For a long time, Uruguay has barely registered on the scale of popular South American destinations. But that might not have been a coincidence – some of the first people to discover it were determined to keep its profile low and enjoy their hidden gem while the world was none the wiser. But inevitably, word is getting out. Whether you’re drawn in by the posh beaches of Punta del Este or the still-vibrant gaucho culture deep in the countryside, Uruguay holds surprises and treasures that you might want to keep to yourself, too.
So let’s see why:
1. The people and culture
The warmth of the people of Uruguay made a strong impression on me during my ﬁrst trip there. Six years later, it still does.
You'll ﬁnd more basic respect between people here. At the same time, there are fewer social barriers, especially between teenagers and their parents, and young and old. In Uruguay, teachers often hug and kiss their students, doctors can have relaxed conversations with their patients, and co-workers often greet each other with a kiss on the cheek.
2. The beach
Uruguay is blessed with one looooong unending beach as its sandy coastline extends uninterrupted from the Rio Plata to Brazil. And with the government banning building on the beach itself, this means the beach will remain accessible and enjoyable for everyone despite the new developments popping up like crazy.
The unique mix. Where else can you find a South American destination that feels decidedly European, but with the sprawling, big-sky feeling of the American midwest? A big bonus: no American tourists (besides the lone travel blogger)!
3. The antiques
And by “antiques” I mean that the entire country feels like it’s left over from another era – in the best way possible. Whether you are on the coast a la the Hamptons in the 1960s, in the rustic colonial town of Colonia that seems to be frozen in time, or enjoying the 1890s Parisian-style buildings of Montevideo, Uruguay is full of beauty, charm, and romance. Dream of owning a colonial home? Vintage cars your thing? Uruguay is the place – especially for those for whom restoration isn’t a dirty word but a fantasy. I dream of scouring the villages and countryside for antiques, hardware, and tiling… preferably in a baby blue vintage Fiat 500.
4. It is a sporting country
If you ever want to enjoy a game of sport, perhaps you should head to Uruguay. It has state of art sporting facilities such as Centenario Stadium, Estadio Gran Parque Central, and Estadio Viera which are mostly used for soccer games. The stadiums come alive with sporting fans everytime there is a game. The carnival mood is always palpable and a visitor to the country will be thoroughly entertained.
5. Country laden with history
Sample this; the country has been under the influence of the Portuguese, Spanish, Brazil, and Argentina. All these countries left a piece of history worth show casing in any of its many theaters and museums. The most popular theater in Uruguay is Solís Theatre. Other historical attractions include; Casapueblo, Palacio Salvo, Monumento al Ahogado, Juan Manuel Blanes Museum, National Museum of Visual Arts and many more.
6. Uniform weather
Although the country is located in temperate weather conditions region, its weather is fairly uniform throughout the country and it is on very rare occasions that extreme variances in weather are experienced. In short, it is easy to predict the Uruguayan weather thus making it a good tourist destination.
Uruguay is a democratic republic that is governed under a president that serves as both her head of state as well as head of government. She is located on the south east corner of South America and is one of the most developed and prosperous country in South America. She is bordered by Argentina to the west, Brazil to the north and east, and Atlantic Ocean to the south and south east. The country is home to 3.3 million people, 1.8 million of whom live in her capital, Montevideo. She is the second smallest country in South America after Suriname at 68,000 square miles. But what makes the country as prosperous and as amazing as it is today? Below are a couple of the amazing things about Uruguay.
7. The Ambiance and the Architecture
Truly possessing that feeling of being thrown back in time Uruguay, especially immortalized by its capital Montevideo, has wonderful feel that resonates back to an era gone by in the 1900’s. Montevideao across its cityscape has wonderful Parisian looking buildings that leave a lasting residue of beauty, charm, and even romance. Traveling along Uruguay’s stretching coastline too will uncover any number of fantastic rural colonial towns.
8. Food and Drink
Connecting with some of the other points here eating and drinking in Uruguay are great experiences. With restaurants and bars dotted over its charming city and townscapes with great prices an excellent night out eating and drinking is all but assured. Combine this with wonderful mouth watering steaks, which is a real Uruguayan delicacy, and the recipe is there for a true gastronomic hot spot.
