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Old 05-20-2013, 10:48 AM   #245
porkandcorn OP
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Location: Portland, Oregon
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Sign the Petition - Do Not Develope Punta del Diablo into another "McBeach"!

Sign the petition to save Punta del Diablo from senseless McDevelopment

Artigas Barrios, Intendente Municipal de Rocha, Uruguay
Liliam Kechichián, Ministra de Turismo y Deporte, Uruguay

Estimados Gobernadores,

During late January, 2013, I visited the unique beach community of Punta del Diablo, Rocha Department, Uruguay as part of a four-mouth motorcycle adventure through eight countries in South America. I stayed right on the beach across from the police station for one week (I cooked dinner for two of the police officers one night). I loved every second of my stay there, and blogged excitedly about the experience to a large international audience of readers.

Unfortunately, I have just learned from friends in Punta del Diablo, that the governmental authority of Rocha Department in Uruguay is planning to demolish all of the old beachfront community, to make way for more modern developments.

Punta was one of my top three favorite places in my entire four-month adventure. I liked it precisely because it was not developed. I stayed in one of these 'out-dated and dilapidated' beachfront hotels that the government plans to tear down, and loved it. The local people in the community were friendly and benefiting from the tourism dollars, travelers were happy and relaxed, the beaches were clean and safe, and it was a very pleasant experience. During my travels, I personally recommended Punta to no less than 50 other travelers, as the best place to visit in Uruguay - this in addition to the audience of perhaps thousands who followed my motorcycle adventure blogs. Interestingly, I found out about Punta from another traveller spreading the word in a similar 'word of mouth' manner.

I traveled through many other parts of Uruguay and rode the entire Uruguay coast from Fray Bentos to Chuy. This travel included visits and overnight stays at other beach communities that were more developed, such as Punta del Este. I did not enjoy my time in these 'developed' areas, and certainly not in Punta del Este, as they were all an unfortunate mix of over-development, tasteless and predictable tourism, and over-priced food, accommodations, and entertainment. The same people to whom I strongly recommended Punta del Diablo, I have told to stay away from these more developed beach communities. If I want to find touristy, over-crowded, expensive beaches, I can find those in the US without an expensive flight to Uruguay.

If Punta del Diablo's character and essence is lost, which it most certainly will be if the re-development plan proposed by the regional government is accepted, Uruguay and South America will lose a very rare gem. If Punta del Diablo is made to look like the other developed beaches in Uruguay, I suspect many travelers will skip over the beaches of Uruguay all together. I, for one, most certainly would.

The government of Rocha state is faced with an important decision to avoid a common fate - an unfortunate trend that I witnessed at many beach communities in South America. Invariably, the communities or governments see the success of a developed beach in a nearby state or country, attempt to replicate the success, but only manage to create "McBeaches" that are under-utilized and absent of their former charm and appeal. Eventually, these beaches slip into disrepair, are subject to crime and pollution, and the locals inherit the mess. Culture is lost.

To those in the government of Rocha Department, if you value the overall success and health of tourism in Uruguay's beach communities, do not change a thing in Punta del Diablo. Instead, register the beach as a cultural heritage site to preserve it's current condition and market this concept to a wider, international audience. It is one of a very few remaining beaches in all of South America that has not been ruined by over-development. There are enough "McBeaches" in the world without creating another one - trust an American - we know about over-development. I was planning to return to Punta del Diablo in the near future. If it is changed and developed, I will most likely not return to Uruguay again in my lifetime.


Fritz Junker
37, Portland, Oregon USA

Sign the petition to save Punta del Diablo from senseless McDevelopment

My Blog report about Punta del Diablo, and the departure post.

the main drag, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

the main drag, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

arrai beach bar advertisement, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr
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