Uruguay – beaches, colonial architecture, nature reserves and very welcoming people. Montevideo, Puente del Este, Colonia del Sacramento and other beach resorts – all about Uruguay: maps and photos, attractions and tours.
Uruguay rarely appears in the world news – in that place, in fact, nothing really happens in the best sense of the word. But it is one of the most developed countries on the South American continent and is believed to be very comfortable for vacation and living.
Uruguay has few historical monuments, but the beach resorts are some of the best on the continent. People come to Uruguay for its gorgeous beaches, cordial and calm air, delicious steaks and holidays, which take place here virtually all year round. An additional advantage: Russian citizens do not need a visa to Uruguay, if you go for no more than three months.
- 1 Resorts and Regions of Uruguay
- 2 Climate of Uruguay
- 3 Customs and Visa
- 4 Transportation in Uruguay
- 5 Rent a car
- 6 Communications and Wi-Fi
- 7 Money in Uruguay
- 8 Hotels in Uruguay
- 9 Tourist Safety in Uruguay
- 10 Beaches of Uruguay
- 11 Shopping in Uruguay
- 12 Shopping centers and stores in Uruguay
- 13 Restaurants and Cuisine
- 14 Drinks in Uruguay
- 15 Restaurants in Uruguay
- 16 Attractions and Entertainment in Uruguay
- 17 Museums in Uruguay
- 18 Nature in Uruguay
- 19 Events in Uruguay
Resorts and Regions of Uruguay
Virtually all resorts in Uruguay are beach resorts. This is due to the fact that on one side of its shores is washed by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the other – the river Rio de la Plata, which, in fact, is a bay that connects Argentina and the shores of Uruguay. The coast of La Plata is quite often chosen for home recreation – that place has quiet bays and no currents, and other water sports enthusiasts and surfers go to the Atlantic coast because of the good waves virtually all year round.
Montevideo – the capital and largest city of Uruguay, where almost half the country’s population lives. The main historical monuments are concentrated in the capital, as well as business and cultural life: banks, hotels, restaurants, concert halls, etc. In the northeastern part of the capital there is a resort area with clean sandy beaches and a famous municipal promenade, one of the most beautiful in South America.
The Atlantic coast is the most favorite among vacationers from all countries resort part of Uruguay. It stretches east of Montevideo for many kilometers. The most popular and respectable resort here – Punta del Este. It is clean and expensive, with many restaurants and luxury hotels, for which it is occasionally compared to the Spanish Marbella. Fans of surfing love this resort for the beach Brava with its good waves, and everyone else – for the best seafood on the coast.
The resort of La Pedrera is beloved by surfers and kitesurfers – it is windy at any time, but there is a small area for a quiet beach holiday. In addition, there are quite often held music and film festivals
Balneario Argentino, as the title lightly suggests, in the distant past came to love the Argentines: I can very quickly get to by ferry from Buenos Aires, and the beaches at this resort is several times better than in Argentina. Tourists are attracted to me by the wide sandy coast, the infrastructure for home recreation, and the pine forests that saturate the air with essential oils.
La Paloma, another beautiful seaside resort on the Atlantic coast, is known for its views and especially for beautiful sunsets, and an observation deck from which it is possible to watch whales.
From the observation deck in La Paloma it is possible to watch whales.
Rio de la Plata is a coastal region in the southwest, west of Montevideo. It includes the capital itself, and another large city on the coast, Colonia del Sacramento. On the second coast is Buenos Aires, so there are many tourists from Argentina.
The north is the most colorful, distinctive and least touristy part of the country. This is where the border with Brazil and Argentina passes, so the local culture has taken a lot from both states: on the border with Argentina areas can still be seen settlements of South American gaucho cowboys, and next to Brazil hear the Spanish-Portuguese dialect of Portuniol. The largest cities here are Salto, Paisando, Tacuarembo and Rivera.