9. It is naturally endowed
Like all her South American Neighbors, Uruguay is endowed with physical features that leave many a visitor thoroughly awed. Some of the most significant natural endowments include; Negro River, Punta Colorada, Laguna del Sauce, Juncal Island etc.
Uruguay’s capital is situated at the mouth of the Rio de la Plata, which spills into the Atlantic. That location means a few things: beaches, trade and more than a little back-and-forth between Montevideo and Buenos Aires, Argentina, which sits on the opposite bank. Visitors love the cultural mishmash of the city, where you can find cozy tango clubs, top-notch restaurants and shopping galore.
11. Punta del Este
If you’re a beach bum or a celebrity spotter, you’ll be in luck in this upscale city that stretches along the Atlantic coast. It’s a go-to destination for well-heeled cognoscenti, but even if you can’t afford to stay for long, it’s still well worth dropping in for a taste of the most exclusive resort town in the country.
- Punta del Este, the relaxing beach of Uruguay- Montevideo, the capital with the amazing Saturday afternoon market
Uruguay, on the east coast of South America south of Brazil and east of Argentina, is comparable in size to Oklahoma. The country consists of a low, rolling plain in the south and a low plateau in the north. It has a 120-mile (193 km) Atlantic shoreline, a 235-mile (378 km) frontage on the Rio de la Plata, and 270 mi (435 km) on the Uruguay River, its western boundary
Spanish is the official language. Along the border with Brazil, there is a dialect called Portuñol, which is a combination of both Spanish and Portuguese. English is most often selected as a second language in Uruguay, especially in the business sectors.
The Uruguaian Peso is the national currency, 1 USD is about 24.52 Uruguayan Peso (February 2015)
The climate in Uruguay is temperate: warm summers and cold winters. The coolest month is June, while the warmest is January. The rainfall is equally distributed throughout the year, but tends to be a bit more frequent in the autumn months. There can be frequent thunderstorms in the summer.
Uruguayans are known to eat a lot of meat. The parrillada (beef platter), chivito (a substantial steak sandwich), and pasta are the national dishes. Other Uruguayan dishes include morcilla dulce, a type of blood sausage cooked with ground orange peel and walnuts, and milanesa, a breaded veal cutlet. Typical drinks include mate, tea, clericó (a mixture of white wine and fruit juice), and medio y medio (part sparkling wine and part white wine).
Before European settlement, Uruguay was long inhabited by indigenous people, the Charrúas. Juan Díaz de Solis, a Spaniard, visited Uruguay in 1516, but the Portuguese were first to settle it when they founded the town of Colonia del Sacramento in 1680. After a long struggle, Spain conquered the country from Portugal in 1778, by which time almost all of the indigenous people had been exterminated. Independence was reasserted with Argentinean help in 1825, and the republic was set up in 1828.
More than 75% of the people are at least nominally Roman Catholic. Jews, mostly in Montevideo, make up a small minority, which is nevertheless one of the larger Jewish communities in South America.
Uruguay has an impressive legacy of artistic and literary traditions, especially for its small size. Uruguay has centuries old remains, fortresses of the colonial era. Its cities have a rich architectural heritage and an impressive number of writers, artists, and musicians.Inland, we find the culture of the gaucho, the cowboys of South America. To this day, gauchos wear the same traditional dress as generations ago. Complete with it’s own music and dance; gaucho is about pride and dignity, individual integrity, and national identity.As far as general arts and crafts, Uruguayans are excellent in creating the most beautiful handcrafted leather goods. Homegrown leather is transformed into belts, boots, hats, and purses. The people are also renowned for their handmade woolen items, especially woolen sweaters. There is also a niche of ceramic crafts that reflect local color.
The tango has an entire sub-culture centered on movement, music, and lyrics. Tango is love, hate, and passion. Tango transforms one’s existential problems into pure energy and joy. And in Uruguay, people love to Tango and they Tango well!
Large animals have almost disappeared from the eastern regions, but there is still much to explore. The carpincho (water hog), fox, deer, nutria, otter, and small armadillo live in the northern foothills. On the pampas are the hornero (ovenbird), quail, partridge, and crow interesting animals to see. The avestruz (a small ostrich similar to the Argentine rhea), swan, and royal duck are found at lagoons. If you like Ffishing you can come across the pompano, salmon, and corvina. The principal reptiles are cross vipers and tortoises. Seals are found on Lobos Island, near Punta del Este.