Santa Teresa National Park
Our first stop off in Uruguay was just over the border at the small seaside town of Barra del Chuy. We found a massive campsite with over 500 pitches which was completely deserted. This was to become a theme in coastal Uruguay during our visit.
It seems that Uruguay has a three month summer season of December to February and outside of that there is no one around.
The beach at Barra del Chuy was big and empty but we didn’t stick around too long to enjoy it.
Just 25km down the coast is the Santa Teresa National Park which was set up to protect a fortress which was constructed in 1762 by the Portuguese. The park is not just about the fortress though as there are a number of big wild beaches in the park as well.
For overlanders Santa Teresa is a wonderful place as there are hundreds of camping spots in shaded woodland. There is even a section between the fortress and the beach which has power and water for which there is a small charge. There are many other free camping spots throughout the park which are free and provide lovely shaded sites.
The area where we camped had two other overlanders and a couple of Brasilian groups. However it’s a big area so we didn’t feel crowded. It’s a really beautiful and relaxed place to spend a few days, however we were there out of season and things may be very different during the high season.
In the massive park there are a number of beautiful beaches and some great surfing and if that’s not enough there is an ornamental garden and a small wildlife park with some amazing coloured birds as well as some of the indigenous mammals.
While staying at Santa Teresa we also visited Laguna Negra and Punta del Diablo which is a laid back beach town just outside the park. It was deserted although we did find a small supermarket to stock up our fridge with some great steaks for grilling. Preferring the peaceful beachside campsites in the National Park we decided to head back there and chill out, although it looked like there may have been some great free camping in the dunes to the South of the town.