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Punta del Diablo Beach in Uruguay

Punta del Diablo, Uruguay

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Mar 23, 2023

Summary: People describe Punta del Diablo, Uruguay as a small fishing village with a laid-back atmosphere and stunning beaches. Expats love the relaxed lifestyle, the friendly locals, and the beautiful scenery. The weather in Punta del Diablo is generally mild, with temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to the mid-70s Fahrenheit. The average cost of living for an expat is around $1,500 per month. The cost of a one bedroom apartment is around $500 per month, while a two bedroom apartment is around $700 per month. The approximate population of Punta del Diablo is around 2,000 people.

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What do I need to know about living in Punta del Diablo?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Punta del Diablo, they said:

"Bring flip-flops. Bring your favorite condiments, especially if you like spicy foods. Leave heavy coats behind, as winter only lasts about 3 months & spring is usually beautiful. That said, bone up on your fire-tending skills, as most home heating is by wood fire... If you split your own wood, you can buy it cheaper. Make friends with a good firewood vendor. Bring earmuffs for winter, as we do have a lot of wind (the Pamperos). Bring comfy pants with lots of pockets for shells, etc. when you hit the beach. ALWAYS save your empty beer bottles, as you get a 10- to 15-peso discount when you return the "dead soldiers" as you purchase more beer. Same with wine - returning the bottles (esp. the 5-liter bottles) saves you 165 pesos or so (about $8.50). Get the tri-fold maps from an Ancap station. Worth every penny of the $10, they have a map of UY, another of all the MercoSur countries, a map of Montevideo, and city street maps of all of the major cities... PDD is not listed, as we have only one main road through town... ;p Be prepared to be unprepared for the welcome you receive, the wonderful food & wine, the genuinely friendly people. We have found our new home, for sure. Lay out your trips in advance & plan to use the least fuel possible... Gas is about $8/gallon, so we use it well. We bought a 1968 VW Bug for $3500 USD. She's economical, reliable & parts are cheap as dirt. We bought an engine belt, new fuel lines, fuel filter, new seatbelts, and a new door knob for only $10. The fuel lines & filter were installed curbside at no additional cost. We had the resistor for the windshield wipers changed out curbside & were given a handful of extra fuses. The labor took 2 hours, but the total cost was $16. Learn to use propane. It's one of the things they do best here. Exchange of a 33-lb cylinder is only $16. The 2-lb cylinder for the gas stove in the kitchen costs $5. If you plan to immigrate, come down during the fall & stay thru the winter, so you know what you're getting into. You will probably be pleasantly surprised - we were. Now that we're hooked, we're buying property & starting building a home. Buy a cell phone from Antel, the govt phone company. A mid-range phone with camera & MP3 player, Bluetooth, and internet will set you back $26, with $5/month for service. :D Try the Uruguayo products. We have found many to be superior to brands we used in the US. If you have allergies, plan to obtain some antihistamines & decongestants from a farmacia here. You can get Loratadine cheaply for the first; you can still get pseudoephedrine down here without being spread-eagled outside the pharmacy. If you have health issues & are on regular medications, most are available over the counter without prescription here. Put off any dental work until you get here - it's incredibly high quality, latest technology, and incredibly cheap... I had a cracked molar that eventually broke, losing 25% of the back corner. Mario, my fabulous dentist, my hero - fixed it for $40 USD. Be prepared to be amazed at how little govt interference these people have in their lives. Be prepared to make friends with the police. They are not at all the threatening thugs one fears in the US," said one expat who made the move to Punta del Diablo.

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What do I need to know before moving to Punta del Diablo?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Punta del Diablo, they said:

"Before moving to Punta del Diablo, it is important to know that this small fishing village is located in the department of Rocha, Uruguay and is a popular destination for tourists and backpackers. The village has a population of only around 1,200 people, making it a quiet, relaxed, and safe community to live in. Visitors can expect a diverse range of activities to choose from, such as surfing, kitesurfing, fishing, horseback riding, hiking, taking boat tours, visiting the wildlife reserves, and exploring the small local artisanal markets. Access to basics such as groceries, utilities, and internet is available, albeit limited. Visitors should ensure that their vaccines are up to date and note that snakes, spiders, and large lizards are known to reside in the region. The official language is Spanish so some knowledge or willingness to learn the language is recommended. The village is small and compact, with the majority of lodging being cabanas or camping grounds, and the climate is humid subtropical with temperatures varying from warm summer days to chilly nights," explained one expat living in Punta del Diablo, Uruguay.

