Uruguay offers cosmopolitan city life, coastal surf and beaches, colonial towns, traditional estancias (ranches), national parks, wetlands and hot thermal springs. The UNESCO town of Colonia del Sacramento is a highlight of Uruguay – one of the oldest cities in the country and full of colonial charm. The capital Montevideo is historic yet cosmopolitan.
A pre-arranged visa is not required to enter Uruguay for citizens of the following countries.
For other nationalities please visit the website of the relevant consulate.
The unit of currency in Uruguay is the Uruguayan Peso (UYU).
Please check websites such as www.oanda.com or www.xe.com for up to date exchange rates prior to your departure.
US dollars are commonly accepted in major tourist areas but the exchange rates can sometimes be low and you are better off paying in pesos. In more rural areas US dollars are of limited use.Unlike Argentina, Uruguay has no black or ‘blue’ market offering higher exchange rates for US and European banknotes.
Foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks or at foreign exchange bureaux (casas de cambio) that are widespread in Montevideo, Colonia and coastal tourist resorts. Some hotels will also provide money exchange services, but the rates are very much lower than at banks and foreign exchange bureaux.
ATMs (cajero automático) are plentiful in cities and some smaller towns and accept foreign issued cards such as Visa, MasterCard and Maestro. Debit cards can be used for money withdrawal and credit cards for cash advances.
Credit cards are widely accepted in major cities and tourist destinations including Montevideo, Punta del Este and Colonia del Sacramento. The most commonly accepted credit cards are Visa and MasterCard.
Banks only open in the afternoon, generally from 1.00pm to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.
LDD, Emergency Numbers, Internet
Country code: + 598
Wi-Fi zones and internet cafes are common in cities and larger towns and Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly available in many hotels.
Montevideo and Colonia have pleasant year round temperate climates with no wet season, the annual rainfall being spread throughout the year. The climate in coastal areas such as Punta del Este is relatively mild with summer temperatures ranging from 25 to 32ºC, and winter temperatures never falling below zero. Along the Rio Uruguay, the summer climate is generally hot and humid, with temperatures reaching as high as 36ºC. The interior hill country tends to be slightly cooler with average temperatures of 17ºC and summer temperatures averaging a maximum of 21 to 26ºC.
The cuisine of Uruguay has mainly Spanish but also Italian influences. Beef is fundamental to the cuisine with asado, a type of barbecued beef being the national dish. The “chivito” is the most popular food item - a thick steak sandwich with ham, bacon, hard-boiled egg, cheese and tomatoes or olives for seasoning. The national drink is mate, a herbal tea.
Other typical dishes include:
Choripán - Grilled chorizo inside a small baguette-style bread.
Empanada - Pastry commonly filled with ground beef (mince) or cheese.
Milanesa Rellena – Beef or chicken filled with cheese and ham, crumbed and fried.
Pancho - The Uruguayan “hot dog” in a bun (called Pan de Viena), covered in ketchup, mayonnaise or sometimes mustard.
Pastel de Carne –Ground beef (mince), green peppers and eggs covered in mashed potatoes.
Spanish is the first language of Uruguay with Portunal or Brasilero, a mixture of Portuguese and Spanish being used on the Brazil border. Uruguayan Spanish differs slightly to Spanish in other Latin American countries and has a few modifications due to the high numbers of Italian immigrants.