The central region is the nature reserves and farmland. People come to me to enjoy nature, silence, ride riverboats and horses on the Rio Negro River. The main cities in the central part of the country are Durasno, Paso de los Trinidad and Toros.
Nature has generously endowed Uruguay with warm mineral springs, on which spa resorts are built. The most recognizable of these are Arapeuil and Cerro del Toro.
Climate of Uruguay
The climate in Uruguay is moderate subtropical, closer to the center of the country – continental. Summer in this state lasts from December to March, it is moderately hot, dry and sunny. Ambient temperature at the height of beach season is +23 … +27 °С, the water in Rio de la Plata warms up to +22 °С, in Atlantic it is slightly cooler – up to +18 … +20 °С.
Uruguay has mild winter, sometimes rainy, but frosts are rare here. From April to November there are strong winds and showers, but ambient temperature even in July, the coldest month of the year, in most cases does not fall below +10 … +12 °С. The biggest amount of precipitations falls on the period from April to September and the most comfortable time for travelling is summer and the beginning of spring, the period from November to March.
Customs and Visa
A visa to Uruguay is not required if the trip lasts no more than 90 days. To cross the border one shall present the passport (there are no special requirements to its term, it simply shall be valid at the moment of departure and entry), the return ticket, hotel reservation and proof of financial solvency (cash or bank card). In most cases the visa officer needs only a passport, but it is worth having a whole set just in case.
There is no currency control at the border, so that the import and export of domestic currency is possible without restrictions. Without paying duty may bring into Uruguay up to 400 pieces of cigarettes, 50 cigars or 500 grams of tobacco, up to 2 liters of spirits, 5 kg of food (excluding fruit, vegetables, honey, meat and dairy products), and no more than two items of photo and video equipment. Importation of any plants, seeds and flowers is prohibited. Pets can be brought into the territory of Uruguay only with an international veterinary certificate.
Given to take out of the country to 100 pieces of cigarettes or 25 cigars, and a moderate amount of alcohol. It is categorically forbidden to export and import any drugs, firearms, shells, medicines, radioactive materials, stuffed animals and animal skins.
Transportation in Uruguay
In Uruguay, the most ergonomic way to travel is by bus, it is the most developed transport network in the country. The big, but the only international bus station in the country is one – Tres Cruces, it is located in the capital. The bus can get to virtually any city in Uruguay and in cities in neighboring states. Buses run during the day, and some also at night. For example, a trip to Punta del Este takes about two hours and costs about 250 UYU, and the city of Colonia del Sacramento can be reached in three hours and 400 UYU.
The roads in Uruguay are quite good, with a total of about 9,000 km of highways in the country, of which about 8,000 are paved.
Buses in Uruguay are quite comfortable, all have air conditioning and free Wi-Fi. Conductor not only controls tickets, but also keeps order in the cabin.
Railroads in Uruguay are used mainly for freight transport, passenger transport is not particularly popular. Trains go from Montevideo to Veenticino de Agosto (63 km from the capital) and to Progreso. The train to Progreso takes a little less than an hour, and carriages are shabby, so the train ride is just for flavor.
Water transportation in Uruguay is quite developed and convenient for traveling both to coastal cities in the country and to neighboring Argentina.
Ferries to Buenos Aires are mainly operated by Buquebus, and tickets can be bought online in advance (official website in English). Ferries leave daily, take just over 2 hours and cost from 55 USD per direction. From Colonia del Sacramento to Buenos Aires, it is possible to take a ferry for an hour and 45 USD one way.
The ferries are comfortable, the seat on the ticket in most cases is not specified, it is possible to take any seat. There is a small bar with snacks and a duty free store on board.
Pay attention to the first class tickets, they cost only 5-7 USD more, but the seats are much more ergonomic and each passenger is given a glass of champagne.
Domestic flights are mainly handled by Amaszonas Uruguay, which also does flights to neighboring South American states. The flight from Buenos Aires will take about an hour and will cost from 80 USD one way, from Asuncion to Montevideo it will take a little over two hours and the ticket will cost from 170 USD one way.
