An Unplanned Trip to Uruguay – Punta del Este, Uruguay

Antarctica was incredible. Even though we’ve written a lot about it, words cannot really express the power and beauty of the landscape, icebergs and the incredible wildlife. Last word on Antarctica – GO!

So after our magnificent life-changing journey to the Antarctic, we flew from Ushuaia, at the bottom of the world, to Buenos Aires. Some of our friends from our ship, the Plancius, were on the same flight.

We were all fairly knackered by the time we finally got to Buenos Aires around midnight and booked a night at Hotel Obelisco to rest our heads before catching a ferry the next morning to Uruguay.

De-planing the flight from Ushuaia in Buenos Aires.De-planing the flight from Ushuaia in Buenos Aires.

De-planing the flight from Ushuaia in Buenos Aires.26-Mar-2011 22:29


After checking into the hostel, we headed out to grab a bite. Although we were exhausted, we were also starving. We wound up just getting a simple sandwich and salad and found it hard to keep our heads off the table while eating.

Soon, we headed back to the hostel hoping for a good night’s sleep. The hostel was a bit loud, since our room was right next to a very loud old elevator. Anyway, during the night, I had dreams about something crawling on me and woke up thinking I felt things crawling on my face. I got up and turned on the light, but saw nothing. This happened twice during the night.

When we woke up after a rough night’s sleep, I checked the bed. Sure enough we found two bedbugs crawling around in the sheets! Somehow we’d miraculously gone 11 months traveling through Central and South America without a bedbug encounter! But, alas, our luck had ended.

Bedbugs in Buenos Aires. Yuck!Bedbugs in Buenos Aires. Yuck!

Bedbugs in Buenos Aires. Yuck!27-Mar-2011 08:16


We decided to forego the free included breakfast and pack up and get the hell out of there. We decided to bring down the crawly critters on one of the pillows we’d slept on. We strolled into reception with the pillow and bugs and asked in Spanish what they were and why they were there, playing dumb. Although the look on my face probably gave us away. They embarrassingly took the pillow and placed it in a black garbage bag, telling us people often bring these bugs in “from the mountains.” Um, no. We’re not that stupid. They knew how serious this was, and I’m sure their embarrassment increased since other guests saw this entire interaction. Needless to say, we left with a huge apology and more than what we had paid for the night. Can you say bribe?

Still scratching and feeling skeeved, we caught a cab to the ferry that would take us to Uruguay. We decided to take the longer, cheaper Buquebus which was surprisingly large and lush for a ferry with leather seats, a cafe, and a nice duty free shop. I caught some z’s on the 3 hour ride.

Onboard the Buquebus ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia, Uruguay.Onboard the Buquebus ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia, Uruguay.

Onboard the Buquebus ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia, Uruguay.27-Mar-2011 12:14


Upon landing in Colonia (a quaint colonial town which we decided to skip), we boarded our waiting Buquebus for Punta del Este.

Punta del Este is an exclusive beachtown perched on a peninsula dotted by sprawling glass highrises, fancy restaurants and expensive shops. It felt like Uruguay’s Miami Beach, with prices to match. We wound up staying at a hostel far inland due to the high accomodation rates. Our little backyard bungalow was cute and we were happy to finally have WiFi so we could Skype.

Our garden bungalow at the hostel in Punta del Este.Our garden bungalow at the hostel in Punta del Este.

Our garden bungalow at the hostel in Punta del Este.29-Mar-2011 11:25


We got online and called both of our families to announce our engagement. To tell my family, I got onto Skype alone and said “I want to introduce someone… My FiancĂ©!!!” It was a shocker and everyone was thrilled and we all cried! Ah, thank God for Skype!

We spent the next few days chilling at the bungalow and relaxing in the sun at the beach, although the water was quite cold as the high summer season was just ending.

Beachtime on Punta del Este.Beachtime on Punta del Este.

Beachtime on Punta del Este.30-Mar-2011 12:47


We caught a cute new movie “Papa por accidente,” or “The Switch,” with Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman. We rented bikes and explored more of Punta del Este, had a picnic lunch overlooking the ocean and found a quiet beach to enjoy.

A pretty picnic spot we found cycling around Punta del Este.A pretty picnic spot we found cycling around Punta del Este.

A pretty picnic spot we found cycling around Punta del Este.29-Mar-2011 13:12


One night, our hostel owners through an asado – or a barbecue. They grilled chicken, pork, beef, peppers, onions, provolone cheese (yum!) and bread. It was a fun night and it’s always good to meet other travellers and swap stories.

Working the wood-fired grill at our hostel's asado night.Working the wood-fired grill at our hostel’s asado night.

Working the wood-fired grill at our hostel's asado night.29-Mar-2011 21:06


With the colder weather and quiet atmosphere, we grew a little bored of Punta del Este and decided to move on after a few days. It was nice to “defrost” from Antarctica at this exclusive beach town, though next time we hope to visit when we’re not on a backpacker budget.

About Heather

Heather and Erik set off on a round-the-world trip in April, 2010, travelling overland through Central and South America before getting engaged in Antarctica. In 2011-2012 they tackled Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

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