This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in El Caracol. To help you make friends with El Caracol before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
El Caracol is a small town in the Rocha Department in Uruguay. It is on the coast about halfway between Maldonado and La Paloma/Costa Azul on a spit of land between the mainland and the Atlantic Ocean. This spit of land, along with many others on the east coast, makes up the Biosphere Reserve Banados de Este under the UNESCO MAN framework. this designation protects the sand dunes and wetlands of Lake Garzon and the barrier beach.
The best way to get here is with your own car - or hire a driver to get you here. There is one bus that goes from Montevideo to the Laguna Garzon bridge, where it terminates. Your hostel can arrange pickup from the stop as it is five km from town. Check the bus schedule as it may not operate every day.
There are very few hostels in El Caracol; Look for them on the main street, Route 10, that goes along the coast. Because El Caracol is fairly remote, you should do any grocery shopping before arriving in town. There is a small shop at the hostel but it won’t have everything you might need!
Besides exploring the dunes and the wetlands, you can also go horseback riding or bicycling. Your hostel can arrange these extra activities for you. The new circular bridge (designed by Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly) that spans Lake Garzon at the mouth of the estuary is a tourist attraction in itself and also the gateway to the up and coming wine region. El Caracol is only 30km up the coast from the chic bohemian (yet still very posh) tourist town of Jose Ignacio and its picturesque lighthouse. If you are keen to relax on the sunny beaches alongside socialites and superstars, head down the coast for a day to Punta Este, a very Miami Beach-like town. It’s best to have your own transport for these adventures!
Written by local enthusiast for El Caracol hostelsJakob Lombardi