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How do I find a place to live in Punta del Diablo?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"If you are looking for a place to live in Punta del Diablo, there are many options available to you. Depending on your budget and what you are looking for, there are apartments and rental houses for short-term and long-term stays. You can also look into camping and hostels which can provide an affordable option for accommodation. Airbnb also has many properties listed in Punta del Diablo which can be a great option for those looking to stay in the area. Additionally, there are websites dedicated solely to helping travellers search for housing in Punta del Diablo, such as DiabloNest. Finally, you can also look into real estate agents and local newspapers which may list available properties in the area," said one expat in Punta del Diablo.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Punta del Diablo?

"Expat homes or apartments in Punta del Diablo are typically simple wooden structures with corrugated tin roofs. They often have bright, cheerful exteriors, with weather-resistant paint in bright reds, blues and greens. The interiors are generally quite basic, often with tiled floors, hand-painted and basic furniture. Expats can typically choose from a range of apartments and homes in a range of sizes, from studios and one-bedroom apartments to spaciouse three- and four-bedroom houses. Most of the properties come with their own outdoor areas like balconies or terraces, with some offering views of the beach," said one expat in Punta del Diablo.

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What is the average cost of housing in Punta del Diablo?

If you are thinking about moving to Punta del Diablo, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"The cost of housing in Punta del Diablo varies depending on location and size, but is generally on the lower side when compared to other destinations in Uruguay. Prices range from basic camping facilities to luxurious beachfront villas," wrote one member in Punta del Diablo.

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How do I meet people in Punta del Diablo?

When we asked people living in Punta del Diablo about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"Hah! That's what we DON'T have here... Here is just a magic vibe, granite boulders covered with mussels & snails, the mighty Atlantic on your doorstep, with 4 beaches. As for activities, just daily life is enough for us... Gardening, cooking out, building on our house. The whole area is filled with national parks and some old Spanish/Portuguese forts, etc. Great for hiking through the ghost gums (eucalyptus trees), checking out the capybara & fantastic birds from a comfy blind, and perving on all that luscious plants in the shade gardens, etc... Laguna Negra is nearby, a great lake for fishing & camping. Don't expect your catfish to look like the ones you've caught. These have a fin all the way around the back to the belly side of the tail, but they taste the same... If you or your kids are into soccer (futbol here) then you're home free as far as a social life. Life revolves around the kids. Get to know your lavadera (laundry lady). Ana is great, cheap, and knows how to get whites white. The "other guy," however, who has stickers on all the fridges in the rental places, will hang your clothes on the line & spray with fragrance. :-/ They will come home with all of the dirt still in them, but smelling fresh, thank you... Our town dentist, Mario Garcia, is a godsend! The ONLY completely pain-free dentist I have ever known. We're getting ready to move back North for a spell to take care of elderly parents, but we are having hub's teeth fixed first. He needs a partial for the uppers, as he lost his back teeth long ago. He does NOT like going to the dentist, but he & Mario are friends & fishing buddies now. The partial & an implant in front are going to cost us about 1/20th of what we'd pay in the US and First Class work it is... Never any mercury fillings down here. In fact, Mario specializes in removing mercury fillings and replacing with ceramic," explained one expat living in Punta del Diablo, Uruguay.

"First of all, learn some Spanish, preferably Castellano (Castile, Spain) instead of the Mexican version... They will understand YOU, but you may not understand THEM... Many TV shows here are in English with Spanish subtitles... It helps, believe me, especially with grammar. We have one Canadian couple here and one crusty old Irishman... Those are the only expats we have met in our tiny fishing village of 1,000 souls... This agrees with us PERFECTLY, as we want to assimilate, not hang with expats. I would recommend just chatting the local up - your grocery clerk, the fellow who fills the tank for your car at the Ancap station, the meat man (prime rib is always in the meat locker, seldom out front). We have made friends of a family who own a wine/cheese shop in the town where we buy our groceries... They love to practice their English while we practice our Spanish. My dentist has just returned from a trip to British Columbia to do a work/study tour on a boat up there. He practices his English with me & I practice my Spanish with him... We have been so well received & made welcome, I may eventually offer English classes for adults... My best advice is not to be shy and simply venture "Buen dia" occasionally until you feel more comfortable. Undoubtably, someone will eventually try to engage you in conversation on the bus or at the market. If they speak to fast for you to understand, simply request "mas lentamente, por favor" & they will slow down. I had to retrain my ears to the Castellano, altho I had grown up speaking Tex/Mex and Mexican Spanish. Just be yourself, be courteous & respectful, smile & the world will open up for you. Be aware that here we don't say "Adios" but, rather, "Ciao!" Schnitzel is Milanesa here... Germans may have invented it, but the Italians immigrated first, so there ya go... :D One of the BEST places to meet people is the local futbol matches and/or practices. Uruguayans are rabid futbol fans, and will quickly try to persuade you to root for their favorite teams... ;p," said one expat in Punta del Diablo.

