Uruguay Travel Guide

from Travel Insurance Direct
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The country of Uruguay is located in South America , between Brazil to the north and east, and Argentina to the north and west. The southern part of the country lies alongside over one hundred miles of shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean and also along the Plate River and Uruguay River. It is the next smallest country in S. America after Suriname. Its low lying terrain is grassy and perfect for raising sheep and cattle.


The Charrua Indians were the first inhabitants of Uruguay , who were then driven away by the Guarani Indians before the Europeans colonized the country. The Portuguese were the first to settle the area of Colonia del Sacramento in the 1600s. After years of strife, Spain gradually took control in the 1700s. Many more years of struggle ensued before Uruguay gained independence in 1825 followed by the institution of a republic in 1828.


Most of the inhabitants are white with some Mestizo and black. Many of the people descended from European immigrants and so the flavour of the country is quite European. Spanish is the official language and English is widely spoken. The dominant religion is Roman Catholic, with some Protestant and Jewish.

The capital city, Montevideo , is quite upscale. It was initially used by the Spanish as a military area and its harbour used to increase commerce. The old city, or Ciudad Vieja, has a lot of colonial architecture, museums, restaurants, galleries and antique shops. There are glorious white sand beaches on the Atlantic Ocean to the east of Montevideo and all the way down to Brazil . With its sunny climate and friendly people, this area is compared to the Italian or French Riviera and contains some very impressive resorts.


Uruguay ’s coastal areas offer a great variety of resorts and beaches for a relaxing holiday. There is a choice between beaches with or without surf. Punta del Este is a popular and sophisticated tourist destination, having the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Plate river on the other. It offers wonderful beaches and is a good place for nightlife with plenty of casinos, discos and restaurants.


The coastal town of Colonia del Sacramento to the west of Montevideo has some charming architecture leftover from the 1700s Portuguese colonization. The Barrio historical area is a popular place to stroll along the cobblestone streets and enjoy the ambience.

There are many hot springs resorts to visit for a relaxing experience. The waters average about 37C or higher and are full of minerals claimed to have health benefits. The country has many miles of beautiful rivers and the Penitent’s Waterfall is another popular attraction.


There are Estancias, or working ranches, throughout the country for those wishing to experience the life of a gaucho. The best way to get around the country is to rent a car as the public transport system is unpredictable.


For nature lovers, the Wetlands in the eastern part are swampy with lagoons, streams and marshes providing a home to many species of birds. It has been declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. The rivers of Uruguay offer opportunities for fishing and canoeing.


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We strongly advise a visit to the FCO website for updated travel information and general travel advice before you book and pay for any travel.