Parque Nacional Santa Teresa - Rocha, Uruguay

You'll find many special places along the coast of Uruguay’s Department of Rocha. One of my favorites is Parque Nacional Santa Teresa (Santa Teresa National Park).

It’s a Uruguayan national park spread over 1,050 hectares (2,595 acres). It’s mostly lush and forested land that comes to low bluffs over Atlantic beaches.

The park sits next to the small coastal town of Punta del Diablo—a fishing village that fills up with backpackers and vacationers during the Southern Hemisphere summer months of January and February. Parque Nacional Santa Teresa and Punta del Diablo are situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the 182-square-kilometer Laguna Negra (Black Lagoon).

 The park is 176 kilometers west of the Uruguayan beach resort town of Punta del Este. And it's just 39 kilometers west of the Brazilian border.

Here, you’ll find large sand beaches and blue Atlantic waters. There’s good surfing here. Both Uruguayan and Brazilian surfers come to Santa Teresa when the conditions are right.

Besides good surfing, people enjoy hiking the scenic trails and beach fishing. Santa Teresa has day use areas with picnic tables and barbecues. You’ll also find more than 1,000 camp sites as well as cabins you can rent.

One of several Parque Santa Teresa's beaches
Park attractions include a small museum, a cultural center, a bird aviary, and gardens, which include more 60 local plant varieties, as well as an additional 120 other plant species from five continents. My favorite things to see at Parque Nacional Santa Teresa is a large greenhouse and an old military fort next to the park.

Parque Nacional Santa Teresa greenhouse
The Greenhouse, built in the 1920s, is constructed of stone and glass.

Inside the Santa Teresa greenhouse 
Just east of the park, is Fortaleza de Santa Teresa, a retired walled military fort built in 1762. Many days you can enter the fort for a small fee. You can walk the grounds and look inside the stone structures that include former living quarters, a kitchen, the blacksmith's shop, and the chapel.

Fortaleza de Santa Teresa built in 1762

To get to Parque Nacional Santa Teresa take Ruta 9 going east and turn toward the coast at Kilometer 302.

Cerro Verde is on the coast in Santa Teresa National park 

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