Public transportation in cities
Public transportation in Montevideo cities is by bus and cab. A bus ride costs 26 UYU in the center and 29 UYU outside, the central area of the city ends at 18 de Julio Street. Buses only slow down at stops if you wave at them or if someone is getting off at a given stop.
Free cab can be identified by a red inscription libre (in Spanish “free”) on the windshield, no need to order in advance, it is possible to stop on the street. A trip within the center will cost about 200 UYU, as a tip is customary to round up the amount in a huge way. If you get into a cab in a special parking lot (such are near restaurants, shopping malls and busy intersections), some nice young man can help you open the door. It is also customary to give him a coin or two, but it is not obligatory. In large cities, there is an Uber.
Rent a car
The conditions for car rental in Uruguay are the same as in the rest of the world: you should be older than 23 years, have a driver’s license (Russian example will do) and driving experience of not less than 2 years, and a deposit. Large rental companies take these bank cards and freeze a certain amount (in most cases no more than 200-300 USD for an economy car), private companies will take the deposit in cash.
Uruguay has many large aggregators (Avis, Hertz, etc.), it is possible to reserve a car on the site in advance. This is more reliable but much more expensive than private car rentals: during high season car of economy class will cost from 60-80 USD per day. Car rentals at the airport are open all day long.
Car rentals from local private offices may be about half as cheap – about 40 USD per day. If you have Spanish, you can also use the site of private ads Mercado Libre: even in low season there are quite a lot of proposals from 30 USD per day, but the risk is obviously higher and less security.
Kilometer range in most cases is not limited, but to travel abroad on a rented car is strictly prohibited.
In large cities there are paid and free parking lots. Paid parking are usually located in the historic center of the city, on the outskirts – free, pay for parking possible at any newsstand, the price – about 20 UYU per hour. To pay, all you have to do is give the license plate number, take a receipt and put it on your windshield. Parking is free between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m.
Gasoline in Uruguay is quite expensive, about 65-70 UYU per liter. You do not need to get out of the car at the gas station – employees absolutely serve customers, fill up the car and also wash the windows. Tipping is welcome but not necessary.
“Police speed bumps” on Uruguayan roads are concave, not convex, and traffic on most municipal streets is one-way.
Communications and Wi-Fi
Cell phone service in Uruguay is expensive; on average, local rates are twice as expensive as Russian rates. There are three mobile operators, the largest and most popular of them – Antel, besides Claro and Movistar. Only Antel offers more or less stable mobile Internet, so its tariffs are expectedly overpriced. The most budget tariff plan from Antel costs 649 UYU per month, for this money you get 433 60 seconds of talk time in the country and 6 GB of mobile Internet. 60 seconds of talk time in Russia will cost about 30 UYU depending on the tariff, charging from the 10th second.
Claro and Movistar also provide packages of mobile Internet, but the message is not happy and quite often “drops”.
You can buy a SIM card in Uruguay at any newsstand, no documents are required.
With Wi-Fi the situation is better than with mobile Internet, but this applies only to the capital and other large cities and resorts. Virtually all hotels, restaurants and cafes have high-speed wireless Internet that is available to guests for free.
Money in Uruguay
The financial unit of the country is the Uruguayan peso (UYU). 1 peso has 100 sintesimo.
It is better to travel to Uruguay with American dollars as they are exchanged at a better exchange rate than Euros and especially rubles. In addition, Argentine pesos are widespread in the country; in Colonia del Sacramento they are also accepted for payment in some places.
It is possible to exchange currency in a bank or currency exchange offices – cambios. Banks in Uruguay are open on weekdays from 13:00 to 17:00. The best exchange rates are found there, but most of the time the difference is not very high. There is no dark currency market in the country.