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What should I bring when moving to Punta del Diablo?

People living in Punta del Diablo were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"Clothing and shoes suitable for the climate and terrain, rain gear, swimming gear, insect repellent, sunscreen, medications, kitchen supplies, bedding and towels, toiletries and personal items, camera, phone and charger, laptop, charger and other electronics, books and magazines, binoculars, outdoor games and sports equipment, first aid and basic tool kit, and copies of important documents," wrote one member in Punta del Diablo.

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Where should I setup a bank account in Punta del Diablo?

We asked expats in Punta del Diablo what banks they use and there advice about banking. They advised:

"To set up a bank account in Punta del Diablo, you should visit the local branch of the Banco de la Rep├║blica Oriental del Uruguay (BROU). They offer banking services and have locations throughout the city. Alternatively, other local banks like Banco Santander, Bancamiga, and Banco Rep├║blica also offer banking services. To make sure that you can open a bank account in Punta del Diablo, it is best to check with the particular bank you wish to open an account with to see what their requirements are," remarked one expat living in Punta del Diablo, Uruguay.

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Will I be able to find a job in Punta del Diablo?

When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Punta del Diablo, they reponded:

"It is possible to find a job in Punta del Diablo, depending on the time of year and availability. The tourist season, when the population in the town dramatically increases, offers the most job opportunities in hospitality, restaurants, retail and other seasonal roles. There are also job opportunities year-round in agriculture, fishing and some construction work, but these roles tend to be offered to locals or experienced personnel," remarked one expat who made the move to Punta del Diablo.

"Well, more a fishing village than a city. As above, heavy tourism. When we moved here, there were 1,100 year-round residents. Now, we have over 3,000 - in only 5 years! We have the govt-supported artesanal fishing fleet. The rest of the "industry" here is fitted around the tourist industry - lodging, food, drink, entertainment. VERY quiet place in winter; you can be the only person on the beach. VERY busy place in summer - 40,000 tourists & a main beach clogged with 20,000 people at a time... TONS of career opportunities exist here! CAVEAT - you must invent them yourself. Nobody here is going to 'give you a job." At the moment, our cybercafe has closed... Get some PCs and open a new one!!! Save ONE computer for the adults to use, please... ;p If you are a cook, you can put your special cinnamon buns & other goodies in the local grocery shops, no permit required. If you are an artist, you put up a little stand in front of your house or get a letter of permission from the owner of a piece of land with nice traffic... Build a stand & sell your paintings, sculptures, etc. No permit; no problem. I sold small paintings the first year we were here through a local restaurant. No, I didn't get rich, but we could afford that Spanish black pork more often... In 2012, I started making my own soap again because we have a rather harsh climate here & my skin was dry. Shared a few bars with friends & POW! Instant demand! They were hooked because there IS no natural soap down here, just the syndet bars from J&J or P&G. Next step? I chatted up Marta, owner of our pharmacy, and she became a fan. I began selling my soaps & beauty creams through her pharmacy, giving 20% commission to her. Almost no effort, yet a good $100USD per month coming in... And because it is ARTESANAL, no permits, no bribes, no FDA, etc. If you are a forward-thinker and motivated, you can find a skill you already have and make a business of it. For instance, we desperately need someone competent for computer repairs, copying movies from CD to pen drive, etc. Diablo currently needs a hairdresser & barber, too. Many people take advantage of the tourism & do massage, etc., then take the rest of year off," explained one expat living in Punta del Diablo, Uruguay.

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What is life like in Punta del Diablo?

When we asked people living in Punta del Diablo what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"Family is the MOST important consideration here. Raising kids on pure air, clean water, unprocessed foods (keeping them from eating too many sweets) are all high priorities. Life is not a race here. Relax, take five minutes instead of one - they're small. :D The parilla is an EVENT, not a meal. It's a chance for family & friends to get together around the grill for nice conversation while the kids run around, a few delicious bites, a glass or two of excellent wine... Our village is centered around two things: tourism & fishing. One feeds the other & vice-versa. The one word that ALWAYS comes up in conversations about Punta del Diablo is "que tranquilo," which, of course, it IS. Everyone is relaxed... I found myself relaxing immediately. Anything that can't be finished today will certainly be waiting for you tomorrow. I doubt, when I stand before my Maker, that I will regret not having spent more time cleaning house or washing dishes. Rather, time with friends on the beach fishing or taking the sun, enjoying one another's company is a high priority for me," wrote a member in Punta del Diablo.

