Uruguay is like the cool, unaffected half-sister of Brazil and Argentina. It may not be as shiny or make as much noise, but with over 300 km of superb coastline, a rich, fertile interior and some of the most welcoming faces in the region, this little stunner is fast becoming a superior destination in its own right. Strolling around Montevideo you could be forgiven for thinking you’d actually dropped into the heart of Europe. Uruguay’s mellow capital is regularly preceded by the adjectives ‘cosmopolitan’ and ‘lively’ - which it is - but what you'll also find is an eclectic and diverse city, teeming with infectious hospitality. Venture inland and you’ll discover working gaucho farms, charming agricultural centres and an intoxicating pace; or perhaps follow the crowds to some of the best beaches and surf towns in South America.
Uruguay Tours & Travel
All our Uruguay trips
At a glance
|Capital city:||Montevideo (population 1.3 million)|
|Time zone:||(GMT-03:00) Montevideo|
|Electricity:||Type C (European 2-pin) Type F (German 2-pin, side clip earth) Type I (Australian/New Zealand & Chinese/Argentine 2/3-pin) Type L (Italian 3-pin)|
Best time to visit Uruguay
Given its humid sub-tropical climate, Uruguay is suitable to visit virtually all year round, although warm coats are needed in the winter months (June-August) when the temperature drops to an average of 10 degrees C. From there, the crowds rise in accordance with the mercury. And by the peak of summer (January), the coastline teems with tourists and holidaymakers, meaning a little more planning can be needed to ensure prime accommodation. Don’t be discouraged by peak season though - there are plenty of remote surf breaks and relaxed coastal towns in which to wile away the summer, and there’s always the option to head inland for a taste of fresh air and the country life!
Geography and environment
Top 5 Beaches in Uruguay
1. Punta del Este
As Uruguay's answer to the French Riviera's St Tropez, Punta del Este may be a little too glitzy or hectic for some - particularly in summer - but away from the hustle and bustle zone, there are miles of sublime beaches that stretch out either side of the city, plus several discount accommodation options tucked neatly away in other parts of town.
2. Punta del Diablo
Having drawn in droves of travellers for the past few years, Punta del Diablo can no longer claim to be a quieter option that its southern counterpart. But despite its growing popularly, this is easily one of the best beachside locales in Uruguay and well worth the trip north.
3. Cabo Polonio
Sitting on the east coast of Uruguay, this remote location can only be accessed on foot or by 4x4 across the sand dunes. With no electricity or running water, locals (to the tune of 75 people) use generators and collect rain water, making it the perfect place for a little escapism.
4. La Pedrera
A popular haunt for backpackers and Uruguayans, La Pedrera is characteristic of the small, idyllic beach towns north of Punta del Este. Here, it's still possible to find a sparsely populated stretch of white sand and top-notch surf breaks.
With the enviable backdrop of one of Uruguay’s few mountains, Sugar Loaf, Piriapolis boasts a stack of great beaches plus a waterfront boardwalk and busy marina.
FAQs on Uruguay
Beer in a bar or restaurant = 40-60 UYU
Basic, takeaway lunch = 80-100 UYU
Dinner in an inexpensive restaurant = 180-220 UYU
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 6 Epiphany
Feb 11 Carnival
Mar 28 Maundy Thursday
Mar 29 Good Friday
Apr 19 Landing of the 33 Patriots
May 1 Labour Day
May 18 Battle of Las Piedras
Jun 19 Birth of General Artigas (Dia del Nunca Mas)
Jul 18 Constitution Day
Aug 25 National Independence Day
Oct 14 Dia de la Raza
Nov 2 All Souls’ Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/uruguay/public-holidays
Australia: Not required
Belgium: Not required
Canada: Not required
Germany: Not required
Ireland: Not required
Netherlands: Not required
New Zealand: Not required
South Africa: Not required
Switzerland: Not required
United Kingdom: Not required
United States: Not required
Health and Safety
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
Uruguay Travel Tips
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for Uruguay
1. Be considerate of Uruguay’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with tap or filtered water.
3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
4. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
5. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
6. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
7. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
|Tree of Red Stars||Tessa Bidal|
|The New Troy||Alexandre Dumas|
|The Invisible Mountain||Carolina de Robertis|
|City of your Final Destination||Peter Cameron|