GMT -3 hours
Blue skies and vast open plains
Nestled between Brazil and Argentina and one of South America's smallest countries, Uruguay is a breathtaking country of rolling countryside, vibrant cities and powdery beaches.
Explore charming little towns steeped in history, discover the remains of a richly preserved colonial heritage and wander cobbled city streets dotted with stunning architecture. Uncover Uruguay, one of Latin America's best-kept secrets.
Uruguay is a tranquil, welcoming country. Visit a food market to try succulent grilled meat, spot old-style cars from a tucked-away café in Colonia del Sacramento’s cobbled streets and unwind on the stunning sandy beaches of Punta del Este.
Polly Kendrick, Personal Travel Expert
Set on a narrow peninsula where the Río de la Plata meets the Atlantic Ocean, the up-and-coming coastal resort of Punta del Este closely follows Rio de Janeiro as the place to be seen in South America. Formerly the privileged playground of Brazil’s glitterati, this chic resort is fast becoming a popular international destination and has attracted rock stars, fashion designers and even royalty. Pristine golden beaches stretch for miles and the glittering coast is lined with stylish restaurants, sleek bars and fabulous nightclubs.
The historic Portuguese city of Colonia del Sacramento, often referred to as Colonia, is blessed with an atmospheric Barrio Histórico, a maze of cobblestone streets, colourful houses, a pleasant climate and a natural charm that spirits visitors away to a bygone era. With its charmingly weathered tile and stucco colonial houses, the iconic Calle de los Suspiros or ‘Street of Sighs’ epitomises the beauty and allure of this compelling city, which is less than an hour by boat from Buenos Aires across the Río de la Plata.
Uruguay’s laid back capital has a rich cultural heritage with Portuguese and Spanish roots. A unique blend of colonial façades and modern architecture reflect the eclectic style of this intriguing coastal city.
The Essentials: → Don’t greet strangers on the street as they may misunderstand you
→ It’s considered offensive to put your feet up on a desk or table. The ‘OK’ hand gesture is deemed very rude, as is using a toothpick in public → Uruguayans often flick their hand under their chin, which means ‘I don’t know’, and tend to stand quite close to whoever they’re talking to.
Random Fact: Uruguayans’ laidback pace could be down to the fact that they’re rarely seen without a flask of mate, a relaxing herbal infusion made with yerba leaves that some claim is a form of meditation. Legend has it that the Moon and Cloud Goddesses gave the yerba plant to an old man to thank him for saving them from a jaguar.