It is safe and comfortable to change the currency in the exchange offices, especially since many of them work without weekends and late. Their work group is small, and the rate everywhere is approximately the same. In Montevideo, exchange offices are concentrated in Plaza Cagancha and the adjacent street Avenida 18 de Julio. In Colonia del Sacramento, it is possible to exchange currency directly at the port, where the ferries come from Buenos Aires. In smaller towns there are virtually no currency exchange offices, so you will need to look for bank branches there.
Credit cards Visa and Mastercard are accepted virtually everywhere in the capital and large resort towns; at a hotel, store and restaurant can pay without trouble. ATM cash withdrawal with a card from the Russian bank is also possible, as well as U.S. dollars, but there is a limit – 300 USD per day or the equivalent amount in each currency.
It is customary to tip the waiter (about 10% of the bill), cab driver, valet and tour guide. It is optional, but necessary.
Hotels in Uruguay
Uruguay has recently become a tourist country, but the hotel stock is at a good level. In the cities and resorts there is a wide range of tourist accommodation from luxury five-star hotels to budget hostels and guest houses. The country is represented by many large hotel chains: Best Western, Radisson, Days Inn, Carcelo, Melia, Sheraton Four Points, etc., and a wide range of small private hotels. The hotels cope with the flow of tourists, but if you are planning a trip in the summer or during the carnival (January – March), you should book an accommodation at least a month in advance.
All hotels correspond to the declared category. Five-star hotels in the capital and other resorts and major cities are located in the place where there are private swimming pools with terraces and spa centers, in the rooms – kitchenette, and in hotels on the coast – personal beaches.
Hotels 3-4 * – is in most cases the old buildings, built in the late 90s. But repairs in that place is certainly fresh, the furniture is new, and the price of living is quite often included in the lunch buffet. The most budget-friendly options – these are hostels and guest houses, here you will be offered a room or bed room. Quite often these hotels economy class are converted apartments, respectively, at the service of guests a kitchen and one or two bathrooms for all.
Wi-fi in Uruguayan hotels in most cases are free, but for the use and parking safe (if necessary) will need to pay extra (expensive hotels do not apply this rule, in that place the price is all included).
Apart from hotels, tourists will also rent a place in a campsite, on a farm or ranch.
Prices for tourist accommodations in Uruguay are quite reasonable. In the season, a room in a 3-4* hotel will cost from 50 to 150 USD. Such variation in prices is explained by the degree of remoteness from the beach and the center, and a set of services offered. Staying in a five-star hotel will cost from 160 USD per day for a room for two people, and to rent a room in a guest house – from 20 USD per day. In low season the hotel prices can be 20-30% lower.
It is not profitable to rent an apartment in this state; it will be much more expensive than a good hotel. The owners prefer to rent an apartment for minimum a month so if you come for a long time a studio near the center will cost about 400 USD and a “three room” apartment close to the beach can be found for 1200 USD per month.
Voltage – 220 V, frequency of 50 Hz, used the European standard socket, an adapter is not necessary.
Tourist Safety in Uruguay
Uruguay is considered one of the most successful and reliable countries in South America, its main danger is burglars. It is worth to follow basic safety precautions: do not carry large jewelry and large amounts of money, and laptops and expensive photo and video equipment in briefcases, especially in public transport.
In the capital not to walk at night on the poor neighborhoods – but in them almost unreal to wander accidentally: the slums can be seen from a distance. In the center of the capital and resorts may well walk until morning. The tourist police are working in the cities, which can be addressed if you have problems – all police speak English.
The Uruguayans are cheerful, friendly and relaxed people. They are very fond of helping tourists and taking pictures with them. There is no catch in this – this is not a “scam” and not fraud, but hospitality and pure friendliness.
In Uruguay, it is legal to smoke, sell and grow marijuana, but it is not legalized for tourists. This law applies only to residents and citizens of the country, and failure to comply threatens a large fine. Smoking tobacco is also not forbidden only in deliberately designated places, and watch for this strictly. Penalties for violation of high (about 1000 USD), and if a smoking in a cafe, restaurant or other public institution, the owner will have to pay.
