What makes Uruguay Unique

Uruguay is a unique travel destination because of its laid-back atmosphere, pristine beaches, charming colonial towns, and the drinking culture centred around the national drink, mate. The country is also known for its delicious beef and wine, and the vibrant tango and candombe music and dance scenes. Uruguay is a great destination for those seeking relaxation, outdoor activities, cultural immersion, and a taste of South American lifestyle.

Top Highlights in Uruguay

Palacio Salvo

A landmark building in Montevideo, with an observation deck that offers stunning views of the city.

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Uruguay's biggest festival, celebrated in February, with colourful parades, live music, and street parties.

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Laguna Garzon

A picturesque lagoon, with a unique circular bridge designed by renowned architect Rafael Viñoly.

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Wine region

Uruguay is also known for its wine, with several vineyards located in the countryside, including the popular Canelones region.

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Cabo Polonio

A remote coastal village, with a stunning natural landscape and the opportunity to see sea lions and other wildlife.

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Colonia del Sacramento

A charming colonial town, with cobbled streets, colourful buildings, and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Punta del Este

Uruguay's top beach destination, with beautiful white-sand beaches, luxury resorts, and trendy restaurants and bars.

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The capital city, known for its colonial architecture, vibrant culture, and lively nightlife.

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Travel Ideas for Uruguay

Countryside with the Sound of the Waves in Uruguay

Starting from Colonia and ending in Montevideo, immerse yourself in the beauty of Uruguay's wine regions and take a detour into the peaceful countryside. Begin your journey in Colonia de Sacramento, a charming colonial city on the banks of the Río de la Plata. Then, head to the picturesque town of Carmelo, Uruguay's wine capital, and indulge in a glass of fine wine while overlooking the stunning vineyards. As you continue your drive, explore the rural areas of Dept. Lavalleja and witness the beauty of Uruguay's countryside. Take a dip in the refreshing waters of Punta del Diablo, a quiet fishing village known for its serene beaches, and then travel to Cabo Polonio, a remote hippie town with an untouched landscape. End your journey in the lively capital city of Montevideo, where you can explore the historic Old Town and indulge in the local cuisine. Before returning home, visit La Barra, a hip neighbourhood known for its trendy shops and restaurants.

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Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Uruguay is during the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn (March to May and September to November), when the weather is mild and there are fewer crowds. During these months, temperatures are normally comfortable, with highs in the 20s Celsius (70s Fahrenheit) and cooler evenings. This is an excellent time for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and sightseeing.

The summer months (December to February) are the peak tourist season in Uruguay, when temperatures are hot and many people visit the country's beaches along the Atlantic coast. This is a great time for beachgoers and those who enjoy water sports. However, it can be crowded and prices can be higher than in other seasons.

Uruguay's winter months (June to August) are cooler and less busy, but still a good time to visit if you don't mind cooler temperatures. It's also an excellent time for whale watching on the coast, as this is the breeding season for southern right whales.

Overall, Uruguay is a year-round destination with something to offer in every season. However, the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn are particularly pleasant for travellers who want to avoid crowds and enjoy mild weather.

Important Information for Your Travel Plans

Special Travel Tips from our Experts

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Where to Stay

  • Hotels: Uruguay has a range of hotels, from budget to luxury. Some popular hotel chains in the country include Sheraton, Radisson, and Hilton. Boutique hotels are also popular, particularly in cities like Montevideo and Punta del Este.
  • Bed and Breakfasts: Bed and breakfasts are a popular option in Uruguay, particularly in the historic areas of Montevideo and Colonia del Sacramento. These are typically small, family-owned establishments that offer a more personalized experience.
  • Apartments: Renting an apartment is a popular option in Uruguay, particularly in Montevideo and Punta del Este. AirBnb has a strong presence in the country, and there are also many local apartment rental companies.
  • Estancias: Estancias, or ranches, are a unique accommodation option in Uruguay, particularly in the countryside around Colonia and Carmelo. Guests can experience traditional Uruguayan culture and activities such as horseback riding and wine tasting.
  • Beach Villas: Uruguay has a long coastline with many beautiful beaches, and renting a beach villa is a popular option, particularly in Punta del Este and La Paloma. There are many local rental companies that offer beach villas of various sizes and prices.
  • Resorts: Uruguay has several luxury resorts, particularly in Punta del Este. These offer a range of amenities such as golf courses, spas, and private beaches.

Getting Around

  • Uruguay is a smaller country than Argentina, but it still has plenty to offer visitors. Here are some ways to travel around Uruguay:
  • By Bus: Uruguay has a reliable and extensive bus network, with many companies offering comfortable and affordable services. Buses are the most popular way to travel between cities and towns in Uruguay.
  • By Car: Renting a car is a convenient option for exploring Uruguay, especially if you want to visit more remote areas or small towns. The roads in Uruguay are generally in good condition, and driving is easy outside the major cities.
  • By Bike: Uruguay has a growing network of cycle lanes, and cycling is a popular way to get around in cities like Montevideo and Punta del Este. There are also several cycling tours available for exploring the countryside.
  • By Ferry: If you want to visit Uruguay's beaches, taking a ferry from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Colonia or Montevideo is a popular option.
  • By Plane: Uruguay has a small domestic airline network, with flights between Montevideo and other cities. However, flying is not usually necessary for getting around Uruguay as most destinations are accessible by bus or car.

Overall, travelling around Uruguay is easy and straightforward, with several options available depending on your preferences and budget.

