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10 Best Places to Visit in Uruguay & Things to Do

Best Places to Visit in Uruguay

Uruguay, a small country bordering Argentina and Brazil, was colonized by Spain and Portugal in the late 17th century – much later than its neighbors. While the country was originally inhabited by the Charua people, today there is virtually no indigenous culture.

As a result of the presence of African slaves in the country in the 19th century, the country adopts a number of traditions and celebrations connected with its African heritage, and this is especially evident in the carnival celebrations at the beginning of the year.

For those who visit, Uruguay has a lot to offer, unexpected traditions, and a wealth of natural attractions to explore and explore. Check out our list of things to do in Uruguay for details on the best places to visit in Uruguay.

10 Best Places to Visit in Uruguay

Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Uruguay:

1. Colonia del Sacramento

This small city is famous for Colonia and is one of the oldest cities in Uruguay. Colonia’s Barrio Historico, or Old Town, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the city’s main attraction. Surrounded by tree-lined squares and cobblestone streets, the neighborhood is home to many historic buildings and sites, including a 17th-century monastery, a municipal museum displaying Colonia’s historical artifacts, wooden suspension bridges, and Portuguese settlements. in the early 19th century.

The ruins of the Real de San Carlos arena and the riverside lighthouse are also noteworthy. Colonia is also a great place to catch a ferry to Buenos Aires. The ferry, which runs more than 40 times a week from Colonia, takes just 1 hour and 15 minutes, making it the perfect day trip to the Argentine capital.

2. Try South American BBQ

Uruguay’s parrillas are a meat lover’s dream. An elaborate Uruguayan dish is “Asado”, an open fire grill that is more of a social event than just a meal. Asado can consist of any unprocessed meat. Asados ​​usually consist of several pieces of meat cooked at different times so that they can be served one after the other. Asados ​​are usually served alongside meat with grilled baguettes, roasted vegetables and salads.

If you are not vegetarian, you must sit down and try the authentic Asado while visiting Uruguay. There are many parrillas all over the country, and places like La Pulperia and Punta Salina regularly make the list of the top 10 restaurants in the country.

3. Punta del Este

Punta del Este is Uruguay’s most famous beach and deserves a mention as it is often referred to as the “Monaco of the South” – a holiday where models, actors and wealthy people come to relax, play games and enjoy exquisite cuisine.

Undoubtedly, Punta’s main attractions are its beautiful golden sand beaches and watersports coastline, but the area is also home to large numbers of southern right whales; a magnificent hotel complex; and the Maritime Museum, which displays whales from Everything From Skeletons. The swimsuit collection of the early 20th century.

Isla de Lobos and Isla Gorriti are two small islands off the coast of Punta del Este. There is a lighthouse, the ruins of a Portuguese fort, and a large colony of southern elephant seals and orcas. Isla de Lobos is a nature preserve and wintering area for whales.

4. Sunbathe and Swim at Beaches

Uruguay’s coastline has no palm-fringed golden sands or turquoise waters, but the South American country still has a number of beautiful, pristine coastal destinations with plenty of promenades, resorts, and boating areas for sunbathing.

While Punta del Este attracts the rich and famous, it also comes with higher prices, larger crowds and a lively atmosphere, making it difficult to enjoy a quiet moment in the sun in the high season. If you’re looking for more peace of mind, there are many other beach destinations in Uruguay that are better options. The nation’s capital, Montevideo, has many beaches, including the luxurious Playa de Los Pocitos, which offers plenty of water sports, and the 22-kilometer-long Las Ramblas.

One of Uruguay’s oldest seaside resorts, Piriápolis attracts most surfers and history buffs with its strong waves and Belle Époque-style architecture. The Costa de Oro (Gold Coast) is the longest beach in the country, spanning over 45km of wide beaches, perfect for an underdeveloped and quiet escape.

5. Hiking in Punta del Diablo

Punta del Diablo, a sleepy village of around 1,000 inhabitants, is here during the high season when tourists come to enjoy the quiet on an incredibly pristine soft sandy area on the Atlantic coast Escape, Punta del Diablo swells to an impressive 25,000 inhabitants. Punta del Diablo is an hour’s drive from Punta del Este, but still offers plenty of high-end food, shops and accommodation overlooking the rocky waters.