Travel to Uruguay does not require any vaccinations. Sanitary conditions in this state are very good, unlike some less successful neighbors. It is recommended to drink bottled water, but in general tap water is quite reliable.
The emergency telephone number in Uruguay is 911, and the call is free. Emergency medical care is free of charge, as well as for tourists.
Beaches of Uruguay
Clean, wide, sandy beaches are one of Uruguay’s main attractions. Almost all beaches are public and free, but equipped with showers, changing booths and restrooms. There are few private, and for the most part they belong to expensive hotels. Sun beds and umbrellas are offered for rent by beach cafes and bars.
The Atlantic Ocean washes the shores of Uruguay in the southeast of the country, and the Gulf of Rio de la Plata in the southwest. On the Atlantic coast, the water all year round is a little cooler and there are more waves (but there are quiet bays), and the shores of Rio de la Plata will appeal more to those who come with children – there are almost no strong waves. In addition, the beaches of Colonia del Sacramento on the Rio de la Plata are great for a quiet holiday at home – here you’ll find a sandy beach with a gentle entry into the water and beautiful scenery.
At Montevideo, the fresh waters of the Rio de la Plata mix with the salty waters of the ocean. Currents here are not yet as strong as closer to the east, so the local beaches are suitable for both beach holidays and surfers (at times).
There are a couple of beaches in the capital city. The most popular is Ramirez which has a sandy beach, lots of beach bars and discos and the occasional orange jellyfish. Another popular beach near the center of Montevideo is Positos, in that place quite a lot of good fish restaurants. The most uncrowded of the metropolitan beaches are Buseo and Carrasco.
Punta del Este – the most recognizable and fashionable resort on the southeast coast. There are expensive hotels, restaurants, beach discos and discotheques. For home holidays, the most suitable beach is Mansa, surfers love the beach Brava – that place has the best waves, and at the service of partygoers all the other coast.
In the fishing village of Jose Ignacio not a few beaches, but quite a lot of good fish restaurants and there are all conditions for sea fishing.
The beaches of La Paloma will appeal to fans of fishing and seclusion, as well as Punta Negra, and the most “photogenic” are considered Montoya and El Tesoro.
Shopping in Uruguay
From Uruguay worth bringing all kinds of products made of leather: shoes, bags, clothes, hats and belts. It is much cheaper here than in Europe and in neighboring Argentina, so that many skilled fashionistas take a separate suitcase for the new shoes.
In local stores you can buy inexpensive silver jewelry with precious and semiprecious stones and beautiful costume jewelry made of natural materials: wood, shells, etc.
What to bring from Uruguay
- Accessories and Clothing with symbols of the local soccer team (soccer is a national pride and almost a religion here);
- Handmade statuettes. The most recognizable are local brand De Rosa Rinconada – ceramic pieces with gold and platinum plating, price – from 50 USD per piece;
- Calabasas – gourds for drinking mate;
- cars: in this country are popular cars of the early 20th century, in particular Mercedes and Fords, which attract collectors from all countries.
For the more frugal, there are collections of ancient cars in miniature, the richest selection in the city of Colonia del Sacramento.
Gastronomic souvenirs are a separate story. Uruguay makes good European cheeses: Parmesan, Grana Padano and others. It is better to buy them at the feria – mobile markets: it’s cheaper there and you can try everything before buying. Also from this place they bring olive pasta and kramoto – a local seasoning of olive oil and walnuts.
Of spirits worth bringing “cleric” (the local equivalent of sangria from white wine and alcoholic fruit) and “spumante” (spumante) – sparkling wine with different fruit and berry flavors. Because Uruguay has many German immigrants, it has good beer, which is sold in plain bottles and kegs.
Shopping centers and stores in Uruguay
Stores in Uruguay are mostly open from 9:00 to 18:30 (rarely until 22:00) on weekdays and until 13:00 on Saturdays, with Sundays off. Markets work about the same schedule, but some of them are open on Sundays.
