Rocha

 

 

Capital:  Rocha

Population:  69.800 hab.

Area:  10.551 km2

Density:  6,2 inhab./km2

 

 

Rocha is a coastal area in the southeast of Uruguay. It has 220 km of atlantic coast, where paradisiac beaches of white sand are found. All its territory has landscapes variety, with a charming beauty. Nature and adventure lovers, will find several types of options for unforgettable holidays.

 

 

Sun and Beaches in Rocha

 

 

 

La Paloma

 

For its beauty and popularity La Paloma is one of the most emblematic seaside resorts in the department of Rocha. Nestled in the Atlantic Ocean, its main attraction is its magnificent beaches.

 

 

 

The reason is that beaches in La Paloma cater to all tastes, from the calm waters of the small bay, to the great swells of La Balconada, La Aguada or La Pedrera beaches. Inlets, rocky tips, large extensions of white and fine sand, high dunes, plain or deep waters and an endless natural diversity provide a place of preference for everyone in La Paloma. Fishmongers are concentrated in Los Botes beach, where the fishermen are entrusted to the Lucho´s Christ, a sculpture made by fisherman Lucho Maurente.

 

 

Find accommodation in La Paloma

 

 

Punta del Diablo

See map

 

This beach spot in Rocha is ideal for family holidays. Its beaches cater both for relaxation and recreation, as well as fishing or the most varied water sports. La Pedrera is located at km 227,200 of route 10, Juan Diaz de Solís, a little further east of the Cape of Santa Maria, on a narrow and small peninsula called Punta Rubia. It is a small place with excellent accommodation infrastructure. For its peculiarities it has a strong exclusive and cosmopolitan character.

Its main beach is usually known as the Desplayado and is a great center of attraction during the summer months. On the south beach, visitors can see the last vestiges of the fishing vessel Cathay, stranded in 1971. Further south the Barrancas de la Pedrera offer the walker an amazing combination of nature’s textures and colors.
The Social Club is located on the main street of La Pedrera, as well as its Church, the craft market, several boutiques, and a variety of small shops and restaurants that provide warmth and services for an unforgettable stay.

La Rambla is the perfect place to share a fascinating full moon landscape or to observe the incredible procession of the free whales in the winter months.

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photos by Bernardo Blengio

 

 

Perfect for surfers of all levels

This is a small fishing town, home of the biannual national surfing champions. The Rivero beach, faces eastwards that gets swells from the east ranging up to 2-meter in height. Depending on the state of the sandbanks, the most favorable winds come from the S, SW, W, NW, and N.

Punta del Diablo also gets swells from the S and SW, which come in after sweeping through the rocks, past the monument and come to an end at the beach, breaking both to left and right. With a strong SW wind, one can surf comfortably. This is an easy wave, perfect for all levels of surfing and with several points at which the waves start to break.

The Viuda Beach faces S-SE and provides very strong waves with various beach breaks. These waves also tend to be bigger and take on more tube-like shapes due to the flatter sandbanks. The best winds here are E, NE, N, NW, and W.

 

 

La Pedrera

 

This beach spot in Rocha is ideal for family holidays. Its beaches cater both for relaxation and recreation, as well as fishing or the most varied water sports. La Pedrera is located at km 227,200 of route 10, Juan Diaz de Solís, a little further east of the Cape of Santa Maria, on a narrow and small peninsula called Punta Rubia. It is a small place with excellent accommodation infrastructure.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

For its peculiarities it has a strong exclusive and cosmopolitan character.
Its main beach is usually known as the Desplayado and is a great center of attraction during the summer months. On the south beach, visitors can see the last vestiges of the fishing vessel Cathay, stranded in 1971. Further south the Barrancas de la Pedrera offer the walker an amazing combination of nature’s textures and colours.

 

The Social Club is located on the main street of La Pedrera, as well as its Church, the craft market, several boutiques, and a variety of small shops and restaurants that provide warmth and services for an unforgettable stay.

La Rambla is the perfect place to share a fascinating full moon landscape or to observe the incredible procession of the free whales in the winter months.

 

 

Look for accommodation in La Pedrera

 

 

Cabo Polonio

 

The Cabo Polonio National Park is an area of great natural beauty which still retains typical features of the Uruguayan Atlantic coast from prior to the transformation process that began in the mid-twentieth century due to the expansion of the traditional urban tourism model.

This coastal marine area possesses a great diversity of natural environments that include sandy beaches, rocky points, dunes, native coastal forest, small wetlands, ocean areas and islands. Many of these ecosystems are priorities for the National System of Protected Areas, given their restricted distribution in Uruguay (rare ecosystems).

