Punta del Diablo, Uruguay is a top beach destination. In the summertime (December to February), the town is flooded with tourists and backpackers eager to surf Uruguay and soak in the sunshine. Outside of summer, the village is a ghost town – and people seeking solitude will surely find it on the Punta del Diablo shore. We were there in April, when the roads were dusty and the dogs outnumbered the residents. Even though we visited outside the summer season, we think Punta del Diablo is one of the best beach cities in Uruguay.
Located on the northeastern coast of Uruguay, Punta del Diablo is just 30 miles (50km) south of the Uruguay-Brazil border in the Rocha Department (region). The city is best reached by bus (or car); the ride takes about 5 hours from the capital city, Montevideo and about 2.5 hours from stylish Punte del Este. Not really off-the-beaten-path (plenty of people are in on the secret), the beach town attracts a bohemian crowd with a laid-back atmosphere. Even Lonely Planet once named Punta del Diablo as one of the Top 20 Places to Visit.
With roots as a fishing village, the life of the city has always resided on the seaside – and the town still lacks a traditional city center. Since the town has been ‘discovered,’ development has brought a slew of vacation rentals that have expanded the boundaries, however, regulations have kept new buildings to a minimum. Void of any major tourist attractions (besides the beach), Punta del Diablo is one of the best places to visit in Uruguay to enjoy a slower pace of life.
5 Things To Do in Punta del Diablo, Uruguay
After spending two weeks on the beach, we created our list of top Punta del Diablo, Uruguay Things To Do. At the end of the post, we include a helpful map and other tips!
#1 Punta del Diablo, Uruguay Beaches
Surfers and sunbathers flock to Punta del Diablo, Uruguay for the stunning beaches – and even in the off-season, we spent our days on the sandy shoreline. What makes Punta del Diablo one of the best Uruguay beach towns is that there are multiple beaches for tourists to visit.
Fronting the oldest part of town is Playa Pescadores. This is the most commercialized beach in Punta del Diablo, but still with just a smattering of beach bars and tourist kiosks lining the boardwalk. It is also where the fisherman tie up their boats and unload the fresh catch of the day. At the south end of Playa de los Pescadores is the Feira de Artesanos – or the Punta del Diablo Flea Market – where visitors can pick up souvenirs and handmade gifts.
Playa del Rivero
Just north of Playa Pescadores is Playa del Rivero, the most popular Punta del Diablo, Uruguay beach. Much longer than Pescadores and more suitable for both swimming and surfing, Rivero is the beach that most tourists staying in Punta del Diablo visit.
Playa Grande is one of the best beaches in Uruguay. The 2-mile-long powdery sand beach is north of Playa del Rivero. The beach is easily accessed by a sandy trail that climbs over the rocky peninsula at the north end of Playa del Rivero. Lacking any beachfront structures, Playa Grande is a peaceful, beautiful stretch of natural beach.
Playa del Barco, Playa de las Achiras and Playa de la Moza
Three smaller beaches – Playa del Barco, Playa de las Achiras and Playa de la Moza – lie north of Playa Grande. These lesser-visited beaches are the shoreline boundary of the Santa Teresa National Park. The rocky outcrops provide a wonderful place to sit and watch the waves. We spotted several dolphins along this stretch of beach.
Playa de la Viuda
The southern Punta del Diablo beach is Playa de la Viuda. Not ideal for swimming (there are strong currents), the beach is great for walking and seeking out a secluded space to relax.
Top Tip: In the summer, visitors can take Punta del Diablo surf lessons for skilled surfers.
#2 Fortaleza de Santa Teresa
The Santa Teresa Fort is one of the only Uruguay tourist attractions near Punta del Diablo. The historic military fort is located just 7 miles (11.5km) north of the town within the greater Santa Teresa National Park.
The fort is open to visitors (for a small fee) and the surrounding park – with intertwining paths and lush vegetation – is free to visit. Fortaleza de Santa Teresa dates to 1762. It was built by the Portuguese, but was captured by Spain in 1793, and was the site of many battles.
Visitors can take a quick trip to the fort and park – or spend an entire day in the area. We took the bus – a short 10-minute ride – to the main entrance of the fort. After wandering around the fort and park, we decided to walk back along the ocean from Fortaleza de Santa Teresa to Punta del Diablo. We walked the 7-mile route via three beaches: Playa de las Achiras, Playa del Barco and the Playa Grande.