The shopping should go first to Montevideo, that place has the most stores, markets and shopping centers. The most popular mall in the capital is Louvre, a three-story store where you can buy clothing and leather shoes, accessories, and antiques and jewelry. Other shopping complexes are Tres Cruces and Montevideo Shopping. The largest market in Montevideo is the Mercado de los Artesanos, where handicrafts from local artisans are sold, while the mobile market Feria de Tristan Narvaja offers national costumes, vintage records and accessories, used other rarities and books.
In the resort of Punta del Este is the local branch of Manos del Uruguay, which creates products and high quality yarns from narrow wool. It also has its own artisan fair, Feria de los Artesanos, which is open in the main square.
Wool products can also be purchased at the Malvon store in Colonia del Sacramento, especially the wool plaids.
Uruguay has a system of tax free, through which non-residents may return up to 20% of the money spent on purchases. VAT refunds from the amount of 600 UYU or more, you must fill out a special form at the cashier and submit it together with your purchases and passport (in an undamaged package, it is essential) at the airport before departure. Money will be refunded on the spot in cash or within a few days on a bank card, the term depends on your bank, but in most cases not more than 7 working days.
Restaurants and Cuisine
Uruguayan cuisine is a mix of Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, English and German culinary traditions. They eat quite a lot of meat, vegetables (especially potatoes), sweets and drink quite a lot of wine.
- The main national dish is asado a la parilla (“asado a la parilla”). This is fresh meat sliced into strips, cooked on the grill and certainly on the charcoal. The meat can be anything: beef, lamb and also sausages, but the wood flavor that it is impregnated during production is the most responsible ingredient. Steaks are served in virtually every restaurant and in most cases medium rare, if you like it perfectly grilled, it’s worth specifying that bien cocido is required.
- A chivito is a large sandwich with meat or chicken served with French fries, vegetables and eggs. Hamburgers in Uruguay are served in much the same way, but sandwiches are significantly cheaper. They are eaten with a fork and knife, and one serving is plenty for two.
- Milanesa, another popular dish in Uruguay, is meat sliced in a narrow layer and fried in breadcrumbs. Occasionally a glazed egg is placed on top, and occasionally it is fried together with bread. There is also a fairly low-calorie version of milanesa, at a time when the meat is baked in the oven with virtually no oil.
In Uruguay, quite a lot of immigrants from Italy, so here is a great revered pizza, which in this country is not considered fast food. Pizza here is made square and always with a solid amount of mozzarella.
- The classic Uruguayan puchero soup (puchero) used to be possible to see only on the tables of poor peasants. Nowadays this soup with meat or chicken broth with potatoes and corn is served even in the most expensive restaurants.
- Uruguayans love pasta, which is prepared with a large number of sauces, especially caruso sauce with cream, mushrooms, and ham. Cappelletti with meat or spinach-cheese stuffing are also served with this sauce.
There are quite a few fish restaurants in coastal towns; grilled cod fillet is especially popular, together with seafood and other fish.
There is no fast food as such in Uruguay – food does not tolerate a rush. But for a quick snack, empanadas, patties with different fillings, such as meat, ham, spinach, cheese, chicken, etc, are excellent. Most empanadas are served in restaurants instead of bread in portions of a couple of pieces; bakeries can buy them by the piece. Also popular are tartas fritas (tartas fritas).
The most popular sweet in Uruguay is dulce de leche. It is a milky vanilla caramel, reminiscent in taste of domestic boiled condensed milk. Other Uruguayan desserts are postre chaja (biscuits with meringue, sour peaches and cream) and milhojas, the equivalent of our familiar Napoleon cake.