The most prominent feature –for its uniqueness- is the Cabo Polonio dune system, which is the most extensive remainder of a sandy strip that once stretched along our coast. It is one of the few shifting dune areas in the region, with areas in which the height exceeds 20 meters.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


The Cabo Polonio National Park is home to several species which are priorities for the National System of Protected Areas, including endangered and threatened species (such as Darwin’s frog), plant and animal species with restricted distribution (such as the banana do mato, the four-eyed frog and the black spine-neck swamp turtle), and migratory species of regional and global importance (such as terns, southern right whales and the green turtle).

It also includes sites which are key for the annual cycle of crustaceans of commercial interest (such as pink shrimp, marine shrimp and prawns), and for the breeding and feeding of over 47 species of fish (the narrownose smooth-hound, sea bass, codling, mackerel).
 

 

 

 

On its islands you can find almost half of the fur seal and sea lion populations of Uruguay, and its areas are used for the breeding of these species. The rocky area of Cabo Polonio is home to the country’s only continental settlement of fur seal and presents a unique opportunity to observe these animals up close.

 

There are a number of sites of great interest for the conservation of the country’s cultural heritage associated with the different environments of the area. From the archaeological point of view Cabo Polonio and its surroundings were occupied by prehistoric societies approximately 11,000 years ago, until the arrival of European societies. From the historical point of view, the Buena Vista hill (the highest point in the area) served as the boundary between the Spanish and Portuguese empires between 1750 and 1777 under the Madrid Treaty.

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The underwater archaeological heritage has not yet been studied and is of particular interest due to the presence of numerous shipwrecks. The town of Cabo Polonio, where around 70 people live today, dates back to the nineteenth century, around the exploitation of sea lions. Traditional fishermen who convened to participate in the loberías zafrales –suspended as of 1991- settled down close to the slaughter plant. During the summer there are a significant number of temporary residents and visitors.

Find accommodation in Cabo Polonio

 

 

Barra de Valizas

 

Located between huge dunes and lying next to the river with the same name, this resort has a magic of its own. The mix of fresh and salt water is very favorable for catching highly valued species such as shrimp. It can be defined as a simple and friendly town where fishermen and tourists can coexist.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In its small restaurants you can lunch or dine on the fish and other seafood caught in the area. From Barra de Valizas, crossing the river, you reach Cerro de la Buena Vista, a granite formation which is practically covered by sand and which offers a spectacular scenic view from its summit.It is a natural and adrenaline fueled track for sandboarding fanatics. During a walk along the coast, heading for Cabo Polonio, you can see the remains of the Don Guillermo, the US navy barge, shipwrecked in 1952.
 

La Coronilla

 

Located at kilometer 314 of Route 9, La Coronilla offers the tourist about 8 kilometers of beaches with a temperature higher than other points on the coast of Rocha and waters saturated in iodine, which favors fishing conditions. In fact, the site is considered one of the best coastal fishing areas in the region.

 

From its coast and hand in hand with the fishermen of the area, it is possible to access two islands that offer a spectacular panorama of the vegetation and the fauna of the surroundings. One of them, Isla Verde is inhabited by sea lions, abundant vegetation and a variety of birds. The other, called Island or Islet Coronilla, is significantly smaller than the previous one.

 

Fans of marine fauna enjoy several sighting possibilities in the region. Sea lions, dolphins and even whales are part of the daily landscape, depending on the time of year. Sea turtles, for example, are an emblem of the place. In fact, located in La Coronilla, visitors can find “Karumbé”, one of the major centers for the conservation and rehabilitation of these species in the region.

 

 

 

 

A recent recovered area is the Andreoni Canal, built more than twenty years ago to dissect the wetlands, whose waters are excellent for canoeing.

 

The suspension bridge over the canal is one of the emblematic postcards of La Coronilla, along with the remains of the Porteña steamer, a ship taken by armed revolutionaries in 1873, which add a touch of mysticism to the place. Legend has it that a great treasure lies underneath the boat.

Long horseback rides along the coast, trails in natural parks and scenic hypnotizing views from Cerro Verde (an elevation covered in wild vegetation) are just some of the privileges that tourists can experience in this peaceful and cozy territory of Rocha.
 

Cerro Verde and the Coronilla Islands

 

The Cerro Verde and Coronilla Islands Coastal Marine area is located on the ocean strip of the department of Rocha (adjacent to the Santa Teresa Park and very close to the town of La Coronilla). It is an area with a high degree of naturalness and a wide variety of environments that support a wide range of species.

