Uruguay Travel: Things to Know Before Visiting Uruguay

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Last Updated on: 1st March 2023, 04:00 pm

Plaza Independencia in Montevideo

My Favorite Travel Booking Sites for 2024

These are my favorite companies that I use on my own travels.

Protect Your Trip via Safety Wing

Find the best city tours, day tours, bus tours, & skip-the-line tickets on GetYourGuide and Viator.

Find the best deals on hotels & vacation rentals on Booking.com.

For English-speaking private airport transfers, book through Welcome Pickups.

For road trips and independent travel, rent a car through Discover Cars.

Find information and cruise reviews on Cruise Critic.

For packing and travel essentials order via Amazon.

Book an affordable family or romantic photography session on your trip through Flytographer (Use the code HISTORYFANGIRL for 10% off your first photoshoot).

For travel guidebooks to have with you during your trip, I always pick one or two from Rick Steves and Lonely Planet.

Uruguay Travel Resources

Uruguay is an elegant country with amazing cuisine, gorgeous beaches, beautiful architecture, what seems like a billion cows, and…almost no guidebooks.  

Most of the usual suspects (ahem, Lonely Planet), relegate it to a chapter in books about Argentina.  

The plus side to this is that you’ll end up doing a lot of things on your own because there just isn’t as much out there as there is for other countries in South America.  Here’s a roundup of the resources I found helpful when planning my trip.

Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations Uruguay Episode – I bought the episode for $1.99 in iTunes and watched it on the plane.  Note-not a single person at the Mercado del Puerto ate 1/10th of what Anthony did in this episode.  Also, do not watch if you’re hungry.

Uruguay (Brandt Travel Guide) – It’s a little on the older side, and I probably paid too much for it.  But I wanted a travel guide on my iPad to read on the plane that was solely devoted to Uruguay, and this was it.  

See also
21 Pieces of Awesome Montevideo Street Art

My favorite part was the apt description of how Uruguay is South America’s Oklahoma, which, being an Okie, made me feel right at home.

36 Hours in Montevideo, Uruguay – Maybe this one is cheating, because, duh, it’s the New York Times.  But I never go anywhere without checking out their 36 Hours series.  Never disappoints with at least one odd-ball recommendation that you’d miss without it.

How Much does it Cost to Travel in Uruguay? – Globetrotter Girls’ breakdown of their costs helped me get some estimates ahead of time.

Paradise Uruguay – A blog with great information on visiting and living in Uruguay (just not that easy to navigate).

Tourist Board Center – Got some maps of the city and some general information.  Worth a stop as it’s in the square across from the Mercado del Puerto.

Safety-wise, it’s important to remember that South America simply isn’t as dangerous as people want you to believe, but there are some common sense safety tips every traveler should follow. Check out this great post on safety tips while in South America.


Odds and Ends

Where I Stayed:  El Viajero Downtown Hostel

I stayed in a private room which had its own shower.  The place was a good location about a fifteen-minutee walk from the Centro Historico. It was clean, and the breakfast was decent.  Did not seem like a party hotel, but I wasn’t looking for a party so maybe I missed it?  I felt safe, and I would stay there again.

The entrance to El Viajero

Transportation:  I mostly walked and then grabbed cabs when I got tired.  Cabs were pretty cheap, so I didn’t worry about public transit.

Tours:  I went on two organized tours, both were with the company that partnered with my hostel.  One was a city tour, and the second was a day trip to Colonia.  

Both were a good value, and they had basic itineraries that any tour company would cover.  If you want to travel slow, you could probably hit everything on the city tour on your own, although I’m a sucker for a good tour guide.

See also
10 Essential Tips for Eating at the Mercado del Puerto in Montevideo, Uruguay

The Colonia trip could easily be done by renting a car or figuring out public transit–just depends on how much you want to budget and how much time you have.

Food:  I ate breakfast in the hostel and a lot of lunches at the Mercado del Puerto.  For dinners, I mostly grabbed small meals at cafes near my hostel.  

These were nothing to write home about.  Two quick notes. 1) Avoid anything called pizza.  You know this in your heart, but in a moment of weakness, you may forget.  Don’t do it.  It’s not worth it.  2) If you accidentally order a french fry omelet, it’s okay to pretend to eat it and hide some in your napkin.

Proof that my Spanish is really terrible-a french fry omelet for dinner when I thought I ordered a ham sandwich. I really need to take a few Spanish lessons.

Biggest Surprise:  The Street Art!


Biggest Disappointment:  The aforementioned French Fry omelet.  I really need to learn Spanish.

Favorite Photo:  These crazy doors in the old part of the city.


Got any other great resources or any good tips?

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Uruguay Travel: Things to Know Before Visiting Uruguay

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