Uruguay – A Country of Contrasts

South America's second-smallest country, Uruguay is bordered by Brazil and Argentina and lies along the Atlantic Ocean.

Situated just across the River Plate from Buenos Aires, tourists are drawn to the historically intriguing town of Colonia, the eclectic capital of Montevideo and the beautiful Atlantic beach resorts such as the exclusive Punta del Este.

Much of the country consists of gently rolling land only a few hundred feet above sea level, along with wooded valleys. Uruguay's highest point is found atop Mount Cathedral at 1,685 feet (514 meters).

As with neighboring Argentina, most Uruguayans have ancestors from Spain and Italy who immigrated to the country in the 19th and 20th centuries. The majority of the population is Roman Catholic, though a small community of Jews—one of the largest in South America—lives in the capital of Montevideo.

The country's most celebrated festival is Carnival, which takes place just before the start of Lent, a Roman Catholic holiday that traditionally involves abstaining from the consumption of meat. The main festivities take place in Montevideo and include costumes, drumming parades, and outdoor theater.

Soccer is the country's most popular sport; Uruguay is one of the global leaders when it comes to world titles. Basketball, rugby, and boxing also draw large crowds. A popular music and dance in Uruguay is the tango, which originated in Argentina.

Key Facts

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Colombian Peso (COP)

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Time Zone

GMT -5

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Dec - Mar/Jun - Sep

Key Cities

Uruguay features a rich geography teeming with varied sceneries which range from small hills and hot spring paradises to the most exclusive beaches and cities where culture co-exists with tourism perfectly.

Whether you prefer living in a city, a beach resort, or the country, you’ll find attractive options in Uruguay. For city life check out Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo. It’s the city Mercer ranks highest for quality of life in South America. For beach life, consider Punta del Este—South America’s most prestigious beach resort.

Uruguay is a lovely country with vast green pastures dotted with palm trees; long sandy beaches stretched between dramatic rocky points; and architecture that ranges from eclectic masterpieces to sleek glass-clad towers.

The people of Uruguay are laidback (muy tranquilo). It’s a place where friends, family, and neighbors take time for each other—where relationships are more important than schedules.

Popular cuisine in Uruguay includes barbecued beef, lamb, and pork; as well as a variety of Italian, Spanish, and French dishes.

Whilst smaller in landmass and with fewer tourist drawcards than its South American neighbors, Uruguay’s accessibility, contrasting cities and a range of attractions set amongst a more relaxed atmosphere make it a worthy side trip for short or extended stays.

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