At the center of La Paloma sits a lighthouse warning captains of sandbars and a rocky coast. Very similar geographically to the Outer Banks in North Carolina, La Paloma is a summer tourist retreat for Argentineans, Brazilians, Chileans, Europeans, Uruguayans themselves, and even a few brave Americans.
La Paloma is frequently served by many intercity buses from most main destinations of the southern half of Uruguay with the exception of Punta del Este. To get in from there, go via the Maldonado terminal or San Carlos.
Otherwise, getting in by car or thumb is straight forward.
The town is too small to have public transport. But walking is perfectly fine. You can also rent bicycles in the centre—ask your hostel. A bicycle can be of advantage if you head to Rocha Lagoon or to La Pedrera.
There are not many sights besides the beach and the big ugly skyscraper in the centre.
- Surf at La Aguada beach. There are several surf schools along the beach and promenade renting boards and giving lessons. 45 min lesson: U$700. Rental, 1 hr: U$250.
- 1 La Paloma Lighthouse. Daily 10:00-13-00, 15:00 to 10 min before sunset. Climb it and enjoy the views. U$25.
- Rent a bicycle and ride to La Pedrera village or Rocha Lagoon. U$300-400 per 24 hr.
- Sunbathe at Anaconda beach.
- Watch the spectacular sunset.
- 1 Banco República (in the centre, at the southern end of the two lane parade). The only reliable and free source of money in town. However, the ATM might not work on Sunday, so go early enough if you need cash.
La Paloma has an active nightlife with bars and even a free club, famous with many international and South American tourists coming to Uruguay.
- Albergue Juvenil (former Altena 5000) (in "Parque Andresito"), ☎ . A bit far out of town and the 19-bed male dormatory room can be a bit crowded in this HI-hostel. Guests can use the barbeque grill.
- Beach Hostel (La Balconada), La Paloma, ☎ . Check-in: 11:00, check-out: 10:30. A new and very friendly hostel right on the beach. There are cheaper hostels in town but none compare to Beach Hostels location. Dorms only with separate but clean and well functioning new bathrooms. Mostly young open minded staff who speak English. Bar. Kitchen and BBQ can be used by guests. Great place to kick back and have a beer or whatever else you might want to enjoy. Prices may be higher in peak season i.e. January and February US$15.
- 1 Choclo, ☎ . Nice laid-back hostel with one big 10-bed dorm and double rooms. Campfire every evening, decent kitchen, common area and bathrooms. Run by a young French-Argentinian couple. Two supermarkets in close range and 500 m to the beach. U$425.
If La Paloma is still too busy for you, and you are looking for a more laid-back and sometimes hippie-loaded experience, look here:
- La Pedrera – Laid-back beach experience
- Barra de Valizas – Hippie-spirit with live music and nightmarket, and a better beach than Cabo Polonio
- Aguas Dulces – Similar and close to but less busy and more expensive than Barra de Valizas
- Punta del Diablo – Sleepy and inexpensive beach and surf experience