Ah uruguay, where cows outnumber people three to one, locals chug herbal tea instead of coffee, and the national anthem goes for over six minutes.
Often confused with that other South American country with a similar name (psst, it starts with P), there’s plenty going on in Uruguay.
Montevideo is a compelling mix of colonial architecture, gorgeous outdoor spaces, smoky asado joints and steamy milongas. Celebrities and surfers flock to world-class beaches in Punta del Este, which rivals St. Tropez in the glamour stakes. Then there’s the rustic appeal of gaucho culture, sipping mate while soaking up mountain views at an estancia homestay.
So whether you’re strolling the pretty streets of Colonia del Sacramento, taking in a rodeo in Tacuarembo or eating your weight in steak at Mercado del Puerto, you’ll discover quickly why Uruguay is a destination on the rise.
Uruguay travel highlights
Punta del Este
The glamorous playground of the rich and famous, Punta is all about yacht-filled harbours, endless beaches and never-ending parties.
Tuck your pants in your boots, slap a wide-brimmed hat on your head and see what gaucho culture is all about in the heart of cowboy country.
Colonia del Sacramento
Cobbled streets, white-washed buildings and small-town vibes – Colonia is oozing with colonial charm.
We’ll forgive you for thinking you’re walking through the streets of Spain while exploring the capital’s picturesque Ciudad Vieja (Old Town).
Our Uruguay trips
Articles on Uruguay
Uruguay holiday information
Local culture of Uruguay
Food and drink in Uruguay
Geography and Environment
Shopping guide to Uruguay
Uruguay travel FAQs
Australia: No – not required
Belgium: No – not required
Canada: No – not required
Germany: No – not required
Ireland: No – not required
Netherlands: No – not required
New Zealand: No – not required
South Africa: No – not required
Switzerland: No – not required
United Kingdom: No – not required
USA: No – not required
Visitors from most countries do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days. It’s generally a good idea to make sure your passport is valid for a minimum period of six months after your arrival date and that you have a few blank pages. Keep in mind that visa requirements can change at any time. Please contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information.
It’s customary to leave a 10% tip at restaurants (if this hasn’t already been included in the bill). Tipping elsewhere is optional, but as most Uruguayans earn low wages, leaving spare change at cafes is a nice way of showing your appreciation.
Internet can be accessed at internet cafes and hotels in large cities and towns but is limited in rural and remote areas.
Mobile phone coverage is good in Uruguay’s cities, but may not be available in rural and remote areas. Ensure global roaming is activated with your service provider before leaving home.
Western-style flushable toilets are the norm in Uruguay, though it’s a good idea to carry your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer, as they are not always provided.
Coffee at a cafe = USD 1.40 - 2
1 litre bottle of cerveza (beer) = USD 3
Basic takeaway lunch = USD 3 – 4
Sit-down dinner at a simple restaurant = USD 7 – 8
Tap water is considered safe to drink unless otherwise marked. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, bring a reusable bottle to fill with water instead. If in doubt about the water quality, ask your tour guide or hotel where to find filtered water.
Credit cards are usually accepted by hotels, large retailers and tourist sites but are less commonly accepted by smaller vendors and family-run restaurants and market stalls. Always carry enough cash for smaller purchases in case credit cards are not an option.
ATMs are widely available in larger cities but are less common in small villages or rural areas. Make sure you have enough cash before leaving urban areas.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Geckos are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1: New Year’s Day
Jan 6: Epiphany
Feb 27-28: Carnival
Apr 13: Maundy Thursday
Apr 14: Good Friday
Apr 19: Landing of the Patriots Day
May 1: Labour Day
May 18: Battle of Las Piedras
June 19: Jose Gervasio Artigas’s Birthday
July 18: Constitution Day
Aug 25: National Independence Day
Oct 10: Columbus Day
Nov 2: All Soul’s Day
Dec 25: Christmas
For a current list of public holidays in Uruguay go to: https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/south-america/Uruguay/public-holidays/
Uruguay is generally a welcoming destination for LGBTQI-travellers. Leading the way on LGBTQI rights for the region, Uruguay became the first Latin American country to recognize same-sex civil unions in 2008. Same-sex marriage was legalised in 2013 and the capital city, Montevideo, is consistently rated as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world. Pick up a copy of the pocket-sized Friendly Map while in Montevideo, or check online for a listing of LGBTQI-friendly businesses (hotels, restaurants, pubs, spas, bookstores and more) throughout the country.
No vaccines are required in order to enter Uruguay but some are recommended for protection against disease. Visit your doctor or travel clinic for advice and make sure to schedule vaccinations 4-6 weeks before your departure date, as some require time to become effective.
1. Hepatitis A (transmitted through contaminated water)
2. Typhoid (transmitted through contaminated water)