Uruguay travel itinerary: Beaches of Maldonado & inland

Looking for a Uruguay travel itinerary that will take you to some unforgettable locations in the east coast and inland? Here's your plan.
By Karen A Higgs
Uruguay travel itinerary
Last updated on March 4, 2024
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Here is a Uruguay travel itinerary to take you to two very different beach locations in Maldonado, less than two hours from Montevideo and some exciting foodie destinations. We also head inland for a day trip to the hills of Lavalleja.

People don’t realise how close everything is in Uruguay. In this travel itinerary, you’re literally one hour 20 minutes to your first destination from the airport.

Assuming you’ve just landed, pick up your hire car and drive just one hour 20 along the easy, well-signposted IB highway to Big Bang. Stay in one of 12 custom-made domes equipped with king size beds, five star bedding, and hotel quality bathrooms, right on the ocean. You’re super close to the iconic Casapueblo, and also the best little food truck in the east. It’s traditional Uruguayan fast food. Everything is locally sourced. Only the locals know that it’s the best place to stop.

After a few days relaxing at Big Bang, it’s time to explore further east. La Barra is a lovely beach town with more and more gourmet eateries and natural beauty spots. In just 45 minutes you can be at an amazing little boutique hotel run by two surfer guys who know all of the best places to recommend you. Casa Flor.

Or 10 minutes from the beach, what about a treehouse ecolodge?

While in La Barra, don’t miss Salón N° 3. Gonzalo cooks with minimum intervention using local meat, seafood and fish, even locally milled grains. La Barra is a great location from which to explore the rest of the Uruguayan Atlantic coast. You’re even close enough to day trip to Cabo Polonio which I’ve done other videos on.

But also think about going inland for a day to make this Uruguay travel itinerary unique. Just over one hour inland, the landscape is hilly, rocky and reminiscent of Greece. This area is known as Lavalleja. Take a day trip and just drive around, checking out the gorgeous scenery. Routes 12 and 60 are lovely. Recommended pitstop for lunch: these train wagons perched on the hillside, serving traditional Uruguayan food.

To get back to Montevideo, it just takes two hours.

Whetted your appetite for adventure? 😄 Check out our Travel to Uruguay page with suggestions for where to stay, food and drink, wine and wineries and things to do. And for way more information, way better organised, The Guru’Guay Guide to Uruguay 📖

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