Castillos, Uruguay

  • Date
  • 12 August 2001
  • Lodging
  • Hotel Don Horacio
  • Distance
  • 400 KM
  • Total
  • 202012 KM

From Montevideo we drove to Punta del Este to see the South American Riviera. The lively beachside resort impressed both Jim and me even though this is the low season. As night approached we drove into La Palermo to find a hotel, but the place looked like a ghost town, with less than a handful of people on the streets in a city of 5,000. The only two hotels in town were boarded shut for the winter.

With no other option, we drove on through mist and early evening darkness to the next town some 80-km away hoping we’d find a place to sleep. In Castillos, we found a hotel, where a clean, simple room cost US$18.50. Hot water provided, but no phones or heat. One of the helpful hotel employees led us on his scooter to the police station, so we could park our cars – safely, we hoped – for the night. As we walked the eight blocks back to the middle of town, Jim and I both were pleased to see how much street life existed in Castillos. And the town was so young; everyone looked to be under 25 and all carried thermoses to add water to their matte tea, the most popular drink down this way. In the lone restaurant in town, we dined on beef, salad and local Pilsen beer, surrounded by tables filled with young families or couples.

While walking home, we stopped in one of the many corner bars for a last beer. Here teenagers immersed themselves in Jenga and two couples played foosball. Who says people need hi-tech gadgets to enjoy themselves? Life might be simple in the industrial town of Castillos, but the people sure appear content.