Top Tip: North of Santa Teresa National Park Uruguay on a peninsula is Cabo Polonio, an off-the-grid village that has no roads, electricity or running water. The area is well-known for a colony of sea lions and the shifting sand dunes.
#3 Faro Punta Palmar Lighthouse
The red-and-white striped Punta Palmar Lighthouse sits at the southern end of Playa de la Viuda. Although it is part of a private residence and not accessible, the elevated, rocky peninsula offers fantastic views of the sea. The lighthouse was built in 1977 and is still currently used for nautical navigation. We recommend packing a picnic and taking a stroll to the lighthouse for lunch-with-a-view.
#4 Punta del Diablo Exploration
Even with the recent boom in tourism, it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to get from one end of Punta del Diablo to the other. However, exploring the grid of dirt roads to corner markets, mom-and-pop restaurants and picturesque viewpoints can take an entire afternoon. Let the sound of the roaring ocean serve as a compass as you follow dusty roads that are not marked by street signs.
Begin in the cluster of dwellings in the oldest part of the small town near Pescadores Beach. Stroll down the streets lined with restaurants, pescaderos (fish shops), supermercados (markets), and traditional oceanfront homes. Wander deeper into the neighborhood and up the hill on the northern end of town where new holiday apartments are quickly being built for optimal ocean views.
#5 Sunrises in Punta del Diablo
The beaches in Punta del Diablo face east – and the sunrises are nothing short of phenomenal. During our stay, we witnessed brilliant skies streaked in purple, pink and gold at dawn. We were fortunate to have an east-facing room and balcony that provided an elevated view of the beach and horizon. However, waking up early and watching the sunrise from the beach is an essential Punta del Diablo, Uruaguay activity!
Punta del Diablo Map
Things To Know About Punta del Diablo
Before you travel to the beach, we have a few tips for your trip to Punta del Diablo, Uruguay. Fun Fact: Punta del Diablo means Devil’s Point.
What To Eat
Seafood! Fresh fish is caught daily and sampling the locally prepared fish is a must! When you have had your fill of fish, try other classic Uruguay cuisine.
Anyone visiting Punta del Diablo will quickly notice the multitude of dogs. Both strays and owned dogs roam freely and they run in little packs. Like street gangs they love to stir it up with anything entering their turf – birds, other dogs, horses, motorbikes, and even cars. However, most stray dogs in Punta del Diablo love people. They quickly become best friends with any human being that is walking down the road, greeting them with wagging tails.
During our stay, we had our own little ‘dog-tourage’; we even named them: Patch, White Sox, Coon and Foxy. Our furry, four-legged friends were at our heels from the moment we stepped out of our cabin and hung out on our patio when we would have a fire.
Visiting in the Off-Season
During the off-season, the town nearly shuts down. Most restaurants, bars, hotels and hostels are all shuttered for the winter. The few places that remain open seldom have customers and those customers are surely locals. Everything but the ocean waves (and dogs) cease movement. For us, the abandoned town felt both eerie and peaceful. Punta del Diablo in the winter is truly a place to get away from it all.
A few of the restaurants and a couple supermarkets open in the off-season, though often on alternate days of the week. Prices for accommodations also plunge during the winter. Guests can easily find a beach-view apartment for half the price of what it costs in the summer.
The weather can be a bit rainy in the off-season. Although most of the days during our two-week stay were filled with sunshine, we did have a few foul weather days. Check the Punta del Diablo, Uruguay weather forecast before your trip on Weather.com.
Where to Stay in Punta del Diablo
During our visit, we stayed in an awesome Airbnb apartment. (Not already a member of Airbnb? Use this link to create an account and save money on your first stay!) We have found that staying in apartments is often less expensive than hotel rooms – with the added benefit of a kitchen and, usually, more space.
The free-standing, two-story beach cabin had a thatched roof and an upstairs balcony that offered views of the sea. The space was perfect for our stay!
Punta del Diablo, Uruguay Hotels
However, for those who prefer staying in traditional accommodations, there are Punta del Diablo hotels to choose from in – or close to – the town center. Check out these top-rated hotels (based on guest reviews!) for your upcoming trip: Nativos, El Diablo y el Mar and Marisma.
Punta del Diablo Hostels
Whether you are booking a hotel or a hostel, start your search on Booking.com!
We Want To Know: What would you add to our list of things to do in Punta del Diablo, Uruguay? Give us your best tips and advice in the comments below!
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