Want to travel to Uruguay? This mini travel guide to Uruguay comes to us from Virginia. This is one of many Mini Travel Guides in which we dip our toes into international puddle jumping.
Uruguay is a simple charming little country in South America that promotes eco-friendly and adventure tourism. I’ve lived here most of my life, and trust me, it’s gorgeous!
There isn’t one place I can say it’s a must. It truly depends on what you like. If you like more urban places, spend some time in Montevideo. If you enjoy rural scenarios, you pretty much have the whole country to explore.
However, I strongly recommend going North, to enjoy the thermal bath/springs the country has to offer; Dayman, Guaviyú and Arapey especially.Otherwise, go the other way, and discover Colonia del Sacramento. It is the oldest town in Uruguay, and probably one of the prettiest too.
A Murga can be described as some sort of choir, mixed with a little acting and incredible costumes (that vary every year). Uruguayan murga is theatrical production that involves different characters and an argument. Political and social satire through song!
Even though murgas make tours around the country (and the world) all year long, February is the best time to see them all in Montevideo, fighting for the grand prize. There’s a yearly competition for the Best Murga of the year.
Definitely a must. I recommend either La Paloma, Punta del Este (little more expensive) or La Pedrera, but otherwise, almost every other beach is amazingly good. There are beaches for everyone. Cabo Polonio was designed by and for hippies, while Punta del Este was made for the big spenders. You’re sure to find a beach that’s right for you!
Don’t go anywhere specific. Walk around, absorb the fast-paced cities, the little towns, the cows and sheep on the side of the roads, everything.
Chivitos are a great tradition here. And if you’re vegetarian, now there are even restaurants that do them sans meat. It still won’t be too healthy, but I can assure it’ll be tasty! If you want the very best, Chivitería Marcos has the best ones and you can find one in every big city.
Give this one a try, please. It’s a sweet, rich, caramel-like spread that will make you wish you had tried it sooner. When buying it, keep in mind that the more expensive brands are better. And if it comes in a glass jar, you know you’re buying a piece a heaven.
Also, keep an eye out for alfajores. This treat, originally an Arabic tradition, was reborn in the region using dulce de leche. Amazing!
If you’re the adventurous type, you could drink mate. It’s a traditional beverage, prepared from steeping dried leaves of yerba mate in hot water. It’s drunk in a particular social setting, such as family gatherings or with friends. The same gourd and straw are used by everyone drinking.
Since most people don’t mind sharing, you could ask someone you see drinking it to let you try it.
Being nice will get you far. Learning a few words in Spanish will, too. By saying Por favor and gracias (please and thank you), most people will help you, give directions, etc. Also, most people speak English, so don’t be too worried.
In Uruguay, most museums are free, or have a really cheap entrance fee.
In almost every city you’ll find veggie and fruit stands in every corner with fresh produce at reasonable prices. Enjoy it.
If you plan on enjoying good weather but loathe paying too much I recommend avoiding January entirely and the first two weeks of February too. Some places will expect you to pay up to 1000 dollars a day! Instead, try coming in November-December or during the last weeks of February until late March. Way cheaper and you’ll find accommodation easier.
You could also investigate some camping, if really committed to the cheap part and don’t mind mosquito bites.
Busses are also quite an inexpensive way to travel! In Montevideo, a bus ticket is usually less than a dollar, sometimes even less. They’re not high-tech or comfy but suck it up, you can go to virtually everywhere this way.
Also: walk. Of course it’s not always possible but if you can, do it. Easy, cheap, eco-friendly, fun.