South America Travel


Uruguay


The capital of Uruguay, Montevideo Often over looked by travelers to South America, Uruguay is a hidden gem squeezed in between the huge expanse of Argentina and Brazil. It's capital, Montevideo, is located on the coast of the Atlantic, and is where nearly half of the population resides. The alluring coastline is one of the most beautiful on the continent, and since it is the main tourist destination, a traveler can get there easily with efficient transportation on the inter-beach route (interbalnearia), which runs from Montevideo to Chuy. Uruguay also has the reputation of being affordable and one of the safest countries in South America. You can fly into Montevideo, or you can take the more scenic route, a boat trip from Buenos Aires on the River Plate. The best time to visit is from September to April.

The unique village of Montevideo is a great place to be introduced to the country. The streets are lined with elegant European style coffee houses, and you can get great barbeque at the outdoor market at the Cuidad Vieja. Called the Mercado del Puerto, the wrought iron building dates back to the 19th century, and is a popular hangout for the locals. The city is much like its neighbor Buenos Aires, with its passion for tango, football, and cafes, but with a more laid-back atmosphere.

The jet-set resort town of Punta del Este, Uruguay Just north of Montevideo is the Punta del Este, which is a luxury resort town with bright blue water and white sand beaches. Although the coast is a pristine and relaxing beach paradise, people are attracted to this hot spot more for its bustling nightlife which rivals Rio de Janeiro. Although Uruguay is relatively inexpensive, this is the place to splurge if you're on a budget, with its prices rivaling the French Riviera.

In the heart of the country you'll find a vibrant gaucho culture, which is a deep-rooted tradition that defines Uruguay. Many ranches (estancias) offer comfortable home stays where you can experience South American cowboy culture at its most authentic. Sleep under the stars, help rope steers, or simply sit back and experience the beautiful and tranquil countryside from a horse-drawn carriage. The town of Tacuarembo holds a three-day festival called the "Fiesta de la Patria Gaucha," where people gather to watch excellent gaucho horsemanship.

Further along the coastline is the charming fishing town of Aguas Dulces, which makes a perfect spot for a quiet beach holiday. You'll find restaurants with the freshest seafood and undeveloped beaches with few tourists. North of the town is the Parque Nacional Santa Teresa where you'll find eucalyptus forests and a castle on a hilltop that dates back to the eighteenth century.



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