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Uruguay

Continent: South America

Ideal Duration: 7 - 10 days

Best Time: Spring( October-November) Read More

Currency: Uruguayan Peso (UYU ($U))

Budget: Expensive

"An Oasis of Peace"

Uruguay Tourism

Uruguay is a country located in South America surrounded by Argentina nad Brazil on sides. The country is rich in flora and fauna and you will get to see the most amazing beaches here. Over half of the country's population lives in the capital city Montevideo making it the most populated city in the country. The celebrations and festivals are considered to be the main attractions of Uruguay. From legalising the production and use of marijuana to being one of the most literate countries in the world, Uruguay offers you experiences of all kind.

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Tourist Places to Visit In Uruguay

Best time to visit Uruguay

Spring( October-November) is the best time to visit Uruguay

As it is a year-round destination, there is no best time to visit Uruguay. Every season offers you something unique and remains as a good-to-go destination. Since the country experiences a humid subtropical climate, the weather remains uniform nationwide.  Spring is regarded as the best time to visit Uruguay if you are not a beach person. During this time, the weather is pleasant & windy and attracts tourists from all over the world. If you love the beaches the sunny summers, starting from October, and running through March, is one of the best times to visit the country, particularly, its coastal areas. The restaurants near beaches start re-opening from this month and exploring the beaches will be great at this time. One can go for Whale Watching and you may spot one as they come to the southern part of the Uruguay coast to breed annually. The capital city Montevideo remains pleasantly warm and the beaches are quieter than in December. Many beaches close as the country slips into autumn. The intermediate seasons of Autumn (April - May), and Spring (September) are a good time to visit Uruguay, but the winds of the Atlantic Ocean spells of rains and thunderstorms at times. Winter, begins in June and runs through August. The season, though mild, is unstable - it gets cold sometimes, and rains are common. 

Regions in Uruguay

Uruguay consist of 4 main regions namely Interior region, the Littoral region, the greater Montevideo region and the Coastal region. Interior region is well known for having a colourful and vibrant lifestyle. This is the place where you will find Gaucho Lifestyle - native cowboys of the South American pampas. A famous tourist attraction in this region is Cerro Arequita, a famous hill surrounded by caves. The Littoral region is along the west part of the country and is famous for its cheese, wine & dulce de leche and a historic landmark is located in this region, is the city, Mercedes. The densely populated region of Uruguay is the Montevideo, the capital city Montevideo is located here and has colonial architecture and low-rise skyscrapers. Lastly, the coastal region is the most visited region of the country and is famous for its long and beautiful beaches. These include the El Emir Beach, Brava Beach, Chilean beach, and the Chiringo beach, just to name a few. A famous landmark in this region is the Punta Del Este Lighthouse.

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

Home of South America's most glamorous resorts, Bunch of outdoor activities, Carnivals and other interesting festivals, Chilling with sea lions, Beach-hopping, wine tasting, calm & peaceful atmosphere.

What's Not So Great?

Expensive cost of living, slow life, trash piles around the city, language difficulty and extreme summers.

For Whom?

Beach lovers, People interested in Football, Heritage, Carnivals and Wine, Individuals, Friends (Group trips)

Read More on Uruguay

Currency of Uruguay

The official currency of Uruguay is Uruguayan Peso. The notes have denominations of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 2000. There is no restriction on the amount of money you are carrying or taking out of the country. US$ are widely accepted in the country. Credit cards are also well accepted by hotels, restaurants and boutique shops however most of the motels outside Montevideo do not accept Credit Cards. There is a 10% charge on the use of credit card. People carrying Visa and Mastercards will not find much of difficulty while making payments. There are ATM machines located throughout Uruguay but you may not find one at certain tourist places so carry enough cash with you. ATMs have a limit on per day withdrawal, it is $300 for now. American Express is less recognised.

