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Shakedown from Police in Punta Del Este

Hampstead, New...
Level Contributor
112 posts
36 reviews
Shakedown from Police in Punta Del Este

My husband and I just returned from a vacation through Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. It was incredible and lived up to every expectation we had... less one experience. We rented a car in Punta del Este so that we could take a drive along the coast. On our way to Jose Ignacio we were waived off the road by a policeman. He asked for our car rental papers, which the agency we rented from had accidentally not given us. We gave him the business card from the rental place, the name of the owner as well as my husbands drivers license which he'd requested. He gave us back the business card, tucked the license in his pocket and told us we'd get it back once we paid "the ticket" the next day back in the city.

Since we were there for one day and leaving on a cruise ship that evening, there was no way we would be able to appear anywhere the next day. Now, we'd done nothing wrong, so "the ticket" was BS to begin with, but it became instantly apparent to me that we were being shaken down. Of course as soon as we asked if we could just pay him the amount of "the ticket," he said, "of course, just step over to my police van." He initially asked for $150US. My husband got him down to $100. He had a stack of licenses in the car which he'd taken from people who I guess wouldn't play the game. As we had other cars we needed to rent on our vacation, we were out of options.

We did report this to the car rental agency and I got a photo of the police van with his number on it. They called someone to report this, but I assume that's hopeless. I just wanted too share this with other tourists. My husband and I are well traveled and have been lucky enough to go through Asia, Africa, Central America and a lot of South America without an incident like this. Uruguay just screwed our record! The bottom line, don't hand over your license if you're not prepared to lose it, or carry a photocopy of it with you at all times.

Destination Expert
for Colonia del Sacramento
Level Contributor
520 posts
13 reviews
11. Re: Shakedown from Police in Punta Del Este

Punta, now the daylight requirement is for towns also. At least in Colonia, we need to turn the lights on, during daytime and use seatbelts, also in town. Motorcycles drivers need to wear a helmet, new rules!

Destination Expert
for Buenos Aires
Level Contributor
4,850 posts
62 reviews
12. Re: Shakedown from Police in Punta Del Este

Thank you for the 'heads up' on in-town driving regulations, Zerpa.

Punta del Este...
Level Contributor
3,654 posts
16 reviews
13. Re: Shakedown from Police in Punta Del Este

Interesting news about the lights now being required in town, Zerpa. We'll be moving back over to Punta in October for "the season," and I will try to remember. I was pretty much in the habit of always driving with them, anyway, but you know the iron law -- the one time you forget is the time the police pull you over.

Punta has had a motorcycle helmet law for years, but they strengthened it a couple of years ago by requiring really imposing-looking helmets -- Star Wars type, protecting the jaws and neck as well as the head. Very strictly enforced.

14. Re: Shakedown from Police in Punta Del Este

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