Strict building rules mean no major construction projects or major developments are allowed here, so as you walk through the open streets of the town, all you’ll see are brightly colored huts and local crafts and small shops for sale.

Hiking the sand dunes in the early morning is the most popular activity here, but more adventurous explorers can leave the village and head to Santa Teresa National Park, a densely forested coastal reserve home to an 18th-century granite masonry fort. A large campground; some protected species; and a few beaches like Playa del Barco and Playa Achiras, where surfing and windsurfing opportunities attract many visitors.

6. Cabo Polonio

When it comes to unconventional places, there’s nothing more out of the way than this small village with no electricity, running water and Wi-Fi – that’s what local residents want. Cabo Polonio has a population of less than 100 living in rustic but very small cottages and houses. The town has a shop, several posadas, some huts selling surprisingly delicious food, and a lighthouse, the only building connected to the grill. And all this takes place in a beautiful, rugged region where grassy dunes and giant boulders spill into the icy sea.

Getting to Cabo Polonio is part of the adventure, as there are no roads leading into town. The only way to enter the village is by 4×4 or hiking on the slippery and variable sand dunes 7 km from the highway. The deserted beaches around the village are home to one of the largest sea lion colonies in South America.

7. Relax in Hot Springs

Termas are very popular in Uruguay, Termas del Arapey and Termas del Dayman. Arapey is the country’s oldest spa resort, and its natural springs up to 39 degrees Celsius are expected to be therapeutic. The area is popular with tourists and offers plenty of green space, holiday homes and the opportunity to swim in the cooler, more relaxed waters at all times.

Dayman Hot Springs is located next to the Daymán River and has a maximum temperature of 46 degrees Celsius. Daymán is more developed with 7 swimming pools for adults and 3 children’s pools of varying temperatures, as well as dining areas, tennis courts and mini golf.

Uruguay’s first water park, Acuamania, is located just minutes from the Daiman Hot Springs, which offers a 300-metre lazy river, different slides, cold geysers, exciting rides and interactive water games.

8. Candombe During Carnival

Carnival is the main celebration held in several South American countries, but the way the festival is celebrated varies from country to country. In Uruguay, Carnival is the time of dance parades in which compares take to the streets to play candombe, a traditional form of musical experience closely related to the styles of music and dance brought by African slaves.

Montevideo has the largest Carnival celebration with 40 days of parades and cultural events between January and February, making it the longest carnival celebration in the world. During this period, dancers took to the streets in colorful evening dresses until the early hours of the morning.

Murgas is a drum musical and is an essential part of the Uruguayan Carnival. They often imitate current events while walking the streets of the city. If you are planning a trip to Uruguay during Carnival, take time to visit the Carnival Museum in Montevideo; here you can learn about the history of Carnival, its origins and the evolution of costumes and celebrations over the years.

9. Discover the Gaucho Culture

The gaucho is the national symbol of Uruguay and Argentina. Historically, the Gauchos were intrepid explorers who took over livestock in remote areas and were masters of horseback riding. While the traditional Gaucho is technically extinct, the traditions associated with these brave ignoramuses still exist and are an integral part of Uruguayan culture. An example of this is the popular mate, a traditional beverage served in a hollow pumpkin that you should definitely try when visiting Uruguay.

For tourists who want to learn about the Gaucho culture, a visit to the property is a good start. These large estates offer accommodation, traditional local cuisine, and the opportunity to watch or participate in traditional Gaucho activities such as cattle rides, sheep herding and horseback riding.

10. Home of Tango

Tango is both Uruguayan and Argentine, but of different origins. In Uruguay, tango was born in Montevideo in the 1880s and has long been an underground dance beloved by the poor and working class. Today, the Uruguayan tango is best known to the world for providing the 1916 tango “La Cumparsita”, often referred to as the national anthem of Uruguay.

You can often see tango dancers on the streets of Montevideo, and every October hosts the Viva el Tango festival. But if you want to do more than just watch, you can also search for milongas. If you already know what you’re doing, most of these places offer tango lessons as well as a place to come and dance. In the summer, you can partake in milonga callejera at places like Montevideo’s Plaza Serena Square.

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