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What do expats in Punta del Diablo appreciate most about the local culture?

"Expats living in Punta del Diablo often appreciate the relaxed and laid-back lifestyle, the friendly locals, and the lack of commercialism that still remains in the area. They also enjoy the small-town charm and scenic views of the nearby beaches, as well as the abundance of outdoor activities such as fishing and surfing. The local cuisine is also a plus, and the activities and music festivals held throughout the year provide plenty of entertainment for expats," wrote one member in Punta del Diablo.

"The lack of the fedral gummint's nose in my business. The fact that people here are more laid back & easygoing in their approach to life. The fact that there are no "old folks' homes" here. Old folks stay with the family until they die - they don't get farmed out for someone else to take care of because the family can't be bothered..," remarked one expat who made the move to Punta del Diablo.

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What do expats find most challenging?

"Expatriates often find the process of settling in and adapting to a new culture and environment to be the most challenging. Cultural and lifestyle differences can make it difficult to adjust to a new way of life, from the food, to the language and the climate. Other challenges may include navigating bureaucracy, making new friends and securing gainful employment. Additionally, legal and financial considerations can be a challenge, especially when trying to access public services or transfer money," remarked one expat living in Punta del Diablo, Uruguay.

"Because of 3 previous head injuries, I struggle with remembering precise wording & phrasing of Spanish, especially now when faced with formal Castillano... But people are so patient & understanding, even if you arrive speaking Mexican Spanish, they still understand you, as most of their TV is in Mexican Spanish..," wrote one member in Punta del Diablo.

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Is there a lot of crime in Punta del Diablo?

We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:

"Punta del Diablo is a small beach town with low levels of crime. Local police maintain a visible presence and there are rarely issues of violent crime. Petty theft does occur, so tourists should always remain aware of their belongings," commented one expat who made the move to Punta del Diablo.

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Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Punta del Diablo accepting of differences?

"I have yet to experience any racial discrimination here in UY. I am a true Heinz 57 - Native American, Scots/Irish with some Russian Gypsy Jew, and Texas redneck... My partner is Filipino & German. Uruguayans come in a wide range of skin tones & hair textures. People are not referred to as "black" or "white," but just as... people. Mixed-race couples are everywhere, if you judge by skin tones; however, you find out eventually that BOTH are native Uruguayans. The principal religion is Catholicism; however, they are not rabid about religiosity. They attend Christmas, Easter, funerals, weddings, christenings. Religion is a personal matter, between a person & his/her higher power - that is all. That said, I find it amusing that they refer to the Mormons as "huevos," because they are always found in twos... :D I have found all the Uruguayo cities I have visited to be very accepting of foreigners, which I obviously am due to my Texas twang... Here in PDD, this is even more pronounced, as this is a village dependent upon tourism, so tourists are VALUED. Stick around awhile, make some friends, let the people steal your heart like they did ours... Economic diversity - well, there are some rather wealthy & some not wealthy in money but wealthy in quality of life. I have made friends with some Rastas and other locals who make their living by selling their handicrafts during tourist season. What more does one need in this life, they ask, other than a dry bed, a warm fire in winter, good wine & good friends to share it with? Answer: good music & the lovely environment here," commented one expat who made the move to Punta del Diablo.

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What are the schools in Punta del Diablo like?

"Punta del Diablo has two primary public schools and one private Catholic school. The public schools, Escuela N 14 (primary school) and Colegio N 689, are both funded by the Uruguayan Ministry of Education and offer classes from kindergarten through 11th grade. The private Roman Catholic school, Colegio Santa Teresita, offers classes from kindergarten through 9th grade. All three schools offer a quality education with a focus on language, science, basic arts, physical education, and religion. The student body in the public schools is made up of a mix of local and international students, while the private school serves mainly local students," commented one expat when asked about in Punta del Diablo.

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What are medical services in Punta del Diablo like?

When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Punta del Diablo, they replied:

"Punta del Diablo offers a range of medical services for visitors and residents alike. The town has a small hospital, which provides basic medical care and emergency services. There are also several private clinics and pharmacies in the area, offering a variety of medical services such as general practice, dentistry, optometry, and more. Additionally, there are a number of medical professionals in the area, including doctors, nurses, and other specialists, who are available to provide medical care," mentioned one expat inPunta del Diablo.

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Are healthcare and health insurance expensive in Punta del Diablo?

"I don't bother with health insurance. Medical care is so cheap here I don't need it. Can't see paying a monthly fee when I've been "sick" once in 11 years," remarked one expat in Punta del Diablo.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Punta del Diablo Beach in Uruguay

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