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Off-season secret: Punta del Diablo, Uruguay

As South American countries go Uruguay is pretty under the radar, but it does have one or two major tourist attractions. Every summer the rich and famous flock to the beaches, cocktail bars and casinos of Punta del Este while the quaint, historical port town of Colonia del Sacramento sees a steady stream of tourists all year round.

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Picture: Vince Alongi

But venture a little further afield and you’ll find some true gems. Punta del Diablo is the northernmost beach town in the country, but it’s still only a 3-hour drive from the capital, Montevideo. In the height of summer it’s a little bit too popular for its own good, but if you time your trip right you can have it all to yourself. The interstices of summer are best – either in November and early December or from February through April. Right now would be perfect, in fact!

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Picture: Leo Alvarez

Front and center of Punta del Diablo’s attractions are its three beaches, all blessed with white sands, warm water, and safe swimming conditions. They offer excellent surfing and bodyboarding too, especially during the fall and winter months. The village’s quaint, laidback vibe is another major drawcard – strict building regulations prohibit high-rise buildings and sprawling luxury resorts. There is one upscale boutique hotel just out of town, otherwise rent one of the many beautifully appointed holiday homes. Seafood restaurants and beach bars abound, so you won’t go hungry – unless you visit in the depths of winter when lots of establishments close their doors.

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Picture: Leo Alvarez

The nearby Parque Nacional Santa Teresa is well worth a visit – not only for its abundance of trees, birds and whales, but also to explore the fascinating 18th century Portguese fortress. Other attractions include the bird-watching hotspot of Laguna Negra and the fascinating Center for Sea Turtles.

Thanks to Vince Alongi for the title image of this blog.

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