It’s fair to say Uruguay is usually something of a buffer country for most visitors. Whether it’s kicking back on the Atlantic coast or wandering the serene streets of Colonia del Sacramento, people tend to opt for locations like Brazil and Argentina.
But herein lies the attraction of Uruguay. Everything is quieter. Everything is scaled down. Everywhere is less crowded. In fact, it’s also fair to say Uruguay could be the continent’s best-kept secret.
Its verdant interior offers an array of activities, from horse riding with ‘gaucho’ cowboys in Tacuarembo, to unwinding in hot springs along the Uruguay River, to soaring high over vineyards in a hot air balloon.
That being said, a late night party is always guaranteed in the beach resorts of Punta del Este, Manantiales and La Barra, as are rolling Atlantic swells ideal for surfers of all levels. By comparison, Montevideo, the cosmopolitan capital, is actually one of Uruguay’s more off-the-beaten-path locations. Explore the art deco buildings of Plaza Independencia, tuck into a juicy steak at a ‘parilla’ steakhouse, or join the locals for a cup of steaming mate on the waterfront.
Uruguay is a peaceful, laid-back country, where you’ll always feel welcome. There are plenty of places to stay, from high-end hotels and private apartments to homely guesthouses and budget-friendly hostels. The majority of this is strung along the coast.