Drinks in Uruguay
The classic Uruguayan drink is yerba mate. It is a Paraguayan tea brewed from the branches and young leaves of the Paraguayan holly and drunk from a dried gourd, a calabassa with a special straw, a bombilla. Mate is drunk here at night and all hours of the day, in the morning instead of coffee and at parties. It’s a refreshing and quite strong drink, and is sometimes laced with sugar or honey.
A popular drink in hot weather is tutti frutti, a freshly squeezed juice with ice. Uruguay is fond of soft drinks: the most popular brand of soda with different fruit flavors – Salus, and Coca-Cola is even prescribed by local doctors for gastritis.
The local equivalent of the Spanish sangria “clerico” is made from white wine and alcoholized fruit and also drunk in hot weather, occasionally adding some fruit liquor for strength and ice.
Beer in Uruguay is quite good and for the most part is light and bright, sold mostly in liter bottles or kegs. As for strong drinks try “grappamiel”, this is a honey liquor with an alcoholic strength of 20-25 degrees, many restaurants make it themselves.
Restaurants in Uruguay
Food in Uruguay is an integral part of national culture and almost a religion, food is adored here, quite a lot is said about it and quite often right after breakfast begin to discuss lunch, and at the end of lunch – dinner.
It is not customary to have a good breakfast here – the maximum is mate or coffee and sweet pastry, so you cannot count on an omelette or oatmeal in the cafe in the morning. Lunch in most cases is dense with meat. Many restaurants at lunch time offer a “menu of the day” for 300-600 UYU. Wine is rarely served at lunch, the most popular drink being a sweet soda. At 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. it is time for a late afternoon snack after work, most of the time pastries, cookies, marmalade or other sweets with mate or the same sweet soda. Restaurants now work only in tourist areas, everything else is closed.
Dinner in Uruguay is late. Restaurants open for dinner around 9 p.m., and by 10 p.m. the first visitors arrive. At home it is customary to make asado until 10 p.m., here it is customary to call and invite to dinner around midnight.
The most popular type of restaurant in the country is “parilla”, specializing in asado and other meat dishes. One of the most famous restaurants in Uruguay, La Huella, is located in Jose Ignacio. It is built in the form of a simple surfer bungalow, rather inconspicuous in appearance, the tables stand directly on the sand, but it is believed that this is the place where the best meat in the whole country is cooked.
Lunch at a restaurant in Montevideo will cost about 7-8 UYU per person, dinner at a cheap restaurant – from 20-25 UYU for two.
Attractions and Entertainment in Uruguay
Uruguay is fascinating primarily for its colonial architecture, nature reserves and beaches.
Architecture in Uruguay
The best place to start getting to know the sights of Uruguay is in the capital city. Montevideo has retained the architecture of the colonial period, the most striking example is the Palace of Esteves, built in 1873. At one time this place was the residence of the president of the country, later the museum of the presidential gifts and his officials, and now the museum, where moved the remains of the national brave Uruguayan hero Jose Artigas.
The Cathedral of Montevideo, built on the site of a small chapel in 1790, was for a long time the tallest structure in the city and is now considered one of its landmarks. Now there is a crypt in that place where the country’s celebrities are buried, and the cathedral itself is accessible to tourists.
Palacio Salvo Palace is one of the most colorful structures of the Uruguayan capital. Its height – 105 m, and it is the idea of the architects to symbolize the “Divine Comedy” of Dante: three floors on the ground floor – is the underworld, from first to eighth – purgatory, and a 15-meter tower – Eden. The top has an observation deck that can be reached by high-speed elevator.
Palacio Salvo has an Argentine “twin brother” – Palacio Barolo Palace, located in Buenos Aires.
At 12 km from the resort of Punta del Este, in the small village of Punta Ballena is one of the most beautiful buildings in the whole country – Casapueblo (house-village). This unusually shaped house, reminiscent in its outlines of the creations of the famous architect Antonio Gaudi, was built in 1960 by the famous Uruguayan painter Carlos Pes Vilar. The house was built over 30 years, with no sketches or blueprints, and is now home to the painter’s museum, a restaurant and a popular hotel on the coast.
