Well, somebody let the cat out of the bag. Uruguay used to be South America’s best-kept secret, with a handful of Argentines, Brazilians, Chileans and non–South Americans in the know popping in to enjoy the pristine beaches, the atmospheric cities, the huge steaks and the happening nightlife. Then the peso crashed, the place became a whole lot more affordable and people got curious. They came, loved it and went back home to tell their friends. Who came, loved it and went back home to tell their friends.
Which is not to suggest that the place is being overrun. The main drawcards, like Colonia del Sacramento, Punta del Este and Montevideo, have long been set up for tourists, and are dealing with their newfound popularity well. Other destinations, such as Punta del Diablo and Maldonado, retain their charm but are no longer the undiscovered gems they once were. Elsewhere, in the interior (gaucho central Tacuarembó, for example) and the river towns, and particularly in the non-summer months, there’s still a pretty good chance that you’ll be the only gringo in town.
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Best places to stay in Uruguay
South America on a Shoestring - Uruguay (Chapter)
Uruguay is a backpacker’s dream. Travelers come for the wild, surf-pounded beaches, for celeb-spotting at Punta and the history-soaked smugglers’ port of Colonia. They stay for the people – warm, open and sincere folk who have constructed one...
The 11 best street foods worth blowing your diet over
You’re on holiday abroad exploring a local market. Suddenly an enticing aroma encircles you and makes you turn your head to find the source. There’s a long queue of hungry people looking jealously at people walking away munching on something delicious-looking...
South America on a Shoestring travel guide
Andean peaks, Amazonian rainforest, Patagonian glaciers, Incan ruins, colonial towns, white-sand beaches and vertiginous nightlife: the wonders of South America set the stage for incredible adventures.
Uruguay destination guides
Nation’s capital and home to nearly half of Uruguay’s population, Montevideo is a vibrant, eclectic place with a rich cultural life.
Destination at a glance: Uruguay
Often called the Switzerland of South America, Uruguay remains a country of relative peace and prosperity in a sometimes-troubled region. It's one of Latin America's most secular countries, with legalised same-sex civil unions, a high literacy rate, a strong independent press and low levels of corruption...
Buenos Aires to Rio Unplugged
Hug the coastline of eastern South America on this amazing unplugged adventure. Discover a myriad of colourful Argentinean attractions, travel to Rio de Janeiro to soak up 'la vida' Brazil style and explore the spirited capital of Uruguay. South America will reveal itself as a fun, feisty and flamboyant continent that will leave you giddy and wanting more, more, more!
In Search Of Iguassu - Buenos Aires to Rio
Get your South American rush with other young travellers not afraid to embrace the new. You'll kick off the adventure in sophisticated Buenos Aires before getting back to nature on day hikes at a working Uruguayan ranch. Marvel at Iguassu Falls, then hop a flight to São Paulo on your way to the Brazilian coast—no gruelling bus ride means more time on the beach.
Sights in Uruguay
Activities in Uruguay
Tours in Uruguay
Restaurants in Uruguay
Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
Colonia del Sacramento
On the east bank of the Río de la Plata, 180km west of Montevideo, but only 50km from Buenos Aires by ferry, Colonia is an irresistibly picturesque town enshrined as a Unesco World Heritage site.