Introducing Parque Nacional Santa Teresa
This national park, 35km south of the Brazilian border, is administered by the army and attracts many Uruguayan and Brazilian visitors to its relatively uncrowded beaches. It offers 2000 dispersed camp sites in eucalyptus and pine groves, a very small zoo and a plant conservatory. There are also various grades of cabañas for rent; in January, prices range from UR$1400 for a basic A-frame to UR$3700 for a fancier oceanfront unit; between March and November these rates get slashed in half.
Buses from Punta del Diablo (UR$35, 15 minutes) will drop you off at Km 302 on Hwy 9; from here, you will need to walk or take a shuttle 1km to the Capatacía (park headquarters), where there’s a phone, post office, market, bakery and restaurant.
The park’s star attraction, 4km further north on Ruta 9, is the impressive hilltop Fortaleza de Santa Teresa, begun by the Portuguese in 1762 and finished by the Spaniards after its capture in 1793. At the park’s northeastern corner is Cerro Verde, a coastal bluff protected under Uruguay’s SNAP program.