Search This Blog

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

La Pedrera!

This week, Wally and I are continuing up the coast for our travel series. We are leaving "The Dove" (La Paloma) to go to "The Stone Quarry" or La Pedrera, which is what that name means in Spanish.

La Pedrera is located in the department of Rocha, 230 Kilometers from Montevideo (a 4 hour bus ride from MVD) and is located just 10 kilometers up the road (Route 10) from La Paloma.

As the name suggests, this small town is built along an area of an ancient rock formation (not a mining quarry). How ancient? It is said, that they are the oldest rocks in the Americas (North, Central and South America). The area is also known as Punta Rubia named for the color of the rocks. Paleontologist are somewhat enthralled with the area as it is said fossils can be found in the rock crevices and sandy beaches. Does anyone know what a glyptodonts is?

Whereas, La Paloma is a larger seaside community, La Pedrera is a sleepy little Pueblo. There are no Banks, ATM machines or Government buildings (post office etc..), there is a Police station. So what does it have? Why visit it?

The first memorable feature of the town is it's cliff view of the Atlantic Ocean. The bluff wraps around to the East and West so sunrises and sunsets can be enjoyed from this point.

There are two notable beaches surrounding the out crop there. One is called El Barco meaning boat, ship, or vessel in Spanish and yes, there is a shipwrecked boat in the sands of that beach. It was a Chinese trawler named the Cathay that sank in the 1970's. You can walk right up to it on the sand. Only a rusted corner of the hull is still visible, jutting up above the sands.

El Barco, as the shipwreck announces is what is known in Uruguay as a Bravo beach (a rough beach). It sits to the west side of the rock formations. Facing as it does the full fury of the Atlantic ocean coupled with Uruguay's winds it is a surfers beach (and good for kite boarding). However, only experienced surfers should brave it! Wind, deep water and big waves make it a good challenge for a seasoned surfer.

El Desplayado beach, sits on the other side of the rocks. It is a beach suitable for families as there are hardly any noticeable swells.              
Fishing! I don't know much about the subject in general but this area is suppose to be particularly noted, as a fantastic fishing spot! You can arrange for a charter boat to take you off shore for sport fishing or you can stay on shore and fish the surf or in the deep holes and crevices in the rocks, just knowing that there are "Groupers' and "Sole" fish swimming in these waters is a worthwhile excuse for a fisherman to visit here!

Bird watching! La Pedrera is part of the "Eastern wetlands" area of Rocha. There are woods or "bosques" surrounding this zone (see a google satellite picture) which not all of Uruguay has in abundance. So this provides a diverse atmosphere for a variety of birds like the Oyster catcher, Lark and Red etc... Oh, and although they are bigger than birds, you can also whale watch during their season and see whales going south.

Okay, if you are getting the idea from this list of activities, surfing, fishing, and bird watching that this is indeed a laid back restful place, then I've made my point! It's quiet and peaceful here, except for, wait for it, fiesta time or holiday time!!!      

Fiesta! The biggest fiesta of all time would have to be the Mardi Gras season around March. Uruguay has one of longest festival seasons of all countries, a full month long celebration. That allows many towns to have their own days for celebrating it. La Pedrera has a carnival costume parade down it's streets and parties throughout the night!

Another Festival held in La Pedrera is a Jazz festival during the "Week of Tourism" (Easter) in April.

Each January, since the year 2004 an annual film special has been held in La Pedrera. "The La Pedrera Short Film Festival". Films featured are from several countries.

Where to stay? The town has two, 4 star accommodations. One is a small boutique hotel, a favorite on facebook called "Brisas de La Pedrera". The second 4 star place, is an apartment hotel called "Terrazas de La Pedrera" with suites and also apartments available. Neither is cheap but both have nice ocean views. Other places to stay are individual homes that rent out for the season. There are also some rental cabins, and there are 2 Hostels (one is called La Casa de la Luna) available in town but always call first to see if they're open as even Brisas is closed till September.

Finally, have you ever tried Glamping? Glamping is a term that implies you can go camping without actually roughing it, a combo of glamour and camping. Located just before La Pedrera proper, Go to the 227.5 Kilometers mark on route 10, then head towards the ocean, Here you will find an echo friendly project (responsible tourism) called Pueblo Barrancas, in San Sebastian. Military style tents (with bathrooms and showers), yurts and cabins are built on stilts in a natural ravine that leads to the ocean. On weekends visitors can visit the "Town's" bar from 11:00 to 2:00. They also have another bar on the beach with a DJ in the afternoons, where of course, Caiprinhas, Mojitos, wine and fruit shakes are available.

So if you like either extremes, quiet and solitude, (notice how empty the streets are in this photo) or crowds and partying, then come to La Pedrera!

1 comment:

Denise said...

I mentioned in my post that if you like either extreme, solitude or crowds then La Pedrera was a place to visit.

Well, a blog reader named Carlos wrote me on how popular, La Pedrera really is during their Mardi gras carnival season. It seems the town gets 30,000 visitors during that fiesta! I had heard that, that was a destination to go to party for that event but Wow,wow,wow,what a crowd!