For many, travel to Uruguay sounds exotic and off the beaten path. We think you will be surprised and delighted by what you will find and experience here. Uruguay may be pint-sized but it’s certainly big-hearted when it comes to attractions. It contains one of South America’s most interesting capitals, charming colonial towns and a cluster of internationally renowned beach resorts.
The Uruguayan Litoral
West of Montevideo, and covering the portion of Uruguay which fronts the Río de la Plata and the Río Uruguay, is the country’s most important agricultural area. Its outstanding attraction is the lively colonial city of Colonia (del Sacramento), an under-appreciated gem of narrow cobbled streets flanked by whitewashed buildings. The boating, fishing and swimming are good along the beaches of Mercedes, and there are many excellent museums in Paysandú, Uruguay’s second largest city.
The Uruguayan Riviera
The area east of Montevideo is one of the most Westernized places in Uruguay with innumerable beach resorts, plenty of water activities and lots of well-groomed, narcissistic tourists sporting hibiscus shirts. Immediately east of the capital is the major resort of Atlántida, and Piriápolis is a mere flick of the towel away. From here, you can venture into the surrounding countryside and climb the 493m (1617ft) Cerro Pan de Azúcar or visit Minas, a lovely town set in wooded hills.
The largest and best known of the resorts is Punta del Este, one of South America’s most glamorous and exclusive destinations. The place is awash with yacht and fishing clubs, golf courses, casinos and beautiful holiday homes. If that’s not enough, there are excellent bathing beaches, perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Just offshore are Isla Gorriti, which has more superb beaches and the ruins of an 18th-century fortress, and Isla de Lobos, a nature reserve that is home to a large sea-lion colony.
In the lively waterfront capital of Montevideo, modern skyscrapers jostle with art deco and colonial buildings. Stick around and you’ll discover a thriving cultural and entertainment scene.
Uruguay also has one of Latin America’s best preserved colonial towns, the port of Colonia del Sacramento – an easy day excursion from Buenos Aires