Exchanging Money in Uruguay

Money canÊbe converted to peso at Banks, Hotels and money exchange bureau (Cambio). You are not required to show an ID and won't be charged any commission. The best rates are given for US dollars and Euro for that matter. Do not exchange money at the airports; they tend to give you very bad rates. Try not to exchange money in the posher neighbourhoods; they too tend to give low rates. ATMs dispense Uruguayan pesos and US dollars as well. The Uruguayan govt is also offering all tourists the 22% VAT back directly when you pay with your credit card.

Nightlife in Uruguay

The nightlife is not that happening like those in Buenos Aires, but Montevideo does have a decent number of local bars and clubs to enjoy late nights. Nightlife starts late in Montevideo with people eating their dinners by 10 pm. Therefore, clubbing begins by 11 pm, and that may go on till 4-5 am in the morning. Montevideo possesses rich cultural life especially when it comes to its size but do not forget many performances are in Spanish only. La Ronda is a hip bar along La Rambla which is one of the favourites among the Montevideo's crowd. The Mexican food is fantastic, and the music will set the atmosphere peaceful and calm. As far as clubs are concerned following are the popular ones - Bar Fun Fun, HEY Chopp, Lotus & W Lounge. If you want to enjoy live music, you have a few options too.

Shopping in Uruguay

Montevideo, Punta del Este and Colonia del Sacramento are among the best places to shop. Suede jackets, amethyst jewellery and paintings are specialities of Uruguay. On Sunday mornings, shopping in Tristan Narvaja Market can yield some priceless antiques. There are many antique shops in Old Town. Equally amazing and electric is the Saturday Flea Market held in Plaza Constitution in Old Town. One can shop special Uruguyuan handicrafts from the Montevideo's ports. Shops are open from 9 am to 12 noon and 2 pm-5 pm Monday to Friday and 9 am to 12:30 pm on Saturday. Big shopping malls remain open daily from 10 am to 12 pm.

Festivals of Uruguay

Uruguay has a very rich and vibrant culture encompassing numerous festivals and events with it. The biggest carnival that is celebrated in Uruguay is in the capital city Montevideo during Feb- March and that can last up to 2 months. Also, it is considered as the longest carnival in south America. Along the carnival, there are many dance parades in the street, street stages and artist contest going on side by side. Candombe is a unique musical treat during Carnival time. This is a combined music form that utilises Bantu drumming techniques as well as some European and Tango influences. Uruguayan also celebrates the Easter also known as Holy Week here. If you are a fun loving person, the Uruguayan festivals will have you swaying to their rhythm!

History of Uruguay

The first occupants of Uruguay were the Charrua Indians, a seeker gatherer individuals who were careful about pariahs. The Spaniards who came into Uruguay in the seventeenth century made Montevideo the capital in 1726. In 1808 the battle for freedom proceeded in Uruguay lastly in 1828, when the Argentines and British surrendered their claim on the nation, it picked up its autonomy. Common wars, autocracy and interest destroyed the tranquillity of the nation and some break from these came just in 1903. Jose Batley Ordonez turned into the President and brought peace and relief. Under his run, Uruguay turned into the main Welfare state in Latin America. Be that as it may, since the 1960s the nation's success started to lessen and the welfare state turned out to be to a greater degree a fantasy. After the turmoil brought on by the Tupamaros urban guerrilla development, the military assumed responsibility promising to diminish organisation and spend more on the less special and focus on advancement. The military figured out how to wipe out the guerrillas by 1972 and later in 1985 majority rule government was reestablished. In 1996 sacred changes occurred that gave more prominent forces to the President.

Hygiene in Uruguay

Any kind of vaccinations is not required for Uruguayan travel. Uruguay has a good public-health system. Tap water is generally safe to drink but it is advised to go for packaged drinking water instead. Try to avoid drinks made with tap water and unpasteurized milk. Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in Uruguay. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. So try to cover your skin by wearing full sleeves clothes and use an appropriate insect repellent. Do not forget to carry sunscreen as sun rays are really harmful in Uruguay. Swim only in designated swimming areas. Do not dive into shallow water.

