Planning to visit Uruguay, the beautiful and mostly underrated South American nation? Keep reading for our ultimate Uruguay itinerary and plan the perfect trip around Uruguay’s coastal highlights.
Uruguay is simply beautiful but sadly relatively unexplored. It is often left off many South American itineraries as travelers flock to its neighbors Brazil and Argentina.
Uruguay has some real gems, however, and if you’re looking for some fabulous beaches, chilled vibes, and great wine, I’d suggest you’d book a flight now.
Keep reading for the ultimate coastal Uruguay itinerary which includes the best places to visit in Uruguay.
Uruguay is a really descript place. It’s just nice. All of it. There are so many gorgeous beaches to explore and relax on and the country has an atmosphere, an air like nowhere else in South America. It’s almost European, but not.
If you love unexplored, uncrowded, and unpretentious places, be prepared to put Uruguay very high on your bucket list.
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Two weeks is a perfect amount of time to visit Uruguay to really get to know its coastline and beaches. You may need more time if you want to head inland.
Simply cut out one of the featured beach destinations or adapt the Uruguay itinerary as you please.
Firstly, is Uruguay worth visiting? We get this question a lot and I have to say, it depends on what you’re looking for from a travel destination.
Uruguay doesn’t have any massively popular tourist attractions, no-world-class cities or huge malls, or any real resorts for that matter.
What it does have however is a lot of off-the-beaten-path travel experiences waiting to be had.
If you’re someone who loves discovering new places, long sandy beaches, great wine (and steak), hidden gems, local boutiques and down-to-earth experiences then you might just fall in love with this beautiful, tiny country.
The Ultimate 2-Week Uruguay Itinerary
This Uruguay itinerary starts in Colonia del Sacramento taking into account an arrival from Buenos Aires by boat. It ends in Montevideo for a flight out. Allow a little more time if you need to get back to Colonia to get the boat back to Buenos Aires.
I would also strongly recommend renting a car for this itinerary as it makes travel easier and faster. I did this as a road trip and I had an amazing and carefree time.
Uruguay, however, does have great bus connections, and the whole itinerary can be done by bus but you’ll need more time and flexibility.
Your Ultimate 2-Week Uruguay Itinerary in Summary
- Day 1-2- Colonia del Sacramento
- Day 3-4- Punta Del Este
- Day 5-6 – Punta Del Diablo
- Day 7 – Barra de Valizas
- Day 8-9 Cabo Polonio
- Day 10-11- Jose Ignacio
- Day 12-14 – Montevideo
This itinerary is based on the concept of slow travel and it does give you a lot of time in each place to not only fully explore but to also have time on the beach to relax and rest.
If you prefer to travel at a faster pace you can easily condense this itinerary down to 10 days.
Uruguay Itinerary Day 1-2: Colonia del Sacramento
Start your trip in one of Uruguay’s most historical and visually pleasing places, Colonia del Sacramento.
The old colonial town of Colonia is an absolute gem. Spend your two days here taking in the old cobblestone alleyways, strolling around the historical center drinking coffee, taking in the marina, and relaxing on the beaches.
I’d also recommend walking up to the top of the lighthouse, which gives fantastic views over the historical center and the Rio de la Plata.
If you want to move faster then you can also just spend one day in Colonia and see the town well.
Where to Stay: Costa Colonia – Riverside Boutique Hotel – Our favorite place to stay in Colonia for clean, modern decor, great design, and amazing river views. Check availability and book here.
Day 3-4 Punta del Este
On Day 3, drive up the coast to Punta del Este, which is quite a large, modern, coastal city with all the amenities.
If you’re not ready for all the hustle and bustle then I’d definitely recommend staying in either La Barra, a small town outside Punta del Este, or Punta Ballena, a glorious rocky outcrop, famous for Casa Pueblo (which you can also stay in) and glorious sunsets.
Make sure to make a trip out to Casa Pueblo for sunset at some point during your time here!
In Punta del Este, head to the main beach Playa Brava and admire La Mano, the famous beach sculpture that resembles a hand coming out of the sand.
You can also walk to the Marina and admire all the grand yachts as well as the storefronts along the main street, Rambla General Artigas.
Fancy a boat trip? Take a short boat trip to Gorriti Island, where you can sunbathe and explore or take a sea animals sightseeing boat trip. This tour will take you to an island, home to a large sea lion colony, and don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and whales.
Alternatively, why not explore the richness of Uruguayan wine? Head out on this amazing Gourmet Food & Wine Experience from Punta del Este and get to know a little more about the food and wine culture.
