Uruguay has an excellent network of hostels and campgrounds, especially along the Atlantic coast. Other low-end options include hospedajes (family homes) and residenciales (budget hotels).
Posadas (inns) are available in all price ranges and tend to be homier than hotels. Hotels are ranked from one to five stars, according to amenities.
Country estancias turísticas (marked with blue National Tourism Ministry signs) provide lodging on farms.
Don't Miss: Estancia Tourism in Uruguay
Estancias, the giant farms of Uruguay’s interior, are a national cultural icon. The Uruguayan Ministry of Tourism has designated ‘Estancia Turística’ as a distinct lodging category, and dozens of such places have opened their doors to tourists, from traditional working farms to historic rural hotels. Typically, estancias organize daily activities with a heavy emphasis on horseback riding; many also provide overnight accommodations. Most are difficult to reach without a vehicle, although they’ll sometimes pick guests up with advance notice.
One of Uruguay's most impressive estancias is San Pedro de Timote, whose remarkable setting – 14km up a dirt road amid 253 hectares of rolling cattle country – is greatly enhanced by the complex of historic structures, some dating to the mid-19th century: a gracious white chapel, a courtyard with soaring palm trees, a library with gorgeous tilework and a circular stone corral. Common areas feature parquet floors, big fireplaces, comfy leather armchairs, two pools and a sauna. Full-board rates include three meals, afternoon tea and two daily horseback-riding excursions, plus occasional bonfires and full-moon walks. The turnoff is just outside the town of Cerro Colorado, 160km northeast of Montevideo on Ruta 7.
Other favorite tourist estancias include Estancia La Sirena, near Mercedes; Guardia del Monte, near the northern Atlantic coast; Estancia Panagea, northwest of Tacuarembó; and Yvytu Itaty, southwest of Tacuarembó.
In Montevideo, Lares is a travel agency specializing in estancia tourism.
Practical Tip: Hotel Pricing: Dollars vs Pesos
Accommodations in Uruguay often quote prices in US dollars rather than Uruguayan pesos, especially in tourist destinations such as Montevideo, Colonia and the Atlantic coast. We have chosen to list prices in the currency quoted to us by each business during research. This means that some hotel and hostel prices will be listed in US dollars (US$), while others will be listed in Uruguayan pesos (UR$). So keep an attentive eye as you look through the listings!