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South America’s vast shoreline appeals to the rich, hippies and dedicated surfers alike. Uruguay pops up as a dot on the map in size compared to its neighboring countries – Brazil and Argentina. Seemingly detached from the world around us are some wonderful, tranquil and secluded beaches. For decades, Uruguay has flown under the media radar. Following some controversial decisions, Uruguay is now in the spotlight. Beach inlets that are surrounded by vast green lands and populated by grass fed cows outnumber humans in Uruguay’s countryside.
During the winter months Uruguay’s coastline is silent. As summer months approach (December to February), these coastal towns and cities fill with tourists from around the world.
For the passionate surfer touring Uruguay and looking for some waves to experience: La Paloma, La Pedrera and Punta del Diablo are notable locations to check out. The waves in Uruguay may not be crazy in size, but you will not forget its tranquil beaches.
There are around 80 spots for surfing in a 125 mile stretch.
Here are some of the best surfing towns in Uruguay.
La Paloma, Uruguay
La Paloma (meaning “the pigeon”) part of the Department of Rocha is bland in landscape with only a population of 5,300. During the summer months this town swells to over 20,000 people. Its attractive sandy beach, warm climate, and festive atmosphere make an idea place to go during the summer months. It is common for free concerts to be hosted on the weekend right on the beach. This place has the one of the best surfing in Uruguay. La Paloma is 223 km (139 miles) from Montevideo and 119 km (74 miles) from the famed, luxury city of Punta del Este.
If you don’t speak spanish and are a novice surfer, La Paloma has a Spanish and Surf program. You can learn Spanish in the morning and take surfing lessons in the afternoon. Spanish lessons are fitted to whatever level you are at. To learn how to surf, you can check out Peteco Surf Shop run by the Vazques family. Ask about “escuela de surfing” (surfing school).
If you have come to La Paloma during the winter months you can see Southern Right whales swimming close to shore. Explore the 1874 El Faro del Cabo Santa Maria Lighthouse for black-necked swans and other water loving fowls. Don’t forget to tour the Laguna del Rocha wildlife preserve.
Click here to check out places to eat and lodge in La Paloma.
La Pedrera, Uruguay
With a mere population of around 225 people living in La Pedrera, people from all over the world come seeking a relaxing and experiences of this small coastal town. It’s a town to come and experience good surfing and social dynamics. It’s location lies next to La Paloma.
Click here to check out places to eat and lodge in La Pedrera.
Punta del Diablo, Uruguay
Punta del Diablo (Devils Tip) is another famed town in Uruguay. Notable for its relaxed and fun atmosphere, more and more visitors are coming to Punta del Diablo for the social scene that fills the beach.
It’s located around 291 km (181 miles) from Montevideo. The bus travels to Punta del Diablo and stops occasionally to pick up riders at various unmarked locations.
About 500 people occupy this town during its downtime, a number that swells to a whopping 25,000+ people every year.
Punta del Diablo is not as flashy or stylish as the Punta del Este party scene, but it still has its social crowds, music and surf. There are no high risers or ATM’s. If you come to Punta del Diablo, your time is spent on the beach rather then going to different parties as it is in Punta del Este.
Punta del Diablo may not have the biggest and craziest surf in Uruguay, but it is the most tranquil of surf places. Locals like to keep this place more low key.
Click here to check out places to lodge and eat in Punta del Diablo.
Water temperatures can turn from warm to cold overnight from storms that occur during the summer. You definitely want to bring your wetsuit as a precaution.
The sun is brutal in Uruguay. So if you are not used to being in the sun be cautions. Sunscreen is necessary if you do not want to get fried.
Camp grounds, hotels, and hostels are accommodating options when coming to staying at these coastal cities. Be mindful that places fill pretty quickly in these costal towns. Scheduling ahead would be the my advice.