It also includes a tour of a local winery and a wine tasting of Uruguary’s famous Tannat variety.
Where to Stay: Hotel Solerios – One of the best options in Punta del Este, close to the beach and with an indoor pool and fitness center. Check availability and book here.
Uruguay Itinerary Day 5-6: Punta del Diablo
Much further up the coast, towards Brazil is Punta del Diablo. This was once a sleepy fishing village, now popular with travelers during the summer months.
The best time to visit Punta del Diablo is outside January and February when it becomes a sleepy village once again.
Walk the splendid, sandy alleyways of this town, breathe the fresh salty air, and of course spend some time on the glorious little beaches.
Punta del Diablo also gets some really good surf, so jump in (if you know what you’re doing), otherwise, there are many surf schools where you can learn.
Punta del Diablo really comes alive at night, especially in the summer where you’ll find street performers, amateur singers playing acoustic guitars, and some lovely chilled beach bars on Playa Pescadores, perfect for grabbing a beer and watching the sunset.
Where to Stay: MarAdentro Apart Hotel & Suites – Unbeatable rustic beach shacks right on the sand. Unbelievable ocean views and stunning pool. Do not miss this amazing stay! Check and book here.
Day 7 Barra de Valizas
From Punta del Diablo it’s not far to Barra de Valizas, a sleepy beachside village with a gorgeous, long, pristine beach. Even in the summer, you can find a slice of beach all to yourself here.
I’d definitely recommend taking a walk down the beach to your East. If you keep walking and cross the lagoon you’ll find yourself at the base of some rocky sand dunes and in the Cabo Polonio National Park.
Climb to the top and you’ll be rewarded with the most gorgeous views, with Barra de Valizas on one side and Cabo Polonio on the other.
Where to Stay: There aren’t many great stays in Barra de Valizas. I recommend coming here for the day and then moving on to Cabo Polonio.
Day 8-9 Cabo Polonio
No Uruguay itinerary is quite complete without a visit here. Fun, free, and exceptionally hippy Cabo is where the young come to relax and spend their summers.
Located inside the National Park of the same name the only way into Cabo Polonio from the main road is a fun ride on a sand truck. Catch this at the entrance to Cabo Polonio National Park.
If you haven’t already been in a state of relaxed bliss, spend the days here really chilling out and listening to the sound of the ocean.
There are no cars or motorbikes here and no real roads. Spend your days in chilled Cabo Polonio doing yoga, working out, chilling on the beach, and having long lunches.
Where to Stay: Salty House Cabo Polonio – Stay at this stunning yet rustic beach house hostel- opt for their private room for more privacy. Check availability here.
Day 10-11 Jose Ignacio
Head back down towards Punta del Este stopping at Jose Ignacio. While Cabo Polonio has a more hippie vibe, Jose Ignacio boasts a more refined, upscale vibe.
Its small streets are lined with fancy beach houses, chic boutiques, and very good quality restaurants. Relax on the beach, stroll through the streets, eat well, and sip cocktails at sunset.
When in Jose Ignacio, I’d recommend checking out Rincón Verde, an all-organic, natural cafe serving tasty raw salads, green juices, smoothies, and great coffee.
Where to Stay: Chic stays are endless in Jose Ignacio. Try LUZ Culinary Wine Lodge for a top stay focused on food and wine. Go for the uber-trendy Posada Arenas de José Ignacio for a unique beachside stay or try Casagrande Hotel & Beach Club for the ultimate beach vacation rental.
Day 12-14 Montevideo
From Jose Ignacio,
Stay in Montevideo for a couple of days and stroll down La Rambla, the Old Historic Centre and check out Palacio Salvo and Teatro Solis, the second biggest theatre in South America.
Montevideo is best explored by foot where you can people watch and really get to experience local life in Montevideo. I would highly recommend a trip to Mercado del Puerto where you can eat and mingle with the locals. (
If you’re an art fan, take a look inside Espacio de Arte Contemporaneo, a modern art collection housed inside a converted jail. While some of the exhibits can be hit or miss, it is worth going just for the intriguing location.
Where to Stay: Hotel Cottage – One of the best design-focused stays in central Uruguay. Check it out here. Opt for Hotel Palacio for a charming, classic, old-world stay. Check rates and availability here
Check out these fun tours to add to your Uruguay itinerary:
Uruguay really is a great country to visit and explore. It’s full of life, friendly locals, the best places to visit, and great experiences. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Any questions about your Uruguay Itinerary? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment or question below.
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Rentalcars.com for quick and easy car rentals worldwide
Booking.com for great deals on hotels
Agoda also for great deals on hotels
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