La Paloma is the biggest beach town in Rocha with a population of four thousand people living there year round. The population multiplies by ten in the summer time. It's the only beach in Rocha with any significant infrastructure—there is a choice of hotels and restaurants, supermarkets, a small cinema and a casino. As a place to live, there are public and private health clinics, and primary and secondary schools and a branch of Uruguay’s public university in nearby Rocha city. However this is not a smaller version of glamour puss Punta del Este. La Paloma is frequented by middle-class Uruguayans, many of whom have holiday homes, and the vibe is decidedly family-oriented.
Each one of La Paloma's beaches has a different personality. Most of them are popular surfing spots. Anaconda is The surfer beach. It's miles long with different bajadas or paths down to the beach—Zanja Honda, Corumbá, Gavilán, Mar de la Tranquilidad (“Mdt” pronounced emay-deh-teh by aficionados). La Balconada is La Paloma's 'chic' beach frequented by older teens though families are numerous too. There's a parador or beach-stand selling snacks and drinks, and music. El Cabito is a good whale-watching point with rock pools where locals collect seaweed for buñuelos. It's a good swimming spot. Beaches ideal for families with smaller children are Los Botes and Bahia Chica. Los Botes has a gentle slope down to the water, where the local fishermen pull up their boats and offload their catch early in the morning. Bahía Chica in a sheltered inlet facing Tuna island frequented by residents of the old part of town. La Serena is the most far-flung beach from the centre with lifeguard service heading towards the Laguna de Rocha. Like Anaconda it's wide with good waves for surfing, ideal for sports and long walks. The dunes that border the beaches are in reconstruction, so use the walkways provided.
Laguna de Rocha If there's one trip you must make while you are at the beach, make it this one. This huge lagoon stretches almost as far as the eye can see, and it's miraculously separated from the Atlantic Ocean by just a thin strip of sand. The lake is very shallow and host to a huge diversity of fauna including one of the world's largest flocks of black-necked swans, otters and capybaras. From February to May you can watch night-time shrimp fishing. [...]
Day trip to Cabo Polonio See Beaches, Cabo Polonio In fact you can day trip to any beach in Rocha and beaches in Maldonado including Jose Ignacio (1.5 hours).
Horse Riding in the hills of Rocha The Sierras of Rocha, one of the most picturesque hill ranges in Uruguay, is just an hour's drive from La Paloma. In the sierras lies a little gem of alternative tourism, where you can have a wonderful spicy meal with organic vegetables (time to detox from all that meat) and go for a spectacular horse-ride with the coolest English-speaking guides. [...]