Hike 1: Aaron de Anchoren National Park
We had read that there was a National park around 25km north from Colonia del Sacramento. We therefore had to check this out. We tried hiring a motorcycle/moped but strict regulations meant we were unable to, even with a driving license, they require a seperate motorbike license. This didn’t stop us, we decided to hire a car (for the first time since leaving Oz) for the day. This proved to be very easy and relatively inexpensive.
Upon arriving, we were glad to see forests and some quaint looking old buildings. We walked into information and were told that we could not hike but had to be driven around the park for 1hr 30mins. We were to say the least, a little bummed but decided to stay as there was little else to do in the area and the tour was free. The tour was (we think) very informative but unfortunately all in Spanish. Our Spanish is good, but not good enough for a detailed history lesson. We saw hundreds of deer, a very large tower, huge mansions with a lot of European influence in their architecture. To sum up the trip, interesting but definitely not a hike.Hike 2: Santa Teresa National Park
Santa Teresa National Park is a seaside forested park easily accessible from Porto Diablo (small town with a population of 700). To get to the park there are two options, you can catch a bus going East towards Chuy (border town to Brazil) and get dropped off at the park entrane, or hike along the beach front. We decided to catch the bus to the entrance then hike out the following day along the beach.
The park ranger was very helpful, advising us where best to camp, directing us to a large map of the park (of which we took photos) and of distances. We quickly realised that National Parks in Uruguay are seen differently to ones in Australia. This park was immaculate, paved and well looked after.It even had supermarkets, restaurants and several huts to stay in, if not wishing to camp. We hiked 6km to our campground (very easy, with some great views along the way). We enjoyed the park’s forested areas but knew it wasn’t going to be as wild as we had hoped. Nevertheless, the beaches did not let us down, with gorgeous white sand, picturesque sand dunes and great surf. We even spotted several dolphins (bonus!). The hike out was a little more adventurous, as we took various routes down to the beach front heading back to Porto Diablo. This took us 2hrs 30mins which was around 10km. Overall this was a good experience…but much like the Uruguayan way of life, a little too structured for our liking.