5 interesting places in Uruguay that you may not know

A quaint fruit stand in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. Photo by Vince Alongi, flickr

A quaint fruit stand in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. Photo by Vince Alongi, flickr

Uruguay often gets overlooked by tourists. Today, however, it remains a quaint destination, rich in culture and history. The capital Montevideo is loaded with history, and has many interesting landmarks and picturesque coloured buildings. There’s so much to see when you’re travelling through Uruguay.

Here are five other interesting places in Uruguay we suggest you visit when passing through this interesting little country:

Punta del Diablo is a pretty seaside village with so much to offer. Photo by Vince Alongi, flickr

Punta del Diablo is a pretty seaside village with so much to offer. Photo by Vince Alongi, flickr

Punta del Diablo

Punta del Diablo is a small seaside village of around 850 residents, but what makes it so fascinating are the quirky brightly coloured seaside buildings. It looks like a charming village found in a fairytale. The beaches of Uruguay often get overlooked but give them a try. They’re just as beautiful as the beaches in Brazil and not as crowded.

What to do and see

It can get quite cold during winter, so renting a beachside villa with a fireplace is a good idea. Many travellers have passed the time with a bottle of red wine and some local sundried tomatoes, olives and tasty cheeses. It’s not too fast paced, so it’s a great place to go to getaway from the standard travel routes in South America.

There’s only one ATM and it sometimes isn’t working, so bring enough cash to cover your spending. A lot of the hotels in the area will accept American dollars.

Where to stay

The Pueblo Rivero is a great place to stay when in Punta del Diablo. All of the facilities have been given high ratings and the cabins are sleek, modern wooden designs which are great for summertime. Pueblo Rivero offer cabins that house up to six guests so it’s a great place for families. Prices for a 2 person cabin start at roughly $100 USD per night.

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Historical monuments in Salto. Photo by, lenzoi.blogspot.com

Historical monuments in Salto. Photo by, lenzoi.blogspot.com

Salto

One of the larger cities, Salto is located on the border of Uruguay and Argentina and reflects the history and culture from both places. In Salto, you can enjoy true South American culture such as dancing, live music, drinking and eating. It’s fairly common to see both locals and tourists travelling from Salto into Argentina on day trips for shopping, nightlife and dining.

What to do and see

Salto is great for small museums and galleries so make sure to visit the Museo del Hombre y la Tecnologia. It’s an interesting museum that offers insight into local cultural development and technological advancements. There are a few historical landmarks and monuments throughout the city and downtown.

Where to stay

Opt for the Salto Hotel Y Casino – it has great location, central location with great facilities including a casino, gym, pool and spa.

City architecture in Salto. Photo by Maria Jose, Pinterest

City architecture in Salto. Photo by Maria Jose, Pinterest

Tacuarembo

Tacuarembo is a destination that displays the historical and cultural heritage of Uruguay. It is said that it is the centre for the original Gaucho culture – the South American equivalent to cowboys. It is also said that Tacuarembo is the birthing place of Carlos Gardel who was a tango legend, so prepare to put on your cowboy boots and do a little tango on your visit here.

What to do and see

This tiny town reflects so much of their culture, so it’s best to see all of the interesting monuments and eat traditional food. There is a museum in the city centre dedicated to tango-man Carlos Gardel, so you can educate yourself on just how good he was at doing the tango and why it’s so important. The Gruta de Los Helechos nature park is also a great spot to visit for those who want to see a bit of nature on their trip. There are some small streams and waterfalls, as well as a few hiking trails throughout the park but they aren’t always open so make sure to plan ahead.

Where to stay

Stay in the quaint Hotel Plaza. It’s a simple hotel, but it offers all that you need to have a comfortable stay including breakfast and is ideally located close to the city centre. It costs roughly $60 USD per night for a double. If you are after something more upmarket, check out the Hotel Carlos Gardel, this guy really is a legend, because it’s a boutique motel with larger, more luxurious rooms.

The Monument to the 33 Orientales. Photo by, ciudadtreintaytres.blogspot.com

The Monument to the 33 Orientales. Photo by, ciudadtreintaytres.blogspot.com

Treinta Y Tres

The name Treinta Y Tres translates to “33″ and refers to the 19th century heroes who established independence in Uruguay. They were called the 33 Orientales, and were 33 men exiled from Argentina. Today, there stands a marble monument in the town square which has each of their names on it to commemorate them. Not only is Treinta Y Tres full of history, it’s also very pretty and picturesque, there are quaint coloured buildings, parks and a beautiful river snaking through the town.

What to do and see

Visit the 33 Orientales monument in the city centre and have a look into some of the most important historical events that took place in Uruguay. Spend some time enjoying the local stores, and then relax at the municipal park which is located on the shore of the Olimar River. Here you can swim, fish or go kayaking.

Where to stay

The Treinta Y Tres Hotel offers simplistic accommodation with great traditional cuisine at the local restaurant. At the hotel you have full access to a gym, internet and daily breakfast included in the cost of your room. A single standard room starts at $45 USD per night, while a 3 person luxury room sits at $140 USD per night.

La Paloma beach-side. Photo by surfrider.org

La Paloma beach-side. Photo by surfrider.org

La Paloma

La Paloma is a small seaside city with the stunning rural backdrop of Rocha surrounding it. La Paloma is the place to visit stunning beaches, similar to those in the neighbouring countries but are not busy tourist filled beaches. It’s a great little surfing spot too and there are often free concerts and events held on the beaches.

What to do and see

Swim, surf, and sunbathe. Enjoy the warm, exotic sand and surf, and then visit the El Faro del Cabo Santa Maria lighthouse. Afterwards, spend some time at the Laguna de Rocha; it is a protected ecological reserve known for its lagoons of shrimp, crab, fish and molluscs which attract many migratory birds feeding on the abundant food supply.

Where to stay

The UY Proa Sur Hotel offers panoramic sea views, and great facilities whilst still being affordable for couples and families. From roughly $66USD per night for a single standard room but this also includes entry to the sauna, pool, buffet breakfast, and comes with wifi and cable television.

An aerial view of the Olimar River. Photo by, panoramio.com

An aerial view of the Olimar River. Photo by, panoramio.com

The best time to travel to Uruguay

Because of its location, there’s not really ever a time where Uruguay gets too cold. There are times when the temperature drops, but it is very rarely unbearable and travel never stops due to weather conditions. There is, however, an obvious peak season which is when most tourists arrive. Many tourists come from Argentina, Brazil and North America for the summer: December to February. Temperatures are normally in the high 30s C or 80s F. A lot of cafés, restaurants and hotels are only open during summer, especially in La Paloma and Punta del Diablo, so book and plan accordingly.