Whilst smaller in landmass and with fewer touristdrawcards than its South American neighbors, Uruguay’s accessibility, contrasting cities and a range of attractions set amongst a more relaxed atmosphere make it a worthy side trip for short or extended stays.
Situated just across the River Plate from Buenos Aires, tourists are drawn to the historically intriguing town of Colonia, the eclectic capital of Montevideo and the beautiful Atlantic beach resorts such as the exclusive Punta del Este.
174,810 sq km (67,494 sq miles)
Spanish (official), Italian, English and Portuguese is spoken in the main tourist locations.
Montevideo, Salto, Paysandú
Cerro Catedral (514 meters)
Roman catholic (47.1%), non-Catholic Christians (11.1%), nondenominational (23.2%), Jewish (0,3%), atheist or agnostic (17.2%), other (1.1%)
Business hours tend to be Monday to Friday, 0900-1700. Some businesses open until noon on Saturday.
Uruguay has an exceptionally fine temperate climate, with mild summers and winters and distinct seasons. Summer is from December to March and is the most pleasant time, especially along the coast. For fine weather, December and March are good months to visit.
Uruguay is the first country in Latin America to have their whole network digitalised. The local telephone service Antel, which is operated by the government, is good and operates call centres in all major towns. Skype calls can be made from most internet cafés and are generally the cheapest way to call home. Roaming agreements exist with some international mobile phone operators. Coverage is good in urban areas and patchy elsewhere.
Visitors to Uruguay will see picturesque beaches, rolling countryside, colonial old towns and fascinating cities, each with its own personality. From a thriving metropolis with art deco buildings and shopping districts to cobbled streets and 18th century Portuguese colonial architecture, travellers can relax on the beach, dance away the early hours, dine in luxurious restaurants, relax in hot springs, go surfing or test their fishing skills. The capital, Montevideo, boasts the world’s longest carnival celebration and there are scores of small villages and towns dotted across the country each with their own distinctive charms and character to explore. The compact nature of Uruguay means it its possible for visitors to discover a good wedge of the country in a relatively short period of time. The current in Uruguay is 220v, 50Hz. The plug, 2 round pins, as is used in Europe.
Road conditions vary but are excellent along the main coastal highways and car hire is readily available at Carrasco and Punta del Este International Airports and in major cities. Metered taxis are available in all cities and extensive, dependable and safe bus services operate in Montevideo and most other Uruguayan cities.