around 20,000 to about 800. Lots of things close and there was only one place to stay that was actually open.
There are several other coastal towns south of Punta del Diablo such as Cabo de Polonia and La Paloma which are also popular summer destinations. I had wanted to visit these towns but the problem was that my ATM card wouldn´t work at the one ATM in Chuy, the border town with Brazil, because it was a Visa card and a Mastercard ATM. It didn´t work in Chui, the Brazilian side, because it didn´t have some kind of electronic chip for the one ATM and the other was just not functioning, plus the one bank that doesn´t accept foreign cards.
I found all this out when I went to the Brazilian consulate in Chuy to try to get my visa. Chuy itself is a typical border town with loads of duty free shops and an street that runs right along the border, with one side being Uruguay and called Avenida Brasil and the other side in Brazil called Avenida Uruguay. Of course all the streets running perpendicular to this road have different names in each country, making things very confusing. And the Portugese was another thing that I had almost forgotten about. Suddenly, even one block into Brazil, I could hardly understand anything the people were saying, and I knew almost no Portugese except for the words that are similar to the Spanish ones.
For the visa, I was worried about all the documentation that they might ask me to provide for the visa but compared to the other places, getting the visa was amazingly simple: all I needed was to fill out the form (many of the questions I left blank such as address in Brazil), give them one passport photo, and pay about 3,000 Uruguayan pesos, and wait about an hour to get the visa, nothing more. But to get those pesos I had to change almost all the US dollars that I had, leaving me only $40, about 1,500 Uruguayan pesos, and 250 Argentine pesos.