Do you believe in love at first sight?
In stepping foot off a bus to find a new place so much like those before, yet immediately different?
Along the well-trodden tourist trail, these places are few and far between.
The tourist trail, ruined by tourists. An irony we have stopped finding funny.
When they appear, these places for which we fall so hard, the effect is so often unexpected.
These are places of serendipity.
La Paloma was one such place.
Mornings runs tracing the coastline with worn out soles, breathing in salt tinged air through heavy lungs.
Breakfast taken overlooking the sea, still calm under a rising sun.
But a few short steps along sandy paths to the edge of the ocean, to a beach that we had all to ourselves. A place where we could read, think or watch the waves, watch the tide advance towards our sun-kissed bodies.
As the sun would drop and the heat fade, we would walk. Long walks beside the sea, hand in hand, followed only by a dog with no name.
Rock pools explored and prodded by stick or by hand, or occasionally by dog. A slow walk to the lighthouse tentatively crushing the thousands of iridescent shells that lay under foot.
Cheap bottles of rich red drunk under the orange hue of a setting sun, from a balcony overlooking the sea. Silence, but for clinking glasses and softly crashing waves.
Should we return to our special place behind the sea, it would not be the same. For many, La Paloma would be just another beach town, a place missing life in the low-season and saturated in the high. But for those three wonderful days, to us, La Paloma was perfect.
where to stay
We had the pleasure of being hosted by La Balconada Beach Hostel during our three day stay. Situated practically beach front, with views of the ocean, this hostel is by far the best located in town.
Excellent facilities are provided such as a small fully functioning kitchen, a fantastic glass-walled living space with multimedia centre, comfy sofas and stylish touches, a balcony ideal for late breakfasts or evening drinks and a large outdoor area with asado and, in high season, an on-site bar.
They also offer surf board rental and lessons and will provide a free taxi from the bus station. Dorms and private rooms are available.
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La Paloma's large bus station is located only a few minutes walk out of town and has connections to the mains spots along the Uruguayan coast.
There are twice daily buses to Cabo Polonio as well as regular connections to Montevideo and La Rocha.
Unfortunately, there is no direct bus to Punta del Este so you would need to change at La Rocha.