Top Tips for Exploring Uruguay: How to Make the Most of Your Vacation

Exploring Uruguay can be an exciting adventure that immerses you in a vibrant culture and breathtaking nature. This small South American country has a lot to offer travelers, whether you want to explore the vibrant cities or relax in the serene countryside. To make the most of your vacation, consider the following tips. From sampling the local cuisine to learning about the culture, language and much more, these tips will help you make the most of your trip and have an unforgettable experience.

The beach playa brava is located on the coast of uruguay
Tourists on the beach La Barra on the coast of Uruguay

Food & Drink

Uruguayan cuisine is a culinary delight! From traditional ¨asado¨ – a grilled beef or lamb dish – to pasta, pizza and international seafood dishes like arroz con mariscos, every bite will set your taste buds abuzz. Pair it with one of the local wines or specialty cocktails – you will not be disappointed!

Montevideo’s vibrant capital is a foodie’s paradise, offering restaurants with an unparalleled selection of delicious dishes from all corners of the world.

The smaller city and vacation resort of Punta del Este and its neighboring charming beach towns La Barra, Manantiales and Jose Ignacio in Uruguay are full of surprises! From fresh seafood restaurants to delicious traditional dishes, there is something for everyone here. Just a short walk away you will find pubs and bars with a variety of iced drinks.

Seasons & Weather

If you visit a coastal city out of season, be prepared for complete silence. It is likely that many establishments such as restaurants, bars and stores will be closed and most houses will be empty. Prepare to be surrounded by a soothing silence!

Whatever is open is more affordable than in high season, and the experience of staying in a quiet city can be very entertaining.

The summer season in Uruguay is beautiful and ranges from December to after Easter. July and August are the coldest months, but the rest of the year is usually very mild and pleasant, even on the beaches.

If you travel in the summer, pack long pants and sweaters, as temperatures can drop at night. Be prepared for once in a while rain showers and an occasional thunderstorm.

Currency & Expenses

Before you travel to Uruguay, remember that the Uruguayan peso is the national currency! While there are plenty of exchange offices in the larger cities like Montevideo and Punta del Este, make sure you have changed your money into pesos before you go to smaller towns – just in case there are no exchange offices, or to prevent the change from becoming too expensive.

For your trip to Uruguay, be sure to take U.S. dollars in cash with you. To get cash in the larger cities, just use the ATMs marked with the Banred sign that accept Cirrus, Visa and Mastercard. However daily limits are low and at times it doesn’t work so it is recommended to have cash on hand. Credit cards? No doubt Diner’s Club, Visa and Mastercard, as well as American Express are widely accepted in most places!

In Uruguay, it is customary to thank someone for exemplary service with a tip. The amount of the tip is at the sole discretion of the servant. In restaurants 10-15% is the usual tip called “propina”.

Nightlife & Clubbing

Expect a drastic change in the schedule for life in Uruguay! Take the opportunity for an evening outing, as dinner starts at an unprecedented time – 10-11 p.m. – and most places are packed with locals from 9:30 p.m., although they open earlier to accommodate the needs of tourists.

The city streets are bustling late into the night. Popular bars open their doors at 12 noon and stay open until the wee hours of the morning; clubs even later, often extending their festivities until just before daybreak. Should you arrive hungry in the morning? Do not worry – you have the option of breakfast before sunrise.

What To Do

Travelers often overlook small Uruguay compared to the rest of South America, not realizing how much this country has to offer. Do not let this misconception mislead you – because when you travel here, you will be overwhelmed with emotions, become short-tempered and wish you had come sooner.

Montevideo is truly a sight to see; the many things to experience are truly unique. Of particular note is the Mercado del Puerto, where you can enjoy an unforgettable ¨asado¨ (barbecue). Saturdays are a special treat in Montevideo – take the time to stroll along the historic Rambla and watch the locals enjoy their traditional mate.

Dance enthusiasts will be thrilled to learn that Montevideo prides itself on a variety of spectacular milongas! The city holds the honorary title of “Birthplace of Tango,” which it shares with Buenos Aires. Although neither city is well known, they have been recognized by UNESCO for preserving the roots of tango as part of their intangible cultural heritage.

If you are looking for a very local experience, consider supporting a local team in a soccer match at Estadio Centenario. Soccer is the national sport here and is taken very seriously.

Discover the breathtaking Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay! Explore the winding cobblestone streets and be enchanted by the unique colonial architecture – you will not regret a single minute spent here.

For lovers of the sea and extreme sports: get ready to be swept away by the winds of adventure! Travel to Uruguay and explore the mesmerizing golden sand beaches of Punta del Diablo while surfing and hiking the serene trails. Make sure you discover every hidden secret as you reach your own personal paradise in this magical place.

Immerse yourself in the extravagance of Punta del Este

Feel like a star in exquisite Punta del Este and enjoy world-class beaches, unforgettable excursions and glamorous nightlife. Punta del Este is a place you should visit in Uruguay to feel like a true lounge lizard. Here you will find some of the best beaches in Uruguay, and here you will come not only to lie in the sun, but also to catch a glimpse of other glamorous people walking around.

Known as the luxurious and pristine Hamptons of South America, this is a tempting destination for celebrities. With glitzy hotels and exclusive clubs, as well as a glitzy marina, this expensive paradise will make all your upscale dreams come true.

The beach towns La Barra, Manantiales and Jose Ignacio (called the St. Tropez of South America) invites you to surf, kite surf and visit many galleries for the art enthusiasts.

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