Population: 3.4 million people
Currency: Uruguayan peso (UYU)
A small state with a big heart and a pure soul – this is how the locals call their country. Despite the fact that Uruguay almost never appears in the world news, it is one of the most developed countries on the South American continent. People come here for gorgeous beaches, a welcoming and calm atmosphere, delicious steaks and holidays that take place here almost all year round.
Uruguay’s arsenal includes the 660 km long Rio de la Plata River, the Atlantic coastline, a thriving wine industry, boiling hot springs and endless rolling hills where the greatness of South America seems seductively tangible. Here everyone will find their own.
The central city of Montevideo is one of South America’s most multinational capitals with a thriving cultural life, from nightly milongas to colorful, multi-week carnival celebrations.
It is the only country in South America with a “full democracy”, a leader in sustainable tourism and the ecology.
Here you can immerse yourself in a sense of primordiality, drawing inspiration from the long local ties with the land. Choose between Uruguay’s open-air horseback riding, birdwatching on the coastal lagoons fringed with ancient ombu trees, or whale watching at the South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary.
Uruguay’s modern low-cost bus services make it easy to travel across the country and be where you want to be in half a day or less.
How to get here
The only international airport – Carrasco, is located 5 km from the capital, and serves direct flights from Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Santiago, Miami and Madrid.
Buses run to Uruguay from Chile (Santiago), Paraguay (Asuncion), Argentina (Mendoza, Cordoba, Buenos Aires) and Brazil (Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre).
Frequent ferries leave Argentina for Colonia del Sacramento, Carmelo and Montevideo. Ferries leave several times a day, and the journey will take just over 2 hours. Water transport in Uruguay is convenient enough to travel to coastal cities inland.
Ferries are comfortable, the seat on the ticket is usually not indicated, you can take any. There is a small snack bar and a duty free shop on board.
An unforgettable experience
- Walk through the streets, shaded by trees, and 17th century squares. Enjoy the stunning sunsets of the Rio de la Plata at Coloniadel Sacramento, or visit the historic river port that the Portuguese and Spanish have long claimed. It is now a favorite destination for Argentineans for weekend trips.
- Take a daring ride across the sand dunes to Cabo Polonio, an isolated fishing community on a long, secluded Atlantic beach filled with sea lions and surmounted by a picturesque lighthouse.
- Try to live on the ranch, helping herd the livestock on horseback and enjoying traditional Uruguayan asados (barbecues), «yerba mate» tea, and conversation by the fireplace until late at night.
Duration: 2 weeks
- Take a ferry across the Parana Delta Islands to Carmelo, where you can cycle and sample wine as you travel through the award-winning Tannat vineyards.
- During the day you can visit the museums and beaches of Montevideo, and then linger late into the evening in the capital’s countless bars, restaurants and clubs.
- Cruise the wild lagoon of the Rocha coastline with a surf stop at La Pedrera, or walk down the beach at Punta del Diablo.
- Follow the galloping gauchos and waving flags against the endless Uruguayan sky.
- Spend the night in Estancia near Tacuarembo or in the idyllic Valle del Lunarejo.
- Stop to relax at Termas San Nicanor, one of several hot springs near Salto, on the island of Rio Uruguay.
When to go
Uruguay is an amazing place! Winters are hot here, and summers are cold (average temperature in January is + 27 ° C, in June + 10 ° C). From Christmas to the end of January tourists from all over the world come here. Prices are rising accordingly.
Come in February or March when the beach weather is fine but not the summer rush. You can also catch the street theater during the Montevideo carnival and celebrate the gaucho culture at the Tacuarembo festival.
Between July and October, can be seen whales frolicking off the Atlantic coast in Uruguay.
View the current UYU to USD exchange rate
It is better to travel to Uruguay with US dollars. They are exchanged at a more favorable rate than the euro and even more so the rubles. Argentine pesos are also common in the country; in Colonia del Sacramento, they are even accepted for payment in some places.
You can exchange currency at a bank or exchange offices – cambios.
Banks in Uruguay are open on weekdays from 13:00 to 17:00.
It is safe and convenient to change currency at exchange offices, especially since many of them work seven days a week. The commission is small, and the rate is about the same everywhere.
Visa and Mastercard credit cards are widely accepted in the capital and major resort cities. It is also possible to withdraw money from an ATM from a card, but there is a limit of 300 USD per day (or an equivalent amount in any other currency).
You can familiarize yourself with the pricing policy below:
Useful phone numbers
USA Embassy in Uruguay, Lauro Muller 1776, Montevideo 11200, Uruguay: +598 (2) 17702000
Emergency operational service – 911;
Police -109, ambulance – 105, fire department -104