Customs of Uruguay

People in Uruguay have an unconditional love with meat especially Beef. If you don't like beef does not consume it but try to avoid passing negative comments about others who enjoy consuming beef. Such words and comments would be considered as impolite and may offend people around you. When interacting with the people of Uruguay on a daily basis, you don't need to worry they do not get offended as easily as the French! People here are friendly, outgoing, and are known to deliver kisses on the cheek to the close friends of opposite sex while greeting one another. People in Uruguay tend to dress up really nice over meals with friends, family or business meetings so dress up nice for such events. The tradition of arriving late is infused in people here, so no matter where you are eating arrive 40 minutes late than the time mentioned. Dinner is initiated by saying " buen provecho" or perhaps as simple as "salud" before drinking. You should use your utensils to eat everything except bread. As far as sports are concerned, baseball is not the national favourite, nor is American "football." Uruguayans prefer traditional football, which Americans commonly refer to as soccer.

Tips for visiting Uruguay

  • Carry small change with you as very few taxis and shop owners will have change for large denomination bills.
  • As consumption and possession of small amount of marijuana or other drugs for personal use has been decriminalised but their sale is still illegal.
  • Though the city is considered to be safe for solo travellers women should avoid using public transport at night.
  • The cost of medical treatment is very high here so getting a travel insurance is an absolute must, or you will end up paying hefty bills.
  • Try to learn few basic Spanish words to interact as the frequency of people speaking English is quite less in Uruguay.
  • Cash and traveller's cheques are best exchanged at banks or exchange desks, of which there are plenty in major cities.
  • 500g of tobacco is permitted in and out of the country by foreigners which include 400 cigarettes or 50 cigars. Not more than 2 litres of alcohol is allowed.
  • While greeting people around you in Uruguay, you can say "HOLA" (hello) as it is considered appropriate.

Culture of Uruguay

Spanish is widely spoken in the whole country and it will be difficult to find English speaking people. Tough being the second smallest country in South America, Uruguay has a strong literary and artistic tradition. Music in the country is largely influenced by the immigrants whereas the folk songs and dances have strong Argentine touch. Towards the northern part of Uruguay, you will find music and dance are influenced by the Brazilian culture. So there is a beautiful blend of all the country's culture with whom Uruguay is surrounded. The national dance is the Pericon and Tango are fairly popular as well. The Guitar is considered as the most important instrument and is used extensively in festivals and other gatherings. The Theatre is popular here too. Most Uruguayans are Roman Catholics and there is also a Jewish minority (about 25,000) living in Montevideo.

Food of Uruguay

Uruguayan food is quite similar to Argentine cuisine, both the countries are fiercely carnivorous, so it will be difficult to find vegan food for vegetarians. Beef and Meat Preparations are loved by the locals and you may find different recipes of them in restaurants. Few of the specialities are Bife de chorizo, Asado de Tira, Chivito and Chaja for desserts. One of the most common kinds of restaurants is parrilladasÊ(grill-rooms), where they have huge racks of beef sizzle over hot coals. Italian food like Pizza & Pasta is also popular while seafood is excellent along with the Atlantic Coast. Uruguayan wine is pretty good too and you may also find their personal brand of whisky which is Dunbar which is considered to be nation's favourite.

Stay options in Uruguay

Uruguay offers you with a plethora of options for places to stay. During the summers you will be required to make reservations before you visit the place. Many luxury hotels are available in Montevideo. You will also find mid-range and budgeted hotels around the city. A wide variety of hotels and resorts are available for tourists to enjoy their stay, the most popular ones are Four Season Resort Carmelo, Hotel Plaza Mayor, La Posada Del Frayle Bentos to name a few. You could also find accommodation on farms or can even go for camping on campgrounds. The Tourist Office in Montevideo provides ample information on campsites, hotels, and youth hostels.

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