The famous monument “The Hand” (La Mano) is also located in the resort town of Punta del Este, right on the beach. It looks like huge fingers coming straight out of the sand. The sculpture’s creator, Mario Irarrazabal, who created it in almost seven days, depicted so nature and the inextricable connection of man.
The main attraction of the city of Colonia del Sacramento – the monastery of St. Francis, built in 1638. Now it has only the walls, but just as before they can appreciate how impressive this structure was. The ruins of the monastery are well lit, so it is most fascinating to look at it at night, especially they are beautiful at sunset.
Museums in Uruguay
Uruguay has a couple of curious museums, and most of them are located in the capital.
The Museo nacional de artes visuales is the most recognized museum of fine art, not only in Montevideo, but also in the country. It features works by well-known masters such as Pablo Picasso and Pablo Serrano as well as Uruguayan painters Rafael Barradas, Joaquin Torres and others. All in all, the museum has about 6,000 paintings. In addition, the museum has an impressive art library of 8,000 books.
Museum of Beautiful Arts by Juan Blanes is located in the house of Palladio, which in itself is already a work of art – generously decorated with marble and decorated with statues. There are works of Uruguayan painters, as well as modern ones, sculptures and prints on display here, and the only Japanese garden in the country is laid out in the adjoining territory.
Carnival in South America is not just a Brazilian tradition. Uruguay has its own carnival, and Montevideo has its own Carnival Museum. It was established recently, in 2008, and the first time is not for tourists, and for the locals, so as to preserve the traditions of this event and tell the younger generation about them. In the museum you can see the masks and carnival costumes from different eras, musical instruments, documents and numerous photographs depicting the history of carnival in Uruguay, and look popular science films on the subject.
In the city of Colonia del Sacramento there is an extraordinary Museum of the Colored Pencil. It exhibits the world’s largest collection of colored pencils – almost 15,000 pieces, various household items mid-20th century, and tours of the museum holds a personal owner.
Five things to do in Uruguay:
- Try an authentic Uruguayan mate and see if it’s more invigorating than coffee.
- Rent a bike and ride the entire waterfront of Colonia del Sacramento.
- Glimpse the sea lions on Lobos Island and try to shout them out.
- Get a gorgeous tan on the Atlantic coast.
- Interact with hippies in the settlement of Cabo Polonio, who have lived there since the 1970s and now.
Nature in Uruguay
Not far from the resort village of La Paloma is a nature reserve Laguna de Rocha area of about 22 hectares. Birds, turtles, whales and dolphins live there in their natural habitat.
The island of Lobos is known for the continent’s largest population of sea lions – there are about 200 thousand of them. They are not afraid of people, splash in the water, sunbathing on the mountains and quite noisy spend time, so that it is possible to find them without any particular difficulty.
Corner of nature is actually in the heart of the capital – in Montevideo is the only botanical garden in the country. More than 130 square meters. meters of its territory is fully planted with plants, brought to me from all over the world. Uruguayan scientists are engaged in their selection and cultivation in order to plant them later in the city parks. There is also a museum in the botanical garden, and butterflies are bred here, which can be seen in the spring and summer. The garden has its own park, in that place you can relax and walk, but but it is not allowed to take pictures.
Events in Uruguay
The main event in Uruguay is the famous carnival, which takes place every year in January-March and lasts 80 days. During carnival there are colorful parades, concerts of street musicians and other entertainment events in the streets of Montevideo.
On the Easter Seven Days, the country begins the Rodeo Festival. It traditionally involves a couple of different countries and thousands of riders. The event includes not only rodeos, but also folk music concerts, dances, local craft fairs, and quite a bit of wine and food.
The wine festival takes place annually in Punta del Este on the last weekend of January and brings together the best sommeliers and winemakers, and easily connoisseurs of the drink. During the days of the festival it is possible to try the best wine, new and long-loved varieties, and chat with the sommeliers.