Travel Themes Most Common for Uruguay

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Local Cuisine

  • Uruguay has a delicious and diverse cuisine that is worth exploring. Here are some of the most popular local foods to try in Uruguay:
  • Chivito: A classic Uruguayan sandwich made with thin-sliced steak, ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise.
  • Asado: Like Argentina, Uruguay is known for its delicious grilled meats, and asado is a must-try.
  • Torta frita: Fried dough balls that are commonly served as a snack or breakfast food.
  • Milanesa: Uruguay has its version of breaded and fried thin-cut meat.
  • Pascualina: A savoury pie filled with spinach, cheese, and hard-boiled eggs.
  • Chaja: A popular Uruguayan dessert made with layers of sponge cake, whipped cream, and peaches.
  • Alfajores: Sweet cookies filled with dulce de leche, similar to those found in Argentina.
  • Mate: Uruguayans love to drink mate, which is often shared with friends and family.

Other local specialties in Uruguay include seafood, grilled squid or fish, and the traditional dessert called dulce de leche con mazamorra, which is a sweet caramel sauce served with a pudding made from cornmeal.

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Festivals & Public Holidays

Some noteworthy festivals and national holidays that tourists should know about in Uruguay:

  • Carnaval: Uruguay's Carnival is one of the country's biggest and most famous celebrations, taking place in February or March. It is a time for colourful parades, costumes, music, and dancing. The celebrations in Uruguay are known for their murgas, which are groups of performers who sing and dance while satirising social and political issues.
  • Semana Santa: Uruguay celebrates Semana Santa, or Holy Week, leading up to Easter Sunday. The celebrations include religious processions and reenactments, as well as cultural events such as live music and traditional food fairs.
  • Tango Festival: Uruguay is also known for its Tango Festival, which takes place in Montevideo in July. The festival features concerts, workshops, and shows, as well as the Tango World Championship, where dancers from around the world compete.
  • Independence Day: Uruguay celebrates its Independence Day on August 25th with parades, concerts, and cultural events.

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Currency & Payment

The official currency of Uruguay is the Uruguayan peso (UYU), which is divided into 100 centésimos.

Cash is the most commonly used form of payment in Uruguay, especially for smaller transactions. Debit and credit cards are widely accepted in most major cities and tourist areas, with Visa and Mastercard being the most widely accepted cards. American Express and Diners Club are also accepted some places, but their acceptance is more limited.

ATMs are widely available in Uruguay, and they usually offer a good exchange rate. It's recommended to withdraw cash at ATMs using a debit or credit card that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees. It's also possible to exchange currency at banks, exchange offices, or hotels, but their exchange rates may not be as favourable as those at ATMs.

It's important to bear in mind that some businesses may not accept foreign currency, so it's best to have Uruguayan pesos to hand. US dollars are also widely accepted in Uruguay, especially in tourist areas, but it's recommended to carry small denominations of dollars, as larger bills may be difficult to break.

Uruguay has a well-developed electronic payment system, and it's possible to pay for goods and services using electronic wallets such as MercadoPago or Abitab, which can be linked to a credit or debit card. It's also possible to pay with contactless technology or through mobile payment platforms such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, although their acceptance is still limited.

Overall, Uruguay is a relatively easy country for visitors to manage payments, as there are multiple options available, including cash, cards, and electronic payments.


Uruguay is generally considered to be one of the safest countries in South America, and its security situation is relatively stable compared to other countries in the region. However, as with any destination, travellers should still exercise caution and take some basic safety precautions.

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, can occur in tourist areas and crowded places, particularly in Montevideo and other major cities. Travellers should be aware of their surroundings and take care of their belongings, especially in crowds, tourist attractions, and public transportation.

Although violent crime is rare in Uruguay, some isolated incidents of violent crime and armed robberies have been reported in recent years, particularly in certain areas on the outskirts of Montevideo and other cities. Travellers are advised to avoid these areas, especially at night, and to take taxis or other secure forms of transportation when travelling around the country.

In addition, travellers should be aware that Uruguay has a strict policy regarding the possession and use of drugs, and penalties for drug-related offences can be severe. Therefore, travellers should not use or possess any illegal drugs while in Uruguay.

Overall, Uruguay is considered to be a relatively safe destination for tourists. However, as with any international travel, it is important to take necessary precautions, be aware of your surroundings, and follow the guidance of local authorities to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Visa & Immigration Rules

EU citizens travelling to Uruguay for tourism or business purposes do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days. 

In general, EU citizens travelling to Uruguay are required to have a valid passport, with at least six months’ validity remaining beyond their intended stay. Additionally, travellers may be asked to provide evidence of onward travel, such as a return ticket, as well as proof of sufficient funds to cover their stay.

Upon arrival in Uruguay, travellers may be subject to a health screening, which may include a temperature check and/or COVID-19 testing. It is recommended that travellers also obtain travel insurance to cover any medical expenses while in Uruguay.

Again, it is important to check with the Uruguayan embassy or consulate in your home country for the most up-to-date information on entry requirements and any necessary documentation, as these requirements can change at any time.

Health & Hygiene

  • As a tourist, it is important to take care of your health and well-being during your stay in Uruguay. Here are some tips:
  • Vaccinations: You should ensure that your routine vaccinations are up-to-date, including tetanus, measles, mumps, and rubella. Additional vaccinations, such as hepatitis A and B, may be recommended depending on the areas you will be visiting and the duration of your stay. Consult with your Tripedeo Travel Expert or your doctor for recommendations.
  • Food and water safety: To avoid food and water-borne illnesses, you should only drink bottled or boiled water and avoid ice in drinks. You should also avoid street food and only eat food that has been cooked thoroughly.
  • Mosquito-borne illnesses: Some areas of Uruguay are at risk of mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue fever and Zika virus. Use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and trousers, and use mosquito nets in areas where these illnesses are prevalent.
  • Sun protection: Uruguay has a sunny climate, and it is important to protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
  • Medical facilities: Uruguay has good medical facilities, especially in its major cities. However, medical treatment can be expensive, and it is recommended that you have travel health insurance before your trip.

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