The land portion comprises almost 1,700 hectares and includes hills and plains associated with coastal dunes, canyons, rocky headlands, sandy beaches and several types of vegetation. These include the coastal scrub of Cerro Verde (comprising an association of unique plant species in the presence of endemic species) and remnants of coastal native forest (listed as endangered on a national level).

The marine portion covers over 7,000 hectares and includes a complex of oceanic islands including Isla Verde (the most extensive and closest to the coast) and la Caronilla.La ziba is the habitat for conservation priority species, such as the southern right whale, the La Plata dolphin, porpoise, colonies of sea lions, occasional examples of elephant seals and several species of birds and sea turtles.

In turn, the surf zones are a shelter and food source for several species of cartilaginous fish. Cerro Verde is one of the main feeding and development areas for young green turtles (a species considered endangered globally), coming from different nesting beaches of the Atlantic Ocean.

Large populations of migratory birds use these coastal-marine areas, including plovers and waders.
This area is home to several globally threatened species such as the black-and-white monjita, the saffron-cowled blackbird and different species of capuchins. Moreover, Isla Verde is the only known breeding site in Uruguay of a mixed colony of terns (yellow beak, real and South American). In addition to its ecological value, the area is significant for its paleontological, archaeological, historical and cultural values, including fossil outcrops and shipwrecks.
 

Aguas Dulces

 

Aguas Dulces is located at kilometer 277,500 of route 10. The pace of the resort is marked by patient walks in the sand or strolls along its narrow pathways, by cockle picking at the seashore, or cooking the recipes of grandmothers and by friendly gatherings with mate drinking in the afternoons.

The resort has the first naturist beach in the area, La Sirena, located about two kilometers to the north.
Fishing is rich and abundant and the sea breeze drifts freely in its open beaches.
History
The resort originated from the huts that the inhabitants of the nearby town of Castillos built at the beginning of the 20th century. The first constructions were made near the sea, on piles, but today they are practically gone. The streets and public spaces have the names of ships sunk in the vicinity, many of them suggested by the survivors who stayed in the area and contributed to the development of the place.

 

 

 

Santa Teresa

 

 

An ancient fortress, white sand beaches and green water, palm trees and exotic flora are part of the many attractions of Santa Teresa beach resort. This is where the National Park of Santa Teresa is located, with three thousand hectares and two million trees with species of the five continents and vast gardens.

 

 

This park is internationally recognized as one of the largest man-made parks in the world. Another attraction to visit is the Fortress of Santa Teresa, which dates back to 1762 when the Portuguese foreseeing a new conflict with Spain, decided to fortify a narrow strip of land between the ocean and Laguna Negra. This unique monument hosts museum spaces witnessing centuries of history.

 

 

The beaches Cerro Chato or El Barco are the ones preferred by families for their quiet waters, while youngsters prefer La Moza, with beach facilities and nearby services such as a restaurant, an ice cream parlor and a supermarket.

 

 

Laguna de Rocha

 

 

The Protected Laguna de Rocha Landscape is located on the Atlantic coast of the department of Rocha. It covers an area of around 22,000 hectares, which includes a 7,200 hectare body of water, hills, plains, the coastal strip and part of the ocean floor.

 

The lagoon periodically comes into contact with the Atlantic Ocean through a system of opening and closing of the sandbar, due to the accumulation of water and the simultaneous action of the wind and waves of the sea. Its lack of depth –about half a meter – and mixture of marine and inland waters favor the development of a notable biodiversity.

 

It constitutes an important ecosystem as a site for the feeding, nesting and resting of large numbers of birds, especially waterfowl.The nearby streams and marshes are inhabited by otters, capybaras, turtles, foxes and river otters: while in the fields there are an abundance of rheas and mules. They are also home to the Darwin’s frog, an endangered species worldwide.

 

The oceanic part of the area is an important breeding site for species of commercially valuable fish and for cetaceans such as the right whale and the La Plata dolphin. As for the vegetation, along the edges of the lagoon there are floodplains, reeds and salt marshes. In the area closest to the beach grow pioneer species (which begin the sand-fixing process).
The area and its people
For over 70 years there has been a community of traditional fishermen in the sandbar area who live by taking advantage of the place’s aquatic resources: crustaceans such as shrimp and blue or siri crab, and fish such as sole, black and white croaker, menhaden and kingfish.
In the fields surrounding the lagoon there are farms that focus on traditional pastoral livestock which constitutes one of the key elements for the good standard of conservation in the entire area. The site also has significant potential for nature tourism.

 

 

See accommodation in Rocha

 

 

Source: Ministry of Tourism