We spent our final days in Uruguay leisurely exploring the rest of the coastline towards Brazil. Fortaleza Santa Teresa is a military fort, the foundations of which were erected by the Portuguese, while the actual fort was built by the Spanish. This area being so close to Brazil was constantly fought over, and changed hands between the Spanish and Portuguese. To be honest the fort itself isn’t all that interesting, and my favourite part was the paintings of the generals by the Spanish, as for some reason we never worked out they seem to paint them with a strange blue tinge to their skin. The main reason to visit the fort for me was the great views of the surrounding countryside you get.
The fort lies in the Santa Teresa national park, which is supervised and maintained by the armed forces, so hen you drive around there is a big military presence and tanks, things I didn’t’ really expect to find in a national park, it covers a large area, including several beaches and green spaces that you can camp as well as a pretty little garden area that’s done really nicely, with a small wetland area where you can see a variety of animals and where we saw, to our surprise, our first capybara.
Aside from the resort town of Puna de Este the coastline of Uruguay is mainly quiet, with small fishing villages, hippie type communities and big, empty windswept beaches. There’s a small town relaxed feeling an atmosphere, it feels a little bit like you’ve somehow stepped back in time. We were out of season so maybe the beaches get busier in peak season when tourists from Argentina and Brazil visit.