Uruguay is visited by approximately 20,000 British nationals every year, as well as many people from other areas of the world. There are many great reasons to visit Uruguay, from UNESCO Cultural Heritage sites to the dynamic coastline or partying in carnival season. Brian Weal has travelled to Uruguay, staying in Montevideo. You can read an overview of the Cottage Hotel Weal stayed in by checking out the attached PDF. In 2016, Lonely Planet named Uruguay a top destination and – despite often being overshadowed by its neighbours Argentina and Brazil – it is easy to see why.
South America’s Smallest Country
Uruguay is the smallest country in South America, nestled in between the giants of Argentina and Brazil and therefore often overlooked. However, recognition of the country as a popular tourist destination is on the rise. Some interesting facts about the tourist industry in Uruguay can be found in the embedded infographic.
Uruguay has something for everyone, from bustling metropolises to vast interior countryside, opportunities for wildlife spotting, or chances to party all night long. As a relatively recently popular tourist destination, it can pay to gather a little inside knowledge before setting off on a trip to Uruguay.
Seasons and Weather
The summer season in Uruguay ranges from about December to February and – while the weather is often pleasant – it is not overly hot. Most months of the year (except July and August where it cools off) are pretty mild, although summer visitors should pack in preparation for occasional rain and storms. The off-season is the cheapest time to visit, but travellers may find that many of the shops, bars and restaurants are closed in the smaller beach towns.
Uruguay is one of the world’s leaders in terms of equality and diversity, meaning all people can feel safe to travel in Uruguay free from prejudice. Uruguay was the first Latin American country to legalise same-sex marriage, having previously been the first to give women the vote. There are plenty of gay clubs and cars operating and also a number of LGBT events hosted throughout the year. These include Pride events in Punta in February and in Montevideo in September. More information about Montevideo can be found in the short video attachment.
One of the primary attractions of Uruguay as a holiday hotspot is the plethora of gorgeous Atlantic beaches. Punta del Este is the heart of the nation’s summer beach scene, although there is a lot to offer in many of the satellite coastal towns as well. Jose Ignacio plays host to a January influx of the super-wealthy of Latin America, while regions such as La Barra and Punta del Diablo have quieter but still beautiful and accessible beaches.
Rio de Janeiro in Brazil may host the most famous carnival in Latin America, but Uruguay has its own extended two-month celebration starting in January every year. Visitors at carnival time can expect an energetic, grassroots affair full of colour, music and dancing inspired by rhythms and dance of candombe, which was devised back in the 19th century by African slaves. A 50-strong cuerda group can be found playing drums at the heart of the party.
Thrill-seekers will love the many outdoor adventures Uruguay has to offer, which range from kite surfing to hot air ballooning. The underpopulation of the landscape in Uruguay means that adventurers are more likely to be able to avoid the crowds when taking on the water or the skies.