5 Reasons To Make Uruguay Your Next Destination

What comes to mind when someone says “South America”? Probably Machu Picchu, Christ the Redeemer in Rio, or maybe the Amazon rain forest. Chances are, you will overlook Uruguay as a possible destination. But if you do, you are really really missing out. Each country in South America is beautiful in its own way, but there is none so underrated and overlooked than Uruguay. With less than 3.5 million people and roughly the size of my home state of Georgia, Uruguay might slip under your radar when it comes time to plan your next trip abroad. But don’t let its size fool you, Uruguay is a gold mine of culture and beautiful places. Here are the reasons you need to make Uruguay your next destination:

  1. The food

Though it’s pretty similar to Argentine food, Uruguay does have its unique dishes. They have their own versions of the usual favorites: empanadas, alfajores, pizza, dulce de leche, milanesa… But something unique to Uruguay is its amazingly delicious, overloaded sandwich of perfection called chivito. All my vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan friends might want to skip to the next number–this could get ugly.

Imagine the most ridiculous sandwich you have ever had, with layers upon layers of goodness and you might get something that resembles a Uruguayan chivito. Beef, ham, bacon, cheese, mayo (duh), and an egg (because… why not?). Yeah, you’re probably salivating right now.

chivito uruguayo
“Chivito al pan uruguayo” http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattrubens/304175548/
  1. The places

Um, hello? Punta del Este anyone? It’s only one of the most beautiful, fancy beaches in the whole world. Personally, I’m not a big fan. It’s like South Beach all over again. My favorite beaches are in Rocha, Uruguay, especially Punta del Diablo. Super chill during the low seasons, April-November, and party central for the backpackers during the warmer months. I went during the winter and absolutely loved it. But regardless of what kind of beach scene you enjoy–you can find it here, from posh to hidden.

If beaches aren’t really your thing, and your idea of a good time is getting lost in a big city, then Montevideo is the place for you–a bustling city with beautiful architecture and history. Visit countless museums, restaurants, and shopping plazas while you contemplate the annoyingly beautiful people and delicious food that you find at every corner. Montevideo also has a huge avenue called La Rambla that goes up and down the entire coastline, perfect for late night strolls with your new Uruguayan girlfriend or boyfriend or hanging out with friends. If you’re a fútbol fan you have to check out Estadio Centenario, the stadium where the very first World Cup was played back in 1930 (and only 13 teams showed up!)

If you don’t dig big cities or beaches, there are still cool things to do in Uruguay. Travel to Colonia, a quaint little town with cobblestone streets and colonial architecture. It’s situated right on the River Plate (Río de la Plata) and is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Buenos Aires by ferry. Or try one of their many national parks: Santa Teresa, Cerro Pan de Azúcar, or Gruta del Palacio to name a few.

colonia
“Colonia-CalleDeLosSuspiros” by Heretiq – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Colonia-CalleDeLosSuspiros.jpg
  1. The culture

Gauchos, carnaval, mate, candombe, literature, music, artisan crafts… You can find it all in Uruguay. Some of the best music in all of the world (I might be a little biased) has come out of Uruguay. From rock (Cuarteto de nos, No te va gustar, La vela puerca) to tango (Gerardo Matos Rodríguez), to candombe, to murga, to folk music. Uruguay also has a rich history of art and literature, with some of the greatest poets, writers, and painters of Latin America: Mario Benedetti, Eduardo Galeano, Eduardo Barreto, etc.

montevideo carnaval
“Montevideo Carnaval” by Vince Alongi https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Montevideo_Carnaval.jpg#/media/File:Montevideo_Carnaval.jpg
  1. The people

Uruguayans are warm, outgoing, with just the right amount of sarcasm. They are known for their easy-going temperaments and their willingness to lend a helping hand when you need it. They might make fun of you, but it’s just their playfulness coming out. If they don’t make fun of you a little bit, you should be worried–they probably don’t like you. They’re open and kind people–just don’t piss them off!

