Montevideo, Punta Del Este Travel Tips | Guide for Uruguay
After soaking up the lights in Argentina, we continued our trip to explore something new in Uruguay. Since we were coming from Buenos Aires and had only 4 days to spend there, the most comfortable option was to get there by ferry which took 2 hours.
This country is little-known to outsiders, and it sometimes becomes completely ignored destination among the giants, such as Argentina or Brazil. And this is unfortunate because they’re so many sights to see and experience in petite and charming country.
What You Need to Know Before Visiting Uruguay;
- Uruguay is a land of pristine beaches and parties, colonial history, delicious seafood and art.
- Marijuana and gay marriage are legal here, and, despite its size, Uruguay is one of the most progressive countries in South America.
- One of the best parts of Uruguay is people – open, friendly, helpful. Oh, and while greeting them don’t forget to give two kisses.
- Here local people can contest for tango (yeap, people don’t dance the tango only in Argentina).
- Uruguay is famous for its rich music culture. You can witness Murga and other styles of dance just in the city center of Montevideo.
- English isn’t widely spoken here, so make sure you know a little Spanish before traveling there.
- Uruguay is safer and less corrupt than Argentina. However, this doesn’t mean you should lose your caution.
- Mate in Uruguay is a lifestyle and a ritual which lasts hours and people have such a relaxed lifestyle here. Walk along La Rambla and you’ll feel that.
- The beaches are just amazing, you’ll want to lay there and do nothing (so did we haha) but the water is quite cold (at least for me it was.)
- Uruguay is also known for its humble and chilled out former president with a modest lifestyle (José Mujica)
Things to Do in Montevideo
Montevideo is quite small which means that many places are easy to get to by foot. Thus, considering that we had only one day to explore the capital, it was an excellent solution for us. While walking along streets, we found out that Montevideo is centered around some beautiful squares and impressive historical quarters and beyond the Rambla and the mate there are many things to see.
Explore the Old Town
While in Montevideo, the first must-do thing is wandering around the Old Town where the history is at every step. You can start from Plaza Independencia which is considered to be the heart of the city and is full of history and sights. It connects old parts of the city with a new one, and you can quickly dive into history right here. Some of the recommended places to visit around this square are Salvo Palace, Museo Casa de Gobierno, Artigas Mausoleum, as well as the Sarandi street, Squares Cabildo, and Zabala.
Dance, Eat Asado and Become Part of the Culture at the Port Market
Montevideo won’t be complete if you don’t visit Mercado del Puerto. The latter is not that much a market, but rather it is packed with local restaurants and shops. Here you can find the most typical food – grilled sausages, seafood and much more. This is a great place to grab a typical Uruguayan lunch of MEAT STUFFED WITH MEAT AND SERVED WITH MEAT … joking : )) But even if you do not eat meat here you’ll see and dive into the culture because what you’ll experience is a lively area with traditional music, dances, and food.
Walk along La Rambla
La Rambla is a coastline where you can take a pleasant walk. Locals come here to meet their friends, have a long walk, cycle or just to drink mate – a drink you have to try in Uruguay. You can also take mate back to your country; it’s legal (well, at least if you’re coming from Europe or Caucasus.)
Place Your Lock at Fuente los Candados Fountain
This famous fountain in Montevideo was created by the owners of Bar Facal and it quickly became a symbol of love here. Feel free to place your lock here and even if you forgot to bring it with you; you’ll easily find it in the shops close to the Fountain.
Study different species of plants in Botanical Garden
Another thing to do in Montevideo is to visit the Jardin Botanico, which is an excellent place if you like natural sightseeing. It has a vast collection of various trees from different parts of the world and has an interpretive museum you should not miss.
Organize Passive Holidays and Act Like VIP in Punta Del Este
The final stop of our trip was Punta del Este – a small beach town located on Uruguay’s southeast peninsula. This iconic cityscape is one of the most famous places in Uruguay and has incredible beaches. We visited Playa Mansa and Playa Brava beaches and recommend you to do so. This place is often called Miami of Uruguay, and what you can find here are amazing beaches, glamorous parties, luxurious cars, and hotels.
Since our last eight days were very active while exploring Buenos Aires, we decided to have a passive holiday in Punta Del Este. In other words, instead of running from one place to another whole day long, we just wanted to spend our time laying in the sun, doing shopping, participating in beach parties (by the way, those are organized almost every day there) and enjoying their food.
The only touristic place we visited in Punta Del Este was Casapueblo – a former art workshop which is now a museum and a hotel. It has a unique architecture and located about half an hour far from Punta Del Este, and the view here is just marvelous. No matter how tired or lazy you are, make sure you don’t miss this sight while you’re in Punta Del Este.
It was time to say goodbye to an unforgettable days in Argentina and Uruguay and get back to our busy life… Hopefully, I gave you enough taste and motivation to visit this beautiful country. And if there are people who tell you to bypass Uruguay – don’t listen to them!