Uruguay is quite a small country compared to that of its South American neighbours and is often overlooked by many. I’ll be honest here, when I first started travelling around South America it wasn’t on my bucket list and I headed to Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia just like everyone else but Uruguay is a fantastic country and there are many reasons to visit Uruguay.
This year, I finally made it to Uruguay and boy, am I glad that I did. Yes, Uruguay doesn’t have an Iguazu Falls, a Machu Picchu or an Ipanema Beach but it’s a perfect destination in its own right and you’re about to find out all the fantastic reasons to visit Uruguay or to put it on your bucket list today.
#1 BEAUTIFUL, RUGGED BEACHES
Uruguay has miles upon miles of gorgeous, rugged coastline and really long, golden beaches beckoning to be discovered. The Atlantic waters are warm enough to swim in and there is space for everyone. Grab a towel, a great read and spend a day on the beach! My favourite beaches are Barra de Valizas, Jose Ignacio and Cabo Polonio, which is so isolated you have to take a 4×4 from just outside the National Park that it lies in. Cabo Polonio and Jose Ignacio are also famous for their lighthouses, which make great subject matter for photos.
#2 THE PEOPLE ARE REALLY FRIENDLY
Uruguayans are the most friendly, kind and hospitable people you’ll come across in South America. They are so approachable! I ended up making friends with locals, always sparking up conversations on buses. For me, it’s always the people that add that extra something to the destination and Uruguay doesn’t disappoint.
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#3 URUGUAY IS NOT TOURISTY
Most of Uruguay’s tourism is domestic or comes from Argentina during the summer months of January and February. During this time the beaches will be really busy and you have to book at your accommodation in advance, especially in the smaller beach towns. Outside of these months, however, if you don’t like crowds this is reason to visit Uruguay alone. As most international travellers head to Uruguay’s larger neighbours Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay is left totally untrampled and a sublime place to travel if you want to get away from the crowds and take photos without anyone photobombing them. You can meet real locals who have spent their whole lives living in sleepy fishing villages.
#4 COLONIAL GRANDEUR IN COLONIA
One of the best reasons to visit Uruguay is Colonia del Sacramento, probably one of Uruguay’s best-kept secrets. The historical centre of Colonia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and walking down the cobblestone streets of this pretty town are a delight. You’ll see old crumbling colonial cottages, a quaint lighthouse (which you can climb), cars out of 1930s America and gorgeous
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#5 CHILLED OUT VIBES
Uruguay has some serious chilled out vibes that you don’t get anywhere else. I don’t mean those same chilled out vibes you get in Colombia or in the Caribbean. It’s something different. Time moves so slowly here and that’s plenty of reason to visit Uruguay! Locals sit outside their houses on the street watching the world go by, people lunch slowly and take their time doing everything. Rushing around doesn’t exist here and people still take siestas after lunch. The atmosphere here will leave you in a chilled out daze you won’t want to leave.
#6 THE FOOD AND WINE
Just like Argentina, Uruguay is a meat-heavy country and if you do like steak this is the best country to visit, possibly in the whole world. There are many famous parrillas to visit in and out of Montevideo. Being plant-based, eating was a little more difficult for me but not impossible, most places have salads and in each town, I did find a veggie restaurant, using Happy Cow. The wine, however, is great, which I didn’t really expect from Uruguay. Try the Tannat, a grape specific to this part of the world.
Do you have any comments or questions about the reason to visit Uruguay? Leave them below, I’d love to hear from you.
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