  1. Legal marijuana

Hey, I’m not condoning anything. But if you were wanting to try it, it should be in a place where it’s legal, right? Just sayin’… 

The reasons you should go to Uruguay are numerous, but the most important reason is: why not? Get off the beaten path a little, try something new. Instead of heading to the Bolivian Salt Flats or Machu Picchu like every other tourist in the history of South American travel, go to Uruguay!

uruguay travel

24 Responses

  1. Totally agree. Uruguay is still off the beaten track – off-season (10 months of the year!!) you’ll be the only person on a huge white beach or can get to see amazing amazing musicians in a tiny little bar in Montevideo for 5 bucks.

    • innercompasstravel

      It’s amazing! I’ve been during the holidays around Christmas and New Years and also in the middle of the winter, and I liked it a lot better when no one was around! 😛 Thanks for reading!

  2. martin gonzalez

    Hahaha me again yes punta is fancy…but the rest are the most peacefull places I ever been..love my little country atardeceres en la rambla I live a block away hermosooooo travelers are more than invited and welcome to uruguay….mary come during carnaval it the longest in the world is a complete month of candombe nonstop like I said ill be waiting for you guys lots of love from uruguay

    • innercompasstravel

      Thats why I loooove Punta del Diablo and Cabo Polonio–so relaxing. And if you go during the winter? Pshhh no hay NADIE, it’s paradise! OH MY GOD a whole month?? Ummmm we’ll be there! Un fuerte abrazo Martin!

  3. Fran Martone

    Uh. Botero is Columbian. But Uruguay is great.

  4. coming soon see Uruguayanan…..

  5. hey!! you forgot Jorge Drexler!! haha

    thanks for thare your opinion!

    • innercompasstravel

      jaja Luis, no tengo espacio ni tiempo para enumerar todos los tremendos musicos de Uruguay! Tienen un monton! 😛

  6. laura vi.a

    Falto el increible corredor termal. Parques d agua termal, imperdibles

  7. You should check the best Country Inn, Posada de Campo El Balcon del Abra, an incredible place close to Mariscala town, beautiful house, the best food, a selection of uruguaian and european menu prepared with own organic vegetables, mineral water from self springs, best meat and fishes, international selection of wines, fantastic energy arround for relax or to do a lot of activities like horseback riding, canoing in quiet rivers, fishing, spectacular mountain bike paths, ramps for hang gliding/paragliding, paramotor tours over the hills, massages, golf driving range, etc. This posada is managed by their owners, very cool people. A must in a trip to Uruguay!

    • innercompasstravel

      Thanks Diego, I’ll keep that in mind for next time I’m there :)

  8. And don’t forget the rest of the country. With my wife we use to go to hidden places in the middle of nowhere that few people knows. If you want to enjoy a very quiet place in one of the best landscapes of Uruguay plenty of wild life, specially birds, and a fantastic food, try Posada del Lunarejo, some 500 km from Montevideo. It’s awesome!!

  9. Thanks for writing about Uruguay. Please correct the info about Marijuana. It is not true that everyone can buy it, but you must be an Uruguayan citizen with a requested card to buy the legal stuff in the pharmacy 😉

    • innercompasstravel

      Well just that fact that you can smoke it without getting put in jail is “legalization” enough for me!

  10. This was nice. Thank you for your kind review about our country. We´ll be waiting for you back around!! 😀

    • innercompasstravel

      Thank you, Leticia–can’t wait to be there again! I want to explore more!

  11. So true! We spent 3 amazing months in Montevideo and I am looking forward to come back there again. We had friendliest neighbors who were always eager to help, feed and entertain. We tasted some local vegetables that I never heard about, but they were sooo good. I’ll add one more thing to your list – Uruguayan wines. They are almost unknown outside of the country, but I came to love Tannat and would prefer it over some Spanish or Italian wines.

    • innercompasstravel

      I’m glad you enjoyed your time there–Montevideo is a great city! I’ve actually never tried the wine, but I will definitely put that on my list of things to do when I go visit again! Thanks for reading :)

  12. Pietro Scaone

    I just loved this article! Go to Punta del Este, you all! Best place in the entire country

  13. Can’t wait to visit!! I love how it’s just a quick